New Ayckbourn gets audio stream

May 17 2020 | By More

Alan Ayckbourn to star in and direct 84th play

Anno Domino, a “very contemporary response to the current situation” by veteran playwright Alan Ayckbourn, is to get its world premiere on an exclusive audio stream on the Stephen Joseph Theatre website.

The free streaming will premiere at noon on Monday 25 May 2020 and be available for a month. The 81-year-old Olivier and Tony Award-winning author and former radio producer has teamed up with his wife, actress Heather Stoney, to record the new show.

Left: Heather Stoney and Alan Ayckbourn in Two for the Seesaw (1964) Pic: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Right: Alan Ayckbourn and Heather Stoney. Pic: Tony Bartholomew

It is Ayckbourn’s 84th play and will see him return to acting just 54 years since his last professional appearance on the stage, when he and Stoney starred in William Gibson’s two-hander Two for the Seesaw at the Rotherham Civic Theatre in 1964.

Anno Domino looks at the break-up of a long-established marriage and the effect that has on family and friends. The couple will play four characters each, with an age range of 18 to the mid-70s.

Alan Ayckbourn says: “The inspiration for Anno Domino came from the idea that all relationships ultimately, however resilient they appear to be, are built on sand!

unshakeable relationship

“And it only takes one couple to break up abruptly to take us all by surprise, then all of a sudden everyone is questioning their own unshakeable relationship.”

Sam and Milly are gathering the family together for their 25th wedding anniversary dinner at their favourite local bistro.

They’ll be joined there by Sam’s parents, Ben and Ella; his sister, Martha, and her new partner, Craig, and Martha’s son Raz. Also present – and she’s definitely caught Raz’s eye – is trainee restaurant manager Cinny.

But Sam and Milly have some life-changing news to share.

As the family prepares for the big event, the play offers a glimpse into each of their living rooms and lives. Every couple has their tough moments: Anno Domino asks what happens when the strongest of us falls apart. How do our actions ripple out and affect those we love?

perfect entertainment

This will be the first time that Ayckbourn has directed one of his own scripts. It replaces the world premiere of new play Truth Will Out, which had been due to play Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre for the summer season but has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

SJT Artistic Director Paul Robinson adds: “Anno Domino is one of Alan’s ‘lighter’ plays, a hopeful and rather joyous piece which will provide perfect entertainment in these troubled times.

“This is a hugely exciting and very contemporary response to the current situation and shows yet again how Alan has always moved with the times.”


Anno Domino
Streaming on SJT Website here:
Premiere: 12 noon, Monday 25 May 2020
Streams until: 12 noon, Thursday 25 June 2020.


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Comments (1)

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  1. Eleanor Gabriel says:

    What an absolutely fantastic idea.
    I personally have never seen Sir Alan act so this will be great. Have loved all the plays he has done.
    Let’s hope Scarborough gets behind this exciting way of seeing theatre.
    Mind you, can’t wait until we can get back into the theatre.