The Divide: Frequently Asked Questions

Alan Ayckbourn's Archivist Simon Murgatroyd's answers some of the most frequently asked questions about Alan Ayckbourn's The Divide.

What exactly is Alan Ayckbourn's The Divide?
It was written as a narrative for voices. It is a piece of work that tells its story through reportage, diary entries, newspaper cuttings, minutes, first hand reports and other elements. It can be read, given as a rehearsed reading or fully staged.

What number in the Ayckbourn play canon is The Divide?
As The Divide is not, strictly speaking, a play, it does not have a number and is not considered one of the Alan Ayckbourn's full-length play canon. It was written in 2015 and within this website is labelled as one of the playwright's 'other works'.

When was it actually premiered?
This depends. It was first publicly performed in a semi-staged reading at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 27 September 2015. However, its premier as a staged work is considered to be The Old Vic's production which premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival on 11 August 2017, directed by Annabel Bolton.

What is the difference between the semi-staged reading and the staged work?
The semi-staged reading was brought together over a single weekend at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and featured actors in simple costumes reading The Divide from the script with basic lighting and sound. The staged work is adapted as a full stage performance with both choral and music elements, multi-media, costume and full lighting set over a two part performance. It has been adapted from the original script with a framing device to allow for this staging. The staged work is, at it implies, a full, professional staged production of the work.

Will The Divide be published?
Alan Ayckbourn hopes The Divide will one day be published as a book, allowing the reportage nature of the piece to be seen through the book design.

What led The Old Vic to stage The Divide at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2017?
The original semi-staged reading was seen by Annabel Bolton, an Associate Director at the Old Vic, who had also previously worked at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Enthusiastic about the piece, she took a copy of the script home with her and presented it and a plan for staging to the Old Vic's Artistic Director, Matthew Warchus, who agreed - along with Alan Ayckbourn's blessing - to let Annabel develop it for the stage.

Could it be adapted to other formats?
Yes. It would particularly suit radio, but the piece is flexible enough to be considered for a variety of different media.

All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd.