Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Alan Ayckbourn on Damsels In Distress

Pitlochry Festval Theatre is staging Alan Ayckbourn's Damsels In Distress trilogy this summer.
To mark this, the venue has published several short videos in which the playwright discusses the trilogy and the individual plays GamePlan, FlatSpin and RolePlay. The videos can be seen here.
The plays can be seen in repertory at the venue from 9 June to 13 October and mark a rare opportunity to see all three plays produced together as originally intended.
Damsels In Distress opened at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in 2001 and although unconnected by narrative, the three plays share the same company and the same set with themes from each play running into each other.
Further details about the Damsels In Distress season at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre can be found at www.pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com.

Monday, May 2, 2016

This Week: 2 May 2016

Ayckbourn Plays This Week & Coming Soon
Until 25 June: How The Other Half Loves at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London.
26 May - 3 July: Hero's Welcome & Confusions at 59E59 Theaters, New York (directed by Alan Ayckbourn)18
27 June - 2 July: Premiere Patrons event at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, featuring Alan Ayckbourn and access to rehearsals to his latest play.
8 July - 7 October (in repertory): The Karaoke Theatre Company (world premiere and directed by Alan Ayckbourn) at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
5 August - 8 October (in repertory): Consuming Passions (world premiere and directed by Alan Ayckbourn) at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
8 September - 8 October: Henceforward... (directed by Alan Ayckbourn) at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

News Round Up:
> Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website would like to congratulate Rare Insight Productions on the company's nomination for Best Production at this year's Offies (the Off West End Awards) with the recent production of Alan Ayckbourn's Time Of My Life.
> Alan Ayckbourn's latest playwill receive its New York premiere at the 59E59 Theaters later this month as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival. Hero's Welcome will be performed in repertory with Alan Ayckbourn's own revival of his classic play Confusions at the theatre from 26 May - 3 July. Further details can be found at www.britsoffbroadway.com.
> You can meet Alan Ayckbourn and even join him for rehearsals of his latest work in an exciting new event at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. Premiere Patrons is a week-long event from 27 June - 2 July dedicated to exploring new writing at the SJT which includes the chance to participate in rehearsals for Alan's The Karaoke Theatre Company as well as a Q&A and dinner with Alan Ayckbourn. Click here to find out more.
> The West End revival of Alan Ayckbourn's How The Other Loves has been extremely well received with four stars from The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail, The Stage, What's On Stage and London Theatre. Directed by Alan Strachan, it stars Nicholas Le Provost, Tamzin Outhwaite, Matthew Cottle, Jenny Seagrove, Jason Merrell and Gillian Wright. Further details and booking information can be found here.
> Alan Ayckbourn's plays for the summer season at the Stephen Joseph Theatre have been announced with the world premieres of The Karaoke Theatre Company and Consuming Passions and a revival of the award-winning 1987 play Henceforward.... All the plays are directed by Alan Ayckbourn and further details can be found at www.sjt.uk.com.

Event Of The Week
A weekly feature highlights an event in Alan Ayckbourn's life pertinent to the week in question.
A Telegram: One of the famous stories of Alan Ayckbourn's early career is some high praise from a very noteworthy figure of theatre. On 2 May 1967, Alan Ayckbourn received a telegram at the BBC - where he was then working as Radio Drama Producer - pertaining to the successful opening of Relatively Speaking in the West End. It read: "Dear Alan Ayckbourn all my congratulations on a beautifully constructed and very very funny play I enjoyed every moment of it = Noel Coward." However, as the full cost had not been paid and Alan had to pay for the telegram, he presumed it was a joke and threw it away! Fortunately, sense prevailed and Alan retrieved the item (still held in archive today and which can be seen at Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website here) and discovered it was genuinely from Noel Coward himself. High praise indeed for Alan's first major West End success.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Archiving Ayckbourn: Henceforward...

Archiving Ayckbourn is a regular feature presenting a look at every Alan Ayckbourn play through an object held in the Ayckbourn Archive. Each week, the feature will chronologically move through the play canon highlighting an object, article, photograph or other archival object offering an insight into the play, the playwright or moments of significance.

Henceforward... (1987)
Henceforward... is in no small measure responsible for me writing this blog - and my job as Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist. It was my first introduction to Alan Ayckbourn seeing the world premiere production at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, in 1987.
It had a profound effect on me and led to a life-long interest in the playwright and eventually the opportunity to work for the playwright himself.
Henceforward... marks the first time that Alan Ayckbourn seriously embraces science fiction within his writing - and which becomes a common recurring theme from this point forward - and also marks the first time retackled the subject of what it is to be an artist and the process of artistic creation; in this case a composer.
The play is set in a dystopian near future inner city, practically over-run by gangs and where androids have become a relatively common feature of life (in this case a second-hand, malfunctioning one). The protagonist Jerome is a composer who creates his music by constantly recording everything going on around him; at the time his final composition was created using the then nascent technology off sampling.
Within the Ayckbourn Archive is a letter to the Stephen Joseph Theatre's press officer offering Alan's perspective of the technology within the play and how, in 1987, much of it was but a step way. Intriguingly, whilst some of it has been realised, other elements are still beyond us. For the moment.
Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn
As can be seen from the letter (click on image to enlarge), Alan has some interesting thoughts on the future. The synclavier system mentioned - onto which the music was programmed - was then one of just four such machines in the country with each valued at £250,000! In comparison, Alan has composed and created the music for this summer's revival of the play at the Stephen Joseph Theatre entirely on his Mac and iPad.
Video phones haven't quite materialised in the way Alan predicted in the play, but they've been a part of everyday life for years now via the likes of Skype and FaceTime on mobile phones. The liquid-based computer is, as far as I am aware, still theoretical (but I stand to be corrected) whilst simple androids of the level of NAN 300F have essentially been created; they're not quite on the level of affordability to have as a common domestic aid.
You can see Alan's vision of a possible future at the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 8 September to 8 October at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in what is the first major revival of Henceforward.... since its award-winning West End production in 1988. Further details can be found at www.sjt.uk.com.
Henceforward... opened at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round on 30 July 1987 and was directed by Alan Ayckbourn. More details about the play can be found here.

If you'd like to meet Alan Ayckbourn, join him in rehearsals for his latest play and get the chance to put your own questions to him, click here to find out about the Premier Patrons week at the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 27 June to 2 July.

Monday, April 25, 2016

This Week: 25 April 2016

Ayckbourn Plays This Week & Coming Soon
Until 25 June: How The Other Half Loves at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London.
26 May - 3 July: Hero's Welcome & Confusions at 59E59 Theaters, New York (directed by Alan Ayckbourn)18
27 June - 2 July: Premiere Patrons event at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, featuring Alan Ayckbourn and access to rehearsals to his latest play.
8 July - 7 October (in repertory): The Karaoke Theatre Company (world premiere and directed by Alan Ayckbourn) at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
5 August - 8 October (in repertory): Consuming Passions (world premiere and directed by Alan Ayckbourn) at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
8 September - 8 October: Henceforward... (directed by Alan Ayckbourn) at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

News Round Up:
> Stephen Freeman has been appointed Chief Executive of Alan Ayckbourn's home theatre, the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. He will join the recently announced new Artistic Director, Paul Robinson, at the venue in late July. More details can be found here.
> In one month, Alan Ayckbourn's latest play - directed by the author - will receive its New York premiere at the 59E59 Theaters as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival. Hero's Welcome will be performed in repertory with Alan Ayckbourn's own revival of his classic play Confusions at the theatre from 26 May - 3 July. Further details can be found at www.britsoffbroadway.com.
> You can meet Alan Ayckbourn and even join him for rehearsals of his latest work in an exciting new event at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. Premiere Patrons is a week-long event from 27 June - 2 July dedicated to exploring new writing at the SJT which includes the chance to participate in rehearsals for Alan's The Karaoke Theatre Company as well as a Q&A and dinner with Alan Ayckbourn. Click here to find out more.
> The West End revival of Alan Ayckbourn's How The Other Loves has been extremely well received with four stars from The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail, The Stage, What's On Stage and London Theatre. Directed by Alan Strachan, it stars Nicholas Le Provost, Tamzin Outhwaite, Matthew Cottle, Jenny Seagrove, Jason Merrell and Gillian Wright. Further details and booking information can be found here.
> Alan Ayckbourn's plays for the summer season at the Stephen Joseph Theatre have been announced with the world premieres of The Karaoke Theatre Company and Consuming Passions and a revival of the award-winning 1987 play Henceforward.... All the plays are directed by Alan Ayckbourn and further details can be found at www.sjt.uk.com.

Event Of The Week
A weekly feature highlights an event in Alan Ayckbourn's life pertinent to the week in question.
Things We Do: Since starting his career as a playwright in 1955, the longest period between world premieres of an Ayckbourn play is the period between 1994 and 1997. Following the premiere of Haunting Julia in 1994, Alan Ayckbourn concentrated his efforts on the development of the Stephen Joseph Theatre - a conversion of a former Odeon cinema in Scarborough which would become the new home of the theatre company. Although Alan did write and premiere a musical (A Word From Our Sponsor) and two family plays (The Musical Jigsaw Play and The Champion Of Paribanou), it would be 1997 before he actually premiered his next play Things We Do For Love and - perhaps unexpectedly - it was specifically written for the SJT's end-stage space, The McCarthy, as opposed to The Round for which he is most associated with.