A Word From Our Sponsor: In Brief

Key facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's A Word From Our Sponsor.
  • A Word From Our Sponsor is Alan Ayckbourn's 49th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 20 April 1995.
  • It was the final new Ayckbourn play to be staged at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round prior to its move in April 1996 to the company's new home, the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
  • It was the final production Alan Ayckbourn directed in the round at the venue which had been home to the company since 1976. It was also his penultimate production at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round as he would also direct Harold Pinter's Betrayal in the end-stage Studio Theatre in August 1995.
  • A Word From Our Sponsor was written with the composer John Pattison and it was their second full-length musical together following Dreams From A Summer House (1992).
  • The idea for A Word From Our Sponsor was conceived at least as early as 1993, but not as a musical. Unable to make its more 'exotic' elements work, Alan later realised the solution was to add music to it.
  • It is one of Alan Ayckbourn's plays set in a dystopian future where civilisation is, to all intents and purposes, collapsing. It follows in the footsteps of Henceforward… and Communicating Doors.
  • Following its world premiere production, the play immediately transferred to Chichester Festival Theatre - the first such collaboration between the venue and the Stephen Joseph Theatre. The two venues would also work together in 2012 on the co-production of Alan Ayckbourn's Surprises.
  • The play practically ends with the vicar, Harry, telling Valda "And - get thee behind me, all right?" This is a reference to the quote "Get thee behind me, Satan" found in the Bible in Luke chapter 4, verses 5 - 8 ("And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.") and Matthew chapter 16, verse 23 ("But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.").
  • Sadly, the play was over-shadowed by the tragic death of the actress Sophie Winter just prior to its final performance in Scarborough. Although it was later published and released for performance, it is a play Alan Ayckbourn believes he will never return to or revive.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without the permission of the copyright holder.