Press Release: Alan Ayckbourn to make his Edinburgh Festival Debut With The Divide

Alan Ayckbourn's The Divide To Premiere At The Edinburgh International Festival

1 - 10 February at The Old Vic, London

Edinburgh International Festival and The Old Vic presents The Divide
Written by Alan Ayckbourn
Director: Annabel Bolton
Design: Laura Hopkins
Composer: Christopher Nightingale
Musical Director: Will Stuart
Lighting: David Plater
Sound: Bobby Aitken
Video: Ash J Woodward

Alan Ayckbourn's 'narrative for voices'
The Divide has been announced as part of The Old Vic's bicentennial season in 2018.
The Divide is an epic two-part work which marks a radical departure from anything the playwright has previously written creating a tale for our own turbulent times that unflinchingly examines a dystopian society of brutal repression, forbidden love and seething insurrection.
The piece received its world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival this summer having been brought to the stage by Old Vic Baylis Director Annabel Bolton and is now transferring to The Old Vic for a limited run much to Alan Ayckbourn's pleasure.
"I wrote
The Divide under very extraordinary circumstances and, as a result, I said - at it’s only public reading in Scarborough - that this is something you’re probably not going to see again," said Alan. "I just wanted to write something I couldn’t even see myself directing. I just let my mind go into free fall. I think it shows enormous courage and touching faith in The Divide, that director Annabel Bolton and The Old Vic have picked it up and run with it."
The Divide is set In the aftermath of a deadly contagion which has decimated the population, where contact between men and women has become fatal. Under the dictates of an elusive and authoritarian Preacher, an unthinkable solution has been enforced. The adult survivors are now segregated by gender and, physically separated, men wear white as a sign of their purity and women - still deemed infected - are clothed in black as a mark of their sin.
As new social norms prevail, brother and sister Elihu and Soween grow up learning the ways of their tightly controlled society. As they begin to glimpse the cracks in the system, Elihu falls for Giella, the daughter of two radical mothers, risking fatal disease and threatening to ignite a bloody revolution.
Drawing on a vast repository of diary and journal entries, newspaper articles, transcripts and council minutes, Ayckbourn’s epic dystopian fantasy brings together forbidden love, brutal repression and insurrection in a richly imagined work that looks back to George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Aldous Huxley and even Nigel Kneale’s
The Divide will feature Clare Burt, Sophie Melville, Sian Thomas and Finty Williams alongside Jake Davies, Erin Doherty, Thusitha Jayasundera, Richard Katz, Clare Lawrence Moody, Weruche Opia, Martin Quinn and Letty Thomas.
Alan Ayckbourn is an award-winning playwright and director who has written more than 80 plays which include
Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests and A Chorus of Disapproval. He is based in Scarborough where the majority of his work premieres at the Stephen Joseph Theatre.
Bookings for The Divide is now open via

The Divide: Part 1 at The Old Vic

1, 5, 8 February at 7.30pm; 3, 7 & 10 February at 1.30pm.

The Divide: Part 2 at The Old Vic
2, 3, 6, 7, 9 & 10 February at 7.30pm.

The Divide: Part 1 & 2 (same day) at The Old Vic
3, 7 & 10 February at 1.30pm (part 1) and 7.30pm (part 2).

The Divide is a play written in two parts. It is recommended seeing both parts in order to get the best possible experience. Running time is approximately three hours per performance.

Booking and further details can be found at the Old Vic website,

Editor's Note: Further background information about The Divide can be found at Alan Ayckbourn's Official Website at

Updated on 25 October 2017.