Alan Ayckbourn: Actor


Bell, Book & Candle (1959)

Play: Bell, Book & Candle
Author:
John van Druten
Opening Night:
17 June 1959
Venue:
Library Theatre, Scarborough
Staging:
Round

Director:
Rodney Wood

Character
Gillian Holroyd
Anthony Henderson
Miss Holroyd
Nicholas Holroyd
Sidney Reditch
Pyewacket

Actor
Dona Martyn
William Elmhirst
Faynia Jeffery
Alan Ayckbourn
David Campton
Joanna (a cat)
Stacks Image 192
Alan (right) in Bell, Book & Candle
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust

Quotes & Notes

1959 was a pivotal year in Alan Ayckbourn's theatrical career as it saw the start of his professional writing career with two plays The Square Cat and Love After All. However, the majority of his time was spent acting; writing played a relatively small part in his life (and was not a part that paid the bills!). Alan was based with the Studio Theatre Ltd company at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, for the summer and was intending to play a part in the company's winter season and tour. However, he was called up for National Service after the summer season and although this lasted service just three days in January 1960, by the time he returned to Scarborough, the season was under way, although he did find some work with the company during the tour.

For many years, Alan stated in interviews that
Bell, Book and Candle was the play that caused him to confront the Library Theatre's Artistic Director Stephen Joseph about the quality of his roles. The result of which was for Stephen to challenge Alan to write better, resulting in his first play The Square Cat. As Alan's biographer Paul Allen deduced, this was an impossibility as both plays were in the same season. The actual culprit was David Campton's Ring Of Roses, but Alan chose to change the plays given his friendship with David.

Review extract from the Scarborough Evening News (17 June 1959)
"Another familiar face is that of Alan Ayckbourn, who has improved in technique since he was last here, and gives an amusing interpretation of the warlock brother of Dona Martyn."

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.