Alan Ayckbourn: Play Facts

This page contains a brief introduction to Alan Ayckbourn's plays. Click on Play Index or a play title below for in-depth details.

As of 2017, Alan Ayckbourn has written:
  • 81 full length plays - the 81st will premiere this summer at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
  • 11 revues / musical entertainments
  • 5 one act / short plays
  • 2 plays for performance by young people
  • 4 plays for pre-school children
  • 5 adaptations of existing plays
  • 1 narrative for voices
  • 1 screenplay
  • 1 book
The 81 full length plays include:
  • 11 family plays
  • 8 musicals
  • 1 farce
  • 3 plays incorporating elements of chance
  • 2 trilogies
His first professional full-length play was The Square Cat which opened on 30 July 1957.

His largest work is Intimate Exchanges which has more than 16 hours of dialogue, 31 scenes and has 16 different permutations with 10 characters all performed by two actors.

He considers that he has only written one true full-length farce, this being Taking Steps.

He has written two trilogies, The Norman Conquests and the Damsels In Distress; his three supernatural plays (Haunting Julia, Snake In The Grass and Life & Beth) are thematically connected but are not officially considered a trilogy.

He has written two plays in two parts, The Revengers' Comedies and Consuming Passions, and one duology, House & Garden.

He has written three plays involving an element of 'chance': Sisterly Feelings, It Could Be Any One Of Us & Roundelay.

His play Intimate Exchanges - which has 16 possible permutations - is not a play of 'chance' but a play of 'choice' as there is no random element within the play. The choice of each night's permutation is set in advance.

He has written three full-length plays involving audience interaction with Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays and The Musical Jigsaw Play; his most interactive play, The Karaoke Theatre Company is not considered one of his full-length canonical works.

He has written just one screenplay, Service Not Included, for BBC television.

He has written only five full-length plays specifically intended for end-stage performance - Bedroom Farce, A Small Family Business, Haunting Julia, Things We Do For Love and Virtual Reality; the rest of the plays are ideally performed in-the-round and Taking Steps was written specifically for in-the-round performance.

Only four of his plays have not premiered in Scarborough: Christmas V Mastermind, Mr Whatnot, Jeeves and A Small Family Business.

His shortest full-length work is Consuming Passions which runs at just 1 hour and 20 minutes without interval.

His longest full-length play is The Revengers' Comedies whose two parts have a combined running time of 4 hours and 15 minutes without intervals; however his longest work is the narrative for voice, The Divide, which runs to approximately five-and-a-half hours.

Original research for all the play pages is by and copyright of Simon Murgatroyd.