Absurd Person Singular At 50: Archive Images

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Absurd Person Singular in 2022, an expanded collection of archive material, posters, rehearsal and production images pertaining to Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular has been created for the Archive page. The Archive Images page is presented in association with the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York where the Ayckbourn Archive is held. Click on an image to expand.

Absurd Person Singular (1972)

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Alan Ayckbourn's handwritten notes for the first scene of Absurd Person Singular including his thumbnail sketches for the sets for each act.

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Haydonning Ltd, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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The first page of an original manuscript for the world premiere of Absurd Person Singular at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1972.

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Haydonning Ltd, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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An advertisement for the world premiere production of Absurd Person Singular; Alan would frequently have not even begun writing there play at this point and have no little idea what is would be about. Hence the rather inaccurate 'comedy of complication'.

Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Scarborough Theatre Trust, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Absurd Person Singular is the first world premiere by Alan Ayckbourn at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, to have a promotional image. This lino print, commissioned by Alan Ayckbourn, was only used for flyers though.

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Holding: Private Collection

© Haydonning Ltd, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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The company for the 1972 season at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, including the Absurd Person Singular cast.

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Haydonning Ltd, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Details from the interior of the programmes for the world premiere of Absurd Person Singular at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, listing cast and crew.

Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Scarborough Theatre Trust, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Montage of publicity shots for the original company of Absurd Person Singular (left to right, top row then bottom): Jennifer Piercey as Eva, Piers Rogers as Sidney, Matyelok Gibbs as Marion, Ray Jewers as Geoff, Philippa Urquhart as Jane & Christopher Godwin as Ronald.

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Haydonning Ltd, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Piers Rogers as Sidney & Philippa Urquhart as Jane in the first act of the world premiere of Absurd Person Singular at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in June 1972.

Photographer: Ken Boden (© Haydonning Ltd)
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Haydonning Ltd, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Piers Rogers as Sidney & Philippa Urquhart as Jane in the second act of the world premiere of Absurd Person Singular at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in June 1972.

Photographer: Ken Boden (© Scarborough Theatre Trust Ltd)
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Scarborough Theatre Trust, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Christopher Godwin as Ronald (centre) in an electrifying moment from the second act of the world premiere of Absurd Person Singular at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in June 1972.

Photographer: Ken Boden (© Haydonning Ltd)
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Scarborough Theatre Trust, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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The final scene of the third act of the world premiere of Absurd Person Singular at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in June 1972.

Photographer: Ken Boden (© Scarborough Theatre Trust)
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Scarborough Theatre Trust, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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A flyer for the West End premiere of Absurd Person Singular at the Criterion Theatre during 1973.

Copyright: TBC
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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A publicity image from the West End premiere of Absurd Person Singular at the Criterion Theatre in 1973.

Copyright: John Haynes
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Correspondence from Peter Hall, Artistic Director of the National Theatre, to Alan Ayckbourn congratulating him on Absurd Person Singular, asking him to consider writing a play for the National Theatre.

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

© Haydonning Ltd, 1972, all rights reserved. Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Alan Ayckbourn centre with the cast of the West End premiere of Absurd Person Singular including the director Eric Thompson (front right).

Photographer: To be confirmed
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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A flyer for the Broadway premiere of Absurd Person Singular in 1974: this would go on to become the most successful production of an Ayckbourn play ever staged in New York.

Copyright: TBC
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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To mark the success of Absurd Person Singular on Broadway and that Alan Ayckbourn was the first person to have four plays running simultaneously on Broadway, a street off Broadway was renamed Ayckbourn Alley for the day.

Photographer: To be confirmed
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Absurd Person Singular was adapted for television by the BBC in 1984. This is a publicity image of the cast which included Michael Gambon, Prunella Scales and Maureen Lipman.

Copyright: BBC
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Absurd Person Singular was revived in the West End in 2007 and marked the first time an Ayckbourn play had been produced in the West End for five years.

Copyright: Bill Kenwright Productions
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Alan Ayckbourn (centre back) with the company for his 2012 revival of Absurd Person Singular at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, during 2021.

Photographer: James Drawneek (© James Drawneek)
Holding: Ayckbourn Digital Archive

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
The Scene and Archive Images pages are presented in association with the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, where the Ayckbourn Archive is held.

All images on this page are copyright of the respective and labelled individual / organisation and should not be reproduced without permission. All images specifically labeled as copyright of Haydonning or Alan Ayckbourn are © Haydonning Ltd, 1971 - 2022, all rights reserved.
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