Relatively Speaking: In Brief

Key Facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking.
  • Relatively Speaking was originally titled Meet My Father when it opened at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, on 8 July 1965
  • Relatively Speaking is the seventh of Alan’s plays and marked his first play at the Library Theatre for four years. His previous two plays had premiered at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.
  • Although frequently described as a farce, it is more accurately of the 'high comedy' genre.
  • It is the first Ayckbourn play to mention his fictional town of Pendon which is the location of a number of his plays including Time & Time Again, A Chorus Of Disapproval and Improbable Fiction.
  • Relatively Speaking was the last Ayckbourn play to be directed byAlan's most influential mentor, Stephen Joseph, and the final Ayckbourn play not to have its world premiere directed by the author himself.
  • Alan Ayckbourn’s first chance to direct the play was for an amateur production. He directed Leeds Art Theatre in 1970 in a production at Leeds Civic Theatre.
  • Relatively Speaking is remembered as Alan’s first West End hit, but it was not the first of his plays to go into the West End. The first was actually Mr Whatnot in 1964; Relatively Speaking was just Alan’s first West End success.
  • Relatively Speaking opened in the West End on 29 March 1967 at the Duke Of York's Theatre, directed by Nigel Patrick and starring Richard Briers, Celia Johnson, Michael Hordern and Jennifer Hilary. It closed on 3 February 1968.
  • Relatively Speaking was the first Ayckbourn play to be published. Despite being given to the publishers Evans in 1967, the play took more than two years to reach publication.
  • Relatively Speaking was both the first Ayckbourn play to be broadcast on television (a 50 minute programme in 1967 containing scenes recorded from the West End premiere) and the first Ayckbourn play to be adapted for television (1969). It is also the only play to have been adapted twice for British television - both times by the BBC - in 1969 and 1989.
  • Despite fervent attempts to mount the play on Broadway from 1967, the play was not professionally produced in New York until 1984. Its American premiere was in 1970 at Westport Country Playhouse, where it was also revived in 2007.
  • Alan Ayckbourn has revived the piece professionally twice. The first time in 1977 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, with Robin Herford, Diane Bull, Robert Austin and Alison Skilbeck. The second time in 2007 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, to mark the 40th anniversary of its West End debut.
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The Relatively Speaking section of Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website is supported by Michael T. Mooney