The Ayckbourn Archive: The Norman Conquests

These Archival items and images related to Alan Ayckbourn's acclaimed and award-winning trilogy, The Norman Conquests, 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 The Norman Conquests section of Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website here.

The Norman Conquests (1973)

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Title: Make Yourself At Home (1973)
Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: When The Norman Conquests premiered at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1973, two of the plays had different titles (and it was not actually called The Norman Conquests then). This is an original manuscript for Make Yourself At Home (later retitled Living Together) with Alan Ayckbourn's notes on the cover.

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Title: Programme (1973)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The world premiere production of The Norman Conquests at the Library Theatre did not feature a true programme / playbill. A single double-sided card with pertinent cast details was stapled into a brochure (pictured above) for the summer season. Mint condition editions are thus very rare.

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Title: Norman (1973)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: A publicity image from the world premiere of The Norman Conquests at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, with Christopher Godwin in the role of Norman.

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Title: Contact Sheet (1973)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: A contact sheet of images for publicity purposes for the world premiere of The Norman Conquests last the Library Theatre in 1973. It features both action from the play and staged publicity shots.

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Title: Fancy Meeting You (1973)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The 'programme / playbill' for the world premiere of Fancy Meeting You (later retitled Table Manners) at the Library Theatre. It featured only cast and company details alongside a brief introduction by Alan Ayckbourn. Note how the trilogy was not originally known or advertised as The Norman Conquests. The reverse side featured the actors' biographies.

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Title: Make Yourself At Home (1973)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The 'programme / playbill' for the world premiere of Make Yourself At Home (later retitled Living Together) at the Library Theatre. It featured only cast and company details alongside a brief introduction by Alan Ayckbourn. Note how the trilogy was not originally known or advertised as The Norman Conquests. The reverse side featured the actors' biographies.

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Title: Round & Round The Garden (1973)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: The 'programme / playbill' for the world premiere of Round & Round The Garden at the Library Theatre. It featured only cast and company details alongside a brief introduction by Alan Ayckbourn. Note how the trilogy was not originally known or advertised as The Norman Conquests. The reverse side featured the actors' biographies.

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Title: Greenwich Theatre (1974)
Copyright: Greenwich Theatre
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: The Norman Conquests only gained its famous trilogy title when it transferred to London in 1974. It initially premiered at the Greenwich Theatre (programme cover above), directed by Alan Ayckbourn, before transferring into the West End.

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Title: Programme Note
Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: Alan Ayckbourn's programme note for the London premiere of The Norman Conquests at Greenwich Theatre, explaining that there is no correct order to seeing the trilogy (or that it doesn't even need to be seen as a trilogy); even today, the playwright is asked what the correct order of seeing / staging the plays is - there isn't one!

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Title: Los Angeles (1975)
Copyright: To be confirmed
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: Following its success in London, it was quickly decided to transfer The Norman Conquests to Broadway via Los Angeles with Eric Thompson directing the trilogy fresh from the West End. This is the playbill cover for the L.A. premiere which stands as one of the strangest poster images for the trilogy ever conceived.

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Title: Publication (1975)
Copyright: Chatto & Windus
Archive: Private Collection

Description: The Norman Conquests marked the first time a mass-market edition of Alan Ayckbourn's plays was published. Chatto & Windus published a hardback edition of the trilogy in 1975 and it has never been put of publication since.

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Title: USA Publication (1979)
Copyright: Grove Press Inc
Archive: Private Collection

Description: As with the UK, the first mass market publication of an Ayckbourn play in North America was The Norman Conquests. This edition was published by Grove Press Inc. in 1979.

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Title: Television (1977)
Copyright: Thames Television
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: Following its West End success, The Norman Conquests had huge success in both the UK and North America with a TV adaption starring Tom Conti as Norman. It was first broadcast over three weeks from 5 October 1977 and has been credited with bringing Alan Ayckbourn to the wider American public, such was its popularity. This is a publicity still from the adaptation with Richard Briers, Tom Conti, Penelope Wilton, David Troughton and Felicity Kendal.

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Title: Revival Designs (1993)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: During 1993, Alan Ayckbourn revived The Norman Conquests at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round, Scarborough, directing the trilogy for the first time since its world premiere in 1973. A number of ideas to promote the trilogy were conceived all based on three images (one for each play). This condom theme was the most unusual idea!

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Title: Revival Designs (1993)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: During 1993, Alan Ayckbourn revived The Norman Conquests at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round, Scarborough, directing the trilogy for the first time since its world premiere in 1973. A number of ideas to promote the trilogy were conceived all based on three images (one for each play).

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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Title: Revival Designs (1993)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: During 1993, Alan Ayckbourn revived The Norman Conquests at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round, Scarborough, directing the trilogy for the first time since its world premiere in 1973. A number of ideas to promote the trilogy were conceived all based on three images (one for each play).

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Title: Revival Company (1993)
Copyright: The Scarborough News
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: A photograph of Alan Ayckbourn (top left) with the company of his 1993 revival of The Norman Conquests at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round. The image was taken for an article published in The Scarborough Evening News.

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Title: Living Together Design (1993)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: A sketch by Alan Ayckbourn illustrating the layout for his in-the-round revival of Living Together at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round in 1993. Note the reference to the 'gramophone'; Alan believes all his plays are period pieces and should always be set in the era when they were written.

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Title: Table Manners Design (1993)
Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Archive: The Bob Watson Archive

Description: A sketch by Alan Ayckbourn illustrating the layout for his in-the-round revival of Table Manners at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round in 1993.

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Title: Broadway (2009)
Copyright: The Old Vic
Archive: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Description: In 2008, The Old Vic revived an acclaimed and award-winning production of The Norman Conquests, directed by Matthew Warchus. The following year, this production transferred to The Circle In The Square, New York, where it received the most awards of any Ayckbourn production yet staged on Broadway.

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