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Multiplay Drama shortlisted for award

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Our new initiative Multiplay Drama has been shortlisted for Outstanding Drama Education Resource at the Music and Drama Education Awards.

Multiplay Drama is an exciting new series of large-cast plays, specifically written to be performed by and appeal to older teenagers and young adults.

Commissioned by some of the UK’s leading youth theatres and drama schools, and written by a mix of established writers and distinctive new voices, the plays explore a wide range of contemporary themes and theatrical styles, offering fascinating, complex perspectives on some of the most urgent issues facing our world today.

Ten Multiplay Drama plays are currently available, and extracts of all ten can be read for free via the Multiplay Drama website.

The annual Music and Drama Education Awards celebrate the extraordinary contribution made by professionals, companies, charities, schools and other organisations to the lives of others through the medium of these two key performing arts. The winners of the 2020 awards will be announced on 4 March.

Our exciting new series is up for Outstanding Drama Education Resource
Multiplay Drama shortlisted for award

Edinburgh Fringe Report 2019

Friday 2 August 2019

Our annual Edinburgh Fringe Report is out now and available here. This year, we hear from three intrepid amateur companies performing plays licensed by Nick Hern Books at this year’s Festival Fringe. From macho corporate politics to brilliant youth theatre via the Ballet Russes, they demonstrate the resourcefulness and the eclecticism of the Fringe at its very best.

The productions featured in this year's Fringe Report are: Bull by Mike Bartlett, performed by Arbery Productions; Rattigan's Nijinsky by Nicholas Wright, performed by KGS Theatre Company; and Second Person Narrative by Jemma Kennedy, performed by PQA Edinburgh.

Thank you to those companies for their contribution, and to all the other companies who are performing Nick Hern Books plays at the Fringe this year!

We hear from three intrepid amateur companies lighting up the Fringe
Edinburgh Fringe Report 2019

Emilia now available for educational performance

Thursday 27 June 2019

Less than a month after the conclusion of its critically acclaimed run in London’s West End, performing rights agents Nick Hern Books have today announced that hit play Emilia by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm is immediately available for performance by educational institutions.

First seen at Shakespeare’s Globe, Emilia is a passionate, riotous telling – performed by an all-female-identifying cast – of the story of 16th century poet Emilia Bassano, and her struggle to be heard. It was praised by The Times as ‘a firecracker of a play… a clever mix of history and revolution’ and described by the Guardian as ‘a highly theatrical piece brimming with wit and rage’.

Educational institutions interested in performing Emilia are invited to submit their application to the Performing Rights department at Nick Hern Books via, or by calling 020 8749 4953. Amateur theatre groups are invited to register their interest for future productions, and will be notified when these rights become available.

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, writer of Emilia:

‘I am so excited that the Nick Hern team have joined the Emilia familia! I can't wait to hear about and hopefully see some of the wonderful productions of our play all around the country. Emilia's joy and fire is for everyone; enjoy it!’

Tamara von Werthern, Performing Rights Manager at Nick Hern Books:

‘We’re absolutely delighted that Emilia is now available for educational performance. This play not only offers an exciting opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a brilliant, fun and empowering production, but also has an inspiring, important message about women in history that is bound to stimulate fascinating discussions in the classroom.’

Apply now to perform the Shakespeare's Globe and West End hit
<em>Emilia</em> now available for educational performance
Book :
  • Emilia

Company leads NHB nominees at Olivier Awards 2019

Tuesday 5 March 2019

The nominees for the Olivier Awards 2019 were announced today (Tuesday 5 March), with numerous NHB-published shows and authors making the shortlists.

Leading the way was Company, which received nine nominations – the joint-most of any show at this year's Awards. Categories include Best Musical Revival and Best Director (Marianne Elliott), plus numerous other acting, choreography and technical awards. The acclaimed, gender-swapped production of George Furth and Stephen Sondheim's landmark musical, starring Rosalie Craig as a reimagined 'Bobbie', is currently running at the Gielgud Theatre until 30 March.

Also up for Best Musical Revival is Caroline, or Change, one of its three nominations. This production of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's extraordinary musical was first seen at Chichester Festival Theatre, before transferring to Hampstead Theatre, London, and the Playhouse Theatre in the West End. Caroline, or Change previously won Best New Musical at the Olivier Awards in 2006.

Sweat by Lynn Nottage is shortlisted for Best New Play. This powerful, topical portrait of the present and poignant decline of the American Dream, which won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, received its UK premiere at the Donmar Warehouse in December 2018. It transfers to the Gielgud Theatre in June.

Arinzé Kene is personally nominated for two awards for his show Misty: Best New Play and Best Actor. An epic, lyrical journey through the pulsating heart and underground soul of inner-city London, Misty premiered at the Bush Theatre in March 2018, before transferring to Trafalgar Studios in September.

Natasha Gordon's play Nine Night is shortlisted for Best New Comedy, one of its two nominations. First seen at the National Theatre in April before transferring to Trafalgar Studios in December, Natasha's touching and very funny exploration of the rituals of family has already won her Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Awards.

Elsewhere, The Wider Earth by David Morton – which dramatises Charles Darwin's voyage on the HMS Beagle – is nominated for the Best Entertainment & Family Award, and Elliot Warren's vivid and fast-paced Flesh and Bone is up for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre.

The winners of the Olivier Awards 2019 will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 7 April. For the full list of nominees, visit their website.

The acclaimed West End production is recognised in a joint-leading nine categories
<em>Company</em> leads NHB nominees at Olivier Awards 2019
Books :
  • Nine Night
  • Flesh and Bone
  • Caroline, or Change
  • Misty
  • The Wider Earth
  • Sweat
  • Company: The Complete Revised Book and Lyrics

Offies success for NHB plays and authors

Monday 4 February 2019

The winners of the Off-West End Awards 2019 were announced yesterday (3 February), with NHB authors and plays triumphing in a number of categories.

Br'er Cotton by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm was named Best New Play. The story of Ruffrino, a fourteen-year-old struggling to make sense of his place in an America filled with seemingly random killings of young black men, it was described by the Guardian as 'an important play, and a great one'. Br'er Cotton had its UK premiere at Theatre503, London, in March 2018.

Most Promising New Playwright was awarded to Joe White for his debut play Mayfly. Joe's ethereal family drama which explores rebirth in the aftermath of tragedy premiered at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, in April 2018, where the Evening Standard praised it as 'a triumph'.

Misty, written and performed by Arinzé Kene, won Best Performance Piece. An inventive blend of gig theatre, spoken word, live art and direct address, which takes the audience on an epic, lyrical journey through the pulsating heart and underground soul of inner-city London, Misty premiered at the Bush Theatre, London, in March 2018, before transferring to Trafalgar Studios in the West End in September.

Elsewhere, the Bush Theatre's revival of Leave Taking by Winsome Pinnock picked up two acting prizes: Female Performance in a Play (Sarah Niles) and Best Male Performance in a Supporting Role in a Play (Wil Johnson).

The Off-West End Awards, affectionately known as the 'Offies', recognise work created in off-West End venues across London with a team of assessors and super assessors seeing shows before winners are decided by a panel of judges. In total, over 400 shows across 80 venues were judged throughout 2018.

For the full list of winners and nominees, click here.

Our writers took home three prizes including Best New Play
Offies success for NHB plays and authors
Books :
  • Leave Taking
  • Mayfly
  • Br&#039;er Cotton
  • Misty

Discover the Top 10 Most-Performed Plays of 2018

Wednesday 12 December 2018

What an exciting and historic year 2018 has been for us at Nick Hern Books! We celebrated our 30th Anniversary, hosted the inaugural Amateur Theatre Fest where we were joined by hundreds of passionate amateur theatre-makers for workshops and talks with leading names such as Mike Bartlett, Amanda Whittington and Jez Butterworth, and we've published more fantastic books and plays than ever before.

We know that you've been incredibly busy yourselves, as we've licensed thousands of performances of Nick Hern Books plays over the past 12 months! We can't wait to see the brilliant work you come up with next year, but for now let's take a look back and get inspired by our Top 10 Most-Performed Plays of 2018.

1. Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale

Holding the top spot for the second year running, this explosive, extravagant, warm-hearted comedy is an unending delight. Boasting a large cast and a charming lead role for a female performer, Nell Gwynn won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. 'Bawdy and brilliant... a wonderful, warm-hearted and generous piece of theatrical history' The Stage


2. Blue Stockings by Jessica Swale

Jessica Swale holds the top two places in this list of exceptional plays to perform. Her moving, comical and eye-opening historical drama Blue Stockings is a defiant story of four young women fighting for education against the backdrop of women's suffrage. 'Cracking... leaves you astonished at the prejudices these educational pioneers had to overcome' Guardian


3. Ladies' Day by Amanda Whittington

This is the first of three fantastic, female-led plays on this list by Amanda Whittington. This high-spirited comedy about four likely lasses from the Hull fish docks on a day trip to the races has been a hit with amateur companies for years. With its warm heart, relatable soul and fabulous roles for women, it's not hard to see why. 'Exuberantly up-to-the-minute comedy' Guardian


4. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, adapted for the stage by Steven Canny and John Nicholson

A gloriously funny makeover of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most celebrated Sherlock Holmes story, from the hit comedy team Peepolykus. The Hound of the Baskervilles is an energetic spoof, offering abundant opportunities for silly comedy and slapstick for three male performers. 'A masterclass in madcap energy… a fun and fresh Sherlock Holmes romp' The Stage


5. The Thrill of Love by Amanda Whittington

A gripping, female-led drama about Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain. Holding a place in our Top 10 for the fourth year running, The Thrill of Love dramatises an absorbing true story and takes a fresh look at the woman behind the headlines. 'Tense and engaging throughout... a triumph' The Stage


6. Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth

Jez Butterworth's hugely acclaimed powerhouse of a play won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play and the Critics' Circle Award and WhatsOnStage Award for Best New Play. Jerusalem offers an outstanding lead role for a male performer, and an energetic cast of characters for a company of 14, plus a few chickens. 'Unarguably one of the best dramas of the twenty-first century' Guardian


7. Arabian Nights by Dominic Cooke

A simple and delightfully inventive re-telling of the stories from the Arabian Nights, with an original music score by Gary Yershon that can also be licensed for performance. Dominic Cooke's enchanting Arabian Nights was originally produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and has been hugely popular with amateur companies ever since. 'A truly magical piece of theatre that delights all the senses' WhatsOnStage


8. Handbagged by Moira Buffini

Opening the clasp on the antipathy between two giants of the twentieth century, Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher, Handbagged speculates on the relationship between these very powerful and private women. Brilliantly funny, and featuring two exceptional roles for female performers, this text is available as both a full-length and a one-act play. 'Hilarious and moving... raises serious questions about the balance of power' Guardian


9. Be My Baby by Amanda Whittington

Forcibly sent to a Mother-and-Baby Home, Mary has to cope with the dawning realisation that she will have to give her baby up for adoption whether she likes it or not. This poignant and moving drama about attitudes to teenage pregnancy in 1960s Britain is our most-performed all-female play this year. 'Immensely touching' The Times


10. The Railway Children by E. Nesbit, adapted for the stage by Mike Kenny

This story of a prosperous Edwardian family who nearly lose everything captures the anxieties and exhilarations of childhood with great tenderness and insight. Mike Kenny's imaginative adaptation of the much-loved children's classic offers three plum roles for young performers, and is eminently suitable for schools, youth theatres and drama groups. 'This glorious adaptation never for a moment runs out of steam' Guardian


Take a look at more of our popular titles over on our Most Performed page, rounding up our Top 20 Plays to Perform. From Mike Bartlett's award-winning future history play King Charles III, to Sam Steiner's beautiful dystopian rom-com Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, to Ladies Down Under, Amanda Whittington's heart-warming sequel to Ladies' Day, we hope that these hit plays will inspire your search for your perfect next play to perform!

if you're interested in finding out more about these plays, or need any other help or advice, be sure to get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable Performing Rights team for information and to request your free inspection copy. Call us on 020 8749 4953 or email

We've licensed thousands of performances of NHB shows this year – but which has come out on top?
Discover the Top 10 Most-Performed Plays of 2018