2019 was an exceptional year for Alan Ayckbourn. He celebrated his 80th birthday and the 60th anniversary of his professional playwriting debut as well as launching his first novel, The Divide.
It’s a hard act to follow! So what currently awaits in 2020?
Unusually, there are a quite a number of Ayckbourn professional productions already confirmed for 2020 including the revival of several classics.
The first of which is returning to London when Relatively Speaking transfers from The Mill At Sonning (running 27 February to 18 April) to the Jermyn Street Theatre from 21 April to 16 May. This will be directed by Robin Herford, so the play’s in very good hands.
Another classic doing the rounds is Absurd Person Singular which London Classic Theatre is touring around the country from 25 February to 19 July. It’s an exhaustive tour with the list of venues to long to list here, but if you’re a fan of this play or just want to see a classic Ayckbourn, then it’s very likely it’s coming to a venue near you.
Meanwhile, the Classic Comedy Theatre Company continues its tour of Ten Times Table, which began in the autumn and picks up again in Richmond on 20 January, before visiting Edinburgh, York, Shrewsbury, Cheltenham, Chesterfield and Brighton. This production has been well received and is – again – directed by the Ayckbourn veteran Robin Herford.
Another rarely revived, but undoubted classic is also next on the horizon for Dick & Lottie. The Ayckbourn-focused company will be reviving the 1976 classic Just Between Ourselves in-the-round at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, from 4 – 6 June.
While there are too many amateur productions to even know where to begin, it is worth shouting out one particularly ambitious company. From 18 March to 4 April, Tower Theatre is presenting the classic Ayckbourn trilogy The Norman Conquests at their home in Stoke Newington, London. This production is being staged to mark Alan Ayckbourn’s 80th birthday and the 60th anniversary of his playwriting career.
As previously mentioned in the blog, Alan launched his first novel, The Divide, last year with beautiful hardback and softcover editions from PS Publishing. But there is now another addition with the more recently published limited edition version of the hardback with slip-case and a signed plate by Alan Ayckbourn. Limited to just 100 copies, this has only recently come onto PS Publishing and is recommended for the Ayckbourn Aficionados out there.
Elsewhere on the publications front, expect Samuel French to release another tranche of Ayckbourn plays this year. The publisher has been working on the manuscripts for No Knowing, A Brief History of Women, Consuming Passions and Better Off Dead with more details expected soon.
If you’re interested in learning more about Alan Ayckbourn and his plays, then there’s some big news regarding Alan Ayckbourn’s Official Website at www.alanayckbourn.net. The website has been undergoing some improvements and changes recently – such as the relaunch of the Articles and Interviews section with even more material by the playwright and the development of The SJT section – in preparation for a major new addition.
During 2020, the website will also be launching the dedicated Archive section of the website – of which there will be more details soon!
There’s going to be more announcements relating to Ayckbourn productions this year and, undoubtedly, many more exciting events to report. For all the latest news and productions relating to Alan Ayckbourn, visit www.alanayckbourn.net and take a look at the News page or the What’s On page.