Roundelay: In Brief

Key Facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Roundelay.
  • Roundelay is Alan Ayckbourn's 78th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 9 September 2014.
  • It is one of Alan Ayckbourn's 'chance' plays in which the order of the plays consisting Roundelay are randomly chosen by the audience prior to each performance. Other chance plays include Sisterly Feelings, It Could Be Any One Of Us and Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays.
  • The play was initially inspired by Chris Ware's award-winning graphic novel Building Stories in which the reader chooses the order in which to read the stories within, affecting the story and each individual reader's perception of events.
  • It went through several title changes including I.O.U. and Order Of Appearance before settling on Roundelay.
  • Roundelay has five plays - The Agent, The Judge, The Novelist, The Politician and The Star - with a possible 120 permutations; the order randomly decided by the public just prior to performance.
  • During the initial run at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, there were 35 performances of which there were three repeated permutations; a complete list of performed permutations (and repeats) for the 2014 run of Roundelay can be found on the Statistics page.
  • Due to its three hour running time, it was briefly considered either performing only four of the five plays each evening or dropping one of the plays entirely during its world premiere run; but the play was performed complete as originally intended.
  • Uniquely since Alan's retirement as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2009, Roundelay did not play in repertory with another Ayckbourn play. Whilst the new musical adaptation of Alan's play The Boy Who Fell Into A Book opened in the same season, it did not run in repertory due to having an entirely different cast because of the differing cast needs of a musical and play.
  • The lottery balls used to choose the permutations of the play prior to each performance were made by Alan's son, Steven Ayckbourn.
  • Like Alan's previous works The Norman Conquests and House & Garden, Roundelay plays with audiences perceptions and expectations. How we perceive characters and events is altered by the order in which we see the plays and the prior information we hold as each play begins.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.

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