1939: Born 12
April in Hampstead to Irene Maud Worley (‘Lolly’) and Horace Ayckbourn.
Attends Wisborough Lodge.
1951: Receives a Barclays Bank scholarship to attend Haileybury.
Netherlands in a school production of Romeo and Juliet (would also tour
eastern USA and Canada in Macbeth in 1956); Stephen Joseph founds
The Library Theatre, Scarborough.
Leaves Haileybury; first professional job as acting stage manager with Sir
Donald Wolfit's company at the
Edinburgh Festival; joins Connaught Theatre, Worthing, as student
assistant stage manager.
Studio Theatre Ltd at The Library Theatre, Scarborough, as acting stage
manager preceded by work at Thorndike
Theatre (Leatherhead) and followed by a winter season at Oxford
1958: Returns to Scarborough as actor; Stephen Joseph issues challenge to write first
of first play The Square Cat on 30 July at the Library Theatre
(written as Roland Allen);
plays Stanley in Harold Pinter's self-directed second production of
The Birthday Party; marries Christine Roland.
The Square Cat;
Love After All
Service at RAF Cardington, Bedfordshire (two days!).
Directorial debut with Gaslight at the Library Theatre.
Standing Room Only
Leaves Scarborough to become founder
member and associate director of Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.
Christmas V Mastermind;
Countdown (one act)
Directs one of his own plays for the first
time with Standing Room Only.
Mr Whatnot becomes his first play
to transfer to the West End, closing quickly afterwards; leaves
Victoria Theatre; final professional acting job in Two For The Seesaw at
Rotherham; joins the BBC in Leeds as a radio drama producer.
Directs one of his own plays in Scarborough for the first time with
Meet My Father (Relatively Speaking).
Having been closed as a professional venue
at the end of the 1965 season by Stephen Joseph, The Library Theatre,
Scarborough, hosts an amateur theatrical season.
Relatively Speaking opens in London
and is his first major hit; Stephen Joseph dies; The Library Theatre
reopens as a professional venue.
Relatively Speaking becomes the
first Ayckbourn play to be published.
Writes for the ITV series Hark At Barker under the pseudonym
Peter Caulfied as under contract with the BBC.
How The Other Half Loves;
Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations
from the BBC to concentrate on playwriting (23 June); How The Other
Half Loves opens in the West End.
How The Other Half Loves becomes
the first Ayckbourn play to open on Broadway.
Time And Time Again
Artistic Director of the Library Theatre, Scarborough; the
noted London producer Michael Codron opens his first Ayckbourn play in
the West End, Time And Time Again.
Absurd Person Singular
Receives his first award with Absurd
Person Singular winning the Evening Standard Award For Best Comedy.
The Norman Conquests (Table Manners;
Living Together; Round And Round The Garden)
Variety Club of Great Britain Playwright of the Year;
The Norman Conquests opens to critical and commercial success in
the West End; television play
Service Not Included.
Service Not Included (screenplay)
record for most productions running simultaneously both in the West End
and on Broadway; first
entry in Who's Who & Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Jeeves (with Andrew Lloyd Webber);
Scarborough company moves from Library Theatre to Stephen Joseph Theatre
In The Round, Westwood, Scarborough.
Just Between Ourselves
premiere at the National Theatre with Bedroom Farce, his first play
specifically written for the end-stage; first London directing credit
with Bedroom Farce; becomes Chair of the Drama Panel of Yorkshire
Ten Times Table
Collaborates with Paul Todd to write his
first musical revue, Men On Women On Men.
Men On Women On Men (revue with Paul Todd)
Directs for the first time in the West End
with the transfer of his play Joking Apart; steps
down from Yorkshire Arts Association citing work commitments.
Writes Suburban Strains, his first full length musical
Suburban Strains (with Paul Todd);
First Course (revue with Paul Todd);
Second Helping (revue with Paul Todd)
Premieres Way Upstream, which
involves flooding the stage at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round,
Me, Myself & I (revue with Paul Todd)
The National Theatre is literally flooded
when the water tank for the transfer of Way Upstream splits
spilling water into the bowels of the building.
A Trip To Scarborough (adaptation)
Council Cultural Trends reports "Ayckbourn more popular than
Shakespeare" (statistically the most watched and performed playwright in
regional repertory theatres in the UK between '81-'83).
It Could Be Any One Of Us;
Incidental Music (revue with Paul Todd)
Television premiere of A Cut In The Rates.
A Chorus Of Disapproval;
The 7 Deadly Virtues (revue with Paul Todd);
The Westwoods (revue with Paul Todd);
A Cut In The Rates (one act)
Wins his first Olivier
Award with the Best Comedy for A Chorus Of Disapproval.
Woman In Mind;
Boy Meets Girl (revue with Paul Todd); Girl Meets Boy (revue with Paul Todd);
Tons Of Money (adaptation)
Begins a two year
Scarborough sabbatical as visiting director at the National
Theatre; made Freeman of the Borough of Scarborough.
Mere Soup Songs (revue with Paul Todd)
CBE; directs A View From The Bridge at the National Theatre to
A Small Family Business;
to Scarborough; writes his first family play since 1962 with Mr A's
Amazing Maze Plays.
Man Of The Moment;
Mr. A’s Amazing Maze Plays
Celebrates 50th birthday by writing the
epic The Revengers' Comedies; the film of A
Chorus Of Disapproval is released.
The Revengers’ Comedies;
The Inside Outside Slide Show (children's
Wolf At The Door (adaptation)
his first Shakespeare play, Othello, starring Michael Gambon at
the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough.
This Is Where We Came In;
Alan Ayckbourn's literary agent Margaret
Ramsay dies on 4 September.
My Very Own Story
Appointed Cameron Macintosh Visiting Professor of Contemporary Theatre,
at Oxford University
Time Of My Life;
Dreams From A Summer House (with John Pattison)
Receives Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Lifetime
Receives Montblanc de la Culture Award for Europe;
the film of
Smoking / No Smoking (Intimate Exchanges), directed by Alain
Resnais, is released.
The Musical Jigsaw Play (with John Pattison)
Directs his final play at the Stephen
Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scaborough, with Betrayal by Harold
A Word From Our Sponsor (with John Pattison)
Receives the Writers’ Guild of Great
Britain Best West End Play for
Doors; Scarborough company moves to the Stephen
The Champion Of Paribanou;
By Jeeves (revised with Andrew Lloyd
'for services to theatre'; marries Heather Stoney; receives Lloyds Private Banking
Playwright of the Year; receives first Moliere Award for Best Comedy for
Communicating Doors; funding crisis at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
Things We Do For Love
resignation of entire Drama Advisory Panel of the Arts Council in
protest at new policies being instigated by the Government.
Cheap And Cheerful (revue with Denis King)
Adapts Ostrovsky's The Forest for
the National Theatre; announces he will no longer direct plays by other
writers; National Theatre survey of 800 theatre professionals places him
as the 14th most influential playwright of the century and The Norman
Conquests as one of the hundred greatest plays of the century.
House & Garden;
Gizmo (children's play);
The Forest (adaptation)
Directs House & Garden at the National Theatre - two plays
performed simultaneously in two auditoria by the same cast.
Whenever (with Denis King)
Receives Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence;
directs on Broadway for the first time with By Jeeves; First
Ayckbourn And The Round event at Scarborough; official biography by Paul
Allen published; www.alanayckbourn.net
Damsels In Distress (GamePlan;
world premiere of Tim Firth's The Safari Party, his final
non-Ayckbourn directed play; his first book The Crafty Art
Of Playmaking is publised.
Snake In The Grass;
The Princess And The Mouse (children's
Announces he will no longer allow his new
plays to be produced in London's West End.
Orvin: Champion Of Champions (with Denis King);
My Sister Sadie;
The Ten Magic Bridges (for children)
Receives Variety Club Of Great Britain Lifetime
Drowning On Dry Land;
Private Fears In Public Places;
Miranda’s Magic Mirror (for children)
Directs the American
premiere of Private In Public Places at the Brits Off Broadway
Festival with the SJT company to critical acclaim; Stephen Joseph
Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The Girl Who Lost Her Voice (for
a stroke (February); returns to direct If I Were You
(September); the film of Private Fears In Public Places,
directed by Alain Resnais, is released
If I Were You
Announces decision to step down as Artistic Director of the Stephen
Joseph Theatre (1 June); directs American premiere of Intimate Exchanges
in Brits Off Broadway festival with SJT company;
Absurd Person Singular opens to acclaim at the Garrick Theatre,
London, the first Ayckbourn play to open in London's West End since 2002.
Conquests is revived at The Old Vic, London to unanimous critical
Life & Beth;
Awaking Beauty (with Denis King)
down as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre; inducted into
the American Theater's Hall Of Fame; his 2008 revival of Woman In Mind
transfers to London; receives Olivier Award's Special Award; BBC
Radio major tribute to mark 70th birthday; The Norman Conquests
win a Tony for Best Revival; directs American premiere of My Wonderful Day
at the Brits Off Broadway festival immediately following its world
My Wonderful Day
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre; received
Critics' Circle Award for Services To The Arts; Season's Greetings
revived at the National Theatre; revives
Taking Steps at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond.
Life Of Riley
Premieres Dear Uncle, an adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.
Dear Uncle (adaptation)