Arrivals and Departures

by  Alan Ayckbourn

Full Length Play  /  6m, 5f, 2girl(s)

A poignant, timely comedy of two strangers meeting in the midst of an increasingly farcical anti-terrorist operation.

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Arrivals and Departures

by  Alan Ayckbourn

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    6m, 5f, 2girl(s)
  • Duration


    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)

Additional Info

A terrorist code-named Cerestes is on the loose, and the police have planned a sting to capture him as he steps off a train at a London station. 

The operation, led by the buffoonish Major Quentin, has drawn in two civilians - Ez and Barry. Perfect strangers as the play begins, their time waiting for the trap to be set gives them the chance to get to know each other, and try to make sense of the chaos unfolding around them.

Alan Ayckbourn's 77th play shows he has lost none of his theatrical inventiveness.

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"Ayckbourn sets up the situation beautifully, with a barking major rehearsing all the participants in a plan to ensnare a terrorist as he steps off a train at King's Cross." The Guardian, Read more

"...the denouement and the pathway to it are amply rewarding." - The Stage, Read more


License details

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

    This title is currently restricted in London, please contact the Licensing Department for further details.



  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)


6m, 5f, 2girl(s)

Ez (Esmé) Swain A soldier, 23

Barry A traffic warden, 50s

Captain Quentin Sexton O/C SSDO, late 40s

Shane Hughes (SSDO) Caz Walters (SSDO)

Don Simkins (SSDO) Ro Merrivale (SSDO)

David Scullion (SSDO) Rita Gilroy (SSDO)

Greta Teasdale (SSDO)

Tommy Wisby (SSDO)

The Suspect


Nadine Swain Ez's mother, 27 - 37

Esmé Swain (10 - 12)

Esmé Swain (15 - 28)

Freddie Swain Her father, 28

Sherwin Cooper Nadine's boyfriend, 32 - 35

Rob Stagmore Esmé's boyfriend, 23 - 24

Charles Stagmore Rob's father, 60s

Hilary Stagmore Rob's mother, 60s

An Army Chaplin

Young Barry (27 - 43)

Debs (Debra) (nee Fox) His wife, 20 - 35

Young Daisy His daughter, 7

Daisy Hawkins (14)

Daisy Hawkins (26)

Jess Fox His father-in-law, 55

Pauline Fox His mother-in-law, 50 -65

Clive Ward His childhood friend, 30

Lily Gill Fox's accountant, 20 - 41

Norman Scullion An auditor, 50s

Note: Arrivals & Departures was originally written for an adult cast of 11 actors plus two non-speaking girls. It can be performed with a larger cast and less doubling of roles.

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Alan Ayckbourn

Alan Ayckbourn has spent his life in theatre, rarely if ever tempted by television or film, which perhaps explains why he continues to be so prolific. To date he has written 77 plays, and his work has been translated into over 35 languages, is performed on stage and television throughout the world, and has won countles ...

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