Standing Room Only: 10 Facts

10 Facts offer an at a glance guide to some of the key information relating to Alan Ayckbourn's plays.
  • Standing Room Only is Alan Ayckbourn's 4th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, on 13 July 1961.
  • It is the first Ayckbourn play to have a professional production in London (although not in the West End), when it was performed for one night at the British Council's London Oversea Students' Centre by Cygnet Productions on 12 June 1966.
  • It was the final play to be attributed to Alan Ayckbourn's writing pseudonym Roland Allen...
  • However, when it was revived in 1963, it was credited to Alan Ayckbourn - also making it the first play to be attributed to Alan Ayckbourn.
  • Stephen Joseph originally asked for a play set in Venus dealing with the over-population of the planet after Earth had also become over-populated and decamped to Venus. Alan though this was unlikely and relocated the action to London in 2010.
  • Standing Room Only was the first Ayckbourn play to be directed by the author himself. Although the original production in Scarborough had been directed by Stephen Joseph, when the play was revived at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, in 1963, Alan directed the play himself.
  • It was the first Ayckbourn play to be optioned for a West End production. Peter Bridge, who would later produce Relatively Speaking in the West End, bought the rights to the play but despite Alan rewriting the play several times to better suit Bridge's vision for the piece, it was never produced in the West End.
  • Standing Room Only was also the first Ayckbourn play to be bought for television. In 1963, the popular ITV series Armchair Theatre purchased rights to the play with the intention of broadcasting it the following spring. The play was never filmed and Alan Ayckbourn was never made aware of why it was not produced.
  • The play was also partly inspired by Alan Ayckbourn's love of science / speculative fiction writing when he was growing up and is the first of his plays written in the science fiction genre; other notable science fiction plays by Alan Ayckbourn include Henceforward…, Communicating Doors and Comic Potential. The name of the mysterious character Nemo is also a nod to the classic writer Jules Verne - the name, of course, meaning no-one.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.