Alan Ayckbourn: Actor
Author: William Shakespeare
Opening Night: 23 March 1956
Venue: Haileybury Imperial College
Director: Edgar Matthews
Opening Night: 12 April 1956
Venue: John Hancock Hall, Boston
Note: The cast is taken from The Haileyburian & ISC Chronicle (June 1956) and only initials are given for the actor's names.
A Scotch Doctor
An Old Man
A. LeQ. Herbert
P.J. De Veulle
Quotes & NotesAlan Ayckbourn's second known acting role was while as a student at Haileybury when he was involved in an American tour of Shakespeare's Macbeth.
"He'd [Haileybury teacher Edgar Matthews] marked me down as a comedy actor. They were doing Macbeth, and I didn't want to play that boring old porter, so I plunged in hoping to play Macbeth. He really didn't think I was up to that - I didn't really have the weight, I was a six-stone weakling - but he did cast me as Macduff. And this year he decided to really go to town. He was going to take us round America. We went over on the Queen Mary and we came back on the Queen Elizabeth - the first, not the second - and that in itself was worth all the money in the world: a group of public schoolboys, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, getting themselves absolutely slewed all the way over - it was wonderful. And this was touring gone mad, because we had all the joy of touring with none of the professional responsibility. We didn't actually care if the show never went on. We arrived and we went up the East Coast: we played in Maine, at the university there, and then we went up into Canada and played in Ottawa. And we played in Quebec, then we went down to Niagara and we played there; then we came through to Pittsburgh - and along the way we also took in Boston, Montreal, Peterborough and Washington DC. It was a very strange tour, but we did see a hell of a lot of America by Greyhound coach. I don't think the whole thing was more than about four weeks."
('Conversations With Ayckbourn', 1981)
Review extract from the Haileyburian and ISC Chronicle (June 1956)
"The most satisfying acting was Ayckbourn's as Macduff. On the first evening his words were clearer than on the second, but on both occasions he gave a coherent and sympathetic performance. He was in control of his part in all his moods and situations and, in spite of the feather in his cap, there was nothing farinaceous about his portrayal of Macduff; rather we saw a vigorous and bony Scot, if anything of a haggis and hooch consistency, who had a bitter cast of mind in his inactive exile among the English but was deadly enough in battle."
Review extract from the Niagara Falls Evening Review (April 1956)
"Macduff, bent on vengeance when he hears of his family' cold blooded assassination, dominated strongly with his his warlike "Be this the whetstone of your sword, let grief convert to anger!" Played by Alan Ayckbourn, the scenes were climatic and gripping."
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.