No Knowing: History

No Knowing is a one act play in two parts / scenes - Knowing Him and Knowing Her - by Alan Ayckbourn which premiered in December 2016 at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough.

The play was initially conceived by Alan Ayckbourn for his 2016 summer company as a means of keeping the Ayckbourn company together at the
Stephen Joseph Theatre between the traditional autumn in-the-round tour and the January end-stage tour; this break traditionally lasts between two to three months and Alan had become frustrated by the issues associated with the length of such a break for the company.

Although Alan hoped
No Knowing would be announced with his three other 2016 shows at the SJT, the play was announced as part of the venue's winter season in September 2016. His concept for his company for the year being the season would start with five actors in The Karaoke Theatre Company, four of whom would go into Consuming Passions. The remaining actor would pass into Alan's revival of Henceforward… alongside four new actors, who would also appear in No Knowing. The idea being every one of the nine actors appeared in two Ayckbourn plays at the SJT during 2016 before heading off on tour in 2017.

The play offers an insight into a couple's marriage on their 40th wedding anniversary and referring back to the previous Christmas, which offers a very different perspective of the couple's marriage as their secrets are revealed to each of them by their children. It is interesting to note that the play's anniversary speech by the husband directly references a frequently retold quote by the playwright himself about marriage and how young people have no real idea of the commitment they are making if they marry young.

The play opened in the end-stage McCarthy auditorium at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on 1 December 2016 featuring a single kitchen set cleverly designed by Kevin Jenkins. It proved to be a very popular and successful production for the theatre with some warm reviews including four stars from the Daily Telegraph.

No Knowing was published by Samuel French in 2020 and is now available for both professional and amateur performance.

Article by Simon Murgatroyd. Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.