Advocates: Matthew Warchus

Matthew Warchus is a theatre director and the Artistic Director of the Old Vic theatre. As a student in Yorkshire, he was a frequent visitor to the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough where he experienced the work of Alan Ayckbourn. He notably directed The Old Vic's acclaimed and award-winning revival of The Norman Conquests, converting the theatre into an in-the-round space as a direct result of his experiences in Scarborough. The production transferred to Broadway where he received a Tony Award for Best Director.


"The Chekhov of our time."

"Alan's plays deal repeatedly with humiliation and embarrassment. He is a domestic terrorist, a guerrilla writer who has always been loved as an extremely gifted writer but what people can forget is how audacious and shocking he is. People are suspicious of prolific success, there seems to be the implication of triviality if you have success again and again."

"Ayckbourn's writing is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In an ordinary proscenium arch theatre the conventional comedy wins out over their subtle bleakness. In the round, you just have this island of agony. The shocking side, the sadness is more balanced with the laughs. It’s still as funny, but crueller."

“By taking suburban life, putting it in extremis then placing it on an exposed platform, what he’s doing is abstracting it, making it a distant cousin of Beckett or Pinter… I used to think that if I ran the Royal Court I’d have his name up outside in neon.”
Copyright: Matthew Warchus. All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd, please credit this website if reproduced.