Simon Murgatroyd

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist & Professional Writer

Previous Notable Events & Talks

Since 2001, I have been involved with a number of Ayckbourn-related events, the majority of which have involved Alan Ayckbourn himself. These are examples of a few memorable events.

Coventry University Scarborough (2024) A talk about the history of the Library Theatre and Alan Ayckbourn's play Meet My Father as part of an immersive theatre project.

The Ayckbourn Collection at Scarborough Art Gallery (2023) Several talks at Scarborough Arts Gallery introducing and looking at the recently donated Ayckbourn Collection to Scarborough Museums and Galleries.

Alan Ayckbourn: From Actor to Artistic Director (2023) A talk at Filey Library looking at the rise of Alan Ayckbourn from actor to artistic director in just 15 years. Available to stream from the Ayckbourn YouTube Channel.

Heritage Open Days (2023) Two talks for the Heritage Open Days in Scarborough looking at the inaugural years of theatre in the round in Scarborough and the contribution there in the round has made to the town's cultural heritage and history.

Ayckbourn's Gardens (2023) A talk in Scarborough's Italian Gardens looking at gardens in Alan Ayckbourn's plays - how and why they are used. Available to stream from the Ayckbourn YouTube Channel.

The Esplanade Theatre and Theatres That Never Were (2023) The inaugural talk at Beeforth's Hive on Scarborough's South Cliff looking at the proposed but never built Esplanade Theatre in the Round during the 1970s as well as other unrealised theatre projects. Later repeated for Scarborough Civic Society.

Absurd Person Singular 50th Anniversary (2022) One of Alan Ayckbourn's most significant works, Absurd Person Singular, celebrated its 50th anniversary during 2022 and the SJT marked the day on 26 June with a special event featuring the playwright leading a rehearsed reading of the play. I opened the day with a talk on the creation and history of the play.

The Plays What I Wrote During The Pandemic (2022) My first talk since the pandemic began in 2019 was to the SJT's Circle on 19 May 2022. Alan Ayckbourn gave special permission for me to discuss the plays he wrote during the lockdowns of 2020 / 2021 including several previously unpublicised works looking at everything from the publicised but cancelled Truth Will Out to his latest play, Family Album. I also gave an updated version of the talk to there SJT Inner Circle in August.

Standing Room Only (2019) On 4 July 2019, Alan Ayckbourn's fourth play Standing Room Only was performed for the first - and last - time since 1966. In conjunction with Dick & Lottie theatre company, I advised and collaborated on bringing a professional rehearsed reading of the play to The Square Chapel, Halifax. As a prelude, I gave a short talk on the significance of the play. This is the first time Alan Ayckbourn has given permission for the entirety of one of his early withdrawn plays to be performed in public since they were withdrawn during the 1960s.

Ayckbourn Film Festival (2019) The first Ayckbourn Film Festival took place at the SJT, Scarborough, in 2019. I was an advisor to the event and also provided introductions to the films - including the first cinema screenings of the classic BBC adaptations Absent Friends and Absurd Person Singular.

Remembering Stephen Joseph (2017) A weekend at the SJT marking the 50th anniversary of the death of the company's founder and Alan Ayckbourn's most influential mentor, Stephen Joseph. I gave a talk on Stephen Joseph & the Library Theatre as well as participating in an afternoon led by Sir Alan Ayckbourn discussing the influential theatre pioneer and his legacy.

Inner Circle (2017 - 2022) A spiritual successor to the Ayckbourn & The Round events (see below), the Inner Circle (Premier Patrons in 2016) is a week-long event at the SJT focusing on the theatre's legacy of encouraging new writing whilst offering an exclusive look behind-the-scenes. I've worked as a co-ordinator and consultant on the events as well as a frequent guest speaker.

SJT Circle (2014 - 2022) A variety of regular talks about Alan Ayckbourn, his plays, the SJT, my work as an Archivist and my book, Unseen Ayckbourn, for the SJT Circle.

Ayckbourn Weekends (2010 - 2011) From 2010 - 2011, I was responsible for organising and administering the Ayckbourn Weekends as fund-raisers for the SJT. They centred around a morning with Alan Ayckbourn and were themed to some of the rarest material from his career. This was followed by a talk by myself alongside exclusive readings and insights into rarely seen Ayckbourn material.

Ayckbourn And The Round (2001 - 2005) The Ayckbourn And The Round events were held at the SJT, and offered the opportunity to spend a week with Alan Ayckbourn and his company. As administrator, I was responsible for organising, marketing and administering the events, working with Alan Ayckbourn on scheduling and being the first point of contact for all participants during the events. I was also involved in a number of talks and platforms across a variety of subjects relating to both the playwright and his home theatre.

Requesting a Talk

I'm delighted to have the opportunity to speak about Alan Ayckbourn, his plays and career and can create bespoke talks suitable for any event / organisation.

Fees for talks vary and are dependent on a variety of factors such as travel expenses and time. If you are interested in arranging a talk or have any enquiries regarding this, please
Contact Me.

We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to ensure the best experience on this website.