Alan Ayckbourn Encyclopaedia: W

Warchus, Matthew: Artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre, London, who directed the acclaimed and award-winning 2008 revival of The Norman Conquests - the first major West End production of an Ayckbourn play to be presented in-the-round.

Watson, Ian:
Author of Conversations With Ayckbourn, whose two editions are regarded as one of the major publications on Alan Ayckbourn. He also worked as a general manager of the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, during the 1980s.

Way Upstream: Alan Ayckbourn's 27th play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 2 October 1981 and opened at the National Theatre, London, on 4 October 1982 (after many technical delays). Set on a river cruiser, ideally on a flooded stage, it follows a trip down the River Orb, which is hijacked by modern day pirates and how an average couple are forced to take extraordinary steps to save the situation.

Way Upstream (radio): The play was adapted for radio by the BBC World Service and first broadcast on 14 June 1997. The production was directed by Gordon House.

Way Upstream (television): The play was adapted for television by the BBC and first broadcast on 1 January 1988 on BBC1. The production was directed by Terry Johnson and is generally perceived as being darker than the original play due to edits to the script and the handling of the material.

Webber, Andrew Lloyd: World famous composer of some of the world's most popular and successful musicals such as Cats, Evita and The Phantom Of The Opera. He collaborated with Alan Ayckbourn on the pair's first flop, the musical Jeeves, in 1975, which was later successfully rehabilitated in 1996 into By Jeeves. This musical opened the Stephen Joseph Theatre, which led to runs in the West End and on Broadway.

Website: Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website - - was founded in 2001 and officially recognised by the playwright in 2002. It is administered, researched, maintained and updated entirely by Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist Simon Murgatroyd, who also created the website.

Welcome to the Family: Alan Ayckbourn's 88th play, written during 2021, premiered on 16 May 2023 at The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere. Set in the near future where Josh looks to introduce his fiancee to his parents - unfortunately deceased. But thanks to a state of the art technology, he can still visit them at a virtual family home letting the champagne and the family secrets spill.

West End, London: Alan Ayckbourn is arguably one of the most successful playwrights in London's West End with, as of 2012, 29 of his plays having had productions in the West End - not including productions at the National Theatre, revivals, transfers and the London fringe. The plays staged in the West End are: Mr Whatnot; Relatively Speaking; How The Other Half Loves; Time And Time Again; Absurd Person Singular; Table Manners; Living Together; Round And Round The Garden; Absent Friends; Jeeves; Confusions; Just Between Ourselves; Ten Times Table; Joking Apart; Taking Steps; Season's Greetings; Intimate Exchanges; Woman In Mind; Henceforward...; Man Of The Moment; The Revengers' Comedies; Time Of My Life; Wildest Dreams; Communicating Doors; Things We Do For Love; Comic Potential; GamePlan; FlatSpin; RolePlay. For details of the plays at the National Theatre, see National Theatre.

The Westwoods: A musical revue by Alan Ayckbourn and Paul Todd premiered in the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 29 May 1984. Presented as two plays, His Side and Her Side, it offers alternative views of the same relationship through four decades of a couple's lives.

What The Devil!: A revue presented at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round in 1975 to which Alan Ayckbourn contributed the one act sketch Dracula and the song The Ghost of 'Enry Albert.

Whenever: Alan Ayckbourn's 57th play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 5 December 2000. It was Alan Ayckbourn's first full-length musical collaboration with the composer Denis King. A time-travelling adventure, with parallels to The Wizard Of Oz, it follows Emily and her adventures from Victorian England to the end of time as she tries to alter time to save her uncle's life and the fate of humanity.

Whenever (radio): The play was adapted for radio by the BBC and first broadcast on 26 August 2006 on BBC Radio 4. The production was directed by Bruce Hyman and featured Sarah Manton as Emily and Saskia Butler as Clara.

Where Is Peter Rabbit?: A show celebrating the 150th anniversary of Beatrix's Potter's birth devised by Roger Glossop and directed by Sheila Carter, featuring songs by Alan Ayckbourn with music by Steve Edis. The show was created for The World Of Beatrix Potter attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere and contrary to some reports, Alan Ayckbourn is not a co-writer or producer on the piece only a contributor, having been asked to help when the original lyricist became unavailable.

Where's My Seat?: An experimental production devised for the Bush Theatre, London, in 2011 to which Alan Ayckbourn contributed material. Tthree plays were performed with stage directions supplied by three other people with Alan Ayckbourn contributing the stage directions for Tom Wells' Fossils.

Who Do You Think?: A title for Alan Ayckbourn's proposed 31st play in 1984. Intended to be a light piece with a small cast, the idea was abandoned and the play replaced by A Chorus Of Disapproval.

Wildest Dreams: Alan Ayckbourn's 42nd play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 6 May 1991 and opened on 14 December 1993 at The Pit, London. The London production was staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and was Alan Ayckbourn's first collaboration with the company. A role-playing game group is thrown into disarray when an attractive new member joins, whose affect on the others has unforeseen consequences.

Winner, Michael: Film director and food critic, possibly most famous for the vigilante movie Death Wish. He directed and wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's play A Chorus Of Disapproval, released in 1989 (although Alan is credited as co-writer, his contribution to the final screenplay was minimal). Winner subsequently made advances to Alan Ayckbourn to direct movies of the plays A Small Family Business and Woman In Mind, which were declined by the playwright.

Winnie's Wonderful Day: The original announced title for Alan Ayckbourn's 73rd play, changed in June 2009 to My Wonderful Day.

Wisborough Lodge: Preparatory school in Billingshurst, West Sussex, attended by Alan Ayckbourn - predominantly as a boarding pupil - from the age of seven from 1946 to 1951. The school in Intimate Exchanges, Bilbury Lodge and its headmaster Toby Teasdale were apparently inspired by his experiences at Wisborough Lodge.

Withdrawn Plays: There are a number of plays in the official full-length play canon which have been withdrawn from production and never published for various reasons. These plays are: The Square Cat, Love After All, Dad's Tale, Standing Room Only, Christmas V Mastermind, The Sparrow, Jeeves, The Musical Jigsaw Play and Virtual Reality.

With Great Pleasure: The popular BBC Radio 4 series featured Alan Ayckbourn as the guest on 2 April 2009. Unusually his choice of poems and readings also included extracts from plays, performed by Amanda Root and John Strickland.

The Wizard Of Oz: Alan Ayckbourn has had several encounters with the famed Frank L Baum novel, The first was a proposed West End adaptation proposed by Ray Cooney in 1969 with Alan Ayckbourn writing the book. This fell through, but Alan would later direct an adaptation of the play by Alfred Bradley at York Theatre Royal. There are also obvious similarities between The Wizard Of Oz and Alan Ayckbourn's 2000 musical Whenever.

Wolf At The Door: An adaptation by Alan Ayckbourn of Henry Becques' play Les Corbeaux (The Crows), which opened at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 27 September 1989. It is based on a translation of the original play by Professor David Walker.

Wolfit, Sir Donald: Renowned British theatrical impresario. Alan Ayckbourn worked for him for three weeks after leaving school, appearing in a production of The Strong Are Lonely at the Edinburgh Festival.

The Woman in Black: A play adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from Susan Hill's original novel. It premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round, Scarborough, in 1987 before going on to become the second longest running play in the West End. Until 2022, it was presumed Alan Ayckbourn had no involvement in the production until he revealed he had been responsible for creating the notable sound plot for the tragic accident on the Nine Lives Causeway which is central to the play's plot.

Woman In Mind: Alan Ayckbourn's 32nd play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 30 May 1985 and opened on 3 September 1986 at Vaudeville Theatre, London. This is a play told from the first person perspective of Susan, who is going through a breakdown. Her vivid fantasy life, created as a means to cope with the banalities of her real life, gradually merging with her real life.

Woman In Mind (radio - 2000): The play was adapted for radio by the BBC World Service and first broadcast on 14 May 2000 on BBC Radio 3. The production was directed by Pete Aitkin and featured Julia McKenzie and Martin Jarvis reprising their acclaimed roles in the West End production as Susan and Gerald.

Woman In Mind (radio - 2014): The play was later adapted again for radio by the BBC and first broadcast on 11 January 2014 on BBC Radio 4. The production was directed by Emma Harding and featured Lesley Sharp as Susan.

Wood, Stephen: Executive Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 1966 - 2015; former press officer at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round and Head of Press at the National Theatre.

A Word From Our Sponsor: Alan Ayckbourn's 49th play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 20 April 1995. It was Alan Ayckbourn's second full-length collaboration with the composer John Pattison and the final Ayckbourn play to have its world premiere at this venue. A vicar's attempt to unite a community with the staging of a mystery play is brought into doubt when a desperate prayer attracts the wrong kind of attention, as well as sponsorship with strings attached.

A Word From Our Sponsor (concept): Alan Ayckbourn wrote a first draft of A Word From Our Sponsor two years before the final play was finished. He abandoned the early play as he felt he could not get its 'exotic' elements to work. This was later resolved by turning the piece into a musical.

Work & Play: An unused concept for two inter-linked plays dating from 1994. The only surviving notes indicate it consisted of two plays, one set in an office and the other in a flat and sharing the same cast. The first act of the first play being the second act of the second play with the first act of the second play being the second act of the first play.

Worley, Irene Maud: Alan Ayckbourn's mother, known as 'Lolly' and who wrote professionally as Mary James. She was born on 12 March 1906 in Basildon, Essex, and who died on 26 February 1999 in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

Wright, Tom: Professional director and from 2012 - 2013, the Comedy Outreach Officer at the University Of York. He directed the first production of Alan Ayckbourn's sketch Board Game in the show Ayckbourn Shorts at the university.

Writers And Their Work: Alan Ayckbourn: An introduction to the themes and plays of Alan Ayckbourn by Michael Holt, one of Alan's most frequent design collaborators and a university lecturer. The book was first published by Northcote House in 1999 and a second edition was published in 2018. Alan Ayckbourn's official website, launched in 2001 and created and administered by his archivist Simon Murgatroyd. Sister website to Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website looking at the history of theatre in the round in Scarborough and the contribution of theatre in the round, Alan Ayckbourn and Stephen Joseph to the cultural heritage and history of the town. Professional website for Simon Murgatroyd, Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist, writer and creator and curator of this website.

Original research for the The Alan Ayckbourn Encyclopaedia section is by Simon Murgatroyd and copyright of the author.