Awaking Beauty


Music by Denis King - Book and Lyrics by Alan Ayckbourn

Publisher:Samuel French Ltd
Music Publisher:Eaton Music

Awaking Beauty marked Alan's fourth collaboration with the composer Denis King and the first musical Alan has written aimed specifically at adults - and the first of Alan's plays to carry a 'not suitable for young children' warning, largely due to its themes and infrequent language, rather than anything offensive. The plot, a sequel to Sleeping Beauty, subverts the genre to see fairy tale characters relocated to suburbia whilst taking a poke at the beauty industry and the perception of beauty. A slightly extended rehearsal period enabled Denis King and musical director Jonathan Williams to work with the cast on the complex harmonies of the piece. Awaking Beauty was the final Alan Ayckbourn play to open at the theatre while Alan was Artistic Director of the company.

Kings Comment


Premiere: 16 December, 2008 Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Director:  Alan Ayckbourn
Design:  Michael Holt
Lighting:  Jason Taylor
Choregrapher:  Sheila Carter
Vocal/Piano Arrangements:  Denis King
Musical Director:  Jonathan Williams

CAST (5M, 5W)

Anna Francolini, Duncan Patrick, Alice Fearn, Ben Fox, Verity Quade, Annalene Beechey, Helen French, Matthew White, Ian McLarnon, Jon-Paul Hevey.


Click on any track name in blue to listen to the track, use the controls on the right hand side to play, pause and stop the audio.


Original Cast live recording not for public sale. Contact us for further information.


“A musical without musicians” was Alan’s brief. The challenge for me, as composer, having written the songs, was to orchestrate the accompaniment without using instruments, only voices. I eventually convinced Alan that we’d need something to hold these voices together and a keyboard was added. We had a cast of ten, all with outstanding voices. The end result was exciting and satisfying.

Unusually for us, Alan and I, who normally collaborate via email, wrote the score for AWAKING BEAUTY under the same roof. He felt to urge to go somewhere sunny and suggested a working holiday with our wives. This turned out to be two weeks at a rented villa overlooking St. Tropez bay. I envisaged a couple of hours at the piano in the morning and the rest of the day on the sunbed by the pool sampling the local wine. Alan envisaged it differently. Alan, as I discovered, likes to work more than I do. After three days though, I had it all figured out. Whenever I saw him buried in his computer with his headphones on, I’d tiptoe past his open door, swimsuit under my clothes, then make a beeline for the pool. I’d take a quick refreshing dip, a quick glance at the sun, then scurry back to my post, toweling madly. If he noticed the wet footprints leading to the piano four times a day, he never said anything. Denis King

Fact of the Day
For his mother's 80th birthday, Denis shaved half his beard off and she didn't notice.
Listening Post
A Wing And A Prayer