University Of York: Ayckbourn Shorts

In June 2011, the University Of York acquired Alan Ayckbourn's personal archive for the nation. The acquisition was made possible by support from the Samuel Storey Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund and other charities and the Ayckbourn Archive is now held in the Borthwick Instutite for Archives at the university. The Heritage Lottery Fund also paid for the creation of the temporary post of Comedy Outreach officer, with the intention of using material in the Ayckbourn Archive and the Department Of Theatre, Film and Television's resources to teach drama skills to secondary and college level students.

The Comedy Outreach Officer was Tom Wright (
www.tomwrightdirector.com) and having met with Sir Alan Ayckbourn and as part of his work as Comedy Outreach Officer, he received permission stage a production of rare Ayckbourn plays in June 2012 to mark the first anniversary of the acquisition of the archive; this also was one of three public events the university had to stage as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund provision.

The Ayckbourn Archive contains a number of short plays by the playwright which have had very limited performance in the past and have largely been unpublished. Sir Alan gave permission for Tom to stage several of these rarities as
Ayckbourn Shorts between 22 - 23 June at the Department Of Theatre, Film and Television at the University Of York with students drawn from the department.

The plays performed were:

An Evening With PALOS: This was written specifically for the Colin Blakely: A Celebration to mark the death of the actor. It has only been performed once previously at the memorial event on 4 October 1987.

Board Game: A short sketch based on characters from famous boardgames which was written at some point between 1958 and 1961. This has never previously been produced and Ayckbourn Shorts marked its stage premiere.

Countdown: One of only two one act plays officially acknowledged by the playwright, this was written for the revue Mixed Doubles.

Dracula: A comedy sketch originally written in 1975 for the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round's revue What The Devil!. It has only been produced once more since then in 1992 in the revue The Night Before The Morning After Show.

A Cut In The Rates: The second of Alan Ayckbourn's acknowledged one act plays was written for a BBC education programme looking at the complete process of bringing a play from page to stage. Although available to perform and published, its staging requirements mean it is rarely produced.

Ron & Julie: A sketch written specifically for the National Theatre to showcase its technical resources to students. It is believed this has only been performed once before at the National Theatre in 1991.

All of these plays are held in the Ayckbourn Archive at the Borthwick Institute at the University Of York and were performed with special permission from Sir Alan Ayckbourn. Of the six plays, only
A Cut In The Rates and Countdown are available to perform; the other four plays have not been published and are not available for production.

Ayckbourn Shorts (2012)

First performance: 22 June 2012
Venue: Department of Theatre, Film & Television, University Of York
Staging: Thrust

Director: Tom Wright
Assistant Director: Tess Ellison
Assistant Director: Tess Farley
Assistant Director: Rebecca Murphy
Assistant Director: Kate Wilson
Set Designer: Roberto Del Pino
Assistant Set Designer: Ronan Noble
Lighting Designer: Josh Hatfield
Lighting Designer: Ben Brummitt
Sound Designer: Mariana Lopez
Costume Designer: Emma Gallacher
Costume Designer: Sarah Lewis
Producer: Rebecca Murphy
Actor
Olly Brassell

Luke de Belder
Ollie Dickens
Colette Eaton
David Edwards
Ela Gaworzewska
Tom Giles
Emma Henderson
Ryan Lane
Emily Miller
Ellie McAlpine
Emilie Smith

Character
Col. Mustard / Draught / Ratchet / Raymond
Flat Iron / Squelch / Ron
Crispin / Nazi Guard
Enid / Miss Scarlet
Husband
Rebecca / Miss Pickhart
Ted / Top Hat / Seth
Linda / Old Boot / Martha
Dafydd / Dracula
Mrs White / Deidre / Narrator
Rosalinda / Julie
Bishop / Draught / Wife