Alan Ayckbourn: Unproduced Full Length Plays

Given the longevity of Alan Ayckbourn's professional writing career, it would be surprising if there had not been several plays written but which for whatever reasons were never produced. This page contains details of these plays, unproduced, unpublished and unavailable.

The majority of this miscellaneous material has never been published or performed, but will be eventually all placed within the Ayckbourn Archive at the University of York. As a result of this, whilst the pieces below are not considered part of the official Ayckbourn canon and are not significant Ayckbourn works, it is necessary to acknowledge their existence and providence so as to assert there are no lost Ayckbourn plays or works to be uncovered within the Ayckbourn Archive.

Unproduced Full Length Plays

A Case Of Missing Wives: Written in 2016, this was intended to be Alan Ayckbourn's 81st play to be premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, during the summer of 2017. The play is a police procedural set in the fictional town of Dreadcliff and the experiences of a young female Detective Constable transferring from Sussex to this strange town in Yorkshire. The first draft was finished on 16 October 2016 but shortly afterwards Alan wrote another play A Brief History of Women. Having later revised A Case Of Missing Wives, both plays were offered to the SJT's Artistic Director as potential choices for his 81st play to premiere during the 2017 summer season; Paul chose A Brief History of Women. Alan would later recycle some of the ideas and characters for A Case Of Missing Wives into his 82nd play Better Off Dead, which premiered at the SJT during the summer of 2018. As a result, it seems unlikely that A Case Of Missing Wives will be produced in the foreseeable future.

"I went to Bowness-on-Winderemere to dwell on
A Case Of Missing Wives and decided I was less than 100% happy with it. As a result, I came back and wrote another one - A Brief History of Women - and then subsequently revised A Case Of Missing Wives to make myself happier with it! I then had two plays and I offered them both to Paul Robinson [Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre] and I said, take your pick. He chose - as it happens - A Brief History of Women. They’re both totally different. I’ve seldom written two plays so close together and really you’d never know it as they’re totally different. But I had A Case Of Missing Women in my head for a very long time. It takes the form of a police procedural really but - having said that - it’s stuffed with my usual themes: how much do men understand women and women understand men? So in that sense, it’s sexes as usual.
"It’s quite fun, I think the only thing I lifted from it for
A Brief History Of Women was a very stern silent central character - which i think is the only link between the two plays. In A Case Of Missing Wives, it happens to be a young girl, a detective constable who’s transferred from Sussex to to Yorkshire and finds the cultural shock of Yorkshire male detectives slightly shocking; I mean southern male detectives are pretty rough stuff, but up here my mythical town of Dreadcliff, it's full of very dinosaur like men, who think that the girls are just there to make the tea. The chief super who welcomes her is a woman, herself from the south, and she says "It's my duty to welcome you to Dreadcliff and I'm sure you’ll have s successful time but, as a woman, God help you."
Alan Ayckbourn (Interview with Simon Murgatroyd, March 2017)

Men, Meals & Me: Written in 2018, Men, Meals & Me was initially intended to be produced during the summer of 2019 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre as Alan Ayckbourn's 83rd play. However, due to scheduling issues Alan wrote another play which will be produced in its place (details to be announced in early 2019). It is expected Men, Meals & Me will still be produced but at a date after 2019.

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission.