Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Own A Piece Of Ayckbourn History

A fantastic opportunity to own a piece of Ayckbourn history or to spend in the day in rehearsals with Alan Ayckbourn is being offered on Sunday 26 April.
Monty the gnome from
Neighbourhood Watch
As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, the Stephen Joseph Theatre is holding a sale and auction in which props, memorabilia and unique experiences are being offered to raise funds for new writing at the venue.
Items for the auction and sale are drawn from the Stephen Joseph Theatre, which means there are a number of interesting Ayckbourn-related lots available.
These include the chance to bid for a day watching Alan Ayckbourn in rehearsals, dresses worn by Janie Dee during the acclaimed 2009 revival of Woman In Mind and the 6ft gnome Monty from the world premiere of Alan Ayckbourn's Neighbourhood Watch.
The auction is taking place at 2pm on Sunday 26 April at the Stephen Joseph Theatre with viewing and a general sale taking place from 10am.
For anyone looking to own a piece of Ayckbourn history, here are a list of the Ayckbourn-related items being offered from the auction catalogue which can be seen - with pictures - here.

Janie Dee's dress from
Woman In Mind
> A day in rehearsals with Alan Ayckbourn
> Monty the gnome (6ft) from Neighbourhood Watch (2011)
> Dress worn by Janie Dee (Susan) in Woman In Mind (2008)
> Wedding outfit worn by Janie Dee (Susan) in Woman In Mind (2008)
> Carabosse dress worn by Anna Francolini from Awaking Beauty (2008)
> Princess Aurora dress worn by Alice Fearn from Awaking Beauty (2008)
> The 'Boy's' pyjamas worn by Evelyn Hoskins from The Boy Who Fell Into A Book (2014)
> Gingham dress worn by Anja Rodford (Suzy) from Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays (2006)
> Ladies suit worn by Sarah Parks (Lorraine) from Surprises (2012)
Anna Francolini's Carabosse dress
from Awaking Beauty
> Time Leap Tour uniform worn by Richard Stacey (Gorman) from Surprises (2012)
> Princess Nouronnihar dress worn by Sarah Moyle from The Champion Of Paribanou (2005)
> Murganah dress worn by Laura Doddington from The Champion of Paribanou (2005)
> Shiny blue dress worn by Sophie Heyman (Maureen) in Time Of My Life (2013)
> Pink-striped dress worn by Sophie Heyman (Maureen) from Time Of My Life (2013)
> Green dress worn by Laura Doddington (Jane) from Absurd Person Singular (2012)
> Feature sofa from My Wonderful Day (2009)
> Red coffee table from My Wonderful Day (2009)
> Swivel easy chair from My Wonderful Day (2009)
Gravestones from
Intimate Exchanges
> Gravestones from Intimate Exchanges (2006)
> Bistro set table and two chairs from Intimate Exchanges (2006)
> Wooden sundial from Life Of Riley (2010)
> Matching thrones from Orvin - Champion Of Champions (2003)
> Office chair from Surprises (2012)
> Desk chair from My Wonderful Day (2009)
> Bistro set table and two chairs from Farcicals (2013)
> Two 'Kidnapped' chairs from The Boy Who Fell Into A Book (2014)
> Susan's unusual bridal veil from Woman In Mind (2009)
> Sofa from A Chorus Of Disapproval (2004)

Further details about the auction can be found at the Stephen Joseph Theatre website here and the online catalogue can be found here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

This Week: 13 April

This Week & Coming Soon
23 April - 16 May: Way Upstream at Chichester Festival Theatre
26 April: Own A Piece Of Stephen Joseph Theatre History - Auction, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

News Round Up:
> The Stephen Joseph Theatre is offering the chance to own a piece of theatre history as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations on 26 April. The venue is holding a sale and auction of items from the theatre's history as well as unique experiences. For Ayckbourn fans, there's a chance to bid for the original 6ft high Monty the gnome prop from the world premiere of Neighbourhood Watch, a dress worn by Janie Dee in the acclaimed 2008 revival of Woman In Mind and even the chance to spend a day watching Alan Ayckbourn in rehearsal. More details can be found at www.sjt.uk.com.
> Alan Ayckbourn will be in conversation with his biographer Paul Allen at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on 12 July as part of the venue's 60th anniversary celebrations. The event will take place at 3pm and cost £6.50 with proceeds going to the theatre's new writing fund. Further details can be found at www.sjt.uk.com.
> Booking is now open for Alan Ayckbourn's plays at the Stephen Joseph Theatre this summer with Confusions running from 9 July - 26 September and the world premiere of Hero's Welcome from 4 September - 3 October. Click here for details.
> Our sister site Scarborough In The Round continues its weekly look at the history of the Stephen Joseph Theatre as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations. Check the website's blog every Monday.

Alan Ayckbourn & The Stephen Joseph Theatre Anniversaries:
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2015, the blog will be looking back on notable dates from the history of the theatre and its relationship with Alan Ayckbourn. Visit the Scarborough In The Round blog for a more in-depth exploration of significant SJT anniversaries each week.

14 April: It is believed on this date in 1957 (there are two possibilities, this being the most likely) Alan Ayckbourn saw theatre-in-the-round and Stephen Joseph's Studio Theatre Company for the first time with a performance of Sartre's Huis Clois (In Camera) in London. The experience would have a profound impact on his life with him joining the company that summer at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, and being indelibly associated with what is now the Stephen Joseph Theatre and theatre-in-the-round ever since.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

This Week: 6 April 2015

This Week & Coming Soon
11 April: The Norman Conquests trilogy (1977 television adaptation) at the British Film Institute, London.
23 April - 16 May: Way Upstream at Chichester Festival Theatre

News Round Up:
> The British Film Institute is showing the complete television adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests on Saturday 11 April as part of its season celebrating the work of the producer Verity Lambert. They can be seen at the NFT2 with Table Manners at 1pm, Round & Round The Garden at 3.50pm and Living Together at 6pm. Further details can be found here.
> There's only a week left to catch BBC Radio 4's adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's classic trilogy The Norman Conquests in its entirety on BBC iPlayer. Living Together can be found here until 13 April, from which there are links to the other plays.
> Alan Ayckbourn will be in conversation with his biographer Paul Allen at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on 12 July as part of the venue's 60th anniversary celebrations. The event will take place at 3pm and cost £6.50 with proceeds going to the theatre's new writing fund. Further details can be found at www.sjt.uk.com.
> Booking is now open for Alan Ayckbourn's plays at the Stephen Joseph Theatre this summer with Confusions running from 9 July - 26 September and the world premiere of Hero's Welcome from 4 September - 3 October. Click here for details.
> Our sister site Scarborough In The Round continues its weekly look at the history of the Stephen Joseph Theatre as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations. Check the website's blog every Monday.

Alan Ayckbourn & The Stephen Joseph Theatre Anniversaries:
To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2015, the blog will be looking back on notable dates from the history of the theatre and its relationship with Alan Ayckbourn. Visit the Scarborough In The Round blog for a more in-depth exploration of significant SJT anniversaries each week.

10 April: Alan Ayckbourn's Neighbourhood Watch transferred to the Tricycle Theatre, London, for a month in 2012. It had opened in Scarborough the previous autumn, before transferring to New York for a month, then it toured the UK before reaching London.
11 April: Alan Ayckbourn's 60th birthday was celebrated in 1999 with the fund-raising evening A Chorus Of Disapproval at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, featuring actors who had worked with Alan in both Scarborough and London over the decades.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ask The Archivist: Confused About Confusions

Ask The Archivist is an occasional feature allowing you to put your Alan Ayckbourn related questions to the playwright's archivist Simon Murgatroyd.
If you have a question regarding any aspect of Alan's work, email it to: admin@alanayckbourn.net (labelled Ask The Archivist) and we'll publish any interesting questions.

Question: I'm confused about Alan Ayckbourn's play Confusions! I've read conflicting reports that all / some / none of the plays are linked. What is the answer?

Answer: The definitive answer - as provided by the playwright - is all the plays are loosely linked. If the play is staged as the author intended - i.e. as in the world premiere at Scarborough and not the London premiere - each play has a loose link to the next. So...

> In Mother Figure, it is mentioned Lucy's husband Harry has been trying to telephone her...
> Harry features in Drinking Companion, having just tried calling his wife. He is served by the hotel's waiter...
> Who is the same waiter who features in Between Mouthfuls, serving dinner to guests including Mr and Mrs Pearce...
> Mrs Pearce - or Councillor Mrs Pearce - also appears in Gosforth's Fete having been sent by the Mayor to open the fete. It is also mentioned Gosforth is a divorced landlord...
> Divorced from Doreen, who appears in A Talk In The Park, mentioning her former husband who is a landlord.

So there is the playwright's definitive answer. Each of the plays has a loose narrative link to the next.

In which case, you might wonder why there is confusion about whether the plays are linked. This essentially boils down to two reasons. The London premiere and the inaccurate assumption that London productions are definitive.
This particularly applies to the well-received London premiere of Confusions which was produced as a star vehicle for John Alderton and Pauline Collins. Rather than casting the play as the playwright intended as an ensemble piece intended to give each actor their moment to shine, John Alderton took the 'lead' part in Drinking Companion, Between Mouthfuls and Gosforth's Fete, unbalancing the play. The main result was that the waiter in Drinking Companion - who has a minor role - then comes to prominence in Between Mouthfuls. As Alderton played Harry in Drinking Companion and the Waiter in Between Mouthfuls, that link was lost. Several publications subsequently made the inappropriate assumption that the London production - which was not even directed by Alan Ayckbourn - reflected the author's intentions and incorrectly noted there only some of the plays were linked.
When studying Alan's plays, it should always be remembered that the definitive production should essentially always be the world premiere, staged in-the-round, featuring an ensemble cast and from the 7th play onwards, directed by Alan Ayckbourn.

Hopefully, that clears up the confusion about Confusions.

Confusions, directed by Alan Ayckbourn, can be seen at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, this summer between 9 July and 26 September. Further details can be found at www.sjt.uk.com.

To submit your question to Ask The Archivist, email Simon Murgatroyd at: admin@alanayckbourn.net labelled Ask The Archivist.