Taking Steps: 10 Facts

10 Facts offer an at a glance guide to some of the key information relating to Alan Ayckbourn's plays.
  • Taking Steps is Alan Ayckbourn's 24th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 28 September 1979.
  • The London premiere took place at the Lyric Theatre on 2 September 1980, directed by Michael Rudman. However, due to it not being staged as intended in-the-round and a general disappointment with the production, Alan Ayckbourn considers the Orange Tree Theatre's 2010 production to be the first London production that reflected the play as written and his intentions.
  • The Broadway premiere of the play took place at Circle In The Square Theatre, New York, on 20 February 1991. Unlike the West End premiere, this production - directed by Alan Strachan - was presented in-the-round.
  • It is the only play written by Alan Ayckbourn specifically intended to be performed in-the-round (although arguably How The Other Half Loves is a play which only realises its full potential in-the-round). Although most of Alan Ayckbourn's plays are premiered in-the-round and, arguably, work best in this staging, he feels very few cannot be adapted successfully for the end-stage - with the notable exception being Taking Steps.
  • Alan Ayckbourn considers the play to be his only true full-length farce. Whilst he has been frequently labelled a farceur, objectively, only How The Other Half Loves and the withdrawn plays The Square Cat and Love After All could seriously be considered as farces (as well as, obviously, the two one act plays which comprise Farcicals).
  • Taking Steps is dedicated to the master farceur Ben Travers (1886 - 1980).
  • The idea of having three floors occupying the same space is a development of an idea first used by Alan Ayckbourn in How The Other Half Loves (1969) which had two different rooms occupying the same stage space simultaneously.
  • The first night of the original production at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, is renowned at the venue for the volume of laughter both blowing the relay system and adding an extra 17 minutes onto the running time that evening!
  • The London premiere of the play marked the final time - as of writing - that Alan Ayckbourn has allowed anyone but himself to direct the West End premiere of his plays.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.