The Norman Conquests: Archive Images

A collection of archive material, posters, rehearsal and production images pertaining to Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests. The Archive Images page is presented in association with the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York where the Ayckbourn Archive is held. Click on an image to expand.

The Norman Conquests (1973)

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When The Norman Conquests premiered at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1973, two of the plays had different titles (and it was not actually called The Norman Conquests then). This is an original manuscript for Make Yourself At Home (later retitled Living Together) with Alan Ayckbourn's notes on the cover.

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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A publicity image from the world premiere of The Norman Conquests at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, with Christopher Godwin in the role of Norman.

Photographer: Ken Boden (© Haydonning Ltd)
Holding: The Bob Watson Archive

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A contact sheet of publicity images for the world premiere of The Norman Conquests at the Library Theatre, Scarborough, in 1973. It features both action from the play and staged publicity shots.

Photographer: Ken Boden (© Haydonning Ltd)
Holding: The Bob Watson Archive

Do not reproduce images without permission of the copyright holder.
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The 'programme / playbill' for the world premiere of Fancy Meeting You (later retitled Table Manners) at the Library Theatre. It featured only cast and company details alongside a brief introduction by Alan Ayckbourn. Note how the trilogy was not originally known or advertised as The Norman Conquests. The reverse side featured the actors' biographies.

Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

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The earliest recorded public mention of the trilogy as The Norman Conquests in an article published in The Evening Standard on 24 January 1974 - an extract from which is published here. Prior to this, the trilogy was just known by the play's individual titles.

Copyright: Evening Standard Ltd
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

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The Norman Conquests only gained its famous trilogy title when it transferred to London in 1974. It initially premiered at the Greenwich Theatre (programme cover above), directed by Alan Ayckbourn, before transferring into the West End.

Copyright: Greenwich Theatre
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

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Tom Courtenay as Norman and Penelope Wilton as Ruth in the London premiere of The Norman Conquests at the Greenwich Theatre in 1974. When the trilogy transferred to the West End, Penelope Wilton would be unavailable and replaced by Bridget Turner,

Photographer: Stephen Moreton Prichard
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

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Following its success in London, it was quickly decided to transfer The Norman Conquests to Broadway via Los Angeles with Eric Thompson directing the trilogy fresh from the West End. This is the playbill cover for the L.A. premiere which stands as one of the strangest poster images for the trilogy ever conceived.

Copyright: To be confirmed
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

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The Norman Conquests transferred to Broadway in 1975 with Eric Thompson directing and this Playbill cover features the entire company. It was hoped the trilogy would replicate the success of Absurd Person Singular but the trilogy did not prove to be as popular.

Copyright: Playbill
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

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A call sheet for filming for the 1977 Thames Television adaptation of The Norman Conquests trilogy. This includes the detail that the exterior filming took place in Mickleham, Surrey.

Copyright: Thames Television
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

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Following its West End success, The Norman Conquests had huge success in both the UK and North America with a TV adaption starring Tom Conti as Norman. It was first broadcast over three weeks from 5 October 1977 and has been credited with bringing Alan Ayckbourn to the wider American public, such was its popularity. This is a publicity still from the adaptation with Richard Briers, Tom Conti, Penelope Wilton, David Troughton and Felicity Kendal.

Copyright: Thames Television
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

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During 1993, Alan Ayckbourn revived The Norman Conquests at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round, Scarborough, directing the trilogy for the first time since its world premiere in 1973. This is one of a number of unused concepts for the poster based on three images (one for each play).

Copyright: Scarborough Theatre Trust
Holding: The Bob Watson Archive

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A photograph of Alan Ayckbourn (top left) with the company of his 1993 revival of The Norman Conquests at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round. The image was taken for an article published in The Scarborough Evening News.

Photographer: TBC (©The Scarborough News)
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

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A sketch by Alan Ayckbourn illustrating the layout for his in-the-round revival of Living Together at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round in 1993. Note the reference to the 'gramophone'; Alan believes all his plays are period pieces and should always be set in the era when they were written.

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd
Holding: Borthwick Institute for Archives

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The Old Vic revived The Norman Conquests to great acclaim and success in 2008; it was directed by Matthew Warchus. This publicity image features the cast in one the trilogy's most famous scenes from Table Manners.

Photographer: Manuel Harlan
Holding: Ayckbourn Digital Archive

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In 2009, The Old Vic's acclaimed and award-winning production of The Norman Conquests transferred to The Circle In The Square, New York, where it received the most awards of any Ayckbourn production yet staged on Broadway.

Copyright: Playbill
Holding: Borthwick Institute For Archives

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The Scene and Archive Images pages are presented in association with the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York, where the Ayckbourn Archive is held.

All images on this page are copyright of the respective and labelled individual / organisation and should not be reproduced without permission.
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