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Heretic Voices monologue competition winners to be published by NHB

Tuesday 28 November 2017

We're delighted to announce that Nick Hern Books is to publish an anthology of the three winning plays in the inaugural Heretic Voices competition.

The Heretic Voices competition searched for the best new writing in monologue form – the winners, revealed today (28 November) by organisers Heretic Productions, are:

Woman Caught Unaware by Annie Fox – a searing and bleakly funny debut play which examines of the culture of body shaming

Dean McBride by Sonya Hale – a vivid and poetic story of loss and redemption set on a Croydon council estate

A Hundred Words for Snow from Tatty Hennessy – a thrilling and brave exploration of mortality, adolescence and the Arctic

The plays will be produced with leading actors and directors for performances at the Arcola Theatre from 9-13 January 2018, with all three monologues performed each evening.

Max Gill, Artistic Director of Heretic Productions: 'Our three winning plays stood out to the judges for the belief and conviction each writer showed in their own voice. Their writing is original, honest, and surprising and their handling of the monologue form highly sophisticated. Their words sing on the page but crucially the dramatic tension that thrives at the heart of each means they are begging to be performed. 

We’re thrilled that the remarkable work of these playwrights will be performed, and published by Nick Hern Books so that audiences can enjoy their work as much as we have.'

Matt Applewhite, Managing Director of Nick Hern Books: 'Writing a monologue is a unique challenge and opportunity: telling a story and holding an audience's attention with only a single performer's voice. We're delighted to collaborate with Heretic Productions in publishing these three fine, now award-winning examples of the form - and giving them a longer life in the future, on the printed page, in the audition room, and in production.'

Heretic Voices monologue competition winners to be published by NHB

NHB sponsors The Miniaturists Podcast

Monday 20 November 2017

Nick Hern Books is proud to support the first series of The Miniaturists Podcast – the new audio drama podcast from The Miniaturists, celebrated purveyors of acclaimed shortform drama since 2005.

Each season The Miniaturists will work with five exciting writers to develop a programme of short, stand-alone plays, that will embrace and celebrate shortform in the audio medium. The plays will be released weekly: Episode 1, Stanley Road by Al Smith, was released on 16 November, and is available to listen to via iTunes, SoundCloud and other podcast services.

The first series will also include plays from Camilla WhitehillIsley LynnPhoebe Eclair-Powell and Vinay Patel. The Miniaturists Podcast is produced by Will Bourdillon & James Huntrods, and audio produced & edited by Andy Goddard.

Founded in 2005, The Miniaturists is a group of playwrights and other theatre workers interested in the possibilities of the short play. They stage a regular writer-led event dedicated to short but perfectly formed plays. Their next new writing night, Miniaturists 66, will be held at the Arcola Theatre on Sunday 26 November - see more and book tickets here.

NHB sponsors The Miniaturists Podcast

NHB nominees at Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2017

Friday 17 November 2017

The nominees for this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards were announced today (Friday 17 November), with NHB plays and authors featured across the various categories.

Three NHB plays are included on the shortlist for Best Play. In the thought-provoking The Children by Lucy Kirkwood, two ageing nuclear scientists, living in an isolated cottage on the edge of a crumbling world, receive a frightening request from an old friend. The play received its premiere at the Royal Court in November 2016, and a New York transfer opens at the Manhattan Theatre Club on 28 November.

The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth is also shortlisted for Best Play. Set in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, in 1981, the Carney family's traditional harvest celebrations are interrupted by the arrival of a visitor, whose shocking news threatens to unravel all they've built. First seen at the Royal Court earlier this year, the play is currently running at the Gielgud Theatre, where it has recently extended until May 2018.

Also nominated for Best Play is Oslo by J. T. Rogers. This darkly funny political thriller about the unlikely forging of the Oslo Accords between Israel and Palestine won the Tony Award for Best New Play when it premiered in New York, and is now playing at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End following a short run at the National Theatre.

Elsewhere, two NHB authors are nominated for the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is shortlisted for An Octoroon, his dazzlingly inventive comedy which draws on Dion Boucicault's 1859 original melodrama to explore issues about race and identity in America today. After receiving its European premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, An Octoroon will transfer to the National Theatre in 2018.

Also up for Most Promising Playwright is Katherine Soper for her hard-hitting drama Wish List. Winner of the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, this sensitive, delicate and powerful play, which asks what our labour is worth and how life can be lived when the system is stacked against you, premiered at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, before transferring to the Royal Court.

NHB is represented in other categories, too. NHB author Dominic Cooke is shortlisted for Best Director for his hit production of Follies at the National Theatre – which is also up for Best Musical Performance (Janie Dee). Mike Bartlett's state-of-the-nation drama Albion is included on the shortlists for the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress (Victoria Hamilton) and Emerging Talent Award (Luke Thallon); both shortlists also include nods for The Ferryman, with Laura Donnelly and Tom Glynn-Carney nominated respectively.

Finally, Andrew Garfield is shortlisted for his performance as Prior Walter in the National Theatre's acclaimed revival of Tony Kushner's epic Angels in America, and Sheila Atim is nominated for the Emerging Talent Award for her role in Girl from the North Country, Conor McPherson's beautiful play built around the iconic songbook of Bob Dylan.

The winners of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2017 will be announced at a ceremony on Sunday 3 December, hosted by actor, Fleabag creator/star and NHB author Phoebe Waller-Bridge. To see the full shortlists, visit the Evening Standard website.

NHB nominees at Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2017
Books :
  • The Children
  • The Ferryman
  • Oslo

50% off for 24 hours in our Love Theatre Day Sale!

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Here at Nick Hern Books, we really do love theatre. It's what we publish. And as our readers and followers, we reckon you do too. So as Wednesday 15 November marks #LoveTheatreDay 2017, we've put together a great offer to help you celebrate.

From 10:00 on Wednesday 15 November, all NHB-published titles* are available at 50% off via our website, for 24 hours only!

Whether you're searching for the perfect Christmas gift for someone special, a book to help you develop your skills and advance your career, or just a great read, then look no further.

And don't forget, you'll get free UK postage & packaging on all orders of £30 or over.

Our #LoveTheatreDay Sale ends at 10:00 GMT on Thursday 16 November. So don't miss your chance to grab a bargain – start looking now! For full information, and to get inspiration from some of this year's biggest titles, visit our Sale page here.

(*Excludes imports, pre-orders and signed copies.)

Love Theatre Day Sale 2017 top image

50% off for 24 hours in our Love Theatre Day Sale!

Free badge when you order West End Producer's new book

Friday 3 November 2017

Our theatres need you! Protecting auditoriums everywhere, West End Producer’s new Theatre Prefects are the guardians and enforcers of good audience behaviour – combating snorers, noisy eaters and latecomers wherever they find them. 

Order your copy of Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Going To The Theatre (But Were Too Sloshed To Ask, Dear) from this website and you’ll receive a free exclusive badge (available while stocks last), granting you official status as a Theatre Prefect. Here's WEP himself to tell you more...

My dear,

Thank you so much for your interest in my new little scheme: the Theatre Prefect Programme. 

As you’re no doubt aware, the Theatre Prefect Programme is sadly more essential than ever. Across our beloved West End and beyond, there is a worrying trend of annoying, rude and immature audience members – from the snorers and noisy eaters, to the eighteen-year-old A-level students high on Haribo and Um Bongo, to the horny couples partaking in their own private performance in the front row – who threaten our auditoriums, disrupt our casts, and scare my Jean Valjean teddy. After all, some of the audience have remortgaged their house for a ticket in the stalls, so surely the least they can expect is to enjoy the show in peace?

We’ve all felt the theatre rage that comes with witnessing poor audience behaviour – and now you have the chance to channel those feelings into something positive. Everyone who orders a copy of my new book directly from my lovely publishers Nick Hern Books automatically qualifies for the Programme as they have shown excellent initiative, judgement and taste.

Once you've been received your badge and been officially confirmed as a Theatre Prefect, you may consider yourself my official representative in any auditorium you find yourself in – and empowered accordingly. All venue managers and ushers will give you their full support in carrying out your essential duties.* The actors, the audience, the staff: everyone is relying on you to ensure the evening’s entertainment runs smoothly. So wear your badge with pride, and be sure to encourage others to enrol.

So thank you for your future service. Together, we can Make Theatre Great Again, dear.

With much love, thanks, and Dom-smelling kisses,

West End Producer

(* Disclaimer: West End Producer does not accept any responsibility for any drama, onstage or off, that may occur whilst carrying out your duties as a Theatre Prefect. Please don’t bother trying to sue me: my lawyer is very expensive, dear.)

Free badge when you order West End Producer's new book
Book :
  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Going to the Theatre (But Were Too Sloshed to Ask, Dear)

Nick Hern Books supports VAULT New Writers Award

Monday 30 October 2017

Today (30 October) sees the launch of the VAULT New Writers Award, an exciting new practical writing course taking place at VAULT Festival 2018 (24th January – 18 March). Designed and developed by playwright and Nick Hern Books author Camilla Whitehill (Mr Incredible) and producer Rosalyn Newbery in partnership with VAULT Festival and supported by NHB, the New Writers Award offers a total introduction to writing for stage. 

The programme is open to prospective writers over the age of 18, who have never had a full-length play staged before (absolute beginners are highly encouraged!). Eight selected participants will receive mentoring and support to draft a 60-minute piece for stage, of which a 15-minute extract will be guest directed, cast, produced and performed over two finale showcase evenings to an audience made up of invited industry and the public.

Weekly three-hour weekend sessions will involve workshops and mentoring delivered by the team of industry professional programme directors plus special guests, guiding participants through the process of writing a one-hour play. Each week guest industry practitioners, including writers, agents, directors, producers, theatre publishers, dramaturgs and actors will deliver exclusive masterclasses designed to demystify the ways in which a creative team work together to achieve the end goal – getting a play from page to stage!

Access to a Playscript Library and an eight-week VAULT Festival Pass will allow participants to immerse themselves in the world of theatrical writing, and benefit from weekly trips to see VAULT shows free of charge, followed by a group discussion in the bar, to introduce them to different ways of making work for the stage and to find what styles and genres appeal to them as individual artists.

At the end of the eight weeks, a 15-minute extract of all plays developed under the programme will be presented as part of an exciting industry showcase. On completion of the course, all eight participating playwrights will be winners of the VAULT New Writers Award, which they can take forward to aid the progress of their future careers. NHB will also consider the completed scripts with a view to potential publication.

Applications for the VAULT New Writers Award are open now and will close on 1 December 2017. Successful applicants will be notified in early December. To find out more and apply, visit the VAULT Festival website.

Nick Hern Books are delighted to support the VAULT New Writers Award, and to continue our relationship with VAULT Festival following publication of our anthologies Plays from VAULT and Plays from VAULT 2, which rounded up some of the best new writing at the 2016 and 2017 Festivals. Good luck to all who apply, and we can't wait to see the results!

Nick Hern Books supports VAULT New Writers Award

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

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 30 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 30 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)

Join Mark Gatiss and co-authors to discuss Queers

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Join writers Mark GatissJackie Clune and Brian Fillis in conversation with arts journalist David Benedict about the highly acclaimed BBC TV series Queers, a collection of monologues celebrating a century of evolving social attitudes and political milestones in British gay history.

Poignant and personal, funny, tragic and riotous, Queers covers major events – such as the Wolfenden Report of 1957, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and the debate over the age of consent – through eight deeply affecting and personal rites-of-passage stories.

Curated by Mark Gatiss, the monologues were commissioned to mark the anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised homosexual acts in private between two men over the age of twenty-one. They were broadcast on BBC Four in 2017, directed and produced by Gatiss, and starring Alan Cumming, Rebecca Front, Ian Gelder, Kadiff Kirwan, Russell Tovey, Gemma Whelan, Ben Whishaw and Fionn Whitehead. They were also staged at The Old Vic in London. The monologues were written by Matthew BaldwinJon BradfieldJackie Clune, Michael DennisBrian Fillis, Mark GatissKeith Jarrett and Gareth McLean.

Hear about how the project was developed with Mark and two of his co-writers, plus take your opportunity to put questions to the panel. The event will be followed by a book signing of Queers, featuring Mark, Jackie, Brian and fellow co-writers.

Tickets: £8 per ticket or £5 for Foyalty members. Book online here.

Date and time: Monday 30th October 2017, 7pm - 8pm

Venue: The Auditorium at Foyles, Level 6, 107 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DT

Join Mark Gatiss and co-authors to discuss Queers
Book :
  • Queers: Eight Monologues

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