Preparing for a theatre first

Terenia Edwards in rehearsals for Hero's Welcome
Terenia Edwards in rehearsals for Hero's Welcome

Rehearsals are well under way for Alan Ayckbourn’s latest play which premieres at the Stephen Joseph Theatre next month.

Seventeen years ago, Murray fled the neighbourhood under something of a cloud and certain local folk have long memories, not least Alice, the mayor, whom he left standing at the altar. Once the welcome flags have stopped waving and the town band has ceased playing, few of his friends seem particularly happy to see him back.

Murray’s declared intention of staying put and settling down with his new bride threatens to stir up all sorts of old rivalries and resentments. Suddenly the couple, in search of peace, find themselves once more in the firing line.

Alan Ayckbourn says: “Hero’s Welcome is about the prodigal son, Murray, coming back to his home town. He’s one of my anti-heroes really, a squaddie who has got all the good qualities that I like although he got trapped in his early days by the machinations of sexual politics and ran away at the altar.

“It explores the male rivalry between Murray and an old friend, Brad, who is fiercely competitive and will go to any lengths to win.”

Hero’s Welcome is one of three Ayckbourn works being performed at the Stephen Jospeh Theatre this year.

The playwright’s first major revival of his 1974 comedy Confusions opened in July and will run in rep with this latest premiere until September 26.

Hero’s Welcome opens in in Scarborough on September 4 and runs until October 3 (various dates) before a UK in the round tour.

The cast of Hero’s Weclome plus special guests, will also present a semi-staged gala reading of Ayckbourn’s epic new work, The Divide.

This five-part satire of the sexes, written for more than 30 voices, will be performed at the SJT on Sunday September 27 exclusively for the 60th anniversary year.