Interview: The Independent (10 May 2003)

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

Bard Of Suburbia

by Paul Taylor

"I have written an awful lot of plays - 64, I think - so I stand a good chance of getting performed. The funny thing is that it is not like having your movies showing everywhere. You have no idea what some of the productions are like, or how good they are."

"There is still an extraordinary reluctance for the Arts Council to accept fully their responsibilities to the regional theatres, which are and always have been the producers of the new work. It is very rare you will discover something new and exciting in the West End, in fact never. The West End is going through a moribund period, though they are starting to address it rather belatedly. The seat prices are ridiculous, which excludes a huge number of people from going, and the people who do go tend to go to things for which they are almost guaranteed a good night. Count the numbers who go back to
Les Miserables rather than trying a [new] good show."

"What they [film stars on stage] do is attract a so-called new audience who see them and are so disappointed that they say:'To hell with that. If that is theatre, you can keep it'."

"Having a theatre like the Stephen Joseph Theatre is an incredible luxury. You do have a completely free hand in a way you would not even get at the National Theatre if you were running it, because there is a board of directors, there are huge budgets and they would say: 'What do you mean you are announcing a new play in three months? What is it? Let's have a look at it'. Here I am very lucky. I have been allowed great artistic freedom."