Neighbourhood Watch: Articles

This section contains articles by Alan Ayckbourn and other authors about Neighbourhood Watch. Click on a link in the right-hand column below to go to the relevant article.

This article by Alan Ayckbourn about Neighbourhood Watch was written for the collection Alan Ayckbourn: Plays 6, published by Faber during 2018.

Preface to Alan Ayckbourn: Plays 6 (extract)

Neighbourhood Watch also involves time, but on this occasion a possible near future.

It utilises the classic 'what if’ formula of science fiction. It's not the first time I have used such a device to drive a play and I suspect it won't be the last. Observing current trends and taking them into a hypothetical future leads them to a logical (or in this case illogical) conclusion.

What if the gap between the so-called haves and have-nots becomes even more accentuated than it is at present, causing further social friction? And what if this leads to the growth and development, as is already beginning to happen, of exclusive private estates each with its own perimeter fence and manned security gates? What then? And what if, as a result of segregation, unrest starts to grow from within the isolated estate itself? Which leads in turn to a declaration of independence and a set of self-imposed, antiquated, primitive laws. A reversion in fact to earlier, 'better' times?

Add in a touch of religious extremism and the natural emergence of a born leader of men and where does it end?

Answer: social mayhem, death and destruction. But they do start out as the very nicest people, people we live next door to really. Message: beware the illusion that we live in a civilised world. We are but a heartbeat away from anarchy!

Copyright: Haydonning Ltd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.