Christmas V Mastermind (1962)

This article was written by Alan Ayckbourn for the programme for the world premiere of his fifth play, Christmas V Mastermind, at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent in 1962.

This is the fifth play I have written for theatre in the round and my second chance of collaboration on a special Christmas show. The first, Dad's Tale, was presented two years ago in Newcastle. I choose the word collaboration deliberately, for although most of the dialogue is mine, or was at the time of writing this, I have attempted as much as possible to give both the director, Peter Cheeseman, and the cast maximum scope for their own comic invention.

Christmas V Mastermind was written especially for the cast, for this theatre, and for you. We aimed to make it a family show, intelligent enough for the children but not too involved for the adults to follow, and sufficiently amusing for both to find it entertaining and amusing, unusual but not so much that we have not retained one tradition common to all Christmas shows, to make this season a richer and happier one for all of you.

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