Hero's Welcome: BackgroundHero's Welcome is Alan Ayckbourn's 79th play and premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on 8 September 2015.
He began writing the play in October 2014, during the same month he completed the first draft, but the final draft was not completed until December 2014. The play is set in the north of England and follows a decorated soldier returning to the home-town he left 17 years ago when he left his fiancee - now the town mayor - at the altar. The fictional town is named Hadforth and marks the first time the playwright has visited the town, although dedicated Ayckbourn fans may recall the name of the boat in Way Upstream is the Hadforth Bounty and the town is mentioned in Confusions.
The playwright has noted Hero's Welcome returns to one of his themes of male competitiveness as seen in the likes of Time & Time Again and is also his third play - following Private Fears In Public Places and Arrivals & Departures - which features a soldier as one of the protagonists.
Reaction to the play was largely positive with particular praise singled out for the professional stage debut of Terenia Edwards as the pivotal figure of Baba, the foreign fiancee of the soldier adjusting to a new life and culture.
A UK tour, in association with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, took place from January 2016 with Evelyn Hoskins taking over Terenia Edwards's role of Baba. The tour culminated with a six week residency at the 59E59 Theaters in New York as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival. For the American residency, Charlotte Harwood took over the roles of Kara & Simone.
Hero's Welcome has not been published, but is expected to be made available in 2018.
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.