Simon Murgatroyd - Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist & Professional Writer
Since 2001, I have been giving talks on a wide variety of subjects relating to Alan Ayckbourn and his plays as well as his mentor Stephen Joseph and the history of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
It's always a pleasure to be able to talk directly about my work as an Archivist and my passion for Alan Ayckbourn and the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to speak to people from all over the world.
Although I have several 'repeatable' talks, most of my talks are bespoke to the occasion - and there's very few areas of Alan Ayckbourn's careers and plays that I can't talk about! Obviously my particular speciality is Alan Ayckbourn and his plays but also the Library Theatre, Scarborough (the forerunner of the Stephen Joseph Theatre) which Alan's mentor Stephen Joseph founded in 1955 and Alan joined in 1957, where he made both his professional writing and directing debuts.
I'm also considered a world expert on Alan Ayckbourn's earliest withdrawn plays - and am one of the few people to be familiar with the entire Ayckbourn play canon.
If you are interested in hiring me for a talk, please contact me via the link in the right-hand column.
Examples of Talks
This is a brief guide to some of the talks I have given.
○ 2019: Standing Room Only - an introduction to the first performance of this play since 1966; What Is An Archivist? - the work of an Archivist focusing on the The Woman In Black archive collection at the SJT; Ayckbourn On Screen - introductions to the first Ayckbourn Film Festival at the Stephen Joseph Theatre; The SJT: The Early Years - exploring the formative years of the SJT in Scarborough. ○ 2018: Stephen Joseph: Founding The Library Theatre - Stephen Joseph and founding the Library Theatre in Scarborough; A Play Guide To Scarborough - a guided tour of Scarborough and the history of the Stephen Joseph Theatre. ○ 2017: Stephen Joseph - marking the 50th anniversary of Stephen Joseph's death, his achievements and his legacy; Unseen Seen - launching the Illustrated Edition of Unseen Ayckbourn; The Stephen Joseph Exhibition - a guided tour of the Stephen Joseph exhibition at the SJT marking the 50th anniversary of his death. ○ 2016: Meet The Archivist - relaunching The Bob Watson Archive at the Stephen Joseph Theatre; Meet The Archivist - my work as an archivist for the Friends of the Stephen Joseph Theatre; A Meeting Of Minds - Alan Ayckbourn's plays Invisible Friends and Woman In Mind at Huddersfield's Lawrence Batley Theatre; Abridged Ayckbourn - Alan Ayckbourn's history with the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 1957 to the present day. ○ 2015: The Stephen Joseph Theatre At 60 - Various talks about the anniversary of the founding of the company in 1955. ○ 2013: The Stephen Joseph Theatre - A day of talks moving between the three homes of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough (the Library Theatre, Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round and the Stephen Joseph Theatre) exploring the history of Alan Ayckbourn's career in Scarborough and his connection with the three venues. ○ 2011 - 2012: The Early & Lost Ayckbourn Plays - A series of talks focusing on Alan Ayckbourn's earliest plays and lost writing with exclusive permission to present extracts from the plays (performed by Dick & Lottie) at both the Stephen Joseph Theatre and in Alan Ayckbourn's private rehearsal room. ○ 2006 - present day: Archiving Alan Ayckbourn - my work as Alan Ayckbourn's archivist and the Alan Ayckbourn Archive. ○ 2001 - 2005: Ayckbourn And The Round - Alan Ayckbourn's relationship with the Stephen Joseph Theatre as well as his commitment to theatre-in-the-round and the influence of Stephen Joseph on his career. ○ 2001 - present day: History of Alan Ayckbourn / The Stephen Joseph Theatre - Various talks looking at Alan Ayckbourn's life and career - or specific periods - of Alan Ayckbourn and / or the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. ○ 2001 - Present day: The Plays - Talks ranging from 20 to 90 minutes on specific plays by Alan Ayckbourn or themes in his plays.
Requesting a Talk
I am available to give talks subject to my schedule and welcome the opportunity to speak about Alan Ayckbourn, his plays and his career in theatre. I'm more than happy to create bespoke talks suitable for the event / venue / organisation.
Fees for talks are dependent on a variety of factors and travel expenses are required if the talk is taking place outside of the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
If you are interested in discussing the possibility of a talk or have any enquiries regarding this, please contact me via the Email page.