In a preface to his 'Norman Conquests' Alan Ayckbourn writes that
"Few women care to be laughed at and men not at all, except for large sums of money".
This seems somewhat appropriate from one of the most successful and prolific playwrights ever to emerge from these shores. Ayckbourn's work has been engaging audiences with biting wit, flourishes of comic genius and well-tuned subtleties of pathos for over half a century and now the Borthwick Institute for Archives in York has been given the opportunity to delve into drafts, letters and scripts of a writer largely considered a national treasure.
|Photograph copyright of Scarborough Theatre Trust/Stephen Joseph Theatre|
“The balancing act is to say things that need saying without emptying the stalls. Tricky….My real fascination is in seeing just how much one can say through comedy. And sorry, yes, I also enjoy making people laugh….In this country, if we see pain coming, we close our eyes. Comedy is the Optrex of the mass
(‘A Small Family Business’. Dated August 1987)
Read more about Maddy's work in her post Archiving Ayckbourn.