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Job vacancy: Marketing and Publicity Manager

Wednesday 6 July 2022

We're currently seeking a creative and driven Marketing and Publicity Manager to join our team. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a vibrant and dynamic independent publishing house which sits at the heart of the UK theatre industry.

Applications are now open until noon on 21 July 2022. Full details on our Jobs page.

Job vacancy: Marketing and Publicity Manager

The Empty Space released in audiobook

Wednesday 25 May 2022

We're excited to announce the release of the first-ever audiobook edition of The Empty Space – the hugely influential classic of theatre writing by Peter Brook (‘our greatest living theatre director’, Independent) – read by award-winning actor Adrian Lester.

More than 50 years on from its first publication in print in 1968, The Empty Space remains a cornerstone of thinking about theatre. It sets out many of the ideas about theatre which have informed Brook’s lifelong work as a theatre director, from his iconic ‘white box’ production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and his groundbreaking adaptation of The Mahabharata, to his ongoing work at the International Centre for Theatre Research. NHB previously published the first ebook edition of The Empty Space in 2019.

Read by Adrian Lester – who played the title role in Brook’s acclaimed production of Hamlet in Paris, London and New York – this new unabridged audiobook of The Empty Space will continue to inspire and instruct new generations of theatre-makers everywhere.

The Empty Space audiobook is available now via Amazon, Apple Books and Audible. You can listen to a free sample below.

Matt Applewhite, Managing Director of Nick Hern Books, said:
‘Peter Brook’s The Empty Space is one of the most influential books written about the theatre – if not any art form. We’re proud to release it in audiobook for the first time, following our publication of the first-ever ebook edition in 2019, on the occasion of Peter's ninetieth birthday. Adrian Lester’s beautiful reading will give lovers, students and scholars of theatre a new opportunity to enjoy this landmark of theatre-writing.’

Adrian Lester said:
‘As with all great books I’ve come across, the ideas Peter Brook explored and crystalised on the page in The Empty Space helped form many of the approaches I use as an actor to this day. It was wonderful to be able to go back and read Peter’s incredible book again. I can see how clearly his philosophies have shaped the way we practice and engage with theatre. It is a seminal piece of work that examines as much of society as it does the various ways society tries to entertain itself. It was a privilege to read it.’


<em>The Empty Space</em> released in audiobook
Book :
  • The Empty Space

Benedict Lombe wins Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Monday 11 April 2022

The 2022 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize was awarded today (11 April 2022) to Nick Hern Books playwright Benedict Lombe for her debut play Lava, which premiered at the Bush Theatre, London, in July 2021.

In a special presentation at Shakespeare's Globe in London, the Blackburn Prize judges presented Lombe with a cash prize of $25,000, and a signed limited-edition print by renowned artist Willem de Kooning, created especially for the Prize. Awarded annually since 1978, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is the oldest and largest prize awarded to women+ playwrights.

In Lava, a British Congolese woman receives an unexpected letter from the British Passport Office and is forced to confront an old mystery: why does her South African passport not carry her first name? In her quest for answers, she finds a much bigger story. Playful and lyrical, moving from Mobutu's Congo to post-Apartheid South Africa, Ireland and England, Lava is a story about unravelling the patterns of chaos across history-questioning nationhood narratives, and the process of naming the unnameable.

A one-woman show, the play won Best Performance Piece at the 2022 Offies (Off West End Awards). Lombe also won the Book and Lyrics Recognition Award at the 2021 Black British Theatre Awards.

More information about the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize here:

Benedict Lombe wins Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
Book :
  • Lava

Olivier Awards success for NHB plays

Sunday 10 April 2022

There was success for Nick Hern Books' plays and playwrights at the Olivier Awards last night (10 April 2022) as Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) by Isobel McArthur won the award for Best Entertainment or Comedy Play, and Igor Memic's debut play Old Bridge picked up Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre.

Isobel McArthur's witty and irreverent Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) is an adaptation like no other, reframing Jane Austen's classic tale as a story told below stairs by five young women whose day-jobs are to empty the chamber pots and sweep the ash from the grate. Weaving in a series of romantic hits from pop history, the play was premiered at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, in 2018 in a production by theatre company Blood of the Young, before touring the UK the following year. It transferred to the Criterion Theatre in the West End in October 2021, but was forced to close early because of Covid restrictions. A new tour, opening in September 2022, has been announced (more details at

Igor Memic's Old Bridge, an 'achingly romantic, Balkan Romeo and Juliet story' (Evening Standard) set in Memic's former hometown Mostar, won the Papatango New Writing Prize in 2020 and was premiered at the Bush Theatre, London, in October 2021. Memic went on to win the Most Promising Playwright Awards at both the Critics' Circle Awards and the Offies (Off West End Awards).

Also amongst this year's award-winners was Liz Carr, who won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, which was revived at the National Theatre, London, in 2021.

A full list of winners from the 2022 Olivier Awards is available here:

Olivier Awards success for NHB plays
Books :
  • Old Bridge
  • Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of)

Winsome Pinnock awarded Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Nick Hern Books playwright Winsome Pinnock has won a Windham-Campbell Prize for drama in recognition of 'a singular voice in world theater'.

The award, which is one of the world's richest, celebrates eight writers each year for their achievements in fiction, non fiction, poetry and drama. In their citation for the 2022 Prizes, the judges said that Pinnock's plays 'have established her as both poet and myth-maker, committed to taking formal risks and to asking difficult questions about the role of art in shaping cultures and institutions'.

'Her most recent play, Rockets and Blue Lights (2018), places at its center one of the nineteenth century's most famous paintings: J. M. W. Turner's "The Slave Ship". Moving between several sets of characters and ranging from the 1800s to the present, this intricately plotted drama compels us to confront the horrors of our shared past. It does so with compassion and wit, never once compromising Pinnock's vision of theater as the communal creation of new, stranger, and perhaps truer histories.'

Previous recipients of the Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama include NHB playwrights Helen Edmundson, debbie tucker green, Aleasha Harris, Lucas Hnath, Sam Holcroft, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Young Jean Lee and Suzan-Lori Parks.

Photo by Geraint Hill.

Winsome Pinnock awarded Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama
Books :
  • Leave Taking
  • Rockets and Blue Lights
  • Tituba

NHB shortlisted at Music and Drama Education Awards 2022

Thursday 9 December 2021

The shortlists for the Music & Drama Education Awards 2022 were announced today (Thursday 9 December), with NHB named as finalists in two categories.

Drama Menu at a Distance: 80 Socially Distanced or Online Theatre Games by Glyn Trefor-Jones is up for Outstanding Drama Education Resource. Based on the author's highly popular, revolutionary 'menu' concept for planning and delivering drama lessons, this new book – created specifically to help anyone teaching drama during the COVID-19 pandemic – offers dozens of dynamic, brand-new exercises to energise, excite and inspire any drama group, all of which are designed to be played within the constraints of socially distanced teaching and online learning.

When This is Over is a finalist for Outstanding Drama Initiative. Created by acclaimed youth-theatre organisation Company Three in partnership with NHB, When This Is Over is a mass-participatory cultural project which has seen over 40 youth-drama groups around the world create their own unique version of a brand-new play developed directly from the stories of the young people taking part. The project runs alongside crucial climate conference COP26, which took place this November in Glasgow, and gives teenagers the chance to express their hopes and fears about the rest of their lives at a time when crucial decisions are being made about their future.

Founded in 2017, the Music and Drama Education Awardsc elebrate the extraordinary contribution made by individuals, companies, charities, schools and other organisations to the lives of others through the medium of these two key performing arts. NHB is the current holder of the award for Outstanding Drama Initiative, having scooped the 2021 prize jointly with Tonic Theatre for large-cast youth-drama play series Platform.

The 2022 winners will be revealed at a ceremony in March 2022. To see more information, including the full shortlists, visit the Awards website.

NHB shortlisted at Music and Drama Education Awards 2022

NHB joins as Publishing Partner of Verity Bargate Award

Tuesday 30 November 2021

We're delighted to announce that Nick Hern Books has joined as the official Publishing Partner of the Verity Bargate Award, which celebrates its 40th anniversary year in 2022.

Sponsored by Character 7, the Verity Bargate Award is the flagship new-writing award administered by the renowned Soho Theatre, London, with the winning play produced in a full production on their stages.

In addition to receiving £7,500 in respect of an exclusive option for Soho Theatre to produce their play, the winner will now also have the opportunity to be published by NHB.

Entries to the Verity Bargate Award are now open until 21 January. For more information, and to enter your play, visit the Soho Theatre website.

Matt Applewhite, Managing Director of Nick Hern Books, said:

‘The Verity Bargate Award has long been one of UK theatre’s most important, surprising and exciting new-writing prizes – and is aligned completely with our aims at Nick Hern Books of discovering, sharing and shining a spotlight on brilliant plays from the very best new voices.

'Having published many winning and shortlisted writers from previous years – including Vicky Jones, Dylan Coburn Gray, Phoebe Eclair-Powell, Janice Okoh and Diane Samuels – we are thrilled to make it official as Publishing Partner, to strengthen our close relationship with the wonderful team at Soho Theatre, and can’t wait to publish many fantastic new plays in the future.'

NHB joins as Publishing Partner of Verity Bargate Award

Benedict Lombe wins at Black British Theatre Awards 2021

Monday 22 November 2021

The winners of this year's Black British Theatre Awards were announced yesterday (21 November), with NHB author Benedict Lombe included amongst those taking home prizes.

Lombe was presented with the Book and Lyrics Recognition Award for her debut play Lava. This wickedly funny and strikingly lyrical play, in which one woman's journey to discover more about her own past becomes inextricably linked with the tides of global history, premiered at the Bush Theatre, London, in July. The Times declared it 'brilliant, blistering theatre', with Lombe's writing praised for its 'sinewy poeticism and warm, effortless wit'.

Established in 2019, The Black British Theatre Awards highlight and celebrate the influence of Black performers and creatives in the UK’s artistic legacy, and the impact of their contributions on an international level. Read the full list of this year's winners here.

Benedict Lombe wins at Black British Theatre Awards 2021
Book :
  • Lava

Pop-up NHB bookshop coming to Bush Theatre

Tuesday 2 November 2021

We're bringing our first-ever pop-up bookshop to our ace neighbours the Bush Theatre for two days only this month!

Come along from 12 noon to 7.30pm on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 November to browse and choose from a massive range of playscripts and books all at amazing, one-off bargain prices, with hundreds available for just £2.

Pick up playscripts by some of today’s most renowned writers, as well as exciting emerging voices. There’ll also be a wide selection of inspiring, practical books – to help you learn new skills, brush up on existing ones, and support your own work and career – as well as fascinating autobiographies, interview collections, criticism and more.

Come on down to look through what's on offer, get recommendations from the NHB team, and take home some theatrical gems at unbeatable prices. Plus, 25% of the proceeds from all books sold will go to theatrical charity Acting for Others, to help provide financial and emotional support to theatre workers in times of need.

Check out the full information on the Bush Theatre website, and see you there on 19 and 20 November!

Pop-up NHB bookshop coming to Bush Theatre

Samuel Bailey and Uncle Vanya win South Bank Sky Arts Awards

Tuesday 20 July 2021

The winners of the 2021 South Bank Sky Arts Awards were announced last night (Monday 19 July), with Samuel Bailey, and Conor McPherson's new version of Chekhov classic Uncle Vanya, amongst those honoured.

Samuel Bailey was named as the recipient of the Times Breakthrough Award for his acclaimed debut play Shook. This tender and honest drama, set in a young-offender institution, won the Papatango New Writing Prize in 2019, and was premiered by Papatango at Southwark Playhouse in October 2019, followed by a UK tour. Its planned West End transfer in 2020 was cancelled by the COVID pandemic. However, Shook was subsequently filmed in collaboration with BAFTA-winning filmmaker James Bobin, with the filmed version currently available to watch online here until 31 July.

Elsewhere, Conor McPherson's acclaimed new version of Anton Chekhov's classic play Uncle Vanya took home the Theatre Award. Praised by WhatsOnStage as 'a feat of magical reinvention', the production opened at the Harold Pinter Theatre, in London's West End, in January 2020, before being forced to close due to the pandemic. A film of the production was later shot on the Harold Pinter stage, before being released in cinemas and broadcast on BBC Four. It is currently available to view on BBC iPlayer.

Marking 25 years in 2021, the South Bank Sky Arts Awards is the only Awards ceremony in the world to celebrate every genre of the Arts, including Dance, Theatre, Pop, TV Drama, Film, Classical Music, Literature, Opera, Comedy and Visual Art. The winners of the 2021 Awards were announced at a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel, London, which will be broadcast on Sky Arts at 9pm on Thursday 22 July.

Samuel Bailey and <em>Uncle Vanya</em> win South Bank Sky Arts Awards
Books :
  • Shook
  • Uncle Vanya