Better Off Dead: Facts

Key facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Better Off Dead.
  • Better Off Dead is Alan Ayckbourn's 82nd play.
  • The world premiere was held on 11 September 2018 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.
  • A first glimpse of the play was offered when an extract was presented during A Brief History of Ayckbourn event during September 2017 celebrating Alan Ayckbourn's 60 years with the Stephen Joseph Theatre. The extract featured the actors Christopher Godwin and Matthew Cottle.
  • It is the first time an Ayckbourn play has featured a central character who is a writer; the playwright denies that despite apparent similarities he is based on himself.
  • The play features a character called Jason Ratcliffe, however this is not the same Jason Ratcliffe who appears in the play Drowning On Dry Land. Alan liked the name and hadn't even realised he had used it previously, but upon realising it was a repeat, he still decided to keep the name for Better Off Dead despite it being a completely different character.
  • The original production featured the actor Christopher Godwin as Algy. Christopher was - during the 1970s - a key member of Alan's company at the Library Theatre and the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round. He originated the roles of Norman in The Norman Conquests, Dennis in Just Between Ourselves, Leonard in Time And Time Again, Colin in Absent Friends and Trevor in Bedroom Farce amongst others. Better Off Dead marked the first time he had worked with Alan Ayckbourn since 1978 and his first Ayckbourn world premiere since 1977.
  • It is one of the few Ayckbourn plays to be set in Yorkshire and identifiably set in the Esk Valley near Whitby. Other Yorkshire set plays include Haunting Julia and A Chorus Of Disapproval.
  • The programme for the world premiere production included an extract from Algy's fictional DCI Middlebrass book Final Fanfare - written by Alan Ayckbourn himself.
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