The Ayckbourn Archive: The Square Cat

These Archival items and images related to Alan Ayckbourn's first full-length play, The Square Cat, are predominantly drawn from the Ayckbourn Archive at the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York and The Bob Watson Archive at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. Further details about the play can be found in The Square Cat section of Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website here.

The Square Cat (1955)

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Title: First Report (1959)
Copyright: The Stage
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: The earliest known press cutting regarding Alan Ayckbourn's first professionally produced play, The Square Cat, was published in The Stage newspaper on 7 May 1959. It mentions both the play and Alan's marriage to Christine Roland the following week. Notably the play is attributed to Alan rather than the pseudonym he would actually use for the play.

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Title: Marriage (1959)
Copyright: Unknown
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: A newspaper cutting circa May 1959 reporting on the marriage between Alan Ayckbourn and Christine Roland. The provenance is unknown but is local to Christine's parents. The piece makes mention of not only The Square Cat but, obviously, unsuccessful pitches for television scripts.

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Title: First Review (1959)
Copyright: The Scarborough News
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: This is the first ever review of an Alan Ayckbourn play and was carried in Scarborough's local newspaper, the Scarborough Evening News on 31 July 1959. Alan starred in The Square Cat as the Library Theatre's Artistic Director, Stephen Joseph, had challenged him to write a play - but with the proviso he took the lead role; for several years Alan saw playwriting merely as a means of propelling forward his own acting career.

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Title: The Square Cat (1959)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: The programme for The Square Cat. It is notable Alan's writing pseudonym is mis-spelt Roland Allan rather than Roland Allen (the name derives from the fact the play was a joint effort between Alan and his wife Christine Roland). Also Alan played a dual role of Jerry Wattis and Arthur Brummage in the play but no mention is made of the latter character.

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Title: The Square Cat - Cover (1959)
Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: The Borthwick Institute for Archives holds an original manuscript for Alan Ayckbourn's first play, The Square Cat. This is the cover page complete with notes by the author.

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Title: The Square Cat - Cast (1959)
Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: The Borthwick Institute for Archives holds an original manuscript for Alan Ayckbourn's first play, The Square Cat. This is the cast page for the play.

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Title: The Square Cat - Page 1 (1959)
Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: The Borthwick Institute for Archives holds an original manuscript for Alan Ayckbourn's first play, The Square Cat. This is the first page of the play complete with Alan's own notes.

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Title: The Square Cat - Page 2 (1959)
Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: The Borthwick Institute for Archives holds an original manuscript for Alan Ayckbourn's first play, The Square Cat. This is the second page of the manuscript.

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Title: Publicity Postcard (1959)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The Library Theatre frequently produced publicity postcards during its first decade of existence featuring scenes from its plays. This postcard features Alan Ayckbourn as Jerry Wattis in The Square Cat.

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Title: Contact Sheet (1959)
Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: A contact sheet for photographs taken during rehearsals of The Square Cat, probably by the Library Theatre manager Ken Boden.

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Title: Jerry & Arthur (1959)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: A composite photograph of Alan Ayckbourn in his dual roles of Jerry Wattis and Arthur Brummage in The Square Cat. This was achieved by physically cutting and pasting the right-hand figure onto an image of Jerry with space left in the photograph for a second figure.

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Title: Roland Allen (1959)
Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: A portrait of 'Roland Allen'; writer of The Square Cat. Alan wrote the play in conjunction with his first wife, Christine Roland, and when choosing a writing pseudonym he combined both their names to acknowledge Christine's contribution. This is a picture of the couple together on the set of the play.

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