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Platform returns with two new plays putting girls centre stage

Thursday 19 October 2017

We're delighted to announce two new plays in the Platform series, our partnership with Tonic Theatre which provides much-needed onstage opportunities to girls and young women in school, college and youth theatre groups. The new plays, The Glove Thief by Beth Flintoff and Red by Somalia Seaton, will be available to read and perform from November 2017.

First launched in 2015 as a partnership between Tonic Theatre and NHB, Platform is a series of plays written specifically for performance by schools, colleges and youth theatre groups. The plays are designed for performance by all-female or mainly female casts.

The Platform series was conceived as a response to the findings of Tonic’s research report Swimming in the Shallow End (available to read in full online here), which showed that drama groups at schools, colleges and in youth theatre had majority female participants but a significant lack of parts for them to play. This concerned both the number of parts available, and the quality of those parts – how well-written, developed and central the characters were to the action. Tonic’s research showed that this chronic lack of opportunity and marginalisation eroded girls’ confidence, self-esteem and aspiration, denying them the many benefits drama can bring to young people. The Platform plays were commissioned to help address this imbalance.

The first three Platform plays – The Light Burns Blue by Silva Semerciyan, Second Person Narrative by Jemma Kennedy and This Changes Everything by Joel Horwood – were launched in 2015, and have since seen dozens of productions by schools, colleges, universities and theatre companies around the world, offering valuable opportunities to hundreds of young women. This Changes Everything was nominated for Best Play for Young Audiences at the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards 2017.

The two new Platform plays will be available to read and perform from November 2017. Scripts and performance licences are available at a specially discounted rate to education, youth and arts organisations. Full information about the plays and how to apply to perform them is available at

Lucy Kerbel, Director of Tonic Theatre: 'Youth drama is the engine room of the theatre industry; tomorrow’s theatre-makers (not to mention audience members) are to be found today in youth-theatre groups, university drama societies and school drama clubs. If we can challenge their assumptions about the role of women’s stories, voices, and ideas in drama, then change in the profession – in time – will be immeasurably easier to achieve.

‘From November there will be five Platform plays available, and at Tonic our hope is that there will be many more. Our aspiration is to keep commissioning titles in the series so that over time Platform will become a new canon of writing for young actors and one that puts girls and their lives centre stage.

‘The first three plays in the series were published two years ago and already in that time have been performed across the length and breadth of the country as well as in Australia, Ireland and the USA. I look forward to hearing about productions of these new plays – and a future where great stories about girls and their lives are being staged in theatres, halls, drama studios and classrooms as the rule rather than the exception.’

Tamara von Werthern, Performing Rights Manager at Nick Hern Books: ‘When we first decided – in collaboration with Tonic Theatre – to publish and license the Platform plays, we had high hopes that by making plays available which gave young women the opportunity to take centre stage, we would change not only their confidence levels but also the theatrical landscape as a whole.

‘Whilst the success of the first three Platform plays is cause for celebration, it is no reason for complacency. We are delighted to add a further two great plays to the series, which will hopefully be received as enthusiastically by schools and youth groups, and will further help to create confident young women on and off stage.’

Beth Flintoff, writer of new Platform play The Glove Thief: ‘Being asked to write a play designed to be performed primarily by young women is an honour and a privilege. I spent seven years working with the Senior Youth Theatre at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury, so I understand the difficulty of finding plays that do not result in a bun fight for sparse female roles. I know what it’s like to be that director, but I also know what it’s like to be in that cast. It feels like only yesterday that I couldn’t have a speaking role in the school play because there was only one female part and I’d had a go the year before.

‘Tonic represents a movement for change that I am thrilled to be a part of. Every performance by a youth or community theatre is a miracle, a triumph of hard work and faith over practical and financial obstacles. It’s a source of great pride for a playwright to be a breeze block in the building of such miracles.’

Somalia Seaton, writer of new Platform play Red: ‘More girls than boys engage with drama both in school and outside. Yet there are fewer roles written for them. The lack of female roles continues into adulthood. It’s pretty boring that this is often the case. Any initiative that sets about putting young girls centre stage is an initiative that benefits not only young girls, but the whole of society.’

Platform returns with two new plays putting girls centre stage
Books :
  • Red (Platform Play)
  • The Glove Thief (Platform Play)

Nick Hern Books to publish second book by West End Producer

Tuesday 26 September 2017

The new book by cult theatre figure West End Producer is to be published by Nick Hern Books in November. It is a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek companion for audience members everywhere as they embark on the most perilous quest of all: going to the theatre. Also upcoming is an audiobook release for West End Producer’s popular first book, a witty insider guide about how to get ahead in showbusiness.

New book

Published on 23 November, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Going To The Theatre (But Were Too Sloshed To Ask, Dear) is the second book from masked Twitter sensation West End Producer (or WEP to his friends). WEP is a cult figure in London’s theatre scene, frequently attending press nights with his Jean Valjean teddy by his side.

WEP has over 60,000 followers on Twitter (where he tweets as @westendproducer), and counts among his fans such starry names as Paul O’Grady, Melanie C, David Harewood, Kerry Ellis, Michael Ball, Frances Barber, Al Murray, Ruthie Henshall and Rufus Hound. He writes a weekly column for industry newspaper The Stage, and his first book Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Acting (But Were Afraid To Ask, Dear) was released in 2013.

In his eagerly anticipated new book, WEP shares his industry secrets once again, this time coming to the aid of anyone who’s ever been to the theatre, or who thinks they might like to try it one day. Packed with insider know-how and naughty anecdotes, this book will tell you how to make your West End adventure as smooth as Craig Revel Horwood’s nose, including tips and advice on what shows to see and what to avoid; where to sit (without developing ongoing neck problems and deep vein thrombosis); how to combat theatre rage (and get to the ladies’ loos before anyone else); and what to wear (from the correct attire at press night, to the importance of a good, reliable codpiece at The Globe).

Also included are many of WEP’s most wickedly astute tweets, potted histories of some the greatest West End shows, and handy instructions on how to become one of WEP’s ‘Theatre Prefects’ – protecting theatres from phone users, snorers, and persistent latecomers.

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Going To The Theatre (But Were Too Sloshed To Ask, Dear) is published as a £10.99 paperback on 23 November, and is available to pre-order now.


NHB is also excited to announce an audiobook version of West End Producer’s popular first book, Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Acting (But Were Afraid To Ask, Dear).

Unabridged and read by the author, the book sees WEP share all he’s learnt about how to get ahead in showbusiness. Full of wit and mischievous indiscretion, packed with gossip and insider knowledge of the theatre business, and containing enough savvy advice on acting to kickstart a career, it offers tips – both practical and deliciously impractical – on everything from getting into drama school (learning how to sit in a circle); rehearsal techniques (including how to act in a serious play); and, most importantly, the correct way to bow at the curtain call.

The audiobook of Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Acting (But Were Afraid To Ask, Dear) will be released in October.


West End Producer said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that my second book will soon be out. I’ve been sitting in my murky Dom Perignon cellar writing it for months now, and it’s so nice that all my fingering has paid off. I hope the book guides and helps audiences throughout the West End and beyond.

And an audiobook! Well, that just makes me even more aroused. The thought of all those lovely people listening to my vocal tones as I read out my first book is wonderful. I can’t wait to share both of these theatrical delights: one for those who can read, another for those who can listen. Marvellous, dear!”

Matt Applewhite, Managing Director of Nick Hern Books, said: “We’re delighted to be joining forces with Theatreland’s most colourful character on these two new projects. WEP’s second book is a hilarious read that will delight and entertain theatregoers everywhere – the perfect Christmas present for any self-confessed theatre addict. We’re also excited to release WEP’s vastly popular first book as an audiobook. Readers loved his witty, insightful take on the business of being an actor, and now they can listen to his cheeky, sometimes scandalous jokes and heartfelt advice, all read in his own dulcet tones.”

Nick Hern Books to publish second book by West End Producer
Books :
  • Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Acting (But Were Afraid To Ask, Dear)
  • Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Going To The Theatre (But Were Too Sloshed To Ask, Dear)

Save 30% in our Back to School Sale

Friday 1 September 2017

The new academic year is upon us - but don't despair! Thanks to our Back to School Sale, you can get all the books you need to learn new skills, or brush up on old ones, at great discounted prices.

From now until the end of September, we're offering 30% off thirty of our most popular titles for actors, students and teachers, when you enter voucher code BACKTOSCHOOL at checkout.

Plus, get free UK postage and packaging on all orders over £30.

To take advantage of our Sale, just browse the selection on our website, make your picks and enter voucher code BACKTOSCHOOL at checkout. This offer ends 30 September 2017.


Save 30% in our Back to School Sale

Save 30% on all our Edinburgh 2017 titles

Friday 4 August 2017

It's August, which can mean only one thing: the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is back! The world's largest arts festival celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2017, and as always NHB is proud to publish some of the very best theatre from this year's programme.

So to celebrate our line-up, we're offering you 30% off all of the plays we're publishing at this year's Fringe, plus books by two NHB authors appearing at this month's Edinburgh International Book Festival.

To claim this discount, simply browse the selection on our dedicated Edinburgh 2017 page and enter code NHBFRINGE17 at checkout when ordering.

Save 30% on all our Edinburgh 2017 titles

Celebrate great LGBT+ writing with 30% off in the NHB Pride Sale

Tuesday 4 July 2017

July 2017 is a bit of a big one, as months go. London holds its 45th annual Pride Parade, the UK's largest, on Saturday 8 July, the culmination of this year's Pride Festival – and it's also the anniversary of two crucial milestones in the advancement of gay rights: the publication of the Wolfenden Report in 1957, and the partial decriminalisation of male homosexual acts enacted by the Sexual Offences Act 1967.

So to mark the occasion, we're running a very special NHB Pride Sale. From now until the end of July, you can save save 30% on twelve hand-picked, NHB-published plays that chronicle, capture and celebrate LGBT+ experiences and voices, when you use code NHBPRIDE at checkout when ordering via this website.

To find out more, and see what's included, browse the NHB Pride Sale page.

Celebrate great LGBT+ writing with 30% off in the NHB Pride Sale
Books :
  • The Pride
  • Scorch
  • Angels in America (new edition)

Trestle wins Papatango New Writing Prize 2017

Wednesday 28 June 2017

The winner of the Papatango New Writing Prize 2017 was announced today (28 June), with Trestle by Stewart Pringle beating over 1000 other submissions to claim the award.

A tender but truthful exploration of love and ageing, Trestle asks how we choose to live in the face of soaring life expectancies. The play will receive a full production in November at Southwark Playhouse, London, and the script will be published by NHB. Stewart Pringle also wins a £6000 commission and full developmental support for his next play.

Also announced today was an upcoming premiere for new play Hanna by Sam Potter, Papatango's 2015 Resident Playwright. A funny, heartfelt and compelling look at family, racial identity, economic privilege, and the lottery of birth, Hanna opens at the Arcola Theatre, London, in January 2018, before embarking on a UK tour.

Finally, NHB and Papatango are excited to reveal Being a Playwright, the essential career guide for aspiring writers looking to work in theatre, published September 2018. 

Written by Chris Foxon and George Turvey, Papatango's Producer and Artistic Director respectively, the book offers transparent and honest advice into the business side of building a playwriting career. Whether you're an aspiring writer wondering how to break into the industry, or a working playwright looking to land bigger commissions, this is your insider road map to navigating the world of professional theatre.

Being a Playwright is published as a £12.99 paperback on 20 September 2018, and is available to pre-order now.

Trestle wins Papatango New Writing Prize 2017
Books :
  • Trestle
  • Hanna

Dear Evan Hansen wins six Tony Awards

Monday 12 June 2017

Dear Evan Hansen, the hot new American musical with a book by Steven Levenson and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, has won big at this year's Tony Awards, held at New York's Radio City Music Hall last night (11 June 2017).

Billed as a 'social media musical', Dear Evan Hansen is about teen angst, suicide and the tyranny of social media. It won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. A UK production has not yet been announced, but the book and lyrics are available in the UK from Nick Hern Books, in an edition published by Theatre Communications Group.

Also garlanded was Oslo, the political thriller by J.T. Rogers, which has its UK premiere at the National Theatre, London, in September, followed by a spell in the West End. Oslo added a Best Play Tony Award to the string of awards it has already won (including the Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards). It is published in the UK by Nick Hern Books in September.

This year, a Special Tony Award went to Gareth Fry and Pete Malkin, the sound designers for The Encounter, Complicite and Simon McBurney's extraordinary binaural journey down the Amazon. The Encounter is published by Nick Hern Books.

Dear Evan Hansen wins six Tony Awards
Books :
  • The Encounter
  • Oslo
  • Dear Evan Hansen

Nick Hern Books welcomes John O'Donovan as Consultant Editor

Wednesday 31 May 2017

We're delighted to announce that John O’Donovan is joining Nick Hern Books in the new role of Consultant Editor.

Reporting to our Managing Director and Commissioning Editor, Matt Applewhite, his responsibilities will include identifying areas for development and growth of our publishing programme, commissioning and acquiring new plays and theatre books, and editorial work on new publications.

John joins NHB after a five-year spell at Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He has previously held roles at Penguin, Continuum and Reaktion Books.

He is also a playwright, whose work has been staged and read in the UK at the Old Red Lion, New Diorama, Southwark Playhouse, Theatre503 and Arcola Theatre, as well as in Ireland by Druid and the Abbey Theatre. He is a current member of the Old Vic 12. His play If We Got Some More Cocaine I Could Show You How I Love You premiered at the Old Red Lion in August 2016 to great critical reception.

John will take up his role on 6 June and can be contacted on

John O’Donovan said: ‘I’m delighted to be joining Nick Hern Books and am looking forward immensely to this next chapter in my publishing career. NHB is an exciting and vibrant publisher with an incredible list of new and established writers, delivering some of the highest-quality plays for today’s theatre, as well as a comprehensive list of stage and practitioner titles. It’s an honour to be working with Nick, Matt and the rest of the team.’

Matt Applewhite, Managing Director at Nick Hern Books, said: ‘We’re thrilled to be welcoming John ­to NHB. With his acuity and vision, his own experience as a fine playwright, and his track record in theatre publishing, he’ll be a great addition to our team. Working alongside our editorial staff, he will be involved in the commissioning and acquisition of plays and theatre books, particularly those by first-time writers, and integral to enhancing Nick Hern Books’ reputation as publishing the finest writing for and about the stage.

Nick Hern Books welcomes John O'Donovan as Consultant Editor

Lynn Nottage's play Sweat wins Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Sweat, Lynn Nottage's topical reflection of the present and poignant outcome of America's economic decline, has won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama 2017, it was announced yesterday (10 April).

Set in a city in Pennsylvania, Sweat tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat.

The play received its premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in October 2015, and is currently playing at Studio 54 on Broadway. It has been praised as 'the first theatrical landmark of the Trump era' (New Yorker), and previously won the 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Lynn Nottage is the first woman writer to win a second Pulitzer Prize for Drama, having previously triumphed in 2009 for Ruined, her passionate, heartfelt play set in a small mining town deep in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other NHB-published playwrights to win the Prize include Annie Baker for The Flick in 2014, Bruce Norris for Clybourne Park in 2011, Tracy Letts for August: Osage County in 2008, and David Lindsay-Abaire for Rabbit Hole in 2007.

Lynn Nottage's play <em>Sweat</em> wins Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Book :
  • Sweat

Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2017 opens for entries

Wednesday 25 January 2017

The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, Europe’s largest playwriting competition, opened for entries yesterday (24 January), with submissions accepted until 5 June.

A partnership between the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and property company Bruntwood, the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting is an opportunity for writers of any background and experience to enter unperformed plays to be judged by a panel of industry experts for a chance to win part of a prize fund of £40,000.

The competition is open to anyone over the age of sixteen, in the British Isles. All scripts are judged anonymously by a team of skilled readers and the final ten will be judged by this expert judging panel.

Each of the winners will enter into a development process with the Royal Exchange Theatre. The winning scripts, will be announced at an awards ceremony in Manchester this November. For more information, including how to enter, visit the Bruntwood Prize website here.

Nick Hern Books is proud to have been the Publishing Partners of the Bruntwood Prize since its inception in 2005, publishing the plays that go on to receive productions - and we're delighted to continue this relationship in 2017.


To help you get inspired for your own 2017 entry, we're offering 25% off all NHB-published, Bruntwood Prize-winning plays bought through our website. See more here.

Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2017 opens for entries