Interview: The Guardian (28 December 2011)

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

Alan Ayckbourn: From North Yorkshire to East 59th St

by Andrew Purcell

Ayckbourn moves slowly these days, a result of the hip operation he underwent earlier this year and a stroke he suffered in 2006. Although he walks with a stick and has difficulty with stairs, his creative productivity remains astonishing. He has just finished his 76th play, a set of interlocking love stories called Surprises. "I describe it as being a play with its head in the future but its heart in the past," he says. "It revisits some of my favourite themes of time travel, androids, robotics."

"It's been fascinating to be writing at my advanced age about really old age."

"I was standing in the middle of the stage [when receiving his Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre], feeling rather vulnerable and alone, when suddenly the whole place lit up. There were people piled high, clapping, then standing. I thought, 'this is like the Roman Colosseum'. I was so moved that I stumbled out my speech, turned around, quite choked up, and because I'm not too stable, nearly fell over on the turn upstage to get the award."