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Nell Gwynn wins Best New Comedy at Olivier Awards 2016

Monday 4 April 2016

The winners of the Laurence Olivier Awards were announced last night (3 April), with NHB plays triumphing in a range of categories.

Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale won Best New Comedy. An exhilarating take on the heady world of Restoration theatre, Nell Gwynn was first seen last year at Shakespeare's Globe and is currently playing at the Apollo Theatre in London's West End with Gemma Arterton in the title role. Time Out declared it 'superbly funny… a juicy, well-wrought thing of great fun, a wonderfully layered celebration of theatre, but most of all an apt homage to a woman incredibly ahead of her time'.

The night's biggest winner was Stephen Sondheim musical Gypsy, which took home four Awards: Best Musical Revival, Best Actress in a Musical (Imelda Staunton), Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Lara Pulver), and Best Costume Design. The production began life in Chichester, before transferring to the West End to great acclaim.

Other NHB successes included The Winter's Tale - with Judi Dench securing Best Supporting Actress, thereby setting a new record of eight Olivier Awards - and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, which won Best Revival.

2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the Olivier Awards. These new recipients join dozens of NHB plays that have triumphed over the years, including King Charles III (Best New Play, 2015), Clybourne Park (Best New Play, 2011), The Pride (Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, 2009), Death and the Maiden (Play of the Year, 1992), Jeeves & Wooster in 'Perfect Nonsense' (Best New Comedy, 2014), Stones In His Pockets (Best Comedy, 2001) Mojo (Best Comedy, 1996) and Sweeney Todd (Best New Musical, 1980).

Book :
  • Nell Gwynn

King Charles III to be adapted for BBC Two

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Nick Hern Books author Mike Bartlett's provocative, award-winning 'future history' play King Charles III is to be adapted for television. The 90 minute drama, directed by original stage director Rupert Goold, will air on BBC Two.

Imagining a constitutional crisis in the immediate aftermath of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Mike Bartlett's controversional but acclaimed drama explores the people beneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of our democracy, and the conscience of Britain’s most famous family. It draws on the style and structure of a Shakespearean history play, and when it premiered at the Almeida Theatre in 2014 it was praised by the Time Out as a meaty, hilarious, dizzyingly audacious state of the nation political thriller', with The Times declaring 'theatre doesn't get much better than this'.

The play, which later transferred to the West End and Broadway and is currently on a UK tour, has already received a number of awards, including the Olivier Award for Best New Play, the Critics' Circle Award for Best New Play, and the South Bank Sky Arts Theatre Award. Mike Bartlett has enjoyed success on television before, with his hit BBC One series Doctor Foster winning two National Television Awards in January. Doctor Foster: The Scripts, containing the complete scripts to Series One of the programme, is to be published by NHB later this year.

Mike Bartlett says: "I'm so excited to bring King Charles III to BBC Two. The play has always had the ambition to be an ambitious, provocative, yet popular national story, written to explore the possibilities and contradictions of a figure and a family that we all think we know so well. It can now reach a wider, national audience, and the story can expand out onto the screen. With Rupert Goold directing, and Drama Republic producing, I know it's in the very best hands possible."

Book :
  • King Charles III

The Winter's Tale and Nell Gwynn lead NHB nominees at Olivier Awards

Tuesday 1 March 2016

The nominees for the 2016 Laurence Olivier Awards were announced yesterday (29 February), with NHB-published The Winter's Tale and Nell Gwynn amongst those securing multiple nominations.

The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company's production of The Winter's Tale is up for six awards, including Best Revival. The production, which opened at the Garrick Theatre, London, in October 2015, is also up for Best Director (Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh), Best Actor (Kenneth Branagh), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Pennington), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Judi Dench) and Best Lighting Design (Neil Austin). The official tie-in edition, which features Kenneth Branagh's edited version of Shakespeare’s text performed in the production, plus exclusive additional content, is published by NHB.

Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale is nominated for Best New Comedy. The exhilarating take on the heady world of Restoration theatre is also shortlisted for Best Actress (Gemma Arterton), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Michele Dotrice) and Best Costume Design (Hugh Durrant). Nell Gwynn is currently playing at the Apollo Theatre in London's West End following its successful initial run at Shakespeare's Globe.

Other shows recognised include Gypsy by Stephen Sondheim (eight nominations including Best Musical Revival) and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by August Wilson (Best Revival). The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Opera House on 3 April.

Books :
  • The Winter's Tale
  • Nell Gwynn

A Breakfast of Eels wins Best New Play at Offies 2016

Monday 29 February 2016

The winners of the Off West End Awards 2016 were announced last night (28 February), with Robert Holman's tender drama A Breakfast of Eels taking home the title of Best New Play.

Telling the story of two brothers coming together in the aftermath of their father's funeral, A Breakfast of Eels also won Best Male (Matthew Tennyson). It premiered at the Print Room, London, in March 2015, and was praised by The Times as 'intensely absorbing... hushed and unhurried, sensitive and beautiful'.

Two other NHB-published plays received prizes at the Awards: Image of an Unknown Young Woman by Elinor Cook scooped Best Production and Best Set Designer (Fly Davis), while The Christians by Lucas Hnath won Best Supporting Female (Lucy Ellinson and Emilie Patry, joint winners).

The Off West End Theatre Awards (also known as The Offies) recognise and celebrate the excellence, innovation and ingenuity of independent theatres across London. First awarded in 2011, over 300 productions from 80 participating theatres are considered each year.

Books :
  • A Breakfast of Eels
  • Image of an Unknown Young Woman
  • The Christians

The Encounter to be streamed live from the Barbican on 1 March

Friday 26 February 2016

Complicite and Simon McBurney's hit show The Encounter is to be broadcast live from the Barbican, London, at 7.30pm on Tuesday 1 March.

In 1969 Loren McIntyre, a National Geographic photographer, found himself lost among the people of the remote Javari Valley in Brazil. It was an encounter that was to change his life, bringing the limits of human consciousness into startling focus. 

Inspired by the book Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu, The Encounter traces McIntyre’s journey into the depths of the Amazon rainforest, incorporating innovative technology into a solo performance to build a shifting world of sound.

First seen at the Edinburgh International Festival, and now enjoying a sell-out run at the Barbican before continuing on a UK and international tour, The Encounter has been acclaimed as 'the year's most mind-blowing piece of theatre' (Time Out), with the Financial Times declaring it 'a tour de force that shows contemporary theatre at its most immersive and thought-provoking’.

See the trailer for the live stream below - and keep an eye on our blog, The Play Ground, on Monday, where we'll be posting further information about the how to watch along. For now, you can buy the script - which includes 32 colour pages of production stills, behind-the-scenes photos, and essays about bringing the show to life - via our website here.

 

Book :
  • The Encounter

Lynn Nottage wins 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Tuesday 23 February 2016

The winner of the 2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize was announced yesterday (22 February), with the award going to Lynn Nottage for her play Sweat.

Sweat, which premiered in July 2015 as part of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, explores America’s industrial decline at the turn of the millennium with a look inside a Pennsylvania town whose people struggle to reclaim what’s lost, find redemption and redefine themselves in a new century. It was acclaimed by The New York Times as 'an extraordinarily moving drama [which] hurtles toward its conclusion with the awful inevitability of Greek tragedy.'

Lynn Nottage's last play to be staged in the UK, Intimate Apparel, a multi-award-winning play about the empowerment of a black seamstress in New York City in 1905, received its UK premiere at the Theatre Royal Bath in 2014 before transferring to Park Theatre, London, the same year. She won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for her play Ruined.

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. The winner receives $25,000 a signed print by artist Willem de Kooning, while all other finalists are each given an award of $5,000. Four other Nick Hern Books writers were shortlisted for the 2016 Prize: Sam Holcroft (Rules for Living), Anna Jordan (Yen), Suzan-Lori Parks (Father Comes Home From the Wars Parts 1, 2 & 3) and Bea Roberts (And Then Come The Nightjars).

This marks the fourth year in a row that an NHB writer has won the Prize, following Tena Štivičić (3 Winters) in 2015, Lucy Kirkwood (Chimerica) in 2014, and Annie Baker (The Flick) in 2013. Other NHB winners include Caryl Churchill, Elizabeth Kuti and Chloë Moss.

Get inspired for the Theatre503 Playwriting Award - entries now open

Monday 1 February 2016

Theatre503 Playwriting Award

The Theatre503 Playwriting Award provides an incredible opportunity for playwrights at all levels to be recognised for writing an outstanding, original piece of work for the stage.

Entries are now open until 29 February. The winner of the award will receive a £6000 prize, a guaranteed production of their play at Theatre503, and their script published by Nick Hern Books.

To help you get inspired for your entry, we're offering 25% plus free UK p&p on a selection of Theatre503 plays - click here to see the full list and more info on how to claim the discount.

Books :
  • Valhalla
  • And Then Come The Nightjars

Five NHB playwrights shortlisted for Susan Smith Blackburn Prize

Wednesday 27 January 2016

The ten finalists for the 2015-2016 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize were announced yesterday (26 January), with five of the list comprised of NHB playwrights.

Sam Holcroft (Rules for Living), Anna Jordan (Yen), Lynn Nottage (Sweat), Suzan-Lori Parks (Father Comes Home From the Wars Parts 1, 2 & 3) and Bea Roberts (And Then Come The Nightjars) are all on the shortlist, with the winner announced at a ceremony at the National Theatre, London, on 22 February.

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. The winner receives $25,000 a signed print by artist Willem de Kooning, while all other finalists are each given an award of $5,000.

NHB writers have won the last two Susan Smith Blackburn Prizes, with Tena Štivičić winning last year's Prize for her play 3 Winters, and Lucy Kirkwood triumphing in 2014 with Chimerica. Other NHB winners include Caryl Churchill, Elizabeth Kuti and Chloë Moss. The 2013 Prize went to Annie Baker for her play The Flick, which is published alongside its UK premiere at the National Theatre, London, in April.

Books :
  • Rules for Living
  • And Then Come The Nightjars
  • Yen

Nick Hern Books to publish complete scripts to Doctor Foster

Thursday 21 January 2016

Leading performing arts publisher Nick Hern Books is to publish Doctor Foster: The Scripts, the complete scripts to the first series of Mike Bartlett's hit, award-winning BBC One drama.

Doctor Gemma Foster is a woman seemingly in control: a trusted GP, the heart of her town, a woman people can trust. But her life is about to explode.

Suspecting her husband of having an affair, Gemma throws herself into an investigation that will propel her, her family, and even her patients into chaos. Bit by bit, Doctor Foster uncovers secrets that shock her to the core. Now she has to choose how to react. One thing is certain - she is going to behave in ways she could never have imagined.

Doctor Foster: The Scripts contains the complete scripts to all five episodes of the first series, plus exclusive bonus material.

Doctor Foster premiered on BBC One in September 2015, starring Suranne Jones and Bertie Carvel. The series drew a weekly audience of over 8.2 million viewers, peaking at over 10 million for the finale, and was the BBC’s highest-rating new drama of the year. It won two prizes at the National Television Awards 2016, including Best New Drama.

Matt Applewhite, Managing Director of Nick Hern Books, said: ‘Having previously published Mike Bartlett’s award-winning plays, including West End and Broadway hit King Charles III, we’re excited to publish the scripts to his hugely successful TV drama Doctor Foster. Like millions of others, we were glued to our screens as the series unfolded, and we hope the show’s many fans will enjoy the opportunity to experience its twists and turns all over again.’

Doctor Foster

Book :
  • Doctor Foster: The Scripts

So Here We Are nominated for Best New Play at Manchester Theatre Awards

Friday 8 January 2016

The nominees for this year's Manchester Theatre Awards were announced today (8 January), with plays by Luke Norris, Anna Jordan, Caryl Churchill and Sam Holcroft among those shortlisted.

So Here We Are, Luke Norris' Bruntwood Prize-winning drama, is nominated for Best New Play and Best Studio Production. A compassionate look at young lives cut short and a touching portrait of childhood friendships under strain in adult life, it premiered at the HighTide Festival in September 2015, in a co-production with the Royal Exchange, Manchester, before transferring to the Royal Exchange later that month. It was praised by The Reviews Hub as 'a powerful piece of writing [that] will stick in the memory'.

Also shortlisted are:

  • Yen by Anna Jordan, with Alex Austin nominated for Best Performance in a Studio Production
  • The Skriker by Caryl Churchill, which receives a nod for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Maxine Peake)
  • Octagon Youth Theatre's production of The Wardrobe by Sam Holcroft, shortlisted for the Youth Panel Award

The Manchester Theatre Awards honour achievements at venues across the Greater Manchester area. In addition to drama and musical categories, opera and dance are also represented. The winners of this year's Awards will be announced at a ceremony at HOME, Manchester, on 4 March.

Book :
  • So Here We Are