Advocates: Benedict Nightingale (1930 - 2017)

Benedict Nightingale was a journalist and theatre critic who worked extensively on The Guardian and The Times. As a critic he reviewed many West End premieres of Alan Ayckbourn's work and as a journalist, he conducted a humber of significant interviews with Alan Ayckbourn including Alan's first major television documentary.


"There's nothing a genuinely modest person likes less than to be praised as genuinely modest, but, sorry, that's what Alan is. He's unassuming, unpretentious, generous and, if he'll forgive me, rather shy. He once told me that he thought London scary, New York too terrifying to contemplate, and Scarborough the big fast city as far as he was concerned. And think what he's done for his big fast city: converted its old Odeon cinema into a spanking theatre, given it play after play, put it on the national and international map as a theatrical centre. But perhaps it's also because Alan dislikes making himself conspicuous that we don't always appreciate what he is, a major dramatist and a dramatist built to last because he transforms seemingly small problems into universal insecurities and anxieties, deepening our laughter in the process. It's probably mad to second-guess the future when, for some of the reasons Alan diagnoses, there may not be much of a future. But I feel pretty confident in prophesying one thing. In 2110 and 2210 they'll still value and still perform Alan Ayckbourn. And that's one of the many reasons we want to honour him today."
Copyright: Benedict Nightingale. All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd, please credit this website if reproduced.