Interview: The Stage (28 July 2005)

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

Round Half Century

by Kevin Berry

"Stephen Joseph's maxim is still ringing in my ears. He said every theatre should self-destruct in seven years. That sums him up. I don't think he meant literally put dynamite in the building on the very last day. I try to take the spirit of that if not the letter. I think what he means is - reinvent yourself. And I like to think we do. Actors who come to work here do remark on how friendly the atmosphere here is. That is something we've retained."

"He [Stephen Joseph] thought that all proscenium arches should be knocked down and destroyed. Theatre in the round was the way forward."

“Stephen incorporated the writer within the fabric of the company. Shakespeare would not have been unfamiliar with that. But at that time writers were separate people who phoned their stuff in or posted it from the Orkney Islands. You rarely saw them. Stephen was a Renaissance man, very interested in practically everything. He knew more about the art of playwriting than anyone I've met. He knew more about the art of acting than anyone I've met and he knew more about directing. But he wasn't very good at any of them. He was an awful writer but he knew what should be written. He was easily bored but he knew how to delegate, thank goodness, or I would never have got started, and he knew how to inspire."