Absent Friends: Significant Productions

This page contains details of significant productions of Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends, such as the world and London premieres as well as Ayckbourn-directed revivals. It is not a complete list of productions given how frequently it has been performed by professionals and amateur companies around the world.

World Premiere (1974)

First Performance: 17 June 1974
World premiere: 17 June 1974
Venue: Library Theatre, Scarborough
Staging: Round

Director: Alan Ayckbourn
Costumes: Christine Welch

Stage Manager: David Millard
Deputy Stage Manager: Trevor John-Smith
Assistant Stage Manager: Helga Wood
Assistant Stage Manager: Kevin Wood

Character
Paul
Diana
John
Evelyn
Colin
Marge

Actor
Ronald Herdman
Heather Stoney
Stephen Mallatratt
Eileen O’Brien
Christopher Godwin
Janet Dale

London Premiere (1975)

Premiere: 23 July 1975
Closed: 24 April 1976
Venue: Garrick Theatre, London
Staging: End-stage

Director: Eric Thompson
Design: Derek Cousins
Lighting: Nick Chelton

Character
Paul
Diana
John
Evelyn
Colin
Marge

Actor
Peter Bowles
Pat Heywood
Ray Brooks
Cheryl Kennedy
Richard Briers
Phyllida Law

Tour (1982)

First performance: 16 March 1982
Final performance: 4 April 1982
Venue: Alley Theatre, Houston
Staging: Round

Director: Alan Ayckbourn
Design: Edward Lipscomb
Lighting: Francis Lynch
Actors
Robin Bowerman
Carole Boyd
Robin Herford
Lavinia Bertram
Susan Uebel
Graeme Eton
Gillian Bevan

Note: In 1982, Alan Ayckbourn and the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round company had a two month residency at the Alley Theatre, Houston. The recently premiered Way Upstream was produced alongside an entirely new production of Absent Friends. Sadly details about this production are very sparse and no details are held in the Stephen Joseph Theatre or the Ayckbourn archives. Whilst the technical details are correct, it is not known which six of the seven-strong acting company were involved nor which roles they played. The complete list of the acting company for the residency is given for reference.

New York Premiere (1991)

Premiere: 29 January 1991
Closed: 15 March 1991
Company: Manhattan Theatre Club
Venue:
City Center Stage, New York
Staging: End-stage

Director: Lynn Meadow
Design: John Lee Beatty
Lighting: Ken Billington
Costumes: Jane Greenwood

Character
Paul
Diana
John
Evelyn
Colin
Marge

Actor
David Purdham
Brenda Blethyn
John Curtess
Gillian Anderson
Peter Frechette
Ellen Parker

Revival (1997)

First performance: 8 October 1997
Premiere: 9 October 1997
Final performance: 15 November 1997
Venue: Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
Staging: Round

Director: Alan Ayckbourn
Design: Roger Glossop
Lighting: Mick Hughes

Stage Manager: Richard Clayton
Deputy Stage Manager: Harry Teale
Assistant Stage Manager: Caroline Healey

Character
Paul
Diana
John
Evelyn
Colin
Marge

Actor
Paul Raffield
Janet Dibley
Tyler Butterworth
Tamzin Outhwaite
Martin Ball
Jacqueline King

London Revival (2012)

First performance: 26 January 2012
Premiere: 9 February 2012
Closing Night: 14 April 2012
Venue: Harold Pinter Theatre, London
Staging: End-stage

Director: Jeremy Herrin
Design: Tom Scutt
Lighting: Peter Mumford
Sound: Ian Dickinson (for Autograph)

Character
Paul
Diana
John
Evelyn
Colin
Marge

Actor
Steffan Rhodri
Katherine Parkinson
David Armand
Kara Tointon
Reece Shearsmith
Elizabeth Berrington

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.

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