Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Special 10th Anniversary Event

The UK's only Ayckbourn-dedicated amateur drama group is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month with a special event - and a unique opportunity for Ayckbourn fans.
Dick & Lottie, which is based in Huddersfield, will be staging a 12 hour long Ayckbourn readathon at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield on Saturday 20 September which is open to all.
For Ayckbourn fans, there will be the unique opportunity to hear an Ayckbourn play which has not been performed since its world premiere at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1967 with The Sparrow.
The play has never been performed or read in its entirety since 1967 and has not even been published. Alan Ayckbourn has given special permission for it to be part of the day of rehearsed readings by Dick & Lottie.
The event will also feature a surprise mystery guest who has appeared in nine world premiere productions of Alan Ayckbourn's plays, reprising one of her many roles.
The event on Saturday 20 September will feature six plays in three sessions starting at 10am with The Boy Who Fell Into A Book and Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays. From 1pm, there will be Bedroom Farce and Wildest Dreams and from 6pm, RolePlay and The Sparrow.
Tickets are available for individual sessions or for the day with tickets at £5 for one session, £9 for two sessions and £12 for the entire day. Further details can be found at www.thelbt.org/Absolute-Ayckbourn.
This promises to be a unique event in the playwright's 75th birthday year celebrating all things Ayckbourn by a company celebrating their own special anniversary.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Roundelay Production Images

The first performance of Alan Ayckbourn's latest play Roundelay took place at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, last night.
We now have production images from the play which promises a different experience every night.
Russell Dixon & Brooke Kinsella in Roundelay
Copyright: Tony Bartholomew
Consisting of five short related plays - The NovelistThe PoliticianThe StarThe Agent and The Judge - the order of the plays is chosen at random by the audience each evening leading to a possible 120 permutations.
Leigh Symonds & Sophie Roberts in Roundelay
Copyright: Tony Bartholomew
The order of the plays will offer a different perspective of the characters and events as the playwright notes: "The plays are very different styles. One borders on the gothic horror and they go through to pure farce. One or two are quite sad ones. One that’s particularly lump in throat. I just wonder what that mix [of the plays] will do. It’s like opening a big box of chocolates and starting with the caramel and then crunching through to the coffee cream."
Nigel Hastings & Krystle Hilton in Roundelay
Copyright: Tony Bartholomew
The production features Russell Dixon, Nigel Hastings, Krystle Hilton, Brooke Kinsella, Alexandra Mathie, Sophie Roberts, Richard Stacey and Leigh Symonds. Direction is by Alan Ayckbourn with design by Michael Holt and lighting by Jason Taylor.
Alexandra Mathie & Richard Stacey in Roundelay
Copyright: Tony Bartholomew
Roundelay can be seen at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until 4 October. Tickets are priced from £10 - £24.50 and are available from the SJT box office on  01723 370541 or online at www.sjt.uk.com.

You can find out more about Roundelay at Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ayckbourn On The Net

Today the blog is looking at some of the downloads and streams concentrated on Alan Ayckbourn currently available on the internet (please note this doesn't include any plays currently available to download or stream). All these are free to stream or download unless otherwise noted.

BBC.CO.UK / BBC iPlayer
The BBC website has several features on Alan Ayckbourn to currently stream from its website or iPlayer.
Front Row (2014) interview with the playwright about his latest play Roundelay (also available on iTunes).
> Front Row (2014) interview about the late film-maker Alain Resnais (also available on iTunes).
Profile (2014) looks at Sir Alan's life through the eyes of friends and colleagues (also available on iTunes).
> Saturday Review (2012) looks at the playwright's 2012 play Surprises when it visited Chichester Festival Theatre.
> Ayckbourn In Action (2009) was produced to celebrate Alan Ayckbourn's 75th play and concentrates on his directing career amid rehearsals for Neighbourhood Watch.
> Landmarks: The Norman Conquests (2009) Not currently available but coming soon to iPlayer is a programme looking at the cultural impact of Alan Ayckbourn's famed trilogy of plays.
> Front Row (2009) is entirely devoted to Sir Alan Ayckbourn to mark his 70th birthday and looks at his life, career and thoughts on playwriting.

Sky / Now TV
> In Confidence (2012) sees Alan Ayckbourn talking about writing for the stage as well as looking back on his life in theatre (this is also available on NOW TV via the set-top box and a paid subscription to either Sky or NOW is needed).

YouTube
The Stephen Joseph Theatre channel on YouTube has a number of Alan Ayckbourn-related features including trailers for several of his world premiere productions. Also of note:
> The Boy Who Fell Into A Book (2014) features a short interview with the playwright about the recent musical adaptation of the play.
> Absurd Person Singular (2012) is an interesting time-lapse video of the scene changes for Alan Ayckbourn's 2012 revival of Absurd Person Singular.
Other interesting material on YouTube includes:
> Opening Up Surprises (2012) was recorded at Chichester Festival Theatre and sees Alan Ayckbourn in conversation with the author Kate Mosse.
> Alan Ayckbourn: Britain's Secret Rebel (2012) was a pre-show talk by Dan Rebellato, Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway University of London, also at Chichester Festival Theatre offering insight and context to Absurd Person Singular (for Alan Ayckbourn's 2012 revival).
> Alan Ayckbourn In Conversation (2014) is the National Theatre's most significant Ayckbourn video currently available and sees the playwright talking to Angus MacKechnie about his work at the National Theatre through the decades (also available on iTunes).

iTunes
In addition to free downloads of several of the programmes listed above, iTunes has several other notable items.
> Downstage Center (2011) is an interview with Alan Ayckbourn about his career and his 75th play Neighbourhood Watch visiting the Brits Off Broadway festival.
> Downstage Center (2005) interviews Alan Ayckbourn about his play Private Fears In Public Places and his approaches to writing and directing.
> Theater Talk (2005) sees Alan Ayckbourn talking about his play My Wonderful Day and his career as a playwright.
> The Open University has several podcasts on creative writing in which Alan Ayckbourn discusses directing,  redrafting and staging.
> Alan Ayckbourn: In His Own Words (various dates) is a collection of various BBC interviews with Alan Ayckbourn from 1979 to 2011. Although it costs £4.99, it does contain more than 100 minutes of fascinating insight into the playwright's life and career over three decades.

Hopefully that should keep all you Ayckbourn fans busy listening for some time to come!