Born in London in 1939, Alan Ayckbourn spent most of his childhood in Sussex and was educated at Haileybury. Leaving there one Friday at the age of seventeen, he went into the theatre the following Monday and has been working in it ever since as, variously, a stage manager, sound technician, scene painter, prop-maker, actor, writer and director. These last two talents he developed thanks to his mentor, Stephen Joseph, whom he first met in 1958 upon joining his newly formed Studio Theatre Company in Scarborough. A BBC Radio Drama Producer from 1965 to 1970, upon the death of Stephen Joseph, he returned to Scarborough to become the company's Artistic Director. He holds the post to this day, though the theatre is now named after its founder. He is the author of over fifty plays, most of which received their first performance at this Yorkshire theatre, were he spends the greater part of the year directing other people's work. More than half of his plays have subsequently been produced in the West End, at the Royal National Theatre or at the Royal Shakespeare Company. They have been translated into over thirty languages, are seen on stage and television throughout the world, and have received many national and international awards. Alan Ayckbourn was appointed a CBE in 1987 and in 1997 became to first playwright knighted since Terence Rattigan. He lives in London.