Alan Ayckbourn Encyclopaedia: C

Callisto 5: Alan Ayckbourn's 41st play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 12 December 1990. Set on a space station on the moon of Callisto, a young boy Jem - whose parents disappeared years earlier - finds himself trying to outwit an invisible alien which has infiltrated the station.

Callisto#7: Alan Ayckbourn extensively revised Callisto 5 in 1999 producing Callisto#7, which premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 4 December 1999. The plot is essentially the same except Jem's older sister Jodi is trapped in the space station with him.

Campton, David: Playwright and contemporary of Alan Ayckbourn. Campton (1924 - 2006) was the first resident playwright with Studio Theatre Ltd when Alan Ayckbourn joined the Library Theatre in 1957. The pair became the main-stay writers at the Library and frequently wrote each other ludicrous roles. Stephen Joseph commissioned them to co-write Dad's Tale in 1960, but after initial brain-storming, Alan was left to write the piece alone.

Canon: The canon plays are considered to be the 90 full length plays (as of 2024) written and acknowledged by Alan Ayckbourn. All have had professional productions and the majority have been published and are available to produce (there are some notable exceptions though, particularly in the early canon).

Careers: Although Alan Ayckbourn is primarily regarded as a playwright and director, his professional career also incorporates actor, stage manager, Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, company manager at the National Theatre and Radio Drama Producer for the BBC.

Cardiff New: Welsh theatre in which Alan Ayckbourn performed his penultimate acting role in 1964 in The Doctors And The Devils. The piece was directed by Warren Jenkins and Alan agreed to appear in the play as a means of assessing the director, who had been lined up to direct the London premiere of Mr Whatnot in 1964.

A Case Of Missing Wives: An unproduced, full-length play written by Alan Ayckbourn during 2016 and originally intended to be his 81st play. The police procedural set in the fictional town of Dreadcliff, Yorkshire, was replaced by another play, A Brief History of Women, written shortly after A Case Of Missing Wives. The play was later shelved with two of its characters essentially recycled for his 82nd play Better Off Dead.

Caulfield, Peter: Pseudonym Alan Ayckbourn used when writing for the television series Hark At Barker.

Celebrating 75: An evening of music - inspired by Alan Ayckbourn's personal tastes - organised by the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, to celebrate the playwright's 75th birthday in 2014.

The Champion Of Paribanou: Alan Ayckbourn's 50th play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 29 November 1996. Loosely inspired by the Arabian Nights' tale of the Flying Carpet, it follows the adventures of Ahmed as he becomes the Princess Paribanou's champion against the evil Schaibar's champion and his former best-friend Murgannah. This was the first new Ayckbourn play to be premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Chance plays: Alan Ayckbourn has written several plays where chance or a random element is an essential part of the play. The chance plays include Sisterly Feelings (1979) where a coin toss decides which second scene is performed; It Could Be Any One Of Us (1983) where the drawing of a card during a game of cards decides the evenings murdered; Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays (1988) where the audience decides Suzy's path through Mr Accousticus's house; Roundelay (2014) where the order of the five one act plays is randomly decided prior to the play's start. Although Intimate Exchanges is often considered a random or 'chance' play, it is not intended for random performance with each evening's permutation of the play decided in advance.

Character Names: This website holds a list of Christian names used by Alan Ayckbourn within his full-length canon plays.

Chatto & Windus: Publishing company responsible for the first mass market edition of an Alan Ayckbourn play when they released The Norman Conquests in hardcover in 1975.

Cheap And Cheerful: A revue by Alan Ayckbourn, Denis King and Simon Cryer, premiered in The McCarthy at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 18 December 1999. The revue satirises the traditional British seaside variety show.

Cheeseman, Peter: Peter Cheeseman (1932 - 2010) was the Artistic Director of the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent - now the New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme - for 35 years from its opening in 1962. The Victoria was the UK's first permanent theatre in the round and was formed by Stephen Joseph. Alan Ayckbourn was a founding member of the Victoria Theatre alongside Peter between 1962 and 1964.

Children's Plays: Alan Ayckbourn is well known as a writer of family plays (sometimes wrongly labelled as children's plays), but has also written a number of play specifically for theatre-goers under the age of 8 years old. These include: The Princess And The Mouse; The Ten Magic Bridges; Miranda's Magic Mirror; The Girl Who Lost Her Voice.

Chloë With Love: One of two one act plays which, alongside The Kidderminster Affair, forms the Farcicals; two loosely connected one act farces featuring the same characters but which are still independent and do not have to be seen together. The Farcicals premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre 0n 4 September 2013.

A Chorus Of Approval: Celebration to mark Alan Ayckbourn's 60th birthday. Held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 11 April 1999 the event featured former 'Ayckbourn' actors such as Robert Powell, Griff Rhys Jones, Julia McKenzie and Janie Dee in a collection of excerpts from his plays, linked by a narrative written by Paul Allen with direction by Stephanie Turner. An accompanying souvenir publication, also called A Chorus Of Approval, was produced to mark the event.

A Chorus Of Disapproval: Alan Ayckbourn's 31st play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 2 May 1984 and opened at the National Theatre, London, on 1 August 1985. The plot revolves around a widower, Guy Jones, joining Pendon Amateur Light Operatic Society (PALOS) and how he rises through the company ranks purely by his inability to say no or to commit. The play is juxtaposed with scenes and music from John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, which PALOS is staging.

A Chorus Of Disapproval (concept): The original concept for the play was centred around Friml's The Vagabond King rather than Gay's The Beggar's Opera. Alan Ayckbourn also intended to have a large chorus, drawn from Scarborough's amateur societies, planted in the audience and involved in the play. Refusal from the Friml Estate to use the play, the actors' union Equity's rules and the unforeseen expectations from the amateurs they would have major roles led to the concept being altered.

A Chorus Of Disapproval (film): The film adaptation of A Chorus Of Disapproval was directed by Michael Winner and released in 1989. The film was shot in Scarborough and featured a cast including Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Irons. Although Alan Ayckbourn made a small contribution to Winner's screenplay, his suggestions and alterations were largely ignored in Winner's heavily adapted screenplay which also removed practically all references to The Beggar's Opera. The film was neither a critical nor commercial success and the playwright does not view it favourably.

Christmas: The setting for several of Alan Ayckbourn's plays; the playwright noting that it is an ideal period as it offers a reason for many people who don't get on with one another to gather in the same place at the same time. Notable Christmas set plays are: Absurd Person Singular, Season's Greetings, Sugar Daddies, Life & Beth and No Knowing.

Christmas V Mastermind: Alan Ayckbourn's 5th play premiered at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, on 26 December 1962. It follows an attempt to usurp Santa Claus by the criminal Crimson Golliwog, who incites the elves to take industrial action. This play has been withdrawn from production by the playwright and has never been published..

Cinderella's Star Night: A charity pantomime, in aid of the Bobath Centre, held at the Prince Edward Theatre on 31 January 1982 for which Alan Ayckbourn wrote the epilogue. It was also released on vinyl as a charity record.

The Circle: An early proposed title for Improbable Fiction. It features on the earliest existing notes for the play which also features different character names and a basic plot which appears to differ from the actual plot; there is also no mention of the central genre-hopping element of Improbable Fiction.

Civic Theatre, Rotherham: The theatre where Alan Ayckbourn made his final stage-performance packing opposite his now wife, Heather Stoney, in William Gibson's play Two For The Seesaw.

Clue: In 1981, Alan Ayckbourn was approached by Polygram to write a film-script based on the popular board game Cluedo (Clue in the USA). Despite showing initial interest in creating a stage-play that could then be adapted into a screenplay, the plans fell through later that year. Alan had nothing to do with the eventual 1984 movie Clue.

Codron, Michael: Theatrical producer responsible for producing the vast majority of West End premieres of Alan Ayckbourn's plays between 1972 and 2002. Notable productions include Absurd Person Singular (1973), The Norman Conquests (1974), Woman In Mind (1986), Man Of The Moment (1990) and Comic Potential (1998).

Coeurs: The film adaptation of Private Fears In Public Places, directed by Alain Resnais and released in 2006. The screenplay is very faithful to the original play but with the action relocated to Paris; although it was shot entirely on set. The film won the Silver Lion for best director at the Venice Film Festival.

Comic Potential: Alan Ayckbourn's 52nd play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 4 June 1998 and opened at the Lyric Theatre, London on 13 October 1999. Set in the near future, it concerns an actoid (android-actor) called Jacie who has developed emotions and her relationship with a young writer who sees her potential and falls in love with her, while others view her as a malfunctioning aberration.

Communicating Doors: Alan Ayckbourn's 46th play was premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 2 February 1994 and opened at the Gielgud Theatre, London, on 7 August 1995. Set in a near dystopian future, it sees a dominatrix fleeing for her life through a hotel communicating door only to find herself 20 years in the past. Stalked by a psychopath in the present and the past, the opportunity to alter the past for the better puts the lives of three women at stake.

Complications: In 2012, Alan Ayckbourn considered writing a loose follow-up to Confusions called Complications, again featuring five short one act plays. The play was never written with Alan producing the two one act plays Farcicals instead.

Concert Room: The room at Scarborough Library which housed the Library Theatre, Scarborough, from 1955 to 1976. This room saw Alan Ayckbourn's professional writing and directorial debuts as well as the world premieres of 17 of Alan Ayckbourn's plays.

Concord Theatricals: The company which is now responsible for licensing amateur productions of Alan Ayckbourn's plays; the previous licensee Samuel French became amalgamated into the company during 2019.

Confusions: Alan Ayckbourn's 17th play was premiered at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, on 30 September 1974 and opened at the Apollo Theatre, London, on 19 May 1976. It consists of five loosely related one act plays: Mother Figure, Drinking Companions, Between Mouthfuls, Gosforth's Fête and A Talk In The Park.

Confusions (concept): Early notes for Confusions feature a different structure and choice of short plays to what was actually written.

Confusions (radio - 1979): Mother Figure was adapted for radio by the BBC and first broadcast on 14 September 1979 on BBC Radio 4. The production featured Maureen Lipman, Ray Brooks and Diane Bull and was directed by Matthew Walters.

Confusions (radio - 1985): Mother Figure, Between Mouthfuls and Drinking Companions were adapted for radio by the BBC World Service and first broadcast on 21 April 1985. The production was directed by Gordon House.

Confusions (radio - 1987): Mother Figure, Drinking Companions, Gosforth's Fête and A Talk In The Park were adapted for radio by the BBC and broadcast on separate nights between 6 to 9 April 1987 on BBC Radio 4. The production was directed by Dan Garrett.

Confusions (radio - 1988): Gosforth's Fête was adapted for radio by the BBC and first broadcast on 28 August 1988 on BBC Radio 4. The production was directed by Clive Brill.

Confusions To Roundelay: Stages in Ayckbourn's Creative Work: A short collection of essays by Albert-Reiner Glaap, first published by Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier in 2015, exploring Alan Ayckbourn's creative processes concentrating on his collections of one act plays, Confusions and Roundelay.

Connaught Theatre: Theatre in Worthing where Alan worked as a volunteer student assistant stage manager for six months during the latter half of 1956; his first experience of a professional regional repertoire theatre.

Constant Companions: Alan Ayckbourn's 89th play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 12 September 2023. Set in a near future where androids have become ubiquitous, it follows three people and the relationships they have with their androids and how they might be the ideal constant companion.

Consuming Passions: Alan Ayckbourn's 80th play premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 12 August 2016. It is the only Ayckbourn play to feature two named Acts - Premonitions and Repercussions - which can be performed separately (although must be seen in order to make sense) - but it is considered a single piece. In a restaurant, Melanie hears a plot to kill the man she secretly loves, but is all as it seems or is it all in her mind?

Contributions: Alan Ayckbourn has contributed to a number of works not conceived by him. These include short plays for Mixed Blessings, Mixed Doubles and What The Devil!; songs for Pen To Paper, What The Devil! and Where Is Peter Rabbit?; speeches for Scarborough's Millennium attraction; a poem for Cinderella's Star Night.

Conversations With Ayckbourn: A collection of interviews between Ian Watson and Alan Ayckbourn. This was the first book of note published about the playwright. A hardback edition was first published in 1981 by MacDonald Futura and a revised and expanded softcover second edition was published by Faber in 1988.

The Cottesloe: Adaptable stage space in the National Theatre in which Alan Ayckbourn presented Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays in 1993 and where he also directed his acclaimed production of A View From The Bridge, while he was resident at the National as a company director between 1986 and 1988. From 2015, this redeveloped space was renamed the Dorfman Theatre.

Countdown: A one act play written in 1962 and presented as part of the play Mixed Doubles, which includes pieces by writers such as Harold Pinter, David Campton, Fay Weldon and James Saunders. The play is about a couple who verbalise their internal thoughts over breakfast.

Countdown (television): The play was adapted for television and first broadcast on 16 December 1972 on BBC2 as part of an episode of the arts programme Full House. It featured Sheila Hancock and Clive Dunn.

Cover Version: One of several unused titles considered for Improbable Fiction.

Covid-19: Between 2020 and 2021, the Covid-19 viral pandemic swept the world and, as a result, every theatre in the UK went into lockdown. This had several significant effects on Alan Ayckbourn with the advertised world premiere of Truth Will Out and his revival of Just Between Ourselves at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, cancelled. It also resulted in the unexpected world premiere of another play, Anno Domino, online which he produced, recorded and acted in at home. The unprecedented effect of the pandemic also affected several Ayckbourn productions including the cancellation of a UK tour of Absurd Person Singular and the planned transfer of Relatively Speaking to the Jermyn Street Theatre, London. It also saw Alan and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical By Jeeves streamed on YouTube as part of The Shows Must Go On! initiative and an audio adaption of Haunting Julia, directed by and starring the playwright. His 2021 premiere, The Girl Next Door, was written during the 2020 lockdown and reflected the new staging limitations facing theatres in the aftermath of lockdown being lifted.

The Crafty Art Of Playmaking: Alan Ayckbourn's first - and thus far, only - non-fiction book offering insight and advice into writing and directing for the stage. First published by Faber in 2002.

A Cricket Match (Intimate Exchanges): One of the eight major permutations of Intimate Exchanges in which Celia and Miles have an affair and events come to a head on a cricket field. It has two possible permutations for the final scene comprising A Sentimental Journey and A 50th Celebration.

CU Scarborough: Alan Ayckbourn was the first Honorary Graduate of CU Scarborough (Coventry University Scarborough Campus) during 2018. He also opened the Studio for the new BA(Hons) in Acting launched by CU Scarborough and the Stephen Joseph Theatre during 2019.

A Cut In The Rates: A one act play written in 1984. The play was written specifically for a schools' television documentary illustrating the process of bringing a show to the stage. The play was recorded live in the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, and the programme broadcast on 21 January 1984 on BBC2. A Cut In The Rates was later published and made available to perform.

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