The Mountbatten Theatreon
6th to 10th December 1983
ALAN AYCKBOURN was born in London in 1939, the son of Horace Ayckbourn, a musician, and the former Irene Maud Worley, whose parents had been music hall entertainers. He was uprooted from the suburbs by his mother’s remarriage to a bank manager, and the rest of his childhood was spent in following his stepfather from branch to branch of his bank through a succession of temporary homes in Sussex. He was educated at Haileybury School and the Imperial Service College.
Ayckbourn’s mother was a writer and magazine editor, and his first ambition was to be a journalist. At Haileybury, this was displaced by acting, thanks largely to a French teacher who directed the school’s plays and took them on foreign tours. Through this connection, when he left school, Ayckbourn became an assistant stage manager with Donald Wolfit’s touring company.Then, through what he calls the “Mafia of stage managers”, he moved on to the Connaught Theatre in Worthing and the Leatherhead Theatre in Surrey, where he started acting, and finally to the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in Yorkshire. There, as a leading actor, playwright, and later as director of productions, he has remained, apart from the years between 1965 and 1969 when he worked as a drama producer for the BBC in Leeds.
At Scarborough, under the pseudonym of Roland Allen, Ayckbourn began writing farces aimed at the seaside vacation crowds who made up the bulk of the Scarborough audiences. From the start, therefore, he was producing material for a familiar group of actors working within given stage limitations towards a production on a fixed date. With his actor’s loathing of minor roles, it was very much to Ayckbourn’s taste to write small-cast plays; and he says that Scarborough gave him a marvellous training in the economies of writing: how to make a crowd out of a few people, how to use off-stage characters, and how to be ingenious in the theatre”.
His many successes include:- How the Other Half Loves, Bedroom Farce, The Norman Conquests and tonight’s production Absurd Person Singular.
|Cast (in order of appearance)|
|Sydney Hopcroft||Ken Hann|
|Jane Hopcroft||Sheena Carrington|
|Ronald Brewster-Wright||Kenneth Spencer|
|Marion Brewster-Wright||Molly Manns|
|Eva Jackson||Lynda Edwards|
|Geoffrey Jackson||Jim Oliver|
|For the Maskers:|
|Stage Manager||Joan Johnson|
|Assisted by||Keith Hooper|
|Lighting||Clive Weeks, Alan Rolfe|
|Assisted by||Margaret House, Ann Brookes, Enid Clark, Julie Baker|
|Set Design||Brian Stansbridge, Ken Spencer|
|Set Construction||John Riggs, Alan Baker|
|Technical Director||Ron Tillyer|
|Business Management||Graham Buchanan, Betty Riggs|