English playwright and artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, England, from 1970. His abundant output, characterized by comic dialogue and teasing experiments in dramatic structure, includes RELATIVELY SPEAKING (1967), ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR (1973), THE NORMAN CONQUESTS (1974; a trilogy), JOKING APART (1979), INTIMATE EXCHANGES (1982), A WOMAN IN MIND (1986), HAUNTING JULIA (1994), and THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE (1998).
Born in London, Ayckbourn worked as a stage manager, sound technician, lighting technician, scene painter, prop maker, and actor, before becoming a writer. He has also written a number of plays for children, including INVISIBLE FRIENDS (1989) and THIS IS WHERE WE CAME IN (1990). He was appointed a CBE in 1987 and knighted in 1997.