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An open letter to IdeasTap

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Dear IdeasTap,

As it’s your last day before you head to the Great Charity Commission in the Sky (sob!), we thought we’d take the opportunity to write and celebrate everything you’ve done over the last few years. Less of a eulogy, more of a slightly slurred, swaying-while-standing-on-the-table speech at leaving drinks down the pub – but hopefully it’ll be heartfelt, at least.

The main thing we wanted to say is: THANK YOU. It’s been a pleasure to work with you over the last few years, and everyone we’ve been in contact with has been so lovely all the time. Particular shout-outs to James, Cathy, Ellie and Vicky, who were never less than brilliant when being pestered with emails even though they probably had far more important things to be getting along with. At every Spa event we helped set up at your HQ – whether it was on acting, playwriting, theatre design, even that Christmas one with West End Producer and mince pies – it was fantastic to meet and talk to your members, who are exactly the kind of big-thinking, passionate young theatre-makers and -lovers we want our books to help. Their enthusiasm and hunger to develop and grow is so inspiring, and those opportunities to come together, learn and meet each other will be missed. We’ll also really miss your amazing wine (Nick’s particularly sad about that). Thanks also for all the competitions we ran together, and the coverage you gave our books. We hope people learned something through what you posted from them, and it’s great they’ll continue to be available through the IdeasMag archive.

It’s a sad day, of course. Saying goodbye always is. The fact is, you’ll be mourned, not just by your almost 200,000 members, but by the entire arts community you served so well. The sector is getting a bit of a kicking right now, particularly for those trying to break in and establish themselves – and losing a charity like IdeasTap is only going to make things harder for those who didn’t exactly have it easy to begin with. There are lots of people out there doing wonderful things to help them, of course, but you leave behind a big hole.

The good thing – obviously – is that some of the party (the after-party, if you like) goes on over at Hiive, with over £100,000-worth of new opportunities. It’s cheering to know UK artists will continue to benefit from your work. We look forward to reading your new columnist, and seeing what projects come out of the Innovators’ Fund.

Those continuing opportunities aren’t your only legacy, though. Your legacy is all the people you helped get that little bit further towards their dream, whether that was via giving them vital cash, helping them fund-raise for themselves via Accelerator, setting them up with an unbelievable mentoring opportunity, or going to a Spa event, getting a glass of wine and striking up a conversation with a stranger that just-so-happens to be the collaborator you didn’t even know you were looking for. Your website says you’ve helped over 62,000 people – that’s enough for a decent-sized town (and one we would definitely live in!). Lots of people currently rising through the ranks in the industry today owe that success at least in part to what you did, and perhaps what sucks the most is all the people who won’t benefit from your support in years to come.

We’ll wrap it up now, as this is all getting a bit soppy, and the barman is yelling at us to get down from the table, we’re freaking out the regulars. So to recap: you were brilliant. Thank you. And goodbye.

With much love,

Everyone at Nick Hern Books

An open letter to IdeasTap

Join Louise Dearman and Mark Evans to celebrate the launch of their book on Saturday 20 June

Monday 8 June 2015

Join musical theatre stars Louise Dearman (Wicked) and Mark Evans (The Book of Mormon) to celebrate the launch of their first ever book, Secrets of Stage Success.

Secrets of Stage Success is the book for anyone who’s seen a show and thought: ‘That could be me…’ In this essential, personal guide, musical stars Louise Dearman and Mark Evans use their knowledge and experiences to draw back the curtain and shine a spotlight onto how you can follow in their footsteps.

Answering almost one hundred questions submitted by fans worldwide, Louise and Mark explore every aspect of the industry, discussing training at drama school, how to prepare for an audition, how to find and select an agent, extending your vocal range, progressing towards leading roles, and much more. Filled with anecdotes and illustrated throughout, it's an inspiring, fun book for anyone who dreams of being a performer, and a wonderful read for any musical theatre lover.

Copies of the book will be available to buy on the day, with Louise and Mark on hand to sign copies and say hello. Come along and celebrate with them!

Book launch flyer

Book :
  • Secrets of Stage Success

Tonic Theatre and Nick Hern Books partner to launch Platform

Friday 15 May 2015

PlatformTonic Theatre and Nick Hern Books are joining forces to launch Platform, a new initiative aimed at tackling underrepresentation of women on stage by increasing the opportunities for girls and young women.

Aimed at addressing gender imbalance and inequality in theatre, Platform comprises big-cast plays with predominantly or all-female casts, written specifically for performance by school, college and youth-theatre groups. It is inspired by feedback from educational institutions and youth theatres across the country, which highlighted the mismatch between the - mostly female - composition of their memberships, and the range and quality of roles currently available to them.

The plays will be published as single editions, with the first three in the series released on 11 June. They are available to pre-order now:

The Light Burns Blue by Silva Semerciyan

Second Person Narrative by Jemma Kennedy

This Changes Everything by Joel Horwood

Platform covers

Platform follows in the footsteps of Tonic's earlier initiative Advance, which collaborated with Artistic Directors and senior creative staff at leading theatres to help them find ways of working more successfully with female theatre artists, and Tonic director Lucy Kerbel's 100 Great Plays for Women, an inspiring guide to a hundred plays that put female performers centre stage.

For more information, download the press release.

‘Drama is an important tool for building confidence and empowering young people. Platform will give girls opportunity to access these benefits as much as their male counterparts.’ - Moira Buffini

Books :
  • Second Person Narrative (Platform Play)
  • The Light Burns Blue (Platform Play)
  • This Changes Everything (Platform Play)

King Charles III wins Best New Play at Olivier Awards 2015

Monday 20 April 2015

The winners of the 2015 Olivier Awards were announced last Sunday (12 April), with NHB plays and authors enjoying success across a number of categories.

King Charles IIIKing Charles III, Mike Bartlett's provocative future history drama, scooped the prize for Best New Play. Set in the immediate aftermath of the death of Elizabeth II, the play explores the people beneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of our democracy, and the conscience of Britain’s most famous family. King Charles III premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London, before transferring to the West End. A Broadway production has also been announced.

BullMike Bartlett enjoyed more success on the night, with his razor-sharp play Bull winning Outstanding Achievement at an Affiliate Theatre. An acid-tongued drama about the fine line between office politics and playground bullying, Bull originally won the UK Theatre Award for Best New Play on its premiere at Sheffield Crucible Theatres. The London production recently closed at the Young Vic.

Wolf Hall & Bring Up the BodiesWolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies, Mike Poulton's adaptation of the Booker Prize-winning novels by Hilary Mantel, took home the awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Nathaniel Parker) and Best Costume Design (Christopher Oram). A thrilling and utterly convincing portrait of a brilliant man embroiled in the lethal, high-stakes politics of the Court of Henry VIII, the Royal Shakespeare Company production is now on in New York following hit runs in Stratford-upon-Avon and London.


Special Winners Offer

To celebrate our authors' Olivier Awards success, we're offering a special discount on King Charles III, Bull and Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies when ordering through our website.

Get the plays at 50% off when you use the code OLIVIER15 at checkout. This offer is valid until 31 May 2015.

Book :
  • King Charles III

Nick Hern Books to launch three new imprints

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Leading speclalist theatre publisher Nick Hern Books is to launch three new imprints, it was revealed today (1 April), as it looks to diversify its list. The new imprints, focusing on cooking, crime and fashion, will be called Nick Hern Cooks, Nick Hern Crooks and Nick Hern Looks respectively.

However, rather than recruit new authors to the list, NHC, NH-other-C and NHL will seek to offer a new creative outlet for authors already published by NHB.

A spokesperson said: 'We've been doing books on theatre for more than twenty-five years, and don't get us wrong, that's been brilliant. But have you looked on Instagram recently? It's wall-to-wall pictures of food. Netflix is full of dramas like The Killing, and if Victoria Beckham gets to do clothes, then so do we.

'We're really excited that the titles on these new imprints will be penned by our previously-published authors. After all, who doesn't want to read Caryl Churchill's recipe for the perfect quiche, Tom Wells' new blood-soaked murder mystery (set in Hull, of course) or Declan Donnellan on this season's must-have trends?'

The new imprints will be phased in over the coming months, beginning with Nick Hern Looks, which will be introduced in time for London Fashion Week in September.

The first title from NHL will be The Wear, a guide to avoiding fashion faux pas by Conor McPherson.

Nick Hern Cooks

Nick Hern Crooks

Nick Hern Looks

(Happy April Fools' Day!)

Tena Štivičić wins Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for 3 Winters

Tuesday 3 March 2015

The winner of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize was announced in New York yesterday (2 March), with the recipient revealed as Tena Štivičić for her epic drama 3 Winters.

First seen at the National Theatre, London, in November 2014, 3 Winters charts the recent history of Croatia by focussing on the story of four generations of the Kos family, who argue and fall in and out of love as world after world is erected and then torn down around them.

The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize is the oldest and largest prize awarded to women playwrights. Established in 1978, the Prize is given annually to recognize women who have written works of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre.

This year's nominees also included NHB playwrights Alecky Blythe (for Little Revolution) and Katherine Chandler (for Parallel Lines). Previous NHB winners include Caryl Churchill (twice), Lucy Kirkwood, Elizabeth Kuti and Chloë Moss.

Special Offer on 3 Winters

To celebrate Tena Štivičić's Susan Smith Blackburn Prize success, we're offering a special discount on 3 Winters when ordering through our website.

Get the play at 50% off when you use the code BLACKBURN15 at checkout. This offer is valid until 31 March 2015.

Book :
  • 3 Winters

Helen Edmundson and debbie tucker green receive Windham Campbell Prizes

Tuesday 24 February 2015

The recipients of the 2015 Windham Campbell Prizes were announced in New York today (24 February), with NHB playwrights Helen Edmundson and debbie tucker green among those recognised.

Helen Edmundson’s first play, Flying, was presented at the National Theatre Studio in 1990. She has worked extensively with Shared Experience, including on adaptations of Anna Karenina, The Mill on the Floss, and War and Peace, among others, and the original play Mary Shelley.

Recent work includes Swallows and Amazons (Bristol Old Vic, 2010, then West End and national tour), The Heresy of Love (Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, 2012) and Thérèse Raquin (Theatre Royal, Bath, 2014).

debbie tucker green’s plays include born bad (Hampstead Theatre, 2003, Soho Repertory, New York, 2011 and winner of the 2004 Olivier Award for Most Promising Newcomer and an OBIE award for playwriting); dirty butterfly (Soho Theatre, 2003); trade (RSC, 2005); stoning mary (Royal Court Theatre, 2005); generations (Young Vic, 2007); random (Royal Court Theatre, 2008); truth and reconciliation (Royal Court Theatre, 2011) and nut (The Shed, National Theatre, 2013).

She has also written and directed a feature film, Second Coming (BFI/Film 4, 2014) and adapted her play random into a TV film for Channel 4, which won the 2012 BAFTA for Best Single Drama and the Black International Film/MVSA Award for Best UK Film.

First awarded in 2013, the Windham Campbell Prizes were established by Donald Windham and Sandy M. Campbell to call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns. Nine writers are recognised across three categories - fiction, non-fiction and drama - and can be from anywhere in the world, provided they write in English. The awards, which come with a $150,000 cheque, can be given for a body of work or extraordinary promise.

Last year, Sam Holcroft was awarded a Windham Campbell Prize, the first British playwright to receive one. To date, three UK playwrights have received Prizes; all three are published by Nick Hern Books.

Special Offer

To celebrate our authors' Windham Campbell Prize success, we're offering a special discount on their plays when ordering through our website.

Get all plays by Helen Edmundson and debbie tucker green at 25% off plus free UK p&p when you use the code WCP15 at checkout. This offer is valid until 31 March 2015.

Helen Edmundson and debbie tucker green receive Windham Campbell Prizes

Year of the Fat Knight by Antony Sher to be BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

Thursday 19 February 2015

BBC Radio 4Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries, Antony Sher’s account of researching, rehearsing and performing one of Shakespeare’s best-known and most popular characters, is to be Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4, broadcast from 4 May. It will be read by the author.

Published thirty years ago, Antony Sher's account of preparing for and playing the role of Richard III, Year of the King, has since become a classic of theatre literature. In his new book, Year of the Fat Knight, Antony Sher provides insight into his process behind preparing to play Falstaff in Gregory Doran's recent Royal Shakespeare Company production of the two parts of Henry IV, for which Sher won the Critics' Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance.

The book will be serialised on BBC Radio 4 from Monday 4 May, with broadcast available on iPlayer to listen to later. Year of the Fat Knight is published on 30 April. To read more about the book, and pre-order your copy, click here.

Book :
  • Year of the Fat Knight (Hardback)

King Charles III and Antony Sher triumph at Critics' Circle Theatre Awards

Tuesday 27 January 2015

The winners of this year's Critics' Circle Theatre Awards were announced today (27 January), with Nick Hern Books authors Mike Bartlett and Antony Sher both taking home prizes.

King Charles III by Mike Bartlett was named Best New Play. Set in the aftermath of Elizabeth II's death, Mike Bartlett's provocative drama explores the people beneath their crowns, the unwritten rules of our democracy, and the conscience of Britain’s most famous family.

Drawing on the style and structure of a Shakespearean history play, and written largely in highly accomplished blank verse, King Charles III opened in 2014 at London’s Almeida Theatre, directed by Rupert Goold, before transferring to the West End. To celebrate its rapturous reception NHB has published a special clothbound hardback edition of the play, featuring a Foreword by the broadcaster Jon Snow, an essay on the original production and Afterword by the author, as well as the full script, which is available here.

Antony Sher's performance as Falstaff in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Henry IV Parts I and II was given the prize for Best Shakespearean Performance. Antony Sher's process of researching, rehearsing and performing one of Shakespeare’s best-known and most popular characters is the focus of his forthcoming book Year of the Fat Knight: The Falstaff Diaries. Splendidly supplemented by his own paintings and sketches, Year of the Fat Knight is published on 7 May.

Also successful at the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards was Gypsy by Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents and Jule Styne, which won the Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical. The acclaimed Chichester Festival production transfers to the Savoy Theatre, London, from 28 March 2015.

Books :
  • King Charles III
  • Year of the Fat Knight (Hardback)

NHB authors scoop playwriting categories at Writers' Guild Awards

Tuesday 20 January 2015

The winners of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards were revealed yesterday (19 January), with two Nick Hern Books plays taking the prize in both of the Best Play categories.

James I, part of Rona Munro's The James Plays, was named Best Play. Co-produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, Edinburgh International Festival and National Theatre, London, this vividly imagined trilogy, which brings to life three generations of Stewart kings who ruled Scotland in the tumultuous fifteenth century, premiered at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, in August as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. It later transferred to the National Theatre, London, in September. The trilogy was also named Best New Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2014.

Best Play for Young Audiences was awarded to Girls Like That by Evan Placey. The play, which explores the pressures on young people today in the wake of advancing technology, was first premiered by youth theatre groups in Birmingham, Leeds and Plymouth. It was later staged at the Unicorn Theatre, London, in November 2014. The Guardian called it an 'eye-opening, often uncomfortably honest play... deserves to be widely seen by teenage audiences. And by their parents too.'

There was also success for NHB author Stefan Golaszewski, who won Best Situation Comedy for the final series of Him & Her.

Writers' Guild Awards winners - Special Offer

To celebrate their success, we're offering a special deal on The James Plays, winner of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award for Best Play, and Girls Like That, winner of the Best Play for Young Audiences.

Get the scripts at 50% off when you use the code WG15 at checkout. This offer is valid until 28 February.

Book :
  • Girls Like That