How The Other Half Loves

Written by Alan Ayckbourn

Thurs 1st July - Sat 3rd July & Thurs 8th July - Sat 10th July 1982

Directed by Eve Moore & Janet Simpson

'How The Other Half Loves' is an clever, funny and beautifully crafted play, which juggles time and space to present the lives and loves of three married couples. Like all of Ayckbourn's comedies it is about the precise interaction of sex and class in modern society.

AuthorAlan Ayckbourn

Alan Ayckbourn (b 1939)

Alan Ayckbourn is one of the most prolific and widely performed of living English language playwrights and a highly regarded theatre director. He has written 74 full length plays and has won Olivier, Tony and Moliere Awards for his work.

Ayckbourn was born in Hampstead and wrote his first play at prep school when he was about 10. After leaving school at 17, he began a temporary job at the Scarborough Library Theatre. In 1957, he married Christine Roland, another member of the company, and his first two plays were written jointly with her under the pseudonym of "Roland Allen". They had two sons, however the marriage had difficulties which eventually led to their separation in 1971. Neither he nor Christine sought a divorce for the next thirty years and it was only in 1997 that they formally divorced after which Ayckbourn married Heather Stoney.

In 1962 he became Associate Director of the Victoria Theatre Stoke-on-Trent and two years later he was a Radio Drama Producer for the BBC in Leeds. Ayckbourn established himself as a popular playwright in the the 1960s achieving West End successes with 'Relatively Speaking' and 'How The Other Half Loves'. In the 70s he returned to Scarborough as the Director of Productions.

In 2007, following a stroke announced he would step down from his then current role as Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Ayckbourn, however, continues to write and direct his own work at the theatre and in 2009, his contribution to theatre was recognised by the Olivier's Special Award.

PlayHow The Other Half Loves

'How The Other Half Loves' follows three married couples whose lives are hopelessly entwined. Frank employs Bob and William and is considering William for promotion. Bob is having an affair with the boss's (Frank's) wife and argues constantly with his own wife, Teresa. Frank and Fiona's marriage by contrast is polite and distant. Mary thinks (incorrectly) that William, her husband, is having an affair. The plot thickens when each of the adulterous parties, plays host to William and Mary at dinner parties on successive nights, both of which dinners end in disaster. As relations between partners deteriorate, matters become more confused and only the truth can restore order to chaos.

Ayckbourn was largely inspired by circumstance when it came to writing the play. At the time he was living in a council flat in Leeds, one of many identical flats. The inter-changeability of the rooms, differentiated only by their furnishings would play an obvious role in the play as he explored the use of space and time on stage. Other influences in shaping the play, according to Alan, were: "being drawn into the comet's tail of somebody else's breaking marriage" and a desire to "write a play which highlighted different and contrasting social lifestyles." The play premiered in 1969 at the Library Theatre, Scarborough to positive reviews.

The Bench Production

How The Other Half Loves poster image

This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.


Fiona FosterRuth Prior
Theresa PhillipsSylvia Brierley
Frank FosterDerek Cusdin
Bob PhillipsJon Philpot
William DetweilerTony Czapp
Mary DetweilerIngrid Corrigan


Directors Eve Moore
Janet Simpson
Stage Manager Robbie Cattermole
Assistant Stage Manager Jane Hart
Lighting Peter Holding
Sound Brian Smith
Costumes Jane Hart
Set Peter Holding
David Graham
Tony Adams

Director's Notes

I saw this American version of Alan Ayckbourn's play eight years ago in Canada and was so fascinated by the idea of two living rooms belonging to two different couples, contained in the same area that I thought it would be fun to produce. Now the opportunity has arisen for me to take in this production and I hope you will enjoy the play as much as I have enjoyed producing it. I must mention, in closing, the great help, support and hard work from a grand team both on and off stage.

Eve Moore

Production Photographs