Haunting Julia: Facts

Key facts relating to Alan Ayckbourn's Haunting Julia.
  • Haunting Julia is Alan Ayckbourn's 47th play.
  • The world premiere was held at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, on 20 April 1994.
  • The London premiere was held at the Riverside Studios, London, on 27 May 2011 and was directed by Andrew Hall.
  • It is the first - and as of writing, only - play by Alan Ayckbourn to feature an all-male cast.
  • A major inspiration for the play was the stage-play The Woman In Black, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from the novel by Susan Hill. Premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round, Scarborough, The Woman In Black transferred to the West End where it has enjoyed one of the longest ever West End runs and has been produced with great success around the world.
  • Haunting Julia was conceived as an end-stage play and intended to be the first play to be performed in The McCarthy at the then under-construction Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. However, aside from the fact construction of the venue fell behind schedule, the play was staged in-the-round at the Stephen Joseph Theatre In The Round when the UK Government's budget cuts for the arts left the venue with a real-term cut in funding and the need for a small-scale play which would, hopefully, both save and make money for the venue.
  • During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 which closed all the UK's theatres, Alan Ayckbourn adapted the play as an audio play taking on all three male roles and producing it himself to be streamed by the Stephen Joseph Theatre during Christmas 2020.
  • It was written as a one act play to be performed in real-time (i.e. the same amount of time passes for the characters in the play as for the audience) - this being only the second real-time play written by Alan Ayckbourn after Absent Friends. However, a fall in bar takings during the original production led the Stephen Joseph Theatre to request an interval for its 1999 revival. Alan agreed but was unhappy with the result and for the 2008 revival and the published edition it was restored to a one-act play.
  • Haunting Julia is one of three supernatural plays written by Alan Ayckbourn - although it is important to note he does not consider these plays to be a trilogy. The other two plays are Snake In The Grass (1994) and Life And Beth (2008).
  • The play is regarded as a companion piece to Snake In The Grass (and to an extent Life & Beth) in one of its major themes is how parents treat their children.
  • Although Haunting Julia is relatively unambiguous in the nature of the haunting (the author's intentions are that Julia is a supernatural presence who manifests herself at the end of the play to Joe), the 2008 revival at the Stephen Joseph Theatre was much more ambiguous with the actor Ian Hogg believing that Julia was purely a creation of her father's Joe mind as he struggled to reconcile himself with the truth behind the death of his daughter.
  • During 2020, Alan Ayckbourn recorded Haunting Julia as an audio play. He played all three male roles with Naomi Petersen playing the 'voices'. The stream was made available via the Stephen Joseph Theatre's website from 1 December 2020 to 31 January 2021.
  • Contrary to what other web-sites might report, Haunting Julia is not part of a trilogy called Things That Go Bump. This is because Alan Ayckbourn has never written a trilogy called Things That Go Bump nor does he consider Haunting Julia to be part of a trilogy (although it has thematic connections to his other supernatural plays).
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