Relatively Speaking by Alan Ayckbourn


Relatively Speaking was originally titled Meet My Father when it opened at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, on 8 July 1965.

Meet My Father is the seventh of Alan’s plays and marked his first play at the Library Theatre for four years. His previous two plays had premiered at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.

Meet My Father was the last Ayckbourn play to be directed by Stephen Joseph and the final Ayckbourn play not to have its world premiere directed by the author himself.

Relatively Speaking is remembered as Alan’s first West End hit, but it was not the first of his plays to go into the West End. The first was actually Mr Whatnot in 1964; Relatively Speaking was just Alan’s first West End success.

Relatively Speaking opened in the West End on 29 March 1967 directed by Nigel Patrick and starring Richard Briers, Celia Johnson, Michael Hordern and Jennifer Hilary.

Relatively Speaking was the first Ayckbourn play to be published. Despite being given to the publishers Evans in 1967, the play took more than two years to reach publication.

Relatively Speaking is the first Ayckbourn play to be adapted for television and the only one to have been adapted twice for British television – both by the BBC – with productions in 1969 and 1989. 8 Alan Ayckbourn has revived the piece professionally twice. The first time in 1977 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round. The second time in 2007 at the present Stephen Joseph Theatre.


Alan Ayckbourn is an Olivier, Tony and Moliere award winning playwright who has, to date, written 76 plays, more than half of which have been produced in London’s West End as well as on Broadway and around the world.

As an acclaimed director, he has worked extensively in the West End and has also run his own company at the National Theatre.

Between 1972 and 2009, he was the Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, where the majority of his work has, and continues to be, premiered.

Ayckbourn is often quoted as being “the second most performed playwright after Shakespeare”. If the truth be told, this is a statement that is practically impossible to verify but he is undoubtedly, one of the most frequently performed playwrights in England (particularly if you include both amateur and professional productions) and is extensively performed in Europe and in America. His plays have been translated into more than 35 languages and there are productions of his work constantly taking place around the globe.