Christmas V Mastermind: 10 Facts

10 Facts offer an at a glance guide to some of the key information relating to Alan Ayckbourn's plays.
  • Christmas V Mastermind is Alan Ayckbourn's fifth play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, on 26 December 1962.
  • It was the first of two plays to be premiered at the Victoria Theatre whilst Alan Ayckbourn was employed as an actor, director and playwright at the venue between 1962 and 1964. The other play was Mr Whatnot.
  • Christmas V Mastermind is one of only four plays written by Alan Ayckbourn which have not received their world premiere in Scarborough. The others are Mr Whatnot (Victoria Theatre); Jeeves (Her Majesty's Theatre, London) and A Small Family Business (National Theatre, London).
  • Christmas V Mastermind is the first play written by Alan Ayckbourn which is actually credited to Alan Ayckbourn. Prior to this play, he wrote under the pseudonym of Roland Allen (although to confuse matters, his fourth play Standing Room Only was originally credited to Roland Allen when first produced but is now credited to Alan Ayckbourn!)
  • Christmas V Mastermind is the second of Alan Ayckbourn's family plays - combined with the failure of his first Dad's Tale in 1960, Alan gave up writing plays for this audience for the next 26 years! However, his success with Mr A's Amazing Maze Plays in 1988 and subsequent plays has led him to become a passionate advocate of writing for young people and family audiences.
  • Alan Ayckbourn is credited in the Christmas V Mastermind programme as being co-director of the play - which would make this the first Ayckbourn play he directed. However, the playwright has no memory whatsoever of being involved in the directing process!
  • Christmas V Mastermind marked the final time Alan Ayckbourn would appear in one of his own plays; he would retire as a professional actor in 1964 to concentrate on his playwriting and directing careers.
  • It marked the first time the actress Heather Stoney would appear in an Alan Ayckbourn play. She would become one of the most prolific actors to appear in world premieres of Alan's plays. Heather Stoney is now Alan Ayckbourn's wife.
  • Christmas V Mastermind has never been published and is not available to produce; Alan withdrew it because he feels it comes from a period when he was learning his craft. The fact he also considers it the worst play he has ever written may also have something to do with it!
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.