As one of Britain's most performed playwrights, Sir Alan Ayckbourn has, to date, written 75 plays. Almost all received their first performance at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Yorkshire, with more than 35 of his works being subsequently staged in the West End, at the National Theatre or by the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has held the record for the most plays being produced simultaneously in the West End. Major successes include Relatively Speaking, How the Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval, A Small Family Business, Henceforward..., Comic Potential, Things We Do For Love and House & Garden.
In 2009, Matthew Warchus' hit in-the-round production of The Norman Conquests, first seen at the Old Vic, transferred to Broadway, earning a Tony for Best Revival of a Play. Christmas 2010 saw the National Theatre's staging of his 1980 play Season's Greetings to great acclaim and a revival of Absent Friends began at the West End's Harold Pinter Theatre. Although he stepped down as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2009 (a post he held for 37 years), he continues to guest direct there; with recent productions of Dear Uncle (his adaptation of Uncle Vanya) and Neighbourhood Watch. Ayckbourn has also written plays for children, which include Mr. A's Amazing Maze Plays, Invisible Friends and The Boy Who Fell Into A Book. As an accomplished director, he also directed productions of A View From The Bridge, starring Michael Gambon, and the US premiere of his and Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical, By Jeeves. His plays have been translated into 35 languages, won numerous awards nationally and internationally, and have been performed worldwide on stage and television. In recent years, he has been inducted into American Theatre's Hall of Fame, received the 2010 Critics' Circle Award for Services to the Arts and became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre. The Guardian Theatre Critic Michael Billington once said of Ayckbourn that he "has the limitless capacity for surprise...instead of repeating old formulas, he is consistently taking off in new directions."
Of his own work, Ayckbourn once said "In a lot of my writing, people are watching things which have happened to them, happened to other people. A lot of the time they are laughing with relief at the recognition of themselves. And often with my plays they are able to say: 'Well at least we're not as bad as that.'"
To learn more about Sir Alan Ayckbourn, visit his official website at AlanAyckbourn.net