Joking Apart: In Brief

Key facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Joking Apart.
  • Joking Apart is Alan Ayckbourn's 22nd play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 12 January 1978.
  • The London premiere took place at the Globe Theatre on 7 March 1979.
  • The playwright considers it one of his 'winter' plays, three plays in succession written for the first time during the winter months in Scarborough. Alan attributes the darkness found in Just Between Ourselves, Ten Times Table and Joking Apart to writing at this time of year.
  • Joking Apart covers the second longest span of time of any Ayckbourn play encompassing 12 years from the first scene to the last. The longest time-frame of an Ayckbourn play can be found in A Brief History Of Women which covers 60 years; although Arrivals & Departures does incorporate scenes gong back approximately 25 years prior to the play, they are memory scenes told in flashback.
  • The play is one of Alan Ayckbourn's exterior garden-set plays - the garden of Richard and Anthea - which also includes plays such as Relatively Speaking, Round And Round The Garden, Just Between Ourselves, Garden and Snake In The Grass amongst others. For the original production, real turf was used on the set as it discovered it was cheaper to buy and maintain real grass in the auditorium than buy artificial turf!
  • Snake In The Grass shares the same set requirements as Joking Apart (including the tennis court and summer-house) as Alan Ayckbourn wrote Snake In The Grass knowing the world premiere production would be in repertory with Joking Apart.
  • The original London production won the 1979 Plays & Players Award for Best Comedy.
  • Joking Apart was adapted for the radio by the BBC in 1981 and 1990.
  • Alan Ayckbourn has repeatedly noted that - of his own writing - it is one of his favourite plays.
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