2019 marks the 60th anniversary of Alan Ayckbourn’s debut as a professional playwright. He has written more than 80 plays and has rarely, if ever, been tempted by television or film, which perhaps explains why he continues to be so prolific. His plays have been translated into over 35 languages, are performed throughout the world and have won countless awards. Practically all were first staged at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, where he continues to direct and premiere his work. He was the Artistic Director of the venue for 37 years before retiring from the post in 2009 and was appointed the venue’s first Director Emeritus in 2018. His latest play, Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present will open at the venue in September.
His major successes include: Relatively Speaking, How The Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval and The Norman Conquests. In recent years, there have been revivals of Season’s Greetings and A Small Family Business at the National Theatre; A Chorus of Disapproval, Relatively Speaking and How The Other Half Loves in the West End and at Chichester Festival Theatre, Way Upstream and The Norman Conquests. His regular visits to the Brits Off Broadway Festival at the 59E59 Theatres, New York, with the SJT company since 2005 have always attracted first class reviews and, most recently, A Brief History Of Women in 2018 garnered universally favourable reviews and regularly featured in The New York Times Critics’ Choice list.
A recipient of the Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts, many honorary doctorates - the University of York acquired his archive in 2011 - he has been inducted into America Theatre’s Hall of Fame and is the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre.