Interview: Worthing Gazette & Herald (22 August 1986)

This page reproduces some of Alan Ayckbourn's significant quotes from the interview.

Alan Describes Connaught Days

by Colin Clark

"I pulled a few strings on leaving school and was lucky enough to make my stage debut as a
spear-carrier in a play with Sir Donald Wolfit's company. Immediately after this, I used the 'old school-tie' approach for the second and final time when I visited Brighton to ask actor Robert Flemyng for possible work. He suggested Worthing's Connaught Theatre, then under the direction of Melville Gillam. So, in the late 1950s, with little knowledge and almost direct from school, I arrived at the Connaught as an acting stage manager. It was there that I learned so many aspects of theatre. In just one season I worked behind stage, sorted out 'props' and finally 'trod the boards'."

"I had written a little at school, but it was the rare attitude of
Stephen Joseph that led to my becoming a fully-fledged playwright. He encouraged all his actors to write, and in time, I realised that my writing was improving while my acting remained nothing spectacular. In time, I dropped the one for the sake of the other. I began writing works for the Scarborough theatre, became a devoted regionalist and eventually began directing my own plays."