Interview: Northern Echo (8 June 1988)

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

There's No Place Like Home

by Steve Pratt

"I came back really because I like it. Scarborough has been pretty good to me as a place and as a theatre in particular. I always said I was only going to be away for two years. No one believed me, but here I am, back again two years to the day."

"I had to go and try a few muscles in London. One of my ambitions was to establish myself as a director. I was known as a writer although here I have been directing longer than I have been writing. I had fun playing with the large toys, the bigger company and bigger budgets but I have always wanted to come back. My writing is closely associated with here and my belief in how things should be run can best be pursued in a theatre this size."

"I think the secret is living in a town the size of Scarborough, which is neither so vast nor so small that it's totally parochial. It's saved by the fact that it's a holiday town and has to come out of itself with 100,000 people coming in. It changes its face at different times of the year, whether it's winter or summer."

"In the National Theatre you have to make early decisions about what you want on stage because they do put unnatural pressure on you. I like to make decisions as I work and let the actors feel part of the rehearsal process."

"I think I have learnt how to keep the audience sitting in the theatre. You have to be fairly subversive. If you shout at them 'This is what you must do' they get up and walk out."

"If I see people hoving towards me I always assume they are going to complain. The fact that they sometimes say 'I enjoyed that' comes as a surprise."