Neighbourhood Watch: Behind The Scenes

Behind The Scenes offers a glimpse at some rarely known facts regarding the writing of Alan Ayckbourn's plays with material drawn from the Ayckbourn Archive at the University Of York and the playwright's personal archive.
  • There is evidence that Alan Ayckbourn intended to write a play several years prior to this with the same title. Handwritten notes, held in the Ayckbourn Archive, exist for an unwritten play with the title Life Of Riley. The plot outline is substantially different to the actual plot of Life Of Riley and features characters and names which were used in subsequent plays such as Winnie Barnstairs in My Wonderful Day (2009).
  • Life Of Riley is the first play in which Alan makes a self-reference. Although previous plays referenced characters and locations of other plays (such as the town of Pendon), Life Of Riley is the first play to reference Alan Ayckbourn himself as the opening scene begins with two characters rehearsing lines from Alan's breakout play Relatively Speaking.
  • Alan has emphasised on several occasions that the character of Riley is not based on or inspired by any specific person and that it is up to the audience to draw their own conclusions about Riley from the perspectives of the other characters. However, the playwright has said that the general appearance of Riley that is presented during the play was inspired by a specific audience member at the Stephen Joseph Theatre who does not live in Scarborough, but who regularly visited the venue to see Alan's plays and who the playwright had spoken to on a number of occasions.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.