Season’s Greetings & Happy New Year!

I’m taking a short break from the blog for Christmas, but will be back with more articles and Ayckbourn news early in the New Year – hopefully a better year for theatres and everyone working in the Arts.

As always, thank you for your support of both this blog and Alan Ayckbourn’s Official Website over the past twelve months. Hits on the blog have soared since March and I hope you’ve enjoyed the many articles and stories published.

Don’t worry though, you can still get your Ayckbourn fix over the festive period. The official Ayckbourn website has more than 4,000 pages to explore with in-depth sections relating to all your favourite plays. Pick a play and find out more here, there’s more than enough to keep you reading for a couple of weeks!

If you’re looking for an Ayckbourn performance over Christmas though, don’t forget you can hear a new audio play of Alan Ayckbourn’s Haunting Julia via the Stephen Joseph Theatre’s website www.sjt.uk.com.

The playwright directs and acts in this chilling tale for Christmas in which a father attempts to find out the truth behind his musical genius daughter’s death 12 years previously. The audio play costs £12 and can be listened to repeatedly between now and 5 January, click here for details.

If you missed it the first time round, Alan Ayckbourn’s latest play Anno Domino is also available to stream for free as part of the UK International Radio Drama Festival. Premiered in May by the SJT, this play marked the first time an Ayckbourn play had been premiered as an audio stream and features the playwright and his wife, Heather Stoney, playing all eight roles in a play about how an unexpected piece of news has huge repercussions for a family.

Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of reading Ayckbourn plays, don’t forget there have been three recent publications by Samuel French with Better Off Dead, No Knowing and Consuming Passions. His 2019 play, Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present is also due to be published early in 2021.

As for 2021, who knows what shape it will take. Theatres throughout the UK will hopefully begin to re-open again, although obviously the theatre-going experience is going to be considerably different over the next year.

However, there are green shoots of hope that we will be able to enjoy Ayckbourn plays once again in theatres. The Jermyn Street Theatre is planning to revive its interrupted run of Robin herford’s production of the classic Relatively Speaking from 18 February to 21 March (click here) before the play transfers back to The Mill At Sonning from 24 March to 22 May (click here).

It’s also looking likely that London Classic Theatre’s interrupted UK tour of Absurd Person Singular will be restarting from 9 – 20 February at Bath Theatre Royal (click here) with a spring tour to follow with both Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and Malvern Theatres having already announced dates. Further details about the tour can be found at the London Classic Theatre website here and will also be carried on the playwright’s official website What’s On page as soon as they are confirmed.

Hopefully there will be even more Ayckbourn productions announced in the coming months. We just have to remain optimistic and hope that theatres across the UK and the world will soon be re-opening and once again bringing joy to everyone who enjoys and supports theatre and the Arts.

Happy Christmas and New Year and stay safe and healthy during these challenging times. See you in 2021.

Simon Murgatroyd

Alan Ayckbourn’s Archivist

(© Scarborough Theatre Trust)

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