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Hero’s Welcome for Alan Ayckbourn’s 79th World Premiere at The Stephen Joseph Theatre

Hero's Welcome cast

There's a Hero's Welcome for Alan Ayckbourn's latest play which premieres at the Stephen Joseph Theatre next month.

In its 60th anniversary year, the theatre stages the 79th play from the author which can be seen in Scarborough from 4 September to 3 October before a UK in the round tour.

Seventeen years ago, Murray fled the neighbourhood under somewhat of a cloud and certain local folk have long memories, not least Alice, the mayor, whom he left standing at the altar. Once the welcome flags have stopped waving and the town band has ceased playing, few of his friends seem particularly happy to see him back.

Murray’s declared intention of staying put and settling down with his new bride threatens to stir up all sorts of old rivalries and resentments. Suddenly the couple, in search of peace, find themselves once more in the firing line.

Alan Ayckbourn says:

"Hero’s Welcome is about the prodigal son, Murray, coming back to his home town. He’s one of my anti-heroes really, a squaddie who has got all the good qualities that I like although he got trapped in his early days by the machinations of sexual politics and ran away at the altar. It explores the male rivalry between Murray and an old friend, Brad, who is fiercely competitive and will go to any lengths to win."

Hero’s Welcome is one of three Ayckbourn works being performed at the SJT this year. The playwright’s first major revival of his 1974 comedy Confusions opened in July and will run in rep with this latest premiere until 26 September.

Actor Terenia Edwards joins the Confusions company in her first professional stage role since graduating from the Central School of Speech and Drama in June. She plays Murray’s new bride, Baba. Richard Stacey takes on the returning war hero Murray (Arrivals & Departures, Surprises - SJT), Stephen Billington is best friend Brad (Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Braveheart), Emma Manton (Love’s Labour’s Lost, Love’s Labour’s Won - Royal Shakespeare Company; The Office) plays Kara, wife of Brad, and daughter Simone. Elizabeth Boag (Arrivals & Departures, Farcicals - SJT) appears as the mayor, Alice, with Russell Dixon (Roundelay, Time of My Life, A Chorus of Disapproval - SJT) as Derek, her model-train-obsessed husband.

The cast, plus special guests, will also present a semi-staged gala reading of Ayckbourn’s epic new work, The Divide. This five-part satire of the sexes, written for more than 30 voices, will be performed at the SJT on Sunday 27 September exclusively for the 60th anniversary year.

Following its Scarborough premiere, Hero’s Welcome will tour in the round with Confusions to the New Vic, Newcastle under Lyme from 6 to 24 October and to The Old Laundry Theatre in Bowness-on-Windermere from 3 to 14 November.

Tickets to Hero’s Welcome and Confusions, priced from £10 to £24.50, and tickets to The Divide, from £15, are available from the Box Office on 01723 370541 and online at

Hero’s Welcome for Alan Ayckbourn’s 79th World Premiere at The Stephen Joseph Theatre Reviewed by Editor on 19:58:00 Rating: 5

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