Advocates: Harold Pinter (1930 - 2008)

Harold Pinter CBE was a Nobel prize winning playwright, writer, director and actor regarded as one of the most influential British playwrights of the 20th century. His plays include The Birthday Party, Homecoming and Betrayal and he also transitioned successful to screenplay writing. He directed Alan Ayckbourn in 1959 in The Birthday Party and was a huge influence on the young playwright, who cites Pinter as one of his major influences.


"What he has given to theatre is immeasurable. I take my hat off to him."

"A very serious playwright. He has a searchlight on behaviour."

A Chorus Of Approval (1999)
In 1999, the Stephen Joseph Theatre held a special event to mark Alan Ayckbourn's 60th birthday. This was accompanied by a publication including tributes from some of the people he has worked with. This is a complete transcript of the contribution.

"In 1959 I was invited by Stephen Joseph to go up to Scarborough to direct my play The Birthday Party. Amongst the cast on the first day was a slim, pale, sensitive actor called Alan Ayckbourn. He was playing Stanley. He asked me if I could tell him something about Stanley's background: parents, upbringing, education, etc.

According to him (some years later) my reply to this line of enquiry was "Mind your own fucking business. Just say the lines”. I can't believe I actually did say that but it's too good a story to deny. When I heard that he had given up acting and taken up writing I thought he had made a profound mistake. He was born to play

"But now he's written about three thousand plays and reached the age of sixty, I must conclude that he made the right decision. In fact, there's no question about it. What he has given to the theatre is immeasurable. I take my hat off to him."
Copyright: Harold Pinter. All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd, please credit this website if reproduced.