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Lieder Theatre Cast Profile
Production Notes

Judith Boyd
Alan Ayckbourn Sir Alan Ayckbourn is internationally renowned for his writing and plays such as The Norman Conquests are regarded as classics of 20th century British theatre.

His plays are often described as being middle-class and suburban, although this is a rather dated view of his work.

While the description would be generally correct for his work during the 1960s and 1970s, since the 1980s, Alan's work has become ever more expansive, dealing with wider social issues and often utilizing more fantastic ideas and settings to explore his themes. He has also become a passionate advocate of writing for young people and has written more than a dozen full length plays for families and young people and a number of one-act plays for children.

If one was to generalize about Alan's large body of work, that now covers practically five decades, it would be that he writes about men and women, their relationships and their general inability to live with each other. His work is also characterized by its tragi-comedy themes and his constant willingness to experiment with stage time and space, which led the renowned critic Michael Billington to label him as one of the few British playwrights to be constantly pushing the envelope of theatre.

Sir Alan is also committed to theatre-in-the-round, for which he has written the vast majority of his plays. It is always worth remembering that when he stages a play in London or anyone performs one in the proscenium arch, it is a step away from the author's original intention. It has frequently been stated that the definitive production of any of Ayckbourn's plays is the premiere production in the round in Scarborough.

Alan has a close relationship with Scarborough, where he lives and has worked for most of his professional career. He has been artistic director of what is now the Stephen Joseph Theatre since 1972 and has premiered all but four plays (Christmas V Mastermind, Mr Whatnot, Jeeves and A Small Family Business) in Scarborough.

More than half his plays have gone on to London to be produced in the West End or at the National Theatre. At one point, he held the record for having the most professional productions of his work being performed simultaneously in the West End (The Norman Conquests, Absurd Person, Singular and Absent Friends). His work has been translated into more than 40 languages and his plays are regularly performed throughout the world