Interview: Scarborough Evening News (25 September 1990)

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

Ayckbourn Overcomes A Childhood Aversion

by Gillian Enlund

Like many people, Alan Ayckbourn was never really fond of Shakespeare when he was a youngster.

"My schooldays really put me right off him [Shakespeare]. When I left I never wanted to see another Shakespeare, and this was from a boy who wanted to work in the theatre. I just found the teaching of it, the academic side of it, so stifling."

"I grew to like him [Shakespeare] over the years because of seeing his work in the theatre, where he really comes alive. Sadly, many people don't go to see him, they have been put off by some dusty teaching."

"It [
Othello] is the most domestic of all his tragedies. It is really just about men and women, about sexuality. Shakespeare wanted to create the perfect love affair. You have an older man and the younger woman, both from completely different worlds. He has been a soldier all his life, he has barely left the battlefield, so his knowledge of women and things courtly are extremely poor. She, however, is a smart Venetian girl. The setting will be quite romantic, but simple, as it has to be in a theatre space like ours."

"The only similarity [with Shakespeare] is that we were both involved in the theatre, we work as in-house dramatists. That was probably the secret of his success."