Alan Ayckbourn: Actor
Under Milk Wood (1957)
Author: Dylan Thomas
Opening Night: October 1957
Venue: Oxford Playhouse
Director: Frank Hauser
Design: Paul Mayo
Drowned / Willy Nilly
Mr Pritchard / No Good Boyo
Butcher Beynon / Dai Bread
Mog Edwards / Ocky Milkman
Lord Cutlass / Utah Watkins
Evans the Death / Rev. Eli Jenkins
Jack Black / PC Attila Rees
Sinbad Sailors / Mr Pugh
Miss Price / Bessie Bighead
Waldo's mother / Mrs Cherry Owen
Mrs Daid Bread One
Waldo's Wife / Mrs Dai Bread Two
Mrs Ogmore Pritchard
Gossamer Beynon / Mrs Pugh
Mrs Willy Nilly / Mrs Beynon
Lily Smalls / Mae Rose Cottage
Mary Ann Sailors
Mrs Utah Watkins / Polly Garter
Under Milk Wood programme
Image from The Michael T Mooney Archive
Quotes & NotesAlan Ayckbourn worked at the Oxford Playhouse following his first summer season at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1957. He was part of the Playhouse company for the autumn / winter 1957 season until Stephen Joseph asked him to return to Scarborough for the summer of 1958. Despite the Playhouse hoping he would stay on, Alan decided to pursue his theatrical career in Scarborough.
"At the end of that season [his first summer season at the Library Theatre, Scarborough] a certain director from Oxford, a man called Milos Volanakis, had been up to see a couple of the shows and had liked my performances - at least, I put it down modestly to the idea that that's what he'd liked. He wanted me to audition for Oxford Playhouse, which he ran with Frank Hauser. I was always to be fated like this, to be drifting from one job to another. I never, in all my years of acting, was ever unemployed. Once I started at Worthing, I didn't stop: Worthing, Leatherhead, Scarborough, Oxford, Scarborough....
"I went to Oxford, and again fell right into a very, very nice situation. I was very lucky there, because once again there was a big, talented company, a marvellous man running it - Frank Hauser, who was again a man genuinely interested in young talent who went out of his way to help - and it was a theatre that was on the up at the time. I suppose if I'd auditioned for it, I'd never have got in. I did Under Milk Wood there, and I played the romantic juve with Mai Zetterling. In fact we did a lot of exciting things that were good for a boy at that age."
('Conversations With Ayckbourn', 1981)
Although no production dates are known for Under Milk Wood was toured by Oxford Playhouse to the Cambridge Arts Theatre from 4 to 9 November 1957
All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.