Simon Murgatroyd

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist & Professional Writer


Although I'm predominantly known for my work as Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist, I have been a professional writer since graduating from university in 1992 and have been published throughout the UK, in Europe, North America and Australia.

Whilst the vast majority of my writing tends to be concentrated on Alan Ayckbourn, I have written numerous articles relating to the history of theatre in the round in Scarborough as well as its founder and Alan Ayckbourn's most significant mentor, Stephen Joseph.

I began writing professionally as a journalist at the Scarborough Evening News in 1992. During my seven years with the publication, I was the Arts & Entertainments writer and the lead theatre critic, reviewing the world premieres of a number of Alan Ayckbourn's plays notably including
By Jeeves and House & Garden. I was also responsible for launching a weekly entertainments supplement.

Having left the Evening News in 1999 to study for an MA in Theatre and Contemporary Practise, I began writing articles about Alan Ayckbourn and his plays for professional publication. I've also written hundreds of original articles for the Official Alan Ayckbourn
. Website and the A Round Town website.

World Premieres & The West End

I have written articles for the programmes for the majority of Alan Ayckbourn's world premiere productions and his own revivals of his work since 2006.

For the West End, I have written both original articles as well as had articles reproduced for productions at the National Theatre, the Old Vic and within the commercial West End. I also provided material for Alan Ayckbourn's debut at the Edinburgh International Festival with
The Divide and for its subsequent transfer to London.

I've also frequently written Ayckbourn-related articles for John Good Ltd for theatre programmes around the UK - including West End productions such as Trevor Nunn's West 2012 revival of
A Chorus Of Disapproval and the 2016 revival of How The Other Half Loves - as well as contributing articles for regional theatres. If you see an Ayckbourn production and the programme contains an Ayckbourn Timeline, that's my most frequently republished article!

I've also worked extensively with the playwright's home theatre, the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Aside from providing articles for programmes, I was also the co-editor and principal writer for
SJT Circular publication between 2011 and 2013 and remained a regular contributor until 2022. I also provided syndicated interviews for the theatre during this period.


One of my proudest achievements is my book Unseen Ayckbourn, which has had several editions.

Unseen Ayckbourn explores the withdrawn, unpublished and lost Ayckbourn plays. A previous edition was listed amongst The Stage's best Theatre books of 2013.

I previously wrote
A Round 50 for the Stephen Joseph Theatre's 50th anniversary celebrations in 2005 and during 2009, I wrote and compiled the Ayckbourn At 70 publication to mark Northampton's Royal & Derngate Theatre's Ayckbourn celebration season.

I've also collaborated with the late, noted Ayckbourn expert Albert-Reiner Glaap and contributed to three of his publications,
Towards Ayckbournia in Germany (2019), Confusions To Roundelay: Stages In Ayckbourn's Creative Work (2015) and New New Landmarks In Ayckbourn Country (2014) - all published by Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.

Published Articles Highlights

Ayckbourn World Premieres

All directed by Alan Ayckbourn (SJT = Stephen Joseph Theatre)
Constant Companions (SJT 2023)
Family Album (SJT 2022)
All Lies (The Old Laundry Theatre 2022)
The Girl Next Door (SJT 2021)
Anno Domino (Haydonning Ltd 2020)
Birthdays Past, Birthdays Present (SJT 2019)
Better Off Dead ( SJT 2018)
The Divide (Edinburgh International Festival 2017)
A Brief History of Women (SJT 2017)
No Knowing (SJT 2016)
Hero’s Welcome (SJT 2015)
Roundelay (SJT 2014)
The Boy Who Fell Into A Book (SJT 2014)
Arrivals & Departures (SJT 2013)
Farcicals (SJT 2013)
Surprises (SJT 2012)
Dear Uncle (SJT 2011)
Life Of Riley (SJT 2010)
My Wonderful Day (SJT 2009)
Life & Beth (SJT 2008)
If I Were You (SJT 2007)

Ayckbourn Directed Revivals

All directed by Alan Ayckbourn
Haunting Julia (Haydonning Ltd 2020)
Season's Greetings (SJT 2019)
Joking Apart (SJT 2018)
Taking Steps (SJT 2017)
Henceforward… (SJT 2016)
Confusions (SJT 2015)
Time Of My Life (SJT 2013)
Absurd Person Singular (SJT 2012)
How The Other Half Loves (SJT 2009)
Man Of The Moment (Royal & Derngate 2009)
Woman In Mind (SJT 2008)
Snake In The Grass (SJT 2008)
Haunting Julia (SJT 2008)
A Trip To Scarborough (SJT 2007)
Relatively Speaking (SJT 2007)
Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays (SJT 2006)
Intimate Exchanges (SJT 2006)

West End / New York

How The Other Half Loves (Duke Of York's Theatre 2016)
Ayckbourn Ensemble (59E59 Theaters, New York 2014)
A Chorus Of Disapproval (Harold Pinter Theatre 2012)
Woman In Mind (Vaudeville Theatre 2009)
Absurd Person Singular (Garrick Theatre 2007)

Other Ayckbourn Revivals

Relatively Speaking (UK Tour 2023)
Ten Times Table (UK Tour 2019 / 2020)
Relatively Speaking (Salisbury Playhouse 2019)
Haunting Julia (Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch 2018)
Improbable Fiction (The Mill At Sonning 2017)
Things We Do For Love (Bath Theatre Royal / tour 2014)
Mr Whatnot (50th anniversary)(Royal & Derngate 2013)
Joking Apart (Nottingham Playhouse 2013)
Surprises (Chichester Festival Theatre 2012)
Absurd Person Singular (Chichester Festival Theatre 2012)
Private Fears In Public Places (Royal & Derngate 2009)
Just Between Ourselves (Royal & Derngate 2009)

Other Articles

Dear Uncle Interview (Theatre by the Lake 2019)
SJT Circle monthly articles (SJT 2016 - 2022)
The Woman In Black (SJT 2015)
SJT Circular (SJT 2011 - 2015)

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