Mr Whatnot: A Timeline

The Timeline offers a chronological view of significant events in the history of the play Mr Whatnot; it only lists major productions and does not include the vast majority of the many professional and amateur productions of the play.

Stephen Joseph forms the first permanent theatre-in-the-round venue in the UK at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent. Alan Ayckbourn leaves the Library Theatre, Scarborough, to join the company as actor, writer and director.

12 November 1963
World premiere of Mr Whatnot at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, directed by Alan Ayckbourn.

November 1963
The producer Peter Bridge options Mr Whatnot for a London production.

April 1964
Alan Ayckbourn leaves the Victoria Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.

6 August 1964
London premiere of Mr Whatnot at the New Arts Theatre, London, directed by Warren Jenkins.

22 August 1964
Mr Whatnot closes at the New Arts Theatre, London.

October 1964
Stephen Joseph commissions Alan to write a new play for the Library Theatre, Scarborough, for summer 1965. Despite considering giving up writing in the immediate aftermath of Mr Whatnot's London production and its critical mauling, he agrees to write what will become Relatively Speaking.

December 1964
Alan Ayckbourn joins BBC Leeds as a Radio Drama Producer.

5 November 1968
Alan Ayckbourn directs an amateur production of Mr Whatnot featuring Leeds Art Theatre at Leeds Civic Theatre. The role of Mint is taken by an aspiring actor named Bob Peck.

Spring 1970
Alan Ayckbourn considers reviving
Mr Whatnot for the summer season at the Library Theatre, Scarborough. A financial shortfall leads to the play being dropped from the schedule less than two weeks before the season began.

26 October 1976
Revival of Mr Whatnot at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, directed by Alan Ayckbourn. This is the first production in this venue and marked the first production of the play in the playwright's adopted home-town of Scarborough.

Samuel French acquires the rights to publish Mr Whatnot - with the plan of Alan Ayckbourn producing a sound tape to accompany the script.

The acting edition of Mr Whatnot is finally published by Samuel French. Alan Ayckbourn having never produced the sound tape.

3 February 1996
Final public performance at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round prior to the company moving to a new home at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. Malcolm Hebden, who played Mint in the 1976 revival, appears in character as Mint after the evening's production and 'turns the lights off' at the venue.

15 March 2013
The Royal & Derngate, Northampton, stages the 50th anniversary revival of Mr Whatnot, directed by Cal McCrystal.

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