Way Upstream: Timeline

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

11 August 1981
Alan Ayckbourn begins writing Way Upstream.

Circa 7 September 1981
Alan Ayckbourn informs the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round designer Edward Lispcombe his next play will need a cabin cruiser on a flooded stage with an actual downpour of rain. The play is due to premiere in four weeks time.

9 September 1981
Rehearsals begin for Way Upstream.

28 September 1981
The boat is installed in the round with just five days before Way Upstream opens. It is the first time all the elements (boat, track, motors) have been brought together and there is just five days to make it operational.

2 October 1981
World premiere of Way Upstream at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, directed by Alan Ayckbourn. Despite the challenges and short deadline to produce the play, only that afternoon's preview is cancelled to accommodate a final technical rehearsal.

24 February 1982
Way Upstream tours to the Alley Theatre, Houston, with Alan Ayckbourn directing the original Scarborough company. It is played in repertory with Absent Friends.

9 August 1982
Technical rehearsals begin for Way Upstream at the National Theatre. The boat collides with the fibre-glass tank, splitting it and releasing 6,000 gallons of water which flood part of the National Theatre. The press night is postponed.

12 August 1982
Way Upstream's advertising opening night at the National Theatre for previews; cancelled as a result of the 9 August incident.

14 August 1982
The first public performance at the National Theatre sees the boat hit the bank and damage the braking system. Alan Ayckbourn takes to the stage to apologise although the play does re-start.

18 August 1982
Scheduled opening night for Way Upstream at the National Theatre, London, directed by Alan Ayckbourn.

3 September
Re-scheduled opening night for Way Upstream at the National Theatre, London. Also postponed.

4 October 1982
Actual opening night for Way Upstream at the National Theatre, London.

Circa 11 December 1982
A small fire in the National Theatre's storage area damages the Way Upstream tank - possibly caused by a disgruntled staff member; performances continue for the week but without water on stage.

19 April 1983
Way Upstream closes at the National Theatre, London, having been seen by 42,045 people with an average 75% capacity audience.

Way Upstream published by Samuel French.

Spring 1984
Way Upstream opens at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, directed by Val May and Christopher Masters, before embarking on a UK tour. This is a dry production without water on stage.

12 September 1984
Way Upstream opens at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, the first regional repertory theatre (excepting the original production in Scarborough) to stage the play on water.

1 January 1988
Way Upstream broadcast on television on BBC1, directed by Terry Johnson.

14 June 1997
Way Upstream broadcast on radio on BBC World Service, directed by Gordon House.

22 October 2003
Way Upstream revived at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, directed by Alan Ayckbourn.

8 September 2011
The 30th anniversary of
Way Upstream is celebrated with an acclaimed revival at Salisbury Playhouse, directed by Lucy Pitman-Wallace.

23 April 2015
A major revival of
Way Upstream is staged at Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Nadia Fall.

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