Alan Ayckbourn
Alan Ayckbourn

Celebrity Profile

Name: Alan Ayckbourn
Occupation: Playwright
Gender: Male
Birth Day: April 12, 1939
Age: 83
Country: England
Zodiac Sign: Aries

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Weight: in kg - N/A
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Alan Ayckbourn

Alan Ayckbourn was born on April 12, 1939 in England (83 years old). Alan Ayckbourn is a Playwright, zodiac sign: Aries. Find out Alan Ayckbournnet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.


He served as director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 1972 to 2009.

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020


Salary 2020

Not known

Before Fame

He was introduced to his future mentor, Stephen Joseph, while working at the Scarborough Library Theatre as a teen.

Biography Timeline


Ayckbourn was born in Hampstead, London. His mother Irene Worley ("Lolly") (1906–1998) was a writer of short stories who published under the name "Mary James". His father, Horace Ayckbourn (1904–1965), was an orchestral violinist, at one time deputy leader of the London Symphony Orchestra. His parents, who separated shortly after World War II, never married, and Ayckbourn's mother divorced her first husband to marry again in 1948.


In 1957, Ayckbourn married Christine Roland, another member of the Library Theatre company, and indeed Ayckbourn's first two plays were written jointly with her under the pseudonym of "Roland Allen". They had two sons, Steven and Philip. However, the marriage had difficulties which eventually led to their separation in 1971. Ayckbourn said that his relationship with Roland became easy once they agreed their marriage was over. Around this time, he started to share a home with Heather Stoney, an actress he had first met ten years earlier. Like his mother, neither he nor Roland sought a divorce for the next thirty years and it was only in 1997 that they formally divorced; Ayckbourn married Stoney. One side-effect of the timing is that, as Ayckbourn was awarded a knighthood a few months before the divorce, both his first and second wife were entitled to take the title of Lady Ayckbourn.

In 1957, Ayckbourn was employed by the director Stephen Joseph at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, the predecessor to the modern Stephen Joseph Theatre. His role, again, was initially an acting stage manager. This employment led to Ayckbourn's first professional script commission, in 1958. When he complained about the quality of a script he was performing, Joseph challenged him to write a better one. The result was The Square Cat, written under the pseudonym Roland Allen and first performed in 1959. In this play, Ayckbourn himself played the character Jerry Watiss.


Ayckbourn began directing at the Scarborough Library Theatre in 1961, with a production of Gaslight by Patrick Hamilton. He directed five other plays that year and the following year in Scarborough, and after transferring to the Victoria Theatre, directed a further six plays in 1963. Between 1964 and 1967 (when much of his time was taken up by various productions of his early successes Mr. Whatnot and Relatively Speaking) he only directed one play (The Sparrow, written by himself, later withdrawn), but in 1968 he resumed regularly directing plays, mostly at Scarborough. At this time he also worked as a radio drama producer for the BBC, based in Leeds.


After thirty-four appearances in plays at the Library Theatre, including four of his own, in 1962 Ayckbourn moved to Stoke-on-Trent to help set up the Victoria Theatre, (now the New Vic), where he appeared in a further eighteen plays. His final appearance in one of his own plays was as the Crimson Gollywog in the disastrous children's play Christmas v Mastermind. He left the Stoke company in 1964, officially to commit his time to the London production of Mr. Whatnot, but reportedly because was having trouble working with the artistic director, Peter Cheeseman. By now, his career as a writer was coming to fruition, and his acting career was sidelined.


His fortunes began to revive in 1963 with Mr. Whatnot, again premiering at the Victoria Theatre. This was the first play that Ayckbourn was sufficiently happy with to allow performances today, and the first play to receive a West End performance. However, the West End production flopped, in part down to misguided casting. After this, Ayckbourn experimented by collaborating with comedians, first writing a monologue for Tommy Cooper, and later with Ronnie Barker, who played Lord Slingsby-Craddock in the London production of Mr Whatnot in 1964, for the scripts of for LWT's Hark at Barker. Ayckbourn used the pseudonym 'Peter Caulfield' because he was under exclusive contract to the BBC at the time.


Then, in 1965, back at the Scarborough Library Theatre, Meet my Father was produced, later retitled Relatively Speaking. This time, the play was a massive success, both in Scarborough and the West End, making Alan Ayckbourn rich and earning him a congratulatory telegram from Noël Coward. This was not quite the end of Ayckbourn's hit-and-miss record, because his following play, The Sparrow only ran for three weeks at Scarborough. However, the following play, How the Other Half Loves, secured his runaway success as a playwright.


After leaving school at 17, Ayckbourn's career took several temporary jobs in various places before starting a temporary job at the Scarborough Library Theatre, where he was introduced to the artistic director, Stephen Joseph. It is said that Joseph became both a mentor and father figure for Ayckbourn until his untimely death in 1967, and Ayckbourn has consistently spoken highly of him.

After the death of Stephen Joseph in 1967, the position of Director of Productions was appointed on an annual basis. Ayckbourn was offered this position in 1969 and 1970, succeeding Rodney Wood, but he handed the position over to Caroline Smith in 1971 (having spent most of his time that year in the US with How the Other Half Loves). He became Director of Productions again in 1972, and this time, on 12 November that same year, he was made the permanent artistic director of the theatre.


There are eight one-act plays written by Alan Ayckbourn. Five of them (Mother Figure, Drinking Companion, Between Mouthfuls, Gosforth's Fete and Widows Might) were written for Confusions, first performed in 1974.


Ayckbourn received the CBE in 1987 and was knighted in the 1997 New Year Honours. It is frequently claimed (but not proven) that Alan Ayckbourn is the most performed living English playwright, and the second most performed of all time after Shakespeare.

In mid-1986, Ayckbourn accepted an invitation to work as a visiting director for two years at the Royal National Theatre in London, form his own company, and perform a play in each of the three auditoria provided at least one was a new play of his own. Using a stock company that included established performers like Michael Gambon, Polly Adams and Simon Cadell. The three plays became four, and were: Tons of Money by Will Evans and Valentine, with adaptations by Ayckbourn (Lyttelton), Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge (Cottesloe), his own A Small Family Business (Olivier) and John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (Olivier again). During this time, Ayckbourn shared his role of artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre with Robin Herford and returned in 1987 to direct the premiere of Henceforward....


He announced in 1999 that he would step back from directing the work of other playwrights, to concentrate on his own plays, the last one being Rob Shearman's Knights in Plastic Armour in 1999; the exception being in 2002 when he directed the world premiere of Tim Firth's The Safari Party.


In 2002, following a dispute over the Duchess Theatre's handling of Damsels in Distress, Ayckbourn sharply criticised both this and the West End's treatment of theatre in general, in particular their casting of celebrities. Although he did not explicitly say he would boycott the West End, he did not return to direct in the West End again until 2009 with a revival of Woman in Mind (although he did allow other West End producers to revive Absurd Person Singular in 2007 and The Norman Conquests in 2008).


In February 2006, he suffered a stroke in Scarborough, and stated: "I hope to be back on my feet, or should I say my left leg, as soon as possible, but I know it is going to take some time. In the meantime I am in excellent hands and so is the Stephen Joseph Theatre." He left hospital after eight weeks and returned to directing after six months, but the following year he announced he would step down as artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Ayckbourn, however, continues to write and direct his own work at the theatre.

Although Ayckbourn's plays no longer dominate the theatrical scene on the scale of his earlier works, he continues to write, his most recent major success being Private Fears in Public Places that had a hugely successful Off-Broadway run at 59E59 Theaters, and in 2006 was made into a film Cœurs, directed by Alain Resnais. After suffering a stroke, there was uncertainty as to whether he could continue to write (the Ayckbourn play premiered immediately after the stroke, If I Were You, was written before his illness), but his first play written afterwards, Life and Beth, was premiered in the summer of 2008. Ayckbourn continues to write for the Stephen Joseph Theatre on invitation of his successor as artistic director, Chris Monks, with the first new play under this arrangement, My Wonderful Day, performed in October 2009. His play Roundelay opened in September 2014; the order in which each of the five acts is played in each performance is to be left to chance (allowing 120 possible permutations), with members of the audience being invited to extract five coloured ping pong balls from a bag beforehand.

After Ayckbourn suffered a stroke in February 2006, he returned to work in September and premiered his 70th play If I Were You at the Stephen Joseph Theatre the following month.


He announced in June 2007 that he would retire as artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre after the 2008 season. His successor, Chris Monks, took over at the start of the 2009–2010 season, but Ayckbourn remained to direct premieres and revivals of his work at the theatre, beginning with How the Other Half Loves in June 2009.


In March 2010 he directed an in-the-round revival of his play Taking Steps at the Orange Tree Theatre, winning universal press acclaim.


In July 2014, Ayckbourn directed a musical adaptation of The Boy Who Fell into A Book, with musical adaptation and lyrics by Paul James and music by Eric Angus and Cathy Shostak. The show ran in The Stephen Joseph Theatre and received critical acclaim.

Family Life

Alan has one step-brother named Christopher.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Alan Ayckbourn is 83 years, 9 months and 26 days old. Alan Ayckbourn will celebrate 84th birthday on a Wednesday 12th of April 2023. Below we countdown to Alan Ayckbourn upcoming birthday.


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