80 Years Young – Celebrating Alan Ayckbourn’s 80th Birthday

Alan Ayckbourn’s home theatre, the Stephen Joseph Theatre, is celebrating the playwright and director’s 80th birthday later this month.

Alan Ayckbourn, who was Artistic Director of the SJT for 37 years and was appointed Director Emeritus in 2018, will host the gala evening 80 Years Young on Sunday 29 September.

The evening, which starts at 6pm, will feature extracts from a selection of his plays for families and children, read by actors from the SJT’s summer company. It will follow the same format as the two popular A Brief History Of Plays events hosted by the playwright in 2017 at the SJT.

Alan Ayckbourn said of his plays for families and young people: “Many of them I consider amongst my best, most innovative work and today they still remain amongst my favourites.”

The actors performing will include the company from Alan’s current revival of Season’s Greetings – Matt Addis, Eileen Battye, Rachel Caffrey, Bill Champion, Andy Cryer, Michael Lyle, Frances Marshall, Mercy Ojelade, Leigh Symonds – from the world premiere of his play Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present – Jamie Baughan, Jemma Churchill, Russell Dixon and Naomi Petersen.

The 80 Years Young company will be completed by SJT youth theatre actors Ruby Hilton and Hugh Stanway, and by Denis King at the piano.

The evening will feature extracts from favourites ranging from Mr A’s Amazing Maze Plays (1988) to Miss Yesterday (2004), plus a few lesser-known earlier ones such as Dad’s Tale (1960) and Christmas v Mastermind (1962). The latter two will be getting their first public exposure since they were originally performed, making it a must-see evening for Ayckbourn fans.

All the proceeds from the event will be invested in the next generation of talented writers and directors at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

80 Years Young is taking place at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on Sunday 29 September at 6pm. Tickets are priced at £15, £35 or £75 (the latter to include programme, a glass of Prosecco and post-show reception).

To book, call the box office on 01723 370541 or visit the website www.sjt.uk.com.

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