Absurd Person Singular: 50th Anniversary Facts

Absurd Person Singular

Play Number: 12
World Premiere: 26 June 1972
Venue: Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre, Scarborough

Premiere Staging: In-the-round

Published: Samuel French, Vintage Classics
Other Media: Television; Radio

Cast: 3m / 3f
Run Time: 2hr 10m

Note: Absurd Person Singular is a three act play; one of only two written by Alan Ayckbourn.
  • Absurd Person Singular is Alan Ayckbourn's 12th play and premiered at Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, on 26 June 1972.
  • It was written over four consecutive nights and finished on the night before rehearsals for the play began.
  • It was conceived as being set in the living rooms of the three couples, but after he began writing, Alan abandoned the script and rewrote the play set in three kitchens. The original abandoned draft was discovered in 2022 and its story can be found here.
  • It opened on 14 July 1973 at the Criterion Theatre, London, and ran for almost two-and-a-half years. It is the longest running Ayckbourn production in the West End.
  • It has been produced more times in the West End than any other Ayckbourn play with three productions in 1973, 1990 and 2007.
  • It won Alan his first award, the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy.
  • Absurd Person Singular opened on 8 October 1974 at the Music Box Theatre, New York, and ran for 17 Months. It is the longest running Ayckbourn production on Broadway.
  • It has been produced twice on Broadway in 1974 and 2005, more than any other Ayckbourn play.
  • It was first published in 1974 by Samuel French and has never been out of print since. It has been reprinted in more volumes than any other Ayckbourn play.
  • It has been adapted for both the radio (1977) and television (1985) by the BBC.
  • It has been translated into more than 20 languages and perfumed around the world.
  • It is one of only two plays that Alan Ayckbourn has directed in all three Scarborough venues (Theatre in the Round at the Library Theatre, the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round and the Stephen Joseph Theatre).
  • In 2018, it was named by The Times as one of the 50 greatest plays and it has featured in numerous lists, articles and books of significant plays of the 20th century and British theatre.
Article by Simon Murgatroyd. © Haydonning Ltd, 2002 - 2024, all rights reserved. Please do not reproduce in any form without written consent of the copyright holder.