Acclaimed writer and director Sir Alan Ayckbourn will bring two of his productions to the Theatre Royal Windsor this week, one is his latest play and the other an old favourite. Written forty years apart, his hugely successful series of one-act plays titled Confusions will be joined by his 79th play, A Hero’s Welcome, written just last year.

Alan believes he became a writer due to the influence of his mother. She separated from his father shortly after moving to Sussex from Hampstead as the World War Two began. She then made a living writing romantic short stories for women’s magazines.

He says: “If my mother had been a pastry chef I would have probably copied her. I thought writing was just a natural thing people did at home. I assumed everyone’s mother did it.”

Alan began writing plays for his school as young as ten years old. He left Haileybury at the age of 17 to pursue a career in the theatre. Landing on his feet he began working as a stage assistant with the theatre impresario Sir Donald Wolfit in 1956.

He went on to work as a stage manager and then actor at the Library Theatre, Scarborough.

He says: “Acting was never going to make me a success,” but he was encouraged to write instead by the Library Theatre’s founder Stephen Joseph, who became his mentor. Stephen said that if Alan wanted better roles, he should write one himself. Alan wrote The Square Cat, which was a success for the company in the summer of 1959 and Stephen immediately commissioned a second play, Love After All, for the winter season.

Many successes followed, but surprisingly his 1964 West End debut Mr Whatnot, directed by

Peter Cheeseman, was a resounding flop.

Alan explains: “It was a disaster.

It ran for just two weeks and then I stopped writing and worked for BBC3 in radio drama production.”

Alan continued staging his work at the Library, however and produced Meet My Father in 1965. Two years later, he play – retitled Relatively Speaking – opened in the West End and was such a success that Alan quit his job with the BBC and returned to writing for good.

Considerable successes followed including How the Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval, The Norman Conquests and Absent Friends.

His prolific body of work has been adapted for film and television by others, but Alan says he has had little involvement in these productions or the film industry as a whole. He is a fan of cinema however.

“As a child I spent an awful lot of time in the cinema.

Early comedies, film noir and early technicolour all had an influence on me.”

“I tend to think of it when I’m writing a play. I write it very fluidly like a movie. The stage gives it originality, when it’s translated back it’s just another movie. Like a film being translated back into a book, it just becomes less interesting.”

Alan is currently writing his 80th play, he says: “I’m still writing new stuff all the time. It’s really something I can’t legislate, ideas come from somewhere and they just arrive. Then I make choices about structure, characters and timespan.

“I write about what I know. I think of myself as a domestic writer, more of a Jane Austen then an Ernest Hemingway.

Confusions has been hugely popular, Alan notes: “Students studied it in schools, which fills me with horror. They weren’t meant to be studied, they were meant to be enjoyed.”

Of his most recent work Alan says: “Hero’s Welcome is funny, but a darker beast altogether. It is a love story.

“I hope it says quite a lot about people, about jealousy, rivalry, betrayal and what we do to each other when we promise to live with each other.

“It always fascinates me how people continue to plunge in with optimism and say ‘this one will be different’.”

Of both plays Alan says: “Anyone who is interested in people should see them and I think they will enjoy them. They’re not hard to sit through.

“Let oneself be carried by the narrative and the characters. Just get caught up with them. I’m not an intellectual writer I just want people to be moved and feel for them and care for them.”

Theatre Royal Windsor, 32 Thames Street, Windsor. Confusions Monday, February 8, 8pm, Thursday, February 11, 8pm, Friday, February 12, 8pm and Saturday, February 11, 4.45pm and 8pm. A Hero’s Welcome Tuesday, February 9, 8pm, Wednesday, February 10, 8pm, Thursday, February 11, 2.30pm. Details: 01753 853 888,