Relatively Speaking

Written by Alan Ayckbourn

Thurs 25th April - Sat 27th April & Tues 30th April - Sat 4th May 1991

Directed by David Hemsley-Brown

Will Greg marry Philip's wife? Or his aunt? Or his daughter? Will Ginny tour Europe with her father or her lover? And who writes to Sheila at the weekend? All will be revealed in the Bench Theatre's production of one of Alan Ayckbourn's best comedies.

AuthorAlan Ayckbourn

Alan Ayckbourn (b1939)

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 Molière 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 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 Special Award.

PlayRelatively Speaking

Relatively Speaking was first produced at The Library Theatre, Scarborough in 1965 with its London premiere 2 years later. The play takes place during a summer weekend in the bed-sitting room of Ginny's London flat and on the garden patio of Sheila and Philip's home in Buckinghamshire of that year. Greg and Ginny are in love and plan to marry. Greg finds a strange pair of slippers under the bed and is too besotted to believe they might have been left by another man (which would also explain the bunches of flowers and boxes of sweets filling Ginny's flat). When Ginny goes off for a day in the country - supposedly to visit her parents but actually to break things off with her older married lover, Philip - Greg decides to follow her. Showing up unannounced before Ginny, Greg asks for her hand from the man he thinks is her father, while Philip mistakenly believes that the strange young man is asking permission to marry Sheila, Philip's exceedingly befuddled wife. Once Ginny arrives, she convinces Philip to play the role of her father. Meanwhile, Greg still believes that Sheila is Ginny's mother. The situation is further complicated by a series of hilarious misunderstandings until no one (including the audience) can be exactly sure who's in love with whom.

Relatively Speaking poster image

The Bench Production

This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977. An additional performance (undocumented) was also given at Botley Park Hotel, Botley, Southampton.


GregAlan Jenkins
GinnyLisa Burrows
SheilaJane Hemsley-Brown
PhillipPeter le Feuvre


Director David Hemsley-Brown
Stage Manager Aislinn D'Souza
Assistant Stage Manager Rob Finn
Lighting Design Rob Finn Lorraine Wood
Lighting Operation Andrew Caple
Front of House David Hemsley-Brown

Production Photographs