Surprises: Timeline

The Timeline offers a chronological view of significant events in the history of the play Surprises.

Early 2011
Alan Ayckbourn is commissioned to write his 76th play by the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. At some unrecorded later date - prior to September 2011 - it is agreed it will be performed as part of the London 2012 Festival celebrating the London 2012 Olympic Games. At this point, it is proposed the play open in repertory with a revival of A Small Family Business and features the same company of 13 actors.

Circa Mid 2011
Alan is told by the Stephen Joseph Theatre that the budget will not support a revival of A Small Family Business and the Artistic Director, Chris Monks, requests he revive the six-hander Absurd Person Singular instead. Alan abandons his ideas for a more ambitious five act play with multiple android characters.

Mid-October 2011
Alan Ayckbourn writes and completes his 76th play Surprises; at this point it has the title Foreseeable Futures and consists of three acts: Future Love, Future Wife and Future Dreams.

4 November 2011
The Cultural Olympiad announces Alan Ayckbourn will premiere his as yet unnamed 76th play alongside an unnamed Ayckbourn revival at Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre as part of the London 2012 Festival.

10 November 2011
Alan Ayckbourn publicly confirms the title of Surprises for the first time in a pre-show talk at The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windemere; the play's three acts are now named The Surprise Husband, The Surprise Birthday and Surprises.

3 December 2011
In a platform talk following a performance of Neighbourhood Watch at the 59E59 Theaters, New York, Alan again confirms the title of his new play as well as revealing the first details of the play in interviews with BBC Look North and the website

April 2012
Casting is completed for the world premiere production of Surprises.

17 July 2012
World premiere of Surprises, directed by Alan Ayckbourn, at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. It is produced in repertory with Alan Ayckbourn's 40th anniversary revival of Absurd Person Singular.

August 2012
Faber & Faber publish Surprises in softcover and digital editions.

8 August 2012
As a co-production between Chichester Festival Theatre and the Stephen Joseph Theatre as part of the London 2012 Festival, Alan Ayckbourn's production of Surprises opens in Chichester.

13 October 2012
Surprises closes at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, prior to a short in-the-round tour.

23 January 2013
A tour of Surprises, directed by Alan Ayckbourn, is launched from the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.

23 March 2013
The tour of Surprises, directed by Alan Ayckbourn, finishes at Richmond Theatre.

26 September 2013
The UK Theatre Awards announce Surprises is one of three nominations for the Best New Play Award.

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