Articles by Alan Ayckbourn

This article about Confusions was written by Alan Ayckbourn for a programme for a production at the New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme, in 1999.


In 1974, when the Stephen Joseph Theatre company was based in its first home in two rooms of Scarborough Public Library, we extended the season for the first time into the winter to be followed by a tour. A number of places had indicated that they would like a visit from us, preferably with a piece written by me.

Earlier that year I had written a play called
Absent Friends. This I had already sold for production in London so what to take? Then I recalled a sketch I had written for an entertainment presented by Oscar Quitak for a week in Horsham which never went any further. (The show Mixed Blessings was intended as a sequel to Mixed Doubles which had had a successful run in London in the early sixties). Being thrifty, like most writers, I snatched my piece, Mother Figure, back and wrote four accompanying pieces specifically for the five actors I’d got in the company.

The idea was to show off their talents (there are 22 parts in all) and it was also a chance to work in the one act medium. Happily it was a great success and in 1976 went on to have a good nine-month run at London’s Apollo Theatre starring John Alderton and Pauline Collins. For those in Newcastle-Under-Lyme with long memories, one of the members of that original Scarborough cast was Stanley Page who along with myself was a founder member of the New Vic company at Hartshill.

Perhaps the biggest surprise for me, though, about
Confusions is that almost 25 years after it was written, it became a GCSE set text. Now that I never expected.

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