Alan Ayckbourn’s most recent play, Anno Domino, is available to stream once more as part of the UK International Radio Drama Festival.
The play, which is the writer’s 84th, premiered online in May and also marked Ayckbourn’s return to acting 56 years after his last professional performance.
The play, which had previously been written but not yet produced, came about as a result of the lockdown of UK theatres in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Alan Ayckbourn suggested to the Stephen Joseph Theatre he could record a previously unproduced play as an audio play for the venue to stream.
Despite the fact the play is an eight-hander, the Olivier and Tony Award-winning playwright teamed up with his wife, Heather Stoney, recording the play together in their home with Alan directing, editing and producing the recording.
Anno Domino was streamed during May and June and attracted listeners from around the world as well as both national and international media coverage – including the New York Times and Washington Post.
The playwright is delighted Anno Domino is getting a second airing as part of the UK International Radio Drama Festival offering further opportunities to enjoy this unique play in the Ayckbourn canon; the first to be premiered as an audio play.
Anno Domino explores the aftermath of the break-up of an apparently strong marriage and the domino effect this has on their family and friends.
“The inspiration for Anno Domino came from the idea that all relationships ultimately, however resilient they appear to be, are built on sand!” said there playwright. “It only takes one couple to break up abruptly to take us all by surprise, then all of a sudden everyone is questioning their own unshakeable relationship.”
Within the play, Ayckbourn and Stoney play four characters each, with an age range of 18 to mid-70s. This marks the first time the couple have acted together since 1964 when Ayckbourn made his final appearance as a professional actor appearing at Rotherham Civic Theatre in Two For The Seesaw.
Although Ayckbourn gave up acting to concentrate on his hugely successful writing and directing careers, Stoney continued to act until 1984 and appeared in a number of Ayckbourn world premieres at the Library Theatre and Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round, Scarborough.
Anno Domino marks the first time Ayckbourn has directed and performed in one of his own plays. It is written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, performed by Alan Ayckbourn and Heather Stoney, and produced by Alan Ayckbourn with final mix by Paul Stear. Anno Domino is a Haydonning Ltd production.
It is now streaming for free and can be found in The Old Curiosity Shop section of the website https://radiodramafestival.org.uk.