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Evening Standard Awards nominations

Wednesday 19 October 2022

The 66th Evening Standard Theatre Awards nominations were announced this week (17 October), with a host of Nick Hern Books-published talent in the running.

Up for the Best Play award are Tyrell Williams' Red Pitch, which premiered at the Bush Theatre in February, and Anupama Chandrasekhar's The Father and the Assassin, first seen at the National Theatre in May.

Also nominated in the Best Play category are Paula Vogel's Indecent, which had its UK premiere at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2021 and is available from Nick Hern Books in an edition published by our US associates, Theatre Communications Group; and the stage version of the late Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light, adapted by the author with Ben Miles, premiered in the West End in 2021 and co-published by Nick Hern Books with 4th Estate.

Nominated for Best Musical is Spring Awakening by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, which was revived at the Almeida Theatre in 2021.

Meanwhile, in the Most Promising Playwright category, no fewer than three of the five nominations go to NHB-published playwrights: Tyrell Williams for Red Pitch, Waleed Akhtar for The P Word (Bush Theatre) and Igor Memic for Old Bridge (also at the Bush Theatre).

Congratulations also to NHB authors Isobel McArthur, nominated in the Emerging Talent category for her performance in her own play, Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of), in the West End last year and currently touring the UK; Arinzé Kene, nominated for Best Musical Performance in Get Up Stand Up!; and Giles Terera, nominated for Best Actor for his performance in Pearl Cleage's Blues for an Alabama Sky at the National Theatre.

And finally, a shout out to Jodie Comer, nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Suzie Miller's play Prima Facie, which premiered in the West End in April. In case you're wondering, that's Jodie on the cover of the NHB edition of the play.

The winners are set to be announced in November.

Evening Standard Awards nominations
Books :
  • Indecent
  • Old Bridge
  • The Mirror and the Light (stage version)
  • Spring Awakening: A Musical
  • Prima Facie
  • The Father and the Assassin
  • The P Word

Two NHB plays join AQA's GCSE English Literature

Wednesday 28 September 2022

We're proud to share the news that two NHB-published plays – Leave Taking by Winsome Pinnock and Princess & The Hustler by Chinonyerem Odimba have been selected as new set-text options for AQA's GCSE English Literature specification.

This is one of the most-studied qualifications in the UK, with almost 450,000 people in England completing it in the academic year 2020/21. We're delighted that our authors' work has been recognised in this way, and excited that students will have the opportunity to study and enjoy these fantastic plays, thereby increasing the diversity of their options for the UK's most-popular English Literature qualification.

We've also announced new GCSE Student Guides for each play, to help teachers and pupils looking to study Leave Taking and Princess & The Hustler. These will be available for first teaching of the texts in September 2023. See more about these – plus a round-up of other resources – here.

Pauline McPartlan, AQA’s Head of Curriculum for English, said:

'As the largest awarding body for English, we have the greatest influence on what's taught in the classroom. We want to make the right changes, so we’ve listened to teachers, consulted with external experts and academics, and worked with our senior examiners to inform the decisions we’ve made.

'We're making these changes because it matters that current and future generations of young people have an opportunity to experience a diverse, balanced, inclusive English literature curriculum that resonates with their lives and better reflects modern Britain.'


Two NHB plays join AQA's GCSE English Literature
Books :
  • Leave Taking
  • Princess & The Hustler

NHB plays win Fringe First Awards

Friday 26 August 2022

Three NHB-published plays – Age is a Feeling by Haley McGee, Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going To Happen by Marcelo Dos Santos, and Happy Meal by Tabby Lamb – have been named amongst the winners of this year's prestigious Fringe First Awards, awarded by The Scotsman newspaper in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, to shows premiering at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

A gripping story that wrestles with the glorious and melancholy uncertainties of human life, Age is a Feeling by Haley McGee was described by The Scotsman as 'a sensitive, smartly structured piece of writing, full of wit and an astonishing amount of wisdom'. Directed by Adam Brace and produced by Soho Theatre, it is performed by Haley McGee herself at Summerhall during Edinburgh Fringe, before transferring for an already sold-out run at Soho in September.

Feeling Afraid As If Something Terrible Is Going To Happen by Marcelo Dos Santos was praised for being 'clever and compassionate, [with] razor-sharp observations [which] hurtle out at nineteen to the dozen'. Directed by Matthew Xia and produced by Francesca Moody Productions, this dark and biting one-man show about vulnerability, intimacy, ego and truth is being performed at Paines Plough's Roundabout at Summerhall.

Tabby Lamb's joyful trans rom-com Happy Meal was described as 'a simple one-hour tale of young love made complicated by society's attitudes to shifting gender'. A funny, moving and nostalgic story of transition, it is directed by Jamie Fletcher and produced by Roots and Theatre Royal Plymouth, with ETT and Oxford Playhouse. It plays at the Traverse Theatre during the Fringe, before embarking on a UK tour. 

NHB plays win Fringe First Awards
Books :
  • Age is a Feeling
  • Happy Meal

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