RolePlay (Damsels In Distress): Facts

Key facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's RolePlay.
  • RolePlay is Alan Ayckbourn's 60th play play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 4 September 2001.
  • The London premiere was held at the Duchess Theatre on 7 September 2002.
  • Damsels In Distress is one of only two trilogies written by Alan Ayckbourn; the other being The Norman Conquests (1973). It is occasionally incorrectly stated that Alan Ayckbourn's three supernatural plays (Haunting Julia, Snake In The Grass and Life & Beth) also comprise a trilogy, but the playwright himself does not consider them to be a trilogy.
  • The plays are set in riverside apartments in London's Docklands, where Alan Ayckbourn himself owns an apartment.
  • GamePlan and FlatSpin were conceived as a duology to be played in repertory. The plays only became a trilogy when during rehearsals for FlatSpin, Alan Ayckbourn announced to the company he had had an idea for a third play for the company, which became RolePlay.
  • The plays were written to be performed by the same cast of seven (three male / four females) on the same set; although the set does represent three different apartments and there is no narrative link or recurring characters in the three plays.
  • The trilogy marked the final time - as of writing - that Alan Ayckbourn has allowed his latest play to transfer directly to London's West End. Since 2002, no plays written after the Damsels In Distress trilogy have been performed in the West End due to Alan's anger at the treatment of the trilogy in the West End. There have been revivals of earlier work though since 2007.
  • RolePlay was described by Alan Ayckbourn as a 'dark farce' and is the first Ayckbourn play to feature a lap dance!
  • The actress Alison Pargeter won the Best Newcomer in the 2003 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards for her roles in the trilogy.
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