Alan Ayckbourn: Director EmeritusIn 2018, the Stephen Joseph Theatre named Alan Ayckbourn as its first Director Emeritus recognising his long association with the company.
(© Tony Bartholomew)
The accolade was announced on 20 April 2018 at the SJT and Sir Alan admitted it was something he was very proud to receive.
“I’m delighted to accept the title of Director Emeritus of the SJT - even though I had to ask what ‘Emeritus’ meant!”
Director Emeritus is an honorary accolade which denotes the perpetual status of an individual who has moved an organisation to new heights. In this case, it recognised Sir Alan's more than six decades work with the company and his many contributions and achievements.
Artistic Director Paul Robinson said it was right to recognise the achievements of Sir Alan and his long-standing and ongoing relationship with the SJT.
"It is my pleasure to announce that Alans has been appointed Director Emeritus. On one level it recognises the huge debt the Stephen Joseph Theatre owed him, a debt of sixty years and counting of distinguished service. It is not just about the past. It also serves as to recognise that the relationship with the theatre is closer than ever, thriving in fact. We are looking forward to working with Alan in ever new and exciting ways in the future."
Sir Alan Ayckbourn joined Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre in Scarborough in 1957 as an acting stage manager. Encouraged by the company's founder, Stephen Joseph - and whom he regards as the most influential figure in his life - Alan was commissioned to write his first professional play, The Square Cat, which premiered at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre in 1959 and he began directing professionally with the company in 1961 with a production of Patrick Hamilton's Gaslight. Following the death of Stephen Joseph in 1967, Alan was appointed the Artistic Director of the company in 1972. He committed himself to continuing the legacy of Stephen Joseph and what he had created in Scarborough. Alan retired from the role in 2009 after 37 years guiding the company.
During his time as Artistic Director, he was responsible for the move of the company to the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round at Westwood and, in 1996, moving the company to its first permanent and present home, the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Of his full-length plays, all but six have been premiered in Scarborough where he continues to premiere and direct his work.