Joking Apart: ArchiveThe Archive highlights significant documents relating to Joking Apart which are held in Archive by either Alan Ayckbourn, the Ayckbourn Archive at the University of York or The Bob Watson Archive at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. All material is copyright protected and should not be reproduced.
Please note, more archived material relating to Joking Apart can be found on the Behind The Scenes page.
In 1975, Alan Ayckbourn wrote the play Just Between Ourselves. In early notes for the play, one of the ideas considered is a ‘3 act study of 7 characters over x years’. This bears no resemblance to Just Between Ourselves but it does seem to plant the seed for Joking Apart in 1978, a 2 act play with 7 characters (and several girlfriends) over 12 years. The diagram illustrates the relationship between the characters - apparently! (Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn)
Following its original three-week run at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round in January 1978, Joking Apart immediately went on a UK tour in repertory with Stanley Houghton’s Hindle Wakes - not the most obvious pairing in the world. The programme cover shows Jeeves was still not counted within the official play canon; Joking Apart is now considered the playwright’s 22nd play. (Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn)
Alan Ayckbourn’s (coffee-stained) notes for Joking Apart - held in the Ayckbourn Archive at the University Of York - include an early reference to the play’s notable structure (four scenes each set four years apart. Note only the second scene has any description with a note about ‘summer barbecue’; although no barbecue is featured in the final play. (Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn)
A publicity shot for the West End production of Joking Apart featuring its stars Christopher Casanova (Richard) and Alison Steadman (Anthea) alongside Alan Ayckbourn. The photo was taken on Brighton beach; the production opened its pre-West End run at the Theatre Royal Brighton before transferring to Richmond Theatre and then opening at the Globe Theatre in London. (Copyright: To be confirmed)
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