Arrivals and Departures

Full-Length Play  /  5w, 6m, 2girl(s)

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

Arrivals and Departures

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    5w, 6m, 2girl(s)
  • Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)



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.

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.

  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)


"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


10 Alan Ayckbourn Plays and Musicals to Perform
by Cathy Thomas
August 13, 2019

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £70 per performance plus VAT when applicable.
    This title may have restrictions in place for London based productions. Please submit a licence request to confirm specific availability.


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Alan Ayckbourn

A playwright and theatre director, to date Alan Ayckbourn has written 89 plays – Family Album attracted four-star reviews when it premiered in September 2022 at the Stephen Joseph, where nearly all his plays are first staged.

However, this year he will stage his 88th play Welc ...

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