As Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist, I have the privilege of working for and with the playwright curating the Ayckbourn Archive as well as researching and handling research enquiries about the playwright and his work. I'm passionate about this job and the remarkable opportunity it has given me to dedicate my life's work to studying the playwright and his plays - as well as being able to share the results of these studies.
Raised in Scarborough, my first memories of attending a play are at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round which has had an extraordinary impact on my life. My professional career has either directly or indirectly been associated with the venue since 1992.
I have been writing professionally about Alan and theatre since I left university, first as a journalist for the Scarborough Evening News, then as Archivist for both Alan and his home theatre, the Stephen Joseph Theatre. The bulk of my writing can be found within the 3,500 pages of Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website, which I created, curate and write.
My first book, Unseen Ayckbourn, was named one of the Stage's 'Best theatre books' in 2013 and has been updated several times subsequently - most recently with the 2023 Edition. I've had the honour to write about Alan's work for publications around the world from London to New York to his adopted home of Scarborough and beyond.
I am also considered an expert on Alan Ayckbourn's home theatre, the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough - for which I am also the Archivist - particularly with regard to its first five decades during which Alan was most active with the company.
My work has brought me into contact with researchers, students, advocates and organisations across the world and I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to work with organisations such as the BBC, the National Theatre and Old Vic in their own forays into Ayckbourn.
Alan Ayckbourn once joked I know more about him than himself - whilst I sincerely doubt that, to be able to dedicate myself to working with him as his Archivist is the greatest job I could either imagine or want.
If you would like to contact me, please visit the Contact Me page.
Brief BiographySimon Murgatroyd has been Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist since 2003, having launched the playwright's official website in 2002 as a result of research for his MA into the playwright and his plays. Originally a journalist for the Scarborough Evening News, Simon has been writing professionally since 1992 and has written material for the majority of Ayckbourn world premieres and West End productions since 2006. His book, Unseen Ayckbourn, was first published in 2009 and was updated in 2023 with a wealth of new material looking at the playwright's unpublished, unwritten and withdrawn works over the past six decades. He has also contributed to several books about the playwright.
His main role is Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist, responsible for maintaining the playwright's archive and his official website. Simon deals with research enquiries from around the world pertaining to the playwright, ranging from the BBC to students studying Alan Ayckbourn's plays. Since 2020, he has also been creating original multimedia content looking into the playwright's career and plays.
He is also frequently asked to give talks on the playwright and the history of theatre in the round in Scarborough and has organised a number of events and exhibitions relating to the playwright and his plays. He is based in Scarborough and works from the playwright's home in the seaside resort's old town.
Curriculm VitaeThis is a brief CV encompassing my professional life and career
- 2003 - present day: Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist & Media Administrator
- 2002 - present: Alan Ayckbourn's official website administrator, curator & principal contributor to www.alanayckbourn.net
- 1992 - present: Professional writer
- 2023: Facilitated and curated the donation of The Ayckbourn Collection to Scarborough Museums and Galleries.
- 2023: Launched A Round Town website celebrating the history of theatre in the round in Scarborough.
- 2022: Responsible for the discovery of the lost Absurd Person Singular original manuscript.
- 2003 - 2022: Archivist for The Bob Watson Archive at the SJT
- 2016 - 2022: Consultant & copywriter for the SJT
- 2022: Author of Unseen Ayckbourn (Revised)
- 2022: Launched the Ayckbourn YouTube Channel channel
- 2016 - 2019: Patron of Dick & Lottie Theatre Company, Huddersfield
- 2016 - 2019: Assistant co-ordinator for the Inner Circle events at the SJT
- 2013 - 2016: Website administrator for the Animated Objects' Orpheus the Mariner and Song Of The Leviathan events
- 2011 - 2016: Co-editor and principal contributor to the SJT Circular magazine
- 2010 - 2011: Ayckbourn Weekend administrator
- 2001 - 2006: Ayckbourn And The Round administrator
- 1999 - 2005: Deputy box office manager at the SJT
- 1992 - 1999: Arts & entertainments writer & reporter at the Scarborough Evening News
- MA in Theatre & Contemporary Practice (University Of Hull)
- BA (hons) in Dance and Theatre (University Of Buckingham)