Welcome to the Family: History

Welcome to the Family is Alan Ayckbourn's 88th produced full-length play, written during 2021 and premiered at The Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere, on 16 May 2023.

The play was initially written during the pandemic lockdown in 2021 with the intention of being produced at the Stephen Joseph Theatre during summer 2022. However, unhappy with the play, Alan instead wrote a different play
Family Album which was produced in its place.

Alan then began revising and rewriting
Welcome to the Family until he was happy with the play at which point he offered it to The Old Laundry Theatre for its Spring 2023 season. The company, which had had success the previous year with the world premiere of Alan's play All Lies, accepted the play. This made it the second world premiere of an Ayckbourn play to have taken place at The Old Laundry in two years. Prior to All Lies, it had been 35 years since Alan had previously not premiered a play at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

Although the basic plot is the same as to how it was conceived, the actual play differs significantly from the original play which had quite a dark, ambiguous ending; it is a rarity in that Alan's extensive notes prior to writing have survived and are in archive.

The play was cast in early 2023 and announced in March with Jamie Baughan playing the role of Josh; sadly Jamie injured himself soon afterwards and the role had to be recast with Antony Eden taking the role.

Rehearsals took place in the playwright's own rehearsal room in Scarborough before the company transferred to Bowness for tech week with the play running from 12 to 27 May 2023. Initial plans to tour the production on a limited basis sadly didn't come to fruition.

Welcome to the Family received a 4 star review from The Times with 3 stars from The Telegraph and The Guardian and was a success for The Old Laundry Theatre.

As of writing, the play has not been published and isn't currently available to produce.

Article by and copyright of Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.