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Last Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Ayckbourn to step back from work
Sir Alan Ayckbourn
Sir Alan is one of the world's most successful living playwrights
Playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn is to step down as artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, after 37 years.

Sir Alan is to quit his post next summer but will continue to direct his plays at the venue and will premiere any new work there.

The 68-year-old, who suffered a stroke last year, has been artistic director of the theatre since 1971.

A new artistic director will be appointed to plan the 2009/10 season.

Decrease in workload

Chairman of the Stephen Joseph Theatre board, Sue Truefitt, said: "Over the last couple of years, Alan Ayckbourn's day-to-day involvement in the running of the Stephen Joseph Theatre has been decreasing, although his directing work has continued as normal."

Ms Truefitt said Sir Alan would direct Relatively Speaking and A Trip to Scarborough in the forthcoming season and was planning for the 2008/9 season.

"This decrease in his workload will lead to the appointment of a new artistic director in the summer of 2008, to plan the 2009/10 season", she said.

"Alan intends to continue to direct revivals of his plays at the theatre as well as premiering any of his new work there."

The playwright, whose work has been translated into 30 languages and is performed around the world, was knighted in 2007 for his services to theatre.

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