Relatively Speaking: A Timeline

The Timeline offers a chronological view of significant events in the history of the play Relatively Speaking; it only lists major productions and does not include the vast majority of the many professional and amateur productions of the play.

12 November 1963
Alan Ayckbourn's sixth play Mr Whatnot is premiered at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.

6 August 1964
Mr Whatnot opens at the New Arts Theatre, London, directed by Warren Jenkins.

22 August 1964
Mr Whatnot closes at the New Arts Theatre, London. Its critical mauling so bad that Alan takes a job with the BBC as a radio drama producer and considers giving up playwriting.

October 1964
Stephen Joseph, Artistic Director of the Library Theatre, Scarborough, and Alan's mentor, contacts Alan about commissioning a "jolly little comedy" for the summer 1965 season. Alan agrees to write his seventh play.

December 1964
Alan moves to Leeds and begins working at the BBC in early 1965.

April 1965
Pushed by Stephen Joseph for a title for the play for publicity purposes, Meet My Mother is suggested. It is altered to Meet My Father shortly afterwards.

Mid May 1965
Alan Ayckbourn begins writing Meet My Father.

Late May 1965
Alan Ayckbourn finishes writing Meet My Father and delivers it to Stephen Joseph.

June 1965
Stephen Joseph rehearses Meet My Father and, believing it too long, cuts a quarter of the play.

8 July 1965
Meet My Father premieres at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, directed by Stephen Joseph.

July 1965
The West End producer Peter Bridge sees the play and options it for London - insisting it has a new first act and a different title. The revised script restores Stephen Joseph's excisions.

January 1967
Rehearsals begin for a pre-West End tour of the play, renamed as Relatively Speaking and revised to a two rather than three act play.

21 February 1967
The try-out tour opens at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, directed by Nigel Patrick.

March 1967
Tom Erhardt (then employed by Peter Bridge, later Alan's agent between 1991 and 2013) suggests the climax involve the slippers from the first scene; pleased with the suggestion Alan alters the climax of the play to incorporate the mysterious slippers.

29 March 1967
Relatively Speaking opens at The Duke Of York’s Theatre, London, directed by Nigel Patrick.

2 May 1967
Noël Coward sends Alan Ayckbourn a congratulatory telegram; Alan believes it is a fake and throws it away before later recovering it.

22 May 1967
HM Queen Elizabeth II sees Relatively Speaking at The Duke Of York’s Theatre, London.

21 July 1967
A 50 minute broadcast featuring scenes from the West End production of Relatively Speaking is screened on BBC1.

3 February 1968
Relatively Speaking closes at The Duke Of York's Theatre London, having run for more than 350 performances.

6 February 1968
First professional tour of Relatively Speaking launched, directed by Donald Sinden.

20 March 1968
Relatively Speaking opens at the Phillip Theatre, Sydney; this is believed to be the first professional Ayckbourn production in Australia.

8 April 1968
First professional repertory production of Relatively Speaking opens at Richmond Theatre, London.

Evans Plays publish Relatively Speaking; the first of Alan Ayckbourn's plays to be published.

2 March 1969
BBC1 broadcasts a 90 minute television adaptation of Relatively Speaking, directed by Herbert Wise.

14 April 1970
Relatively Speaking opens at the Civic Theatre, Leeds. This is an amateur production with the Leeds Art Theatre and marks the first time Alan Ayckbourn has directed the play.

10 August 1970
First professional American production of Relatively Speaking at Westport Country Playhouse, Connecticut.

25 December 1975
BBC Radio broadcast Relatively Speaking, directed by Kay Patrick.

27 June 1977
Relatively Speaking opens at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round, Scarborough, directed by Alan Ayckbourn; this is the first time Alan Ayckbourn has directed the play professionally.

7 August 1984
First professional production of Relatively Speaking in New York, directed by Rick Meyer, at the INTAR Theatre, 42nd Street.

7 April 1986
Relatively Speaking opens at the Greenwich Theatre, London, directed by Alan Strachan. This production marks the play's 21st anniversary.

24 December 1989
BBC2 broadcasts a second television adaptation of Relatively Speaking, directed by Michael Simpson.

24 July 2007
Relatively Speaking opens at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, directed by Alan Ayckbourn.

28 August 2012
Relatively Speaking embarks on a UK tour from Malvern Theatres, starring Felicity Kendal and directed by Lindsay Posner.

14 May 2013
The 2012 tour of Relatively Speaking, directed by Lindsay Posner, transfers to the West End for a limited run at the Wyndham's Theatre (the play officially opened on 20 May).

29 August 2016
A major UK tour of Relatively Speaking is launched by Theatre Royal Bath at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, starring Robert Powell and Liza Goddard, directed by Robin Herford.

27 February
Relatively Speaking, directed by Robin Herford, is revived at the Mill at Sonning. The run of the play is cut short by the Covid-19 pandemic crisis which closed all UK theatre during March 2020.

21 April 2020
Intended transfer date of the Mill At Sonning's revival of Relatively Speaking to the Jermyn Street Theatre, London, but which was cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation in the UK.

15 September 2021
Actual transfer of Relatively Speaking, directed by Robin Herford, to the Jermyn Street Theatre, London.

Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.