Alan Ayckbourn: Actor

Romeo & Juliet (1955)

Production Details


Opening Night:

Romeo And Juliet
William Shakespeare

European tour

Edgar Matthews
Alan Ayckbourn
No other company details known

Quotes & Notes

Alan Ayckbourn's first recorded acting role was while as a student at Haileybury when he was involved in a European tour of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet.

"There was a master at [Haileybury] school called Edgar Matthews, who had been a friend of Donald Wolfit's and indeed whose daughter had been Wolfit's secretary. He was getting near to retirement age and was teaching French at the school, and once a year he organised a Shakespeare tour during the school holidays, taking a party of boys off to the Continent; to France and Germany and all over the place...
"He was a wizard of organisation. He also directed the plays and his wife and daughters acted in them. You weren't allowed to go in for them the first year or two, but I auditioned when I was fifteen, I think, and I got into the first one I could. I got a small part, as Peter, in
Romeo & Juliet. And off we went to Holland and we toured around there. And that was magic. That was the first real 'theatre' theatre I'd experienced, which was just terrific – you know, all that spirit gum and greasepaint...
"We played very odd places: some were quite good theatres, other places were quite primitive. I don't think our Shakespeare was earth-shattering, but it was fairly good. I was just acting. This was tremendous. And I think Edgar must have thought I had a bit of talent."
('Conversations With Ayckbourn', 1981)
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.