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Triumph at the Critics' Circle Awards

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Nick Hern Books playwrights scooped both of the playwriting awards at this year's Critics' Circle Theatre Awards, announced yesterday (25 March 2024) at a ceremony at the new West End venue @sohoplace.

The Best New Play award went to The Motive and the Cue, Jack Thorne's backstage drama about John Gielgud and Richard Burton rehearsing Hamlet in 1964. Thorne's play was premiered at the National Theatre in 2023, directed by Sam Mendes and starring Mark Gatiss as Gielgud and Johnny Flynn as Burton. It picked up the Evening Standard Award for Best New Play, and transferred to the West End's Noel Coward theatre in December 2023, where its run has just come to an end.

The coveted Most Promising Playwright award went to Marcelo Dos Santos for his play Backstairs Billy, which premiered in the West End in a production directed by Michael Grandage and starring Penelope Wilton and Luke Evans. The play is a rip-roaring comedy about the Queen's Mother's fifty-year relationship with her loyal servant Billy Tallon. The award was given jointly to Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini for her play Sleepova at the Bush Theatre.

The Critics' Circle Awards are voted for by the body of UK theatre critics, recognising performances from across the previous calendar year.

Congratulations to all of the award winners!

Triumph at the Critics' Circle Awards
Books :
  • Backstairs Billy
  • The Motive and the Cue

Winners at the Offies Awards

Tuesday 27 February 2024

There were prizes for NHB-published plays at the Offies Awards this week (Sunday 25 February), with no fewer than seven of our plays taking home silverware, two of them in the OffFest Theatre Festival Awards.

James Fritz's The Flea won Best Director for Jay Miller as well as Best Costume Design (by Lambdog1066).

Tom Powell's The Silence and the Noise won Best Online Production.

Lauryn Redding won Best Lead Performance in a Musical for her performance in her own musical, Bloody Elle.

Samuel Barnett won Best Solo Performance in a Play for his performance in Marcelo Dos Santos's Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going To Happen.

Sophie Swithinbank's play Bacon won Best Lighting Design (by Ryan Joseph Stafford).

At the OffFest Theatre Festival Awards, Ed Edwards won the New Writing Award for his play England & Son, while Elisabeth Lewerenz won the Vault Festival Award for How We Begin.

Many congratulations to all our winners!

Winners at the Offies Awards
Books :
  • Bloody Elle
  • The Silence and the Noise
  • Bacon
  • England & Son
  • The Flea
  • Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going To Happen
  • How We Begin

NHB joins Tonic Changemakers

Monday 12 February 2024

Nick Hern Books is proud to be a participant in Tonic Changemakers, a membership programme run by Tonic for people doing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work in the arts and cultural sector.

Tonic Changemakers is a community of likeminded people who are committed to driving EDI-related change in the arts and cultural sector. It is also a first-of-its-kind hub of training, support and professional development opportunities designed specifically for EDI changemakers. All of it is based on the insights from Tonic's 10+ years of ground-breaking work with hundreds of arts organisations, supporting them to achieve tangible, long-lasting EDI-related change.

Nick Hern Books has worked closely with Tonic since publishing 100 Great Plays for Women, by the company's founder Lucy Kerbel, in 2013. The book was the culmination of a project by Tonic (then Tonic Theatre) and the National Theatre Studio. Tonic Theatre was founded by Kerbel in 2011 to support the theatre industry in achieving greater gender equality in its workforces and repertoires.

In 2017, Nick Hern Books published Kerbel's subsequent book, All Change Please: A Practical Guide to Achieving Gender Equality in Theatre. Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, said: 'Lucy Kerbel's work has become increasingly pivotal in helping the entire industry raise its game. This illuminating book answers the cynic, informs the impartial, converts the supporter into an activist and equips them all; not in a rallying cry of anger-fuelled idealism, but in a calm, pragmatic and clear-eyed way.'

Nick Hern Books also publishes the Platform series of plays in association with Tonic, offering big-cast plays with predominantly or all-female casts, written specifically for school, college and youth-theatre groups. The series was awarded Outstanding Drama Initiative at the Music and Drama Education Awards 2021.

There is more about Tonic Changemakers on Tonic's website here.

NHB joins Tonic Changemakers
Books :
  • 100 Great Plays for Women
  • All Change Please

Top Ten Performed Plays of 2023

Friday 19 January 2024

Every year, Nick Hern Books licenses thousands of amateur performances of NHB-published plays, helping amateur groups, schools, youth theatres and others create their own brilliant productions. With over 1,500 titles on our list, there's no shortage of exciting options!

However, there are certain shows that companies are drawn to time and time again – so we've rounded up the plays we licensed the most for amateur performance in 2023. Take a look at the results, over on our blog>>

Top Ten Performed Plays of 2023

JOB VACANCY: Performing Rights Assistant

Thursday 4 January 2024

We're currently looking for a Performing Rights Assistant to join the Nick Hern Books team and be part of facilitating productions of our plays around the world.

Working with our Performing Rights Manager, you’ll play an important role in licensing our list of over 1,000 plays for performance by amateur-theatre companies, schools, youth-theatre groups and others, as well as assisting with the day-to-day operations of the department and covering the Performing Rights Manager's duties from time to time.

This is a permanent, full-time position with a salary of £27,500 pa. Applications are now open until 12 noon GMT on Thursday 18 January – see full information about the role, plus how to apply, on our Jobs Page.

JOB VACANCY: Performing Rights Assistant

Jack Thorne wins Best Play at Evening Standard Theatre Awards

Monday 20 November 2023

Jack Thorne's play The Motive and the Cue, which premiered at the National Theatre, London, in May 2023 and transfers to the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End in December, was named Best Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards last night (Sunday 19 November).

The play, which is about the clash between actor Richard Burton and his director John Gielgud during rehearsals for their famous production of Hamlet, was widely acclaimed when it opened earlier this year in Sam Mendes's glittering production.

Also nominated for the Best Play award was Sam Holcroft's A Mirror, which premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London, in August.

Jack Thorne wins Best Play at Evening Standard Theatre Awards

Rob Madge and Michael R. Jackson win Stage Debut Awards

Monday 2 October 2023

Rob Madge and Michael R. Jackson were prize-winners at the Stage Debut Awards yesterday, 1 October 2023. The awards, in association with Ambassador Theatre Group, celebrate breakthrough talent in theatre.

Rob Madge, the writer-performer of West End sensation My Son's a Queer (But What Can You Do?), was joint winner of the Best Creative West End Debut award for their play, which premiered at London's Turbine Theatre in 2021, took Edinburgh by storm, and then transferred to the West End's Garrick Theatre in October 2022. It returned to the West End for a season at the Ambassador's in January this year.

The joyous and chaotic story of Madge's own childhood, My Son's a Queer (But What Can You Do?) is 'a gorgeous celebration of what it's like to grow up queer' (Whatsonstage).

Michael R. Jackson was named Best Composer, Lyricist or Book Writer for his musical A Strange Loop, which received its British premiere at the Barbican Theatre this year. A blisteringly original musical about a Black, queer writer struggling with a host of demons, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical, and has been described as a 'meta masterpiece' (Guardian) and 'an astonishing tour-de-force' (Whatsonstage).

Congratulations to both winners!

Rob Madge and Michael R. Jackson win Stage Debut Awards
Books :
  • My Son's a Queer (But What Can You Do?)
  • A Strange Loop

Fringe First Awards for NHB plays

Friday 11 August 2023

Two NHB plays have been named in the first batch of Edinburgh Fringe First Awards, selected by The Scotsman: England & Son by Ed Edwards and The Grand Old Opera House Hotel by Isobel McArthur.

Ed Edwards' play England & Son, written for the performer Mark Thomas, is a kaleidoscopic journey through empire and politics in pursuit of the truth about a man living on the streets. 'Profound and moving' (Whatsonstage), it is at Paines Plough's Roundabout throughout August before touring to Manchester and London.

Isobel McArthur's The Grand Old Opera House Hotel is an enchanting musical comedy set in a seedy hotel, haunted by its former incarnation as an opera house. Written by the author of the smash hit Pride & Prejudice* (*sort of), it is at the Traverse Theatre before going to Dundee Rep. 'Gloriously funny' The Times

Congratulations to both winners!

Fringe First Awards for NHB plays
Books :
  • The Grand Old Opera House Hotel
  • England & Son

Tony Awards: wins for NHB authors and plays

Monday 12 June 2023

Jodie Comer won a Tony Award at last night's awards ceremony for her performance in Suzie Miller's play Prima Facie, the powerful one-woman show about an ambitious lawyer forced to confront the patriarchal power of the law.

Her award for Best Performance by an Actress for a Leading Role in Play comes after Prima Facie transferred to Broadway from the West End, where it won both the Olivier and WhatsOnStage Awards for Best New Play.

The Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play went to Suzan-Lori Parks' Topdog/Underdog, revived on Broadway in October 2022 in a 20th anniversary production.

The Tony Award for Best Musical went to Kimberly Akimbo, the new musical by David Lindsay-Abaire, author of Rabbit Hole, Good People and Ripcord. The story of a US teenager with an aging disease, Kimberly Akimbo also won Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score written for the Theatre.

The 76th Tony Awards, recognising the achievements in Broadway productions during the 2022–23 season, were announced at a ceremony held at the United Palace in New York City on 11 June 2023.


Tony Awards: wins for NHB authors and plays
Books :
  • Topdog/Underdog
  • Good People
  • Rabbit Hole
  • Ripcord
  • Prima Facie: Special Edition

Olivier Awards: triple success for NHB!

Monday 3 April 2023

The winners of the 2023 Olivier Awards were announced yesterday (2 April 2023) at a ceremony at London's Royal Albert Hall, with Nick Hern Books titles taking the triple-whammy of Best New Play, Best New Musical and Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre.

Best New Play was awarded to Prima Facie, Suzie Miller's searingly powerful one-woman show about an ambitious female lawyer confronting patriarchal power. The play was a sensation in its West End production starring Jodie Comer, who took the Best Actress award at last night's ceremony.

Best New Musical went to Chris Bush and Richard Hawley's Standing at the Sky's Edge, a gorgeous celebration of community seen through the lives of successive generations of residents of a Sheffield estate. It also took the award for Best original score or new orchestrations, in recognition of Richard Hawley and Tom Deering's work.

The Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre award went to The P Word, Waleed Akhtar's sharp-witted play about the parallel lives of two gay Pakistani men. The play premiered at the Bush Theatre in 2022, and was described as 'heart-meltingly lovely' (Time Out), a 'tremendous two-man rom-com' (The Times).

Akhtar's play beat off stiff competition from four other plays in its category, all of them published by Nick Hern Books: Haley McGee's Age is a Feeling; Joe White's Blackout Songs; Margaret Perry's Paradise Now! and Sami Ibrahim's two palestinians go dogging.

Congratulations to all the winners!


Olivier Awards: triple success for NHB!
Books :
  • Prima Facie
  • The P Word