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 and social media. 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 tens of thousands of press cuttings, manuscripts, notes by the playwright, programmes, books and other ephemera collated since 1959. The Borthwick Intitute is responsible for everything from 1959 to 2019 and I maintain an archive in Scarborough for everything post 2019, which will eventually be assimilated into the main collection.

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 relates to and where I can answer all the Ayckbourn enquiries I receive.

Two notable events in my work I'm very proud of are 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.

Between 2003 and 2022, my duties also included maintaining The Bob Watson Archive at the Stephen Joseph Theatre as the Honorary Archivist.
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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 my websites with
Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website and A Round Town: Theatre in the Round in Scarborough.

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 public talks and have curated theatre exhibitions and have also facilitated and catalogued Alan Ayckbourn and theatre in the round collections.

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

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

Research Assistance, Contributions & Talks

This is a selection of some of the organisations I've worked with as Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist such as providing research assistance and contributions, writing articles for, organising exhibitions and giving talks.
The Borthwick Institute for Archives
Scarborough Museums and Galleries
BBC Television / BBC Radio
North Yorkshire Libraries
The National Theatre
Stephen Joseph Theatre
The New Vic
The Old Laundry Theatre
The Mill at Sonning
Royal & Derngate Theatre
The Old Vic
Edinburgh International Festival
Concord Theatricals
John Good Publications
Coventry University Scarborough
Scarborough Civic Society
Scarborough Archaeological Society
Animated Objects
Big Ideas By The Sea Festival

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