Confusions: Archive

The Archive highlights significant documents relating to Confusions which are held in Archive by either Alan Ayckbourn, the Ayckbourn Archive at the University of York or The Bob Watson Archive at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. All material is copyright protected and should not be reproduced.

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The genesis of Confusions lies in a totally different show. Alan was asked to submit a piece for an anthology play called Mixed Blessings (a ‘sequel’ to Mixed Doubles which Alan had written the sketch Countdown for). This is an extract from The Time’s review (18 September 1973) for the only production of Mixed Blessings. The show was not a success which led Alan to take back Mother Figure and incorporate it into Confusions. (Copyright: The Times)

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An image from rehearsals for the world premiere production of Confusions in 1974 at the Library Theatre, Scarborough. The scene being rehearsed is from Between Mouthfuls with (l to r) Janet Dale, Stanley Page, Stephen Mallatratt, Christopher Godwin and Eileen O’Brien. (Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust)

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Alan Ayckbourn’s early notes for Confusions are held in the Ayckbourn Archive at the University of York (and further examples can be found at Behind The Scenes). This note shows Alan working out which actors will play which role in which play. If you look closely you can see a line showing which characters link each of the first four plays (Lucy To Harry, Waiter to Waiter, Emma to Emma). Also note although Alan has four actors in mind (Stanley Page, Christopher Godwin, Stephen Mallatratt and Eileen O’Brien), he hadn’t yet chosen an actor for Lucy and the associated roles. (Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn)

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A telegram from Alan Ayckbourn’s noted agent Margaret ‘Peggy’ Ramsay congratulating him on the success of Confusions at the Library Theatre, Scarborough. (Copyright: Alan Ayckbourn)

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An interesting news report from the Amateur Stage magazine (January 1978). In October 1978, Ashford Theatre Workshop entered Mother Figure into the Spelthorne Drama Festival. And the story would have ended there, had they not been a success. The group won first place, which was reported in the local newspaper and picked up by a press cuttings agency. Unfortunately, at this time Confusions hadn’t been licensed for amateur performance. The article led to Samuel French issuing the stern statement published in Amateur Stage; it is not known what action Samuel French took against the offending group. (Copyright: Amateur Stage)

All material on this page is copyright of the respective person(s) / organisation(s) and should not be reproduced without permission of the copyright holder / holding organisation.