Sir Alan and Nick on the 100 list

Sir Alan Ayckbourn
Sir Alan Ayckbourn

TWO Scarborough-based heroes of the theatre feature in this year’s The Stage 100 list.

Playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn tops the writers and composers category and Qdos boss Nick Thomas is 11th in the annual chart of the industry’s movers and shakers.

Sir Alan, a regular in the 100 list, is described as the country’s most prolific playwright.

He was, until early 2009, the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and still premieres his plays there.

Last year The Life Of Riley, his 74th play, opened in Scarborough and is now on tour. His 75th play – as yet untitled – will open at the venue later this year.

A revival of his Season’s Greetings, headlined by Catherine Tate and Mark Gatiss at the National Theatre on the South Bank, is a sell-out success. It is running until mid-March.

Last year he received the prestigious Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre and attended the New York ceremony.

He was also presented with the Critics’ Circle Award For Services To The Arts.

Mr Thomas, who was also place 11th in the list last year year, is chairman of Qdos Entertainment group of companies, including the UK’s largest pantomime producer, cruise shows, venue management, talent agenices and a print design division.

The Stage said: “Its big growth area over the past few years has been as a venue operator, and last year, Qdos secured two promising acquisitions – the Watford Colosseum and the £26 million replacement for Guildford’s Civic Theatre.

“One would expect this side of the business to grow and for Qdos to became abn even more important force.”

Qdos pantomimes fill more than a dozen venues across Britain and attract star names – this season these included Joan Collins, Nigel Havers, Joe Pasquale, Bradley Walsh, John Barrowman and Scarborough musical star Ben Ellis, who shared the stage in Crawley with Craig Revel Horwood.

First in The Stage 100, for the second year running, were Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire who head the Ambassador Theatre Group.