Interview: Yorkshire Evening Post (8 May 1989)

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

Sands of Time

by Alan Thompson

"When I am working in the theatre I am in charge. When I am making a film my influence on what happens to my work takes a poor second or third place to directors and others. And with a stage production I can always hope it will improve as it goes on. With a film it is fixed forever."

"There may be something of the flavour of those old films in what people will see on the stage [in
The Revengers' Comedies]. The germ of an idea for the plays, a kind of updated old-fashioned play, came while I was directing something else. Central characters are two people who meet by chance and who are on the brink of suicide, of ending it all, when the idea grows that it might be more satisfying to find out who was responsible for landing them in their present mess and taking revenge on them instead."

"I think the board at the theatre here had been dubious about my two-year absence [to the National Theatre] and suspected it might be permanent. They were on the brink of getting me a farewell present, I believe."

"One thing I enjoy is being able to walk across the deserted south bay on a morning like today and getting my feet wet on the way to work. Not many people in the theatre can enjoy that kind of freedom."

"The local paper does tend to call me a local man if I have a hit and a southerner if it's a flop. But generally I am treated by the local townsfolk with a kind of proprietorial pride. They acknowledge me and smile, and would come up and talk if I stopped for a few minutes, but there is nothing to stop me from carrying on and doing my shopping or whatever. They admire but do not intrude."

"Like most southerners I did not know what lay beyond Potter's Bar. Then I did a three-month stint in Scarborough for
Stephen Joseph and I was hooked. When I decided I'd had enough of acting there was something telling me to go north, young man, and when I joined the BBC it was in Leeds. "We were within easy reach of the coast and after five years in Leeds - we lived at Adel - it was Scarborough all the way."