“Ayckbourn at his best” – The Times

Following the national and international success of the Ayckbourn Ensemble, the Stephen Joseph Theatre Company returns to Bath with Alan Ayckbourn’s brand new play ROUNDELAY appearing at the Theatre Royal from Monday 2nd February to Saturday 7th February.

Alan Ayckbourn’s 78th play once again provides theatre which is both thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining. Roundelay is a total of five interconnected scenes: The Agent, The Judge, The Novelist, The Politician and The Star.  Written to be played in no particular order, four will be randomly selected by the audience prior to the performance. Some of the scenes are connected through shared characters, some through overlapping narrative. Which will you see? There are 120 possible combinations and no-one, including the actors, will know until 25 minutes before the play begins, when the sequence for the next performance will be determined by a draw at the Theatre Royal.

“Alan Ayckbourn is the undisputed master of ingenuities” – The Observer

Can Sir Thomas trust his memories? Is there more to Blanche than meets the eye? Will Roz achieve her show business ambitions and just what sort of agency does Gale run? Will you witness the skeleton in the politician’s cupboard or discover Russ’s first love?

Alan Ayckbourn says: “The over-riding theme is memory – what we choose to remember and to forget, false memories, personal histories we distort, the pasts we invent, memories that age takes away from us, long-forgotten memories which time restores to us, memories of the same events the details of which no two people ever quite share.

“The plays are all related. Some are sequels to others which turn out to be preludes to others. Each performance will unfold differently in this unique adventure in live theatre. Which order will you see? Nobody knows for certain, least of all us!”

Russell Dixon and Brooke Kinsella- Roundelay- Theatre Royal- photos by Tony Bartholomew- Theatre BathWell known on television for her role as Kelly Taylor in EastEnders, Brooke Kinsella makes her debut for the Stephen Joseph Theatre Company in this production.  Her theatre credits include Ayckbourn’s Time of My Life at the Royal & Derngate; Beautiful Thing on national tour; All The Single Ladies on tour; School Play at the Soho Theatre; and I Was Jimmy Lennon at London’s Riverside Studios. Her television work also includes London’s Burning, Law & Order, Holby City, Missing, Rose & Maloney, Jericho, The Vice, The Bill, Hope & Glory, and Maisie Raine.

Richard Stacey- Roundelay- Theatre Royal- photos by Tony Bartholomew- Theatre BathRichard Stacey returns to Bath after performing in last year’s Ayckbourn Ensemble. His previous appearances at the Theatre Royal include Alan Ayckbourn’s Surprises in 2013; Life and Beth (2009); A Trip to Scarborough (2008); If I Were You (2007); How The Other Half Loves for The Peter Hall Company 2007; and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing for The Peter Hall Company 2005. His television credits include Vera, The Return of Tracey Beaker and Peak Practice.

Russell Dixon and Richard Stacey- Roundelay- Theatre Royal- photos by Tony Bartholomew- Theatre BathRussell Dixon has performed with the RSC, the National Theatre and in the West End on many occasions. He played in the original productions of A Chorus of Disapproval, Woman in Mind, and Time of My Life for the Stephen Joseph Theatre, and was last seen at the Theatre Royal Bath in the Ayckbourn Ensemble last February. His television credits include Coronation Street, Northern Lights, Fat Friends, Peak Practice, Heartbeat, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Vice and Kavanagh Q.C.

Elizabeth Boag and Sarah Stanley were also seen last year on the critically acclaimed Ayckbourn Ensemble national and New York tour, where they appeared in Arrivals & Departures and Farcicals – including at the Theatre Royal Bath last February.

Nigel Hastings has toured to theatres across the UK, and performed with Shakespeare’s Globe, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, and in the West End, including Journey’s End. His many television credits include Soldier Soldier, The Shadow Line, Wire in the Blood, Doctors, A Touch of Frost, Hustle, and the much-loved comedy series, A Bit Of A Do.

The company is completed by Leigh Symonds, seen recently in The Hoarder for Stephen Joseph Theatre, and Krystle Hylton, who recently performed in Promise, Petty and Peak at Belgrade Theatre.

Alan Ayckbourn is one of the world’s greatest living playwrights. 2015 marks his 54th year as a theatre director and his 56th year as a playwright. To date he has written 78 plays and his work, which has been translated into over 35 languages, is performed on stage and television throughout the world and has won countless awards. He has also directed more than 300 productions. In the past four years, there have been revivals of Season’s Greetings and A Small Family Business at the National Theatre; and in the West End productions of Absent Friends, A Chorus of Disapproval and in 2013, Relatively Speaking, starring Felicity Kendal and directed by Lindsay Posner, which returned to Bath immediately prior to the West End. Between 1972 and 2009, Alan Ayckbourn was the Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough; he continues to guest direct at the theatre, which has premiered virtually all his plays.  In recent years, Alan Ayckbourn was inducted into American Theatre’s Hall of Fame; he received the 2010 Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts, and he became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to theatre.

The Stephen Joseph Theatre (SJT) celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Widely known for its world premieres of almost all of Alan Ayckbourn’s 78 plays and its commitment to new writing, it has premiered hundreds of plays since 1955 and toured to more than 45 national and international venues. The Ayckbourn Ensemble tour to New York in 2014 marked the company’s universally acclaimed fifth visit, and saw it named in TIME Magazine’s Top 10 Plays & Musicals of 2014 for Arrivals & Departures, and highly commended in New York Times’ Best Theatre of 2014.

ROUNDELAY appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 2nd February to Saturday 7th February.  Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 01225 448844 or from www.theatreroyal.org.uk