Simon Murgatroyd - Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist & Professional Writer
Since 2001, I have been involved with a number of Ayckbourn-related events, the majority of which have involved Alan Ayckbourn himself. These are examples of a few memorable events.
Standing Room Only (2019)
On 4 July 2019, Alan Ayckbourn's fourth play Standing Room Only was performed for the first - and last - time since 1966. In conjunction with Dick & Lottie theatre company, I advised and collaborated on bringing a professional rehearsed reading of the play to The Square Chapel, Halifax. As a prelude to the event, I introduced the evening and gave a short talk on the significance of the play. This is the first time Alan Ayckbourn has given permission for the entirety of one of his early withdrawn plays to be performed in public since they were withdrawn during the late 1960s.
Ayckbourn Film Festival (2019)
The first Ayckbourn Film Festival took place at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, from 20 - 22 September 2019. I was an advisor to the event and also provided introductions to four of the six performances - including the first cinema screenings of the classic BBC adaptations Absent Friends and Absurd Person Singular.
Remembering Stephen Joseph (2017)
A weekend at the Stephen Joseph Theatre marking the 50th anniversary of the death of the company's founder and Alan Ayckbourn's most influential mentor Stephen Joseph. I gave a talk on Stephen Joseph & the Library Theatre as well as having the privilege to be a participant in an afternoon led by Sir Alan Ayckbourn discussing the influential theatre pioneer and his legacy.
Inner Circle (2017 - 2019)
A spiritual successor to the Ayckbourn & The Round events (see below), the Inner Circle (Premier Patrons in 2016) is a week-long event at the Stephen Joseph Theatre focusing on the theatre's proud legacy of encouraging new writing and new writers whilst offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the SJT. Launched in 2016, I've worked as a co-ordinator and consultant on all the events as well as a frequent guest speaker.
Ayckbourn Weekends (2010 - 2011)
From 2010 - 2011, I was responsible for organising and administering the Ayckbourn Weekends as fund-raisers for the OutReach department at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. They centred around a morning with Alan Ayckbourn and were themed to some of the rarest material from his career. This was followed by a talk by myself alongside exclusive readings and insights into rarely seen Ayckbourn material as well as an Ayckbourn production at the SJT. The weekends culminated in me hosting a talk and question and answer with Alan Ayckbourn in his own rehearsal room.
Ayckbourn And The Round (2001 - 2005)
The Ayckbourn And The Round events were held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and offered the opportunity to spend a week with Alan Ayckbourn and his company. As administrator, I was responsible for organising, marketing and administering the events, working with Alan Ayckbourn on scheduling and being the first point of contact for all participants during the events. I was also involved in a number of talks and platforms across a variety of subjects relating to both the playwright and his home theatre. The Ayckbourn And The Round events included masterclasses with Alan Ayckbourn, open rehearsals with the playwright, talks and workshops with members of his company, special guest platforms including stars of the West End productions, a chance to see Ayckbourn plays at his home theatre as well as social events with Alan Ayckbourn and his company.
If you have any enquiries relating to Simon's work as Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist or Ayckbourn related events, please visit the Contact Me page.