After nearly 60 years not acting Alan Ayckbourn will appear on stage in his own play

He always says he is an average actor and does not particularly enjoy writing. But he does love directing.

Despite this, almost 60 years after he last stepped out on stage, Alan Ayckbourn will make a rare outing as an actor at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre next month.

The octogenarian, whose plays outnumber his years, and who once bluntly assessed his acting skills as “reasonable if never star worthy or first rate” will play the role of Jim in a rehearsed reading of his own play, Truth Will Out.

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It will be the first time the author has ever heard it read aloud.

Sir Alan Ayckbourn at 75.Picture Richard PonterSir Alan Ayckbourn at 75.Picture Richard Ponter
Sir Alan Ayckbourn at 75.Picture Richard Ponter

The play was due to be produced at the SJT in 2020, but was cancelled due to the pandemic.

In the cast of what’s been described as an “up-to-the-minute satire on family, politics and the state of the nation” is one of his regular company members, Christopher Godwin.

Alan has directed Christopher many times over the years, including in the world premieres of Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests and, most recently, Better Off Dead.

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However the pair last appeared on stage together as actors in 1963.

A year later Alan made what turned out to be his last stage appearance for nearly six decades at Rotherham Civic Theatre in Two for the Seesaw, against one Heather Stoney - now Lady Ayckbourn.

For Truth Will Out, Alan and Christopher will be joined by the cast of Ayckbourn’s 89th play, Constant Companions, which is playing at the Scarborough theatre, his base for nearly the entirety of his career, from September 7 to October 7.

Asked what it was like to being treading the boards again Alan said it was “terrific”, adding: “Fortunately, I only have a small part in Truth Will Out, and I’m used to making Hitchcock-like appearances in my plays.” (Whenever offstage voices are needed, Alan usually records them himself)

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He started his career as a stage manager and actor, but went on to become one of the UK’s most successful playwrights – writing 89 so far.

Most have premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, where he was Artistic Director for many years, stepping down in 2009.

He is now the SJT’s Director Emeritus, and returns each summer to guest direct his new play – this year, Constant Companions.

The reading of Truth Will Out is part of a series of fundraising events for the SJT.

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Fundraising and Development Officer, Stephanie Dattani said: “We're hugely grateful for Alan and to the rest of the company for doing this special reading for us, which will raise funds for exciting new work on our stages.”

Truth Will Out can be seen in the Round at the SJT on Sunday 17 September at 2.30pm.

Tickets, priced at £25, are available from the SJT box office on 01723 370541 and online at