Alan Ayckbourn's new "Damsels in Distress" trilogy this month launches a new six-week UK tour prior to a planned West End transfer later this year. The tour opens in Milton Keynes on 22 July 2002 and continues to five further theatres until 31 August.

GamePlan, FlatSpin and RolePlay are the prolific Ayckbourn's 58th, 59th and 60th plays, respectively. All three are entirely separate comedies, but they are written to be performed by the same cast, using the same set (a luxury apartment in the London Docklands). The original seven-strong company - Robert Austin, Saskia Butler, Bill Champion, Tim Faraday, Jacqueline King, Alison Parageter and Beth Tuckey - reprise their roles in each.

The trilogy premiered last summer at Ayckbourn's own Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. This past January the trilogy opened the now-troubled Gala Theatre in Durham at the start of a three-month regional tour. Following Milton Keynes, the new tour will visit Cambridge, Bath, Brighton, Malvern, and Richmond.

All three plays are directed by Ayckbourn himself and designed by Roger Glossop, with costumes by Christine Wall and lighting by Mick Hughes. It is presented on tour by Michael Codron, Lee Dean, Michael Linnit, Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian for Clear Channel Entertainment.

Ayckbourn's other recent London transfers include Things We Do for Love, the Olivier award-winning Comic Potential and his interrelated House and Garden, which were performed simultaneously on two stages by one cast at the National Theatre.

- by Kristen Harjung & Terri Paddock