Simon Murgatroyd

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist & Professional Writer

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist

I've been Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist since 2003 and I'm primarily responsible for maintaining and researching the Ayckbourn Archive as well as running Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website. These are the constants of an ever-varied role.

The Ayckbourn Archive consists of a physical Archive - the majority of which is held in the Borthwick Institute for Archives at York - and a digital archive. The physical archive consists of press cuttings, manuscripts, notes by the playwright, programmes, books and other ephemera collated since 1959.

The digital archive is based in Scarborough and covers the entirety of Alan Ayckbourn's theatrical career and includes more than 75,000 items related to Alan Ayckbourn. This is primarily what my research is based and where I can answer all the Ayckbourn enquiries I receive.

I love every aspect of my job, but there's been two particular moments I'm most proud of - my discovery of Alan Ayckbourn's lost, thought destroyed, second play -
Love After All - in conjunction with the British Library in 2007 and the discovery of Alan Ayckbourn's original unfinished draft of Absurd Person Singular, discovered in conjunction with the Borthwick Institute for Archives in 2022.

A Resource For Research

One of the joys of being an Archivist is constant contact with people interested in learning more about Alan Ayckbourn - from students to researchers, journalists to fans. As Alan's Archivist, I'm the primary contact to answer questions about Alan and his plays.

This is one of the most important aspects of my role as Archivist: making it as easy as possible for people to learn more about Alan Ayckbourn and his work. I do this in person, through email and through the official

Over the years, this role has brought me into contact with people and organisations across the world and I've had the privilege of working closely with Alan Ayckbourn's home theatre, the Stephen Joseph Theatre, as well as the BBC, the National Theatre and The Old Vic amongst others.

And all the rest!

On top of this, my job as Archivist constantly throws up new challenges and experiences. I give talks and lectures and have curated related exhibitions.

I've been responsible both for organising and administering major events relating to Alan Ayckbourn as well as acting as a consultant on events and exhibitions.

I'm also Alan Ayckbourn's Media and Social Media Administrator and responsible for handling press and media enquiries regarding Alan Ayckbourn as well as the official Ayckbourn social media accounts on
Instagram, YouTube and Wordpress.

The Borthwick Institute for Archives

During 2011, the Ayckbourn Archive was acquired for the nation by the Borthwick Institute for Archives which took receipt of all materials pertaining to the years 1959 to 2006; more than a tonne in weight of written material was placed in Archive (more details can be found here). Whilst I maintain the Archive for all material post-2006, which is held by the playwright himself, I work and consult closely with the Borthwick in relation to the archive. Eventually, the entirety of the Archive will be transferred to the Borthwick Institute.

Archivist for the Stephen Joseph Theatre (2003 -2022)

I was also the Archivist for the Stephen Joseph Theatre between 2003 and 2022. I stepped down in 2022 to concentrate on my role as Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist.

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