Alan Ayckbourn: Stepping Down as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre

On 1 June 2007, the Stephen Joseph Theatre board announced Alan Ayckbourn was to step down as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in 2008. Below are the pertinent details and comments.

The Original Statement (issued 01 June 2007)

Following the last Stephen Joseph Theatre Board meeting, the chairman of the Board, Sue Truefitt, now releases the following statement:
"Over the last couple of years, Alan Ayckbourn's day-to-day involvement in the running of the Stephen Joseph Theatre has been decreasing, although his directing work has continued as normal (
If I Were You, 2006 and Intimate Exchanges, 2007). In the forthcoming season he will be directing Relatively Speaking and A Trip to Scarborough and he is planning for the 2008/09 season. This decrease in his workload will lead to the appointment of a new Artistic Director in the Summer of 2008, to plan the 2009/10 season. Alan intends to continue to direct revivals of his plays at the theatre as well as premiering any of his new work there."

Further Statements

Stephen Joseph Theatre Board statement (released: 30 May 2008)
Sue Truefitt, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, would now like to confirm the appointment of Chris Monks as Artistic Director of the theatre. This is to succeed Alan Ayckbourn in the new year, ready for the start of the 09/10 season. Chris Monks is currently a freelance theatre director and writer and an Associate Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.
Chris Monks says of his new appointment: “I feel honoured and excited to follow Stephen Joseph and Alan Ayckbourn, to provide the artistic vision for this renowned theatre company. It’s a dream come true and I can’t wait to start. Moving back to Yorkshire, I’ll be returning to my roots: I was born and brought up in Sheffield, studied in Leeds, my family spent their holidays in Filey and Bridlington and my cousin lives in Whitby.”
A further press release will follow in the Autumn season
Sue Truefitt, Chairman of the Board, 30 May 2008

Stephen Joseph Theatre Board statement (released: 14 May 2008):
"The interview panel have made an appointment and details are now being finalised. It is hoped that this process will be completed by the next meeting of the full Board at the end of this month when the post will be ratified and a date fixed for a formal announcement."
Sue Truefitt, Chairman of the Board, 13 May 2008

Timeline (Pertinent details)

1957: June - Alan Ayckbourn joins Studio Theatre Ltd based at the Library Theatre, Scarborough
1972: Alan Ayckbourn becomes Artistic Director of the Library Theatre (not 1971 as has repeatedly been inaccurately reported)
1999: April - In interviews at the time of his 60th birthday, Alan Ayckbourn expresses his intention to begin lightening his workload over the coming years. Initially this means only directing the premieres and revivals of his own plays
2006: 21 February - Alan Ayckbourn suffers a stroke
2006: September - Alan Ayckbourn returns to the Stephen Joseph Theatre to direct his play If I Were You
2007: 23 May - Alan Ayckbourn announces his decision to step down as Artistic Director to the SJT company and the Board
2007: 1 June - The Stephen Joseph Theatre Board announce Alan Ayckbourn is to step down as Artistic Director in 2008 (see above)
2007: 5 November - The position of Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre is advertised in The Guardian
2008: 8 February - Initial interviews for Artistic Director of Stephen Joseph Theatre
2008: 26 April - Second interviews for Artistic Director of Stephen Joseph Theatre
2008: 28 April - Confirmation that an offer for the position has been made, but no official announcement made
2008: 14 May - Appointment of unnamed new Artistic Director confirmed by press release (see further statements above)
2008: 28 May: The SJT company is informed Chris Monks has agreed to accept the position of Artistic Director
2008: 29 May - The SJT Board is informed of the Artistic Director decision at the monthly meeting of the full Board
2008: 30 May - An official statement regarding the Artistic Director appointment is released to the press (see further statements above)
2009: 17 January - Alan Ayckbourn unofficially steps down as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre; Chris Monks becomes Artistic Director Designate
2009: 31 March - Alan Ayckbourn officially steps down as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre
2009: 1 April - Chris Monks officially takes over the position of Artistic Director at the Stephen Joseph Theatre

Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd