Theatre, Dance & Performing Arts Books
If you've always felt a bit embarrassed at your precarious grasp on the plot of Othello, or you haven't a clue what a petard - as in 'hoist with his own petard' - actually is, then fear not, because Shakespeare for Grown-ups is the essential book for anyone keen to deepen their knowledge of the Bard's key plays and sonnets.
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Perfect for parents keen to help with their children's homework and casual theatre-goers and readers who want to enhance their enjoyment and understanding of the Shakespeare's most-performed plays, the book covers everything from the historical context of his writing to the key themes, his less familiar works and much, much more.
With lively, in-depth chapters on all the key works including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Antony and Cleopatra, Richard II, Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth, Shakespeare for Grown-ups is the only guide to the Scribe you'll ever need.
Published to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, this compelling and entertaining book takes a look at the weird and wonderful stories from the theatres that have played host to the Bard's work.
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From fluffed lines to falls off stages, you'll get to find out about the terrible behaviour of the groundlings at the Globe, learn why the 'rude mechanicals' in A Midsummer Night's Dream were recast as a group of ladies from the WI and discover how Dame Maggie Smith got even with Sir Laurence Olivier.
Curious and extraordinary, this collection of tales will entertain any fans of the Bard or the stage.
*** PRE-ORDER THE ONE AND (SO FAR) ONLY AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE FUNNIEST MAN IN HEELS *** 'I know why I'm doing all this,' I said. 'Everything I do in life is trying to get her back. I think if I do enough things ...that maybe she'll come back.' When Eddie Izzard was six, he and his brother Mark lost their mother. That day, he lost his childhood too. Despite or perhaps because of this, he has always felt he needed to take on things that some people would consider impossible. In Believe Me, Eddie takes us on a journey which begins in Yemen (before the revolution), then takes us to Northern Ireland (before The Troubles), England and Wales, then across the seas to Europe and America. In a story jam-packed with incident he tells of teddy bear shows on boarding school beds, renouncing accountancy for swordfighting on the streets of London and making those first tentative steps towards becoming an Action Transvestite, touring France in French and playing the Hollywood Bowl. Above all, this is a tale about someone who has always done everything his own way (which often didn't work at first) and, sometimes almost by accident but always with grit and determination, achieving what he set out to do. Brimming with the surreal humour and disarming candor of his shows (with occasional digressions), Believe Me tells the story of a little boy who lost his mother yet who has risen to become a star of comedy and drama, a leading advocate of total clothing rights, a British European and extreme runner of marathons, who bestrides the world stage as a world stage bestrider.
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In the middle of the sprawling Zaatari refugee camp, Dominic Dromgoole watches from the makeshift wings as Hamlet delivers one of his celebrated soliloquies. Four years earlier, Dromgoole, the Artistic Director of the Globe, had come up with a wildly ambitious idea ...to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death by taking his most famous play to every country on the planet. Over two full years, Dromgoole and the Globe players toured all seven continents performing Hamlet in sweltering deserts, grand Baltic palaces and heaving marketplaces - despite food poisoning in Mexico, the threat of ambush in Somaliland, an Ebola epidemic in West Africa and political upheaval in Ukraine. Hamlet: Globe to Globe tells the fascinating story of this unprecedented theatrical adventure in which Dromgoole shows us the world through the prism of Shakespeare's universal drama. We see what the Danish prince means to the students of Cambodia, the effect of Polonius on the citizens of the tiny African nation of Djibouti and how a sixteenth-century play can touch the lives of Syrian refugees. Shakespeare's timeless power to transcend borders, to touch the human heart, and to bring the world closer together, has rarely been demonstrated in such a bold and brilliant way.
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In this volume of the Good Audition Guides, you'll find fifty fantastic speeches for men, all written since the year 2000, by some of our most exciting dramatic voices. Playwrights featured in Contemporary Monologues for Men include Howard Brenton, Jez Butterworth, Alexi Kaye Campbell, Caryl Churchill, Ariel Dorfman, Ella Hickson, Lucy Kirkwood, Bruce Norris, Jack Thorne and Enda Walsh, and the plays themselves were premiered at the very best theatres across the UK including the National Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse, the Bush and the Young Vic, Manchester Royal Exchange, Birmingham Rep, the Traverse in Edinburgh, and many on the stages of the Royal Court. Drawing on her experience as an actor, director and teacher at several leading drama schools, Trilby James prefaces each speech with a thorough introduction including the vital information you need to place the piece in context (the who, what, when, where and why) and suggestions about how to perform the scene to its maximum effect (including the character's objectives and keywords). Contemporary Monologues for Men also features an introduction on the whole process of selecting and preparing your speech, and approaching the audition itself. The result is the most comprehensive and useful contemporary monologue book now available.
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In this volume of the Good Audition Guides, you'll find fifty fantastic speeches for women, all written since the year 2000, by some of our most exciting dramatic voices. Playwrights featured in Contemporary Monologues for Women include Mike Bartlett, Alexi Kaye Campbell, Caryl Churchill, Helen Edmundson, debbie tucker green, Ella Hickson, Lucy Kirkwood, Rona Munro, Joanna Murray-Smith and Enda Walsh, and the plays themselves were premiered at the very best theatres across the UK including the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Bush, Soho and Hampstead Theatres, Manchester Royal Exchange, the Traverse in Edinburgh, the Abbey in Dublin, and many on the stages of the Royal Court. Drawing on her experience as an actor, director and teacher at several leading drama schools, Trilby James prefaces each speech with a thorough introduction including the vital information you need to place the piece in context (the who, what, when, where and why) and suggestions about how to perform the scene to its maximum effect (including the character's objectives and keywords). Contemporary Monologues for Women also features an introduction on the whole process of selecting and preparing your speech, and approaching the audition itself. The result is the most comprehensive and useful contemporary monologue book now available.
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In "Death in the Afternoon", Hemingway shares the sights, the sounds, the excitement, and above all, the knowledge which fuelled his passion for Spain and the bullfight. This remarkable book contains some of his finest writing, inspired by the intense life, as well as the inevitable death, of those hot, violent afternoons.
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The inside of Derren Brown's head is a strange and mysterious place. Now you can climb inside and wander around. Find out just how Derren's mind works, see what motivates him and discover what made him the weird and wonderful person he is today. Obsessed with magic and illusions since childhood, Derren's life to date has been an extraordinary journey and here, in Confessions of a Conjuror, he allows us all to join him on a magical mystery tour - to the centre of his brain...Taking as his starting point the various stages of a conjuring trick he's performing in a crowded restaurant, Derren's endlessly engaging narrative wanders through subjects from all points of the compass, from the history of magic and the fundamentals of psychology to the joys of internet shopping and the proper use of Parmesan cheese. Brilliant, hilarious and entirely unlike anything else you have ever read before, "Confessions of a Conjuror" is also a complete and utter joy.
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Luvvies. Tyrannical directors. Useless agents. Less job security than an England football manager. Who'd be an actor? Michael Simkins isn't sure, even though he's been one himself for over thirty years. Join him backstage as he examines that business called showbusiness, from am dram to Hollywood, and from Shakespeare to ads for flatulence pills. In a career that started as a plump teenager in ballet tights at RADA, Michael has appeared in countless West End plays and musicals, presented safety training workshops for sewage workers, and when resting, worked as a crate smasher at a car factory. He's done movies, soaps, ads, and voice-overs, and worked with everyone from Meryl Streep to Kelly Osbourne. As the ultimate jobbing actor he's flirted with triumph and oblivion without ever quite managing either. In The Rules of Acting he shares his hard-won wisdom. Covering everything from learning your lines to tilting for Oscar success in Hollywood, surviving a flop, to why it's advisable to read the whole script if you wish to avoid improper relations with a pig, it's the ultimate survival guide for anyone contemplating a life in showbiz. "Throw out An Actor Prepares! Michael Simkins' book tells actors all they need to know about the realities of the acting profession; the passion, the struggle, the noble idealism and the heartache". (Helen Mirren). "It is thrilling that Micahel Simkins is having such success as a writer - anything to keep him off the stage". (Ian Mckellen).
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Having surveyed post-war British drama in State of the Nation, Michael Billington now looks at the global picture. In this provocative and challenging new book, he offers his highly personal selection of the 101 greatest plays ranging from the Greeks to the present-day. But his book is no mere list. Billington justifies his choices in extended essays - and even occasional dialogues- that put the plays in context, explain their significance and trace their performance history. In the end, it's a book that poses an infinite number of questions. What makes a great play? Does the definition change with time and circumstance? Or are certain common factors visible down the ages? It's safe to say that it's a book that, in revising the accepted canon, is bound to stimulate passionate argument and debate. Everyone will have strong views on Billington's chosen hundred and one and will be inspired to make their own selections. But, coming from Britain's longest-serving theatre critic, these essays are the product of a lifetime spent watching and reading plays and record the adventures of a soul amongst masterpieces.
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From Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist-star Lin-Manuel Miranda comes a backstage pass to his groundbreaking, hit musical Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims the origins of the United States for a diverse new generation. HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages - "since before this was even a show," according to Miranda - traces its development from an improbable perfor-mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here. Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond-heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi-dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became an international phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don't throw away their shot.
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An Actor Prepares is the most famous acting training book ever to have been written and the work of Stanislavski has inspired generations of actors and trainers. This translation was the first to introduce Stanislavski's 'system' to the English speaking world and has stood the test of time in acting classes to this day. Stanislavski here deals with the inward preparation an actor must undergo in order to explore a role to the full. He introduces the concepts of the 'magic if' units and objectives, of emotion memory, of the super-objective and many more now famous rehearsal aids. Now available in the Bloomsbury Revelations series to mark the 150th anniversary of Stanislavski's birth, this is an essential read for actors, directors and anyone interested in the art of drama.
In her first health and fitness book, celebrated ballerina Misty Copeland shows you how to find the motivation to get healthier and stronger, and how to refine the body you were born with to be lean, strong and flexible, with step-by-step advice, meal plans, workout routines and words of inspiration. Misty offers her own time-tested, ballet-inspired movements that are perfect for women who want to lengthen and strengthen, but don't want to run a marathon or lift weights. She also demonstrates the floor exercises that helped maintain her own ballerina body while recovering from an injury. Misty's eating plan focuses on vegetables, fruits, plant fats, animal proteins and beneficial oils - all of which keep her energetic and in top shape. With simple and delicious recipes for Granola, Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad, Quick Salsa Chili, and even a Ballerina Smoothie, you'll be satisfied and happy while getting leaner. To keep you motivated, Misty gives tips and words of encouragement on persevering even when you may want to give up, including a peek into her personal journal, to inspire you and help you stay on the road to your own ballerina body.
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Part clown manual, part storytelling and part rant - The Clown Manifesto covers the experiences, philosophies and methods of the clown performer/director/teacher Nalleslavski.A book for clowns, physical comedians, actors, musicians, jugglers, puppeteers, magicians, street performers and dancers. Whatever form your clowning takes - theatre, street theatre, comedy, burlesque, magic, circus - the mischievously named Nalleslavski Method gives you practical tools to create comedy material that works universally, across cultural and language barriers.
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Not so much a how-to-direct book but reflections on a long career directing plays. Presented in the form of aphorisms, apercu, questions, maxims, dialogues and miniature essays aimed at the vocational rather than the career director. Usher emphasizes the reality of life as a theatre director. Directing vocationally is a state of mind, an attitude to life, a philosophical adventure. Reflections on Directing: A Miscellany is about survival: how to remain creative in good times and bad; how to remain alive as a director in any circumstance. Commenting extensively on the process of acting, Shakespeare and the classics, working with writers and designers, directing techniques, the trials and tribulations of working with others, the book is an aid to reflection for readers. Includes maxims such as: 'Only direct if you can do nothing else.' 'Directors: People with incurable cases of writer's block.' 'Direct plays whose authors know more than you do.'
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'Eurythmy is that very thing which dancers with a true idealism have been unconsciously seeking - that inner harmony and balance that was a natural condition of the Greeks, visible in their statues and carved figures, so that, even in a standing pose, movement seems to flow through them.' Eurythmy is an expressive art of movement in which specific gestures relate to the sounds and rhythms of speech, to the tones and rhythms of music and to soul experiences, such as joy and sorrow. In this succinct and accessible booklet, the authors present a clear introduction to this contemporary art form in the context of the impulse of dance today. What is eurythmy, and how does it relate to other arts of movement and dance? What is eurythmy's purpose, and why did Rudolf Steiner create it in the early twentieth century? These and many more questions are answered in this extended essay, supplemented by 35 sketches of eurythmy figures by Rudolf Steiner that illustrate gestures of movement, feeling and character.
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Sadler's Wells is the world's leading Dance House. Sadler's Wells has developed new audiences for dance, this powerful and emotive art, for performances shown within its theatre spaces and outside - in fact around the world. What makes Sadler's Wells different is its determination to nurture world class artists like Akram Khan, Sylvie Guillem, Wayne McGregor, Matthew Bourne, Jasmin Vardimon, the Ballet Boyz and Hofesh Shechter, using its unique vision, style and creativity to put together choreographers, dancers, lighting and stage designers, composers and other artists to make dance that is wildly exciting, new and different. Sadler's Wells Dance House looks at the making of some of the most iconic dance works of this century and into the mix of dancers, choreographers and creators Sadler's Wells has helped inspire. Including insightful analysis of this phenomenon by Sarah Crompton, arts editor in chief and dance critic for the Sunday Telegraph, and colour photographs of many of those works, Sadler's Wells Dance House gives a clear view both of the creative process of the Sadler's Wells artists and of the role this legendary theatre has played in remaking and reshaping dance for the 21st century.
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Funny, lively and unpredictable, stand-up comedy is above all a medium to be enjoyed. Popular as a good night out and packing the TV schedules, stand-up permeates British society and culture. Ubiquitous though it is, we are generally reluctant to consider comedy's social consequences. When comedians offend we seem ready to consider the potential for stand-up to do some wider harm, yet we rarely consider the good that it might do. This book looks at the social and political impact of stand-up comedy in both its positive and negative forms. Drawing on exclusive interviews with comedians such as Stewart Lee, Josie Long, Joe Wilkinson and Mark Thomas, and examples of comic material on everything from revolution, terrorism and homosexuality, to knitting and the inefficiency of the home shower, it explores comedy's role in determining our attitudes and opinions. While revealing the conventions comics use to manage audience response, Sophie Quirk demonstrates how comedy audiences allow themselves to be manipulated, and the potential harm - and real benefits - that may arise from 'just' being funny.
The two decades between 1913 and 1933 saw an unprecedented boom in Russian theatre culture, ignited by the avant-garde movement sweeping through the art world. As artistic, literary and musical traditions underwent a shattering transformation against the backdrop of the First World War and the Russian Revolutions, artists from many different creative disciplines converged on Russian theatre to produce a remarkable flowering of radical, visionary and experimental design for performance. Such artists included Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, Sergei Eisenstein, Vladimir Tatlin, Alexandra Exter, El Lissitzky, Liubov Popova and Varvara Stepanova. This book, published alongside a major exhibition at London's Victoria and Albert Museum, in association with the Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum in Moscow, opens with nine essays by experts from Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Then follows over 150 sumptuously reproduced, full-colour set and costume designs from leading artists and designers of the period, many of which have never been published before. Edited by John E. Bowlt, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Southern California, the result is an astonishing record of a period of creative innovation that redefined not only what was possible in theatre and the avant-garde, but in wider artistic practices too. It will be of interest both to theatregoers and art historians, as well as current and future designers seeking inspiration for their own work.
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The advice offered in this book draws on numerous theories and research findings in psychology and behavioural science. However it is essentially a personal approach based on experience of working with dancers, student dancers and dance teachers in various contexts and locations over a number of years. Its main purpose is to offer a broad perspective on the psychological pressures that dancers and student dancers commonly face and provide some practical suggestions on how these pressures may best be managed. Although the vast majority of my experience has been in the context of classical ballet I hope that the advice given here will be relevant to dancers, teachers and student dancers in all professional disciplines.
- RRP £14.99
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The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy examines how contemporary writer/performers are influenced by the comedic vaudevillians of the early 20th century. By tracing the history and legacy of the vaudeville era and performance acts, like the Marx Brothers and The Three Keatons, and moving through the silent and early sound films of the early 1930s, the author looks at how comic writer/performers continue to sell a brand of themselves as a form of social commentary in order to confront and dispel stereotypes of race, class, and gender. The first study to explore contemporary popular comic culture and its influence on American society from this unique perspective, Rick DesRochers analyzes stand-up and improvisational comedy writing/performing in the work of Larry David, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Dave Chappelle. He grounds these choices by examining their evolution as they developed signature characters and sketches for their respective shows Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and Chappelle's Show.
'This is the kind of book that troubles grey-suited committees of academic peers. It's too enjoyable. But that, given its subject, is just what it ought to be, and it treats that subject seriously ...There isn't a "dull" page anywhere in the book.' - Professor Peter Thomson, Studies in Theatre and Performance Comedy is changing: stand-up comedians routinely sell out stadia, their audience-figures swollen by panel-show appearances and much-followed Twitter feeds. Meanwhile, the smaller clubs are filling up, with audiences as well as aspirants. How can we make sense of it all? This new edition of Getting the Joke gives an insider's look at the spectrum of modern comedy, re-examining the world of stand-up in the internet age. Drawing on his acclaimed first edition, Oliver Double focuses in greater detail on the US scene and its comedians (such as David Cross, Sarah Silverman, Louis CK, Demetri Martin and Margaret Cho); the 'DIY' comedy circuit and its celebrated apostles and visionaries, from Josie Long to Stewart Lee; the growing importance of the solo stand-up show; the role played by Twitter (including an interview with the organiser of the world's first comedy gig on Twitter), and the driving force that is the TV guest slot, be it on Mock the Week or Live at the Apollo. With expanded sections on joke construction, as well as ways to challenge the audience, and a host of new and updated exercises to guide the aspiring comedian, this new edition of Getting the Joke is the only book to combine the history of stand-up comedy with an analysis of the elements and methods that go into its creation. Featuring a range of interviews with working comedians - from circuit veterans to new kids on the block - combined with the author's vast experience, this is a must read for any aspiring stand-up comedian.
David Barnett invites readers, students and theatre-makers to discover new ways of apprehending and making use of Brecht in this clear and accessible study of Brecht's theories and practices. The book analyses how Brecht's ideas can come alive in rehearsal and performance, and reveals just how carefully Brecht realized his vision of a politicized, interventionist theatre. What emerges is a nuanced understanding of Brecht's concepts, his work with actors and his approaches to directing. The reader is encouraged to engage with his method which sought to 'make theatre politically', in order to appreciate the innovations he introduced into his stagecraft. Barnett provides many examples of how Brecht's ideas can be staged, and the final chapter takes a closer look at two very different plays: one written by Brecht and one by a playwright with no acknowledged connection to Brecht. Through an interrogation of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Patrick Marber's Closer, Barnett asks how a Brechtian approach can enliven and illuminate production.
Working at the cutting edge of live performance, an emerging generation of artists is employing digital technologies to create distinctive forms of interactive, distributed, and often deeply subjective theatrical performance. The work of these artists is not only fundamentally transforming the experience of theater, it is also reshaping the nature of human interaction with computers. In this book, Steve Benford and Gabriella Giannachi offer a new theoretical framework for understanding these experiences -- which they term mixed reality performances -- and document a series of landmark performances and installations that mix the real and the virtual, live performance and interactivity. Benford and Giannachi draw on a number of works that have been developed at the University of Nottingham's Mixed Reality Laboratory, describing collaborations with artists (most notably the group Blast Theory) that have gradually evolved a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to combining practice with research. They offer detailed and extended accounts of these works from different perspectives, including interviews with the artists and Mixed Reality Laboratory researchers. The authors develop an overarching theory to guide the study and design of mixed reality performances based on the approach of interleaved trajectories through hybrid structures of space, time, interfaces, and roles. Combinations of canonical, participant, and historic trajectories show how such performances establish complex configurations of real and virtual, local and global, factual and fictional, and personal and social.