Ayckbourn, Sir Alan (ākˈbôrn) [key], 1939–, English playwright and director, b. London. One of Britain's most successful and prolific dramatists, he had his first play produced in 1959 and since then has written more than 50 works for the theater. He is known for the wit and ingenuity with which he portrays the foibles and anxieties of England's suburban middle class and their conflicts with those in the social spheres above and below them. Since 1970, Ayckbourn has been artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Company in Scarborough, where he began his career, and he has taught at the Univ. of Oxford since 1992. His antibourgeois farces, many of which were also produced in the United States and a number of which have been televised, include How the Other Half Loves (1970); Absurd Person Singular (1973); The Norman Conquests (1974), a trilogy; Bedroom Farce (1975); Season's Greetings (1982); the darker A Small Family Business (1987); Man of the Moment (1990); Communicating Doors (1995); Things We Do for Love (1998); Comic Potential (2000); and a paired comedy of manners, House and Garden (2001). Ayckbourn, who was knighted in 1997, has also written musicals and plays for children.
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