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Our theatre books celebrate the greatest shows, performances and productions to have graced the stage - from the West End all the way to Broadway.

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Theatre Books

Our theatre books celebrate the greatest shows, performances and productions to have graced the stage - from the West End all the way to Broadway.

  • Blowing the Bloody Doors Off

    Michael Caine

    Product Code: BXKSY
    Paperback
    Hollywood legend and British national treasure Michael Caine shares the wisdom, stories, insight and skills that life has taught him in his remarkable career - and now his 85th year. One of our best-loved actors Michael Caine has starred in a huge range of films - including all-time favourites - from the classic British movies Alfie, Zulu and The Italian Job to the Hollywood blockbusting Dark Knight trilogy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hannah and Her Sisters and Cider House Rules. Caine has excelled in every kind of role - with a skill that's made it look easy. He knows what success takes - he's made it to the top of his profession from the toughest beginning. But as he says 'Small parts can lead to big things. And if you keep doing things right, the stars will align when you least expect it.' Now in his 85th year he wants to share everything he's learned. With brilliant new insight into his life and work and with his wonderful gift for story, this is Caine at his wise and entertaining best.
    • £7.19
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  • Performing Shakespeare

    Oliver Ford Davies

    Product Code: BJPBI
    Paperback
    Drawing on a lifetime's experience of playing Shakespearean roles, Oliver Ford Davies offers practical advice to actors, directors and drama students on a wide variety of scenes, characters, speeches and individual lines from almost every one of the plays. The three core sections of "Performing Shakespeare" take us through the whole process of Preparation, Rehearsal and Performance, preceded by discussions of the Elizabethan actor and Shakespeare's language. Also included are revealing interviews with other notable Shakespearean actors including Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Harriet Walter, Simon Russell Beale and Juliet Stevenson.
    • £9.49
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  • Dramatic Exchanges

    Daniel Rosenthal

    Product Code: BZSAS
    Paperback
    The perfect gift for any theatre lover There has been always as much drama offstage as on at the National Theatre, and much of it is to be found in the letters, telegrams, scribbled notes and colourful postcards of its main players. - What drove Laurence Olivier to confess: 'The foolishness of my position starts to obsess me'? - Why did Maggie Smith write: 'I am absolutely heartbroken by your decision'? - What prompted Judi Dench to ask: 'Can't you write me a musical so that I can sit on a chair in a fur hat & nothing else and sing RUDE songs?' This book brings together for the first time some of the most inspiring, dramatic and amusing letters from the life of Britain's most beloved theatre: Laurence Olivier's gracious rejection letters, Peter Hall's combative memos, Helen Mirren's impassioned defence of theatrical innovation, fantastical good luck missives and long conspiratorial letters. Together, they reveal the stories behind some of the most lavish, triumphant, daring and disastrous productions in the theatre's history, including Amadeus, Romans in Britain, Laurence Olivier's Othello, Closer, The History Boys and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. A rich collection of correspondence like no other, this book offers a fascinating and celebratory look at the world of theatre and beyond.
    • £16.00
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  • Arguments For A Theatre

    Howard Barker

    Product Code: BVKHM
    Paperback
    This new edition of Barker's seminal text Arguments for a Theatre outlines the theory and practice of his 'Theatre of Catastrophe'. Author of over thirty plays, Howard Barker has long been an implacable foe of the liberal British establishment, and champion of radical theatre world-wide. His best-known plays are The Castle, Scenes from an Execution and The Possibilities. All his plays are emotionally highly charged, intellectually stimulating and have no truck with the theatrical conventions of what he terms the 'Establishment Theatre'. These fragments, essays, thoughts and poems on the nature of theatre likewise reject the constraints of 'objective' academic theatre criticism. Rather they explore the collision (and collusion) of intellect and artistry in the creative act. This book is more than a collection of essays: it is a cultural manifesto. 'A manifesto as systemically unsystematic as Artaud's for a Theatre of Cruelty - a comparable mixture of self-revelation, self-concealment, anger and explosive excitement. The essays, all of them, are clamorous, challenging and eloquent. Indisputably brilliant.' Peter Thomson, University of Exeter
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  • Hollywood Dogs

    Gareth Abbott

    Product Code: BUYWM
    Hardback
    Hollywood Dogs showcases a fine selection of photographs from the famous John Kobal Foundation. Taken between 1920 and 1960 during the Golden Age of Hollywood, they feature stars including Humphrey Bogart, Buster Keaton, Elvis Presley, Tony Curtis, Sophia Lauren, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Ava Gardner, Shirley Maclaine, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn posing with dogs of every stature and breed. In almost every case, these stunning photographs have never been seen before now. As much as the Hollywood studio system tried to control every aspect of their stars' lives, there was nothing the bosses could do to manipulate their illustrious employees' responses when photographed with their dogs. Hollywood Dogs celebrates this special relationship between these famous owners and their animals. Often caught off-guard, and almost always relaxed and natural, these are photographs of the Hollywood stars as real people. Amongst the images are some of the most famous dogs in Hollywood films: Lassie; Asta; Rin Tin Tin and Toto from the Wizard of Oz. There are also a few carefully-set-up publicity shots, such as Frank Sinatra on the set of Pal Joey, and Jean Harlow accessorised with a large hat and two Old English sheepdogs. Each image has been researched to identify the breed and wherever possible, the name of the dog, and Catherine Britton has included intriguing details about the location and background to the photograph.
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  • Brecht on Performance

    Bertolt Brecht

    Product Code: BSJCF
    Paperback
    Now available in Bloomsbury Revelations series, Brecht on Performance: Messingkauf and Modelbooks presents a selection of Brecht's principal writings about the craft of acting and realising texts for the stage. It crystallises and makes concrete many of the more theoretical aspects of his other writing and illuminates the practice of this hugely influential director and dramatist. The volume is in two parts. The first features an entirely new commentated edition of Brecht's dialogues and essays about the practice of theatre, known as the Messingkauf, or Buying Brass, including the `Practice Pieces' for actors (rehearsal scenes for classics by Shakespeare and Schiller). The second contains rehearsal and production records from Brecht's work on productions of Life of Galileo, Antigone, Mother Courage and others. Edited by an international team of Brecht scholars and including an essay by director and teacher Di Trevis examining the practical application of these texts for theatres and actors today, Brecht on Performance is a wonderfully rich resource. The text is illustrated with over 30 photographs from the Modelbooks.
    • £19.99
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  • So You Want to be a Playwright?

    Tim Fountain

    Product Code: BKALH
    Paperback
    Written in clear and concise chapters, this book guides the would-be playwright over the many hurdles that must be cleared from finding a 'story that only you know' through the scene-by-scene construction of the play and on to the many strategies that can help to get it on stage. The author raises - and provides answers to - over fifty topics ranging from 'Should you know which theatre you are writing for?' to 'What if you get stuck?' and on to 'Where do you send your script?' The final section deals with actual performance: casting, working with directors, designers and actors, rehearsals and previews. Also included is a directory of theatres and contacts.
    • £9.79
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  • Shakespeare on Stage

    Julian Curry

    Product Code: BGYRX
    Paperback
    The performers interviewed represent a Who's Who of stage and screen actors (between them they have seventeen Oscar nominations), and range across all generations. They include Judi Dench talking about her acclaimed Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's 1960 production; Ian McKellen whose Macbeth at the RSC in the 1970s is still considered iconic; Helen Mirren who has played Cleopatra three times; Kevin Spacey bringing an American perspective to playing Richard II; and Jude Law on his Hamlet, which was a hit in the West End and on Broadway in 2009. Also interviewed are Brian Cox, Ralph Fiennes, Rebecca Hall, Derek Jacobi, Adrian Lester, Tim Pigott-Smith, Patrick Stewart and Penelope Wilton. Each actor talks through their role, scene by scene, with refreshing candour and in forensic detail. The result is a mini masterclass in playing that role, aimed at other actors, students of Shakespeare, and audiences of the plays.
    • £14.89
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  • National Youth Theatre Monologues: Speeches for Young People

    Product Code: BGMOB
    Paperback
    An invaluable new collection of audition speeches drawn from material produced by world-leading youth arts organisation the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. Edited by NYT Associate Artist Michael Bryher, the book contains over 75 monologues all taken from plays performed by the NYT, by writers such as Zawe Ashton, Moira Buffini, Carol Ann Duffy, Brian Friel, James Graham, Dennis Kelly, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Gbolahan Obisesan, Evan Placey and Jack Thorne. Also included are tips on performing the speeches from current and former NYT members, plus advice on preparing for auditions.
    • £10.49
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  • Musical Theatre Auditions and Casting

    Neil Rutherford

    Product Code: BDXBU
    Paperback
    Musical theatre is a tough and over-crowded industry. Yet, despite the huge competition, many performers find auditioning difficult with little knowledge of what the directors, creative teams and producers are looking for, or how to win the panel over with their unique talent. As a leading international casting director, Neil Rutherford has seen thousands of hopefuls audition over the years. Uniquely, he also understands what it is like to audition from his years as a professional actor in musical theatre. This book provides a unique perspective on the musical theatre audition process and how to improve the chances of landing a role. With wit, humour and insight, Neil Rutherford guides the reader through the crucial elements of musical theatre auditions, opening up the process of casting and auditioning to the thousands of hopefuls trying to secure work in this industry every year, as well as anyone involved in musical theatre. With a foreword by Tony-award-winning director Bartlett Sher, the book also contains contributions from some of the world's leading directors and musical directors, including Sir Richard Eyre and Jerry Mitchell, adding further valuable insight from those at the centre of the musical theatre world. This book is a vital tool for anyone hoping to improve their audition chances and survive in the world of musical theatre.
    • £17.99
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  • The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide

    Mark Fisher

    Product Code: BDONP
    Paperback
    'Ah! The Fringe! I can't think of a more delightful way of putting my liver, bank account, relationship, complexion, and mental stability under the greatest strain they've ever known!' Mel Giedroyc It is the world's largest arts festival, attracting everyone from student first-timers to Hollywood stars. Thrilling, inspiring and bewildering in equal measure, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe can make you a star or break your bank. So what is the secret of making it work for you? The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide draws on the experiences of the festival's leading figures - their disasters as well as their triumphs - to take you step by step through the process of making your show a success in the Scottish capital. From choosing a venue to keeping on top of the budget, from sorting out accommodation to securing the best press coverage, from generating word of mouth to making the most of a hit, this unique practical guide for performers, directors and producers helps you get your show the audience it deserves. Among those sharing their expert advice are playwright Simon Stephens, comedian Phil Nichol, actor Siobhan Redmond, producer Guy Masterson, Tiger Lillies front manMartyn Jacques, theatre critic Lyn Gardner, Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award director Nica Burns, as well as the directors of all the major Fringe venues, top press officers, international promoters and insiders from the Fringe Society itself. The foreword is written by playwright Mark Ravenhill.
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  • Theatre, Teens, Sex

    Jan Selman

    Product Code: BBULQ
    Paperback
    Fear and embarrassment prevent frank and meaningful communication on the topic of sex. Participatory theatre can break the uncomfortable silence, and with over 700 performances across Canada, Jane Heather's award-winning play Are We There Yet? has been an effective tool for teaching teen sexuality since 1998. The play and accompanying educational program were the subject of a major impact assessment where researchers from many disciplines examined how and why theatre can make change. This comprehensive, well-organized volume by two leading experts in community-based theatre offers a rich diversity of material and analysis. Theatre, Teens, Sex Ed will be a valuable resource for academics, practitioners, and specialist readerships in the fields of theatre, sex education, sociology, and public health. The play appears in the volume and is available separately as a reproducible PDF. A video production of examples of theatrical participation is included on a pocketed DVD. Contributors: Shaniff Esmail, Brenda Munro, Tracy L. Bear, James McKinnon, and the Are We There Yet? Community-University Research Alliance. Jan Selman is Professor in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She directs contemporary and original theatrical work. Jane Heather is a playwright and Associate Professor in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta. Both have worked extensively creating theatre for change in collaboration with communities.
    • £38.99
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  • Acting Shakespeare's Language

    Andy Hinds

    Product Code: AZRJN
    Paperback
    In this inspirational new manual, Andy Hinds shares what he has learnt over thirty years of teaching the speaking and acting of Shakespeare's texts. In simple steps he brings the reader to a full understanding of how Shakespeare's language 'works', lucidly outlines a number of practical guidelines, and provides simple, test-proven exercises to put each guideline into practice. Key points include: -Acting Solo Speeches -Pronunciation -Imagery and imagistic language -Acting Shakespeare's Verse -Acting Shakespeare's Prose -Breathing The essential guide for all actors, students, teachers or directors tackling Shakespeare's plays or speeches and wishing to release the full dramatic power of his words.
    • £12.39
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  • More Golden Rules of Acting

    Andy Nyman

    Product Code: CBLFK
    Paperback
    Andy Nyman's first book, The Golden Rules of Acting, has become a bestseller in the acting world. Now he returns to bring you more priceless nuggets gleaned from more than thirty years in the acting business. This book will help you to... Learn to love auditions and self-tapes (yes, really!) Look after your mental health Deal with success and failure Burst a few bubbles that need bursting Written with the same candid wit as his first book, this is every actor's new best friend in handy paperback form. 'With great humour, wisdom and panache, Andy Nyman presents tasty advice for any actor. He knows that the more rules and craft under your belt, the more daring and original you will be as an artist' Glenn Close 'As with the first volume, this book gets to the heart of what being a working actor is about. No faff, no mystery, just practicalities that are always worth being reminded of' Martin Freeman Praise for The Golden Rules of Acting: 'Probably the most important book on acting and actors I've ever read; period! Keep it by your bedside at all times!' Liam Neeson OBE 'I absolutely devoured this book. Yes, it's witty but it's also sincere, informative, practical and humble in its truths' Toni Collette 'Sage advice and wisdom for actors, and non-actors alike... truthful, eye-opening and insightful, reading it feels like getting tips and advice from a friend down the pub; it is a goldmine of information' Huffington Post 'Andy's distilled guidebook is smart, hilarious, and just might get you work!' Neil Patrick Harris
    • £6.39
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  • Royal Ballet: A Season in Pictures

    The Royal Ballet

    Product Code: CBKYF
    Paperback
    A beautiful gift book packed with pictures from the last year at The Royal Ballet - a richly illustrated companion to The Royal Ballet company.
    • £15.99
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  • Tragedy Since 9/11

    Jennifer Wallace (Peterhouse C

    Product Code: BZUFO
    Paperback
    From the trauma of September 11th, through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to the aftermath of the Arab Spring and the environmental warning signs of climate change, this book reflects on the crises and terrifying events of the early 21st century and argues that a knowledge of tragedy from the works of Sophocles to Shakespeare to Samuel Beckett can help us understand them. Jennifer Wallace offers a cultural analysis of the tragic events of the past two decades with reference to a litany of key dramatic texts, including Aeschylus' Oresteia, Euripides' Hecuba, Iphigenia in Aulis, Trojan Women and Bacchae, Homer's Iliad, Ibsen's Emperor and Galilean and Enemy of the People, and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Macbeth and King Lear, among others.
    • £18.99
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  • The Intervals of Cinema

    Jacques Ranciere

    Product Code: BZLNQ
    Paperback
    The cinema, like language, can be said to exist as a system of differences. In his latest book the acclaimed philosopher Jacques Ranciere relates cinema to literature and theatre. With literature, he argues, cinema takes its narrative conventions, while at the same time effacing its images and its philosophy; and it rejects theatre, while also fulfilling theatre's dream. Built on these contradictions, the cinema is the real, material space in which one feels moved by the spectacle of shadows. Thus for Ranciere, the cinema is the always disappointed dream of a language of images.
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  • Entertaining the Troops

    Kiri Bloom Walden

    Product Code: BZHNO
    Paperback
    This book explores the foundation and work of the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) and other entertainment organisations such as CEMA and Stars in Battledress. These organisations ensured that troops in all theatres of the Second World War were visited by big bands, ballet stars, Shakespearian actors and the most famous popular entertainers of the day in order to raise morale. Many of Britain's biggest stars cut their teeth performing on makeshift stages to homesick soldiers, sailors and airmen and women during the war years, with famous performers including Laurence Olivier, Gracie Fields, George Formby, Vera Lynn, Margot Fonteyn and members of The Goons. This book also details the alternative arrangements made when the entertainment organisations couldn't come - the forces often put on their own shows, with pantomimes and plays written and performed by POWs being a prime example.
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  • On Streisand

    Ethan Mordden

    Product Code: BYGJS
    Hardback
    She said, "I became a singer because I couldn't get work as an actress," but Barbra Streisand not only became both but revolutionized the two professions. Her music transformed the smooth, uninflected style of the Frank Sinatras and Ella Fitzgeralds into an engine of dramatic vocalism in which each song is like a miniature three-act play. And Streisand's films changed forever the ideal of how a movie star chooses roles, going from musicals to dramas to comedies, from period fare to ultra-modern tales, from Funny Girl to The Way We Were to Yentl. mainstream show-business principal to deconstruct an artist On Streisand begins with a broad year-by-year outline of the landmark achievements and a few of her more whimsical escapades, as when Rex Reed apologizes for an oafish interview piece and she responds with "I had more respect for him when he hated me." This is followed by a long essay on how Streisand's idiosyncratic self-realization marks her as a unique national treasure, an artist without limits. Then comes the major part of the book, a work-by-work analysis. This section is broken down into separate chapters, each organized chronologically: the stage shows, then the television shows and concerts, then the movies, and last (because longest) the recordings. Throughout, Mordden follows Streisand's independence, which he sees as her central quality. Throughout all of the chapters on Streisand's shows, concerts, films, and recordings, Mordden illustrates how she was exercising individualistic control of her career from her very first audition, and how the rest of her professional life unfolded from that point. pioneered an intense and even passionate singing style at A book written by an opinionated expert whose prose is consistently full of flair and wit, On Streisand: An Opinionated Guide will appeal to general readers in all aspects of American life that Streisand has touched, from film to television to popular music to stardom. Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. Further, like Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson she was one of the new wave actors of the 1960s who broke away from the standard models for movie stars. But Streisand has much greater range than others of this kind, as comfortable in musical comedy as in serious drama. Thus, she has moved from the madcap roles of Hello, Dolly! and What's Up, Doc? to the tale of a young woman at war with patriarchal religious fundamentalism (in Yentl) and the insanity hearing of a prostitute who has killed (in self-defense) and whose parents want to put her away to keep her from revealing that her step-father has preyed on her sexually. Further, Streisand has directed three of her films, rare enough for an actor but perhaps especially for a woman. An American Original, Streisand is controversial as well, as all Originals are. Mediocrities may be dull, but they never get bad reviews; Streisand has irritated many a sensibility. As she herself has said, "I'm a liberal, opinionated Jewish feminist-I push a lot of buttons." There is as well the "I'm so wonderful" vanity that has haunted some of her later work, as when she records duets with the rich and famous but isolates herself from them, letting the editing of the tapes bring them together, as if she were an ice princess who might melt upon human contact. Streisand, as her own movie producer, has also been accused of recutting the director's final version to flatter her shots over those of her colleagues. And The Mirror Has Two Faces seems designed to let Streisand direct her own Cinderella tale, not unlike the old Hollywood romances in which the secretary takes off her glasses and the boss cries, "Miss Johnson!...Clarice... Why, you're... you're beautiful!" Nevertheless, Streisand has been, in all, an invigorating artist, not only unique but extraordinary. It would be impossible to imagine what American culture would have been like without her.
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  • Venice Saved

    Simone Weil

    Product Code: BYAPB
    Paperback
    Towards the end of her life, the French philosopher and mystic Simone Weil (1909-43) was working on a tragedy, Venice Saved. Appearing here in English for the first time, this play explores the realisation of Weil's own thoughts on tragedy. A figure of affliction, a central theme in Weil's religious metaphysics, the central character offers a unique insight into Weil's broader philosophical interest in truth and justice, and provides a fresh perspective on the wider conception of tragedy itself. The play depicts the plot by a group of Spanish mercenaries to sack Venice in 1618 and how it fails when one conspirator, Jaffier, betrays them to the Venetian authorities, because he feels compassion for the city's beauty. The edition includes notes on the play by the translators as well as introductory material on: the life of Weil; the genesis and purport of the play; Weil and the tragic; the issues raised by translating Venice Saved. With additional suggestions for further reading, the volume opens up an area of interest and research: the literary Weil.
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  • Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak's Designs for Opera and Ballet

    Product Code: BXXPJ
    Hardback
    This book showcases a lesser-known aspect of Maurice Sendak's oeuvre--his set designs for operas and ballets. Maurice Sendak is well-known for his acclaimed children's books, but he was also an avid opera lover and designed a number of sets for opera and ballet productions, among them Mozart's The Magic Flute, Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges, Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, and an opera by Oliver Knussen based on Where the Wild Things Are. This book brings together over one hundred and twenty-five pieces from among the more than nine hundred in the Morgan Library & Museum's collection, including preliminary sketches, final watercolors, and cardboard models. Essays in the book discuss the importance of music to Sendak's work, his fascination with comic strips, movies, mechanical toys, and pop-up books, and the artworks that inspired his stage designs. The book reveals the full breadth of Sendak's visual work for opera and ballet and highlights his keen sense of humor, his love of art history, and his ability to tell striking stories through his art.
    • £23.99
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  • Sam Wanamaker: A Global Performer

    Diana Devlin

    Product Code: BXVUS
    Hardback
    Actor. Director. Activist. Sam Wanamaker is best known as the man who spent the last twenty five years of his life reconstructing Shakespeare's Globe near its original site just south of the Thames in London. Tragically, he died four years before its Gala Opening in 1997. Born in the USA, he began his acting career in travelling shows before moving on to Broadway. A vocal left wing activist, Wanamaker moved to the UK, fearful of being blacklisted during the McCarthy witch hunts of the early 1950s. Having crossed the Atlantic, he carved a successful and varied career as both actor and director, but continued to be outspoken on a variety of topics, including racial discrimination in the theatre. With his staunch sense of purpose, he made as many enemies as friends: charismatic and persuasive, he was also stubborn and domineering. But it was these very qualities that made his lasting legacy, Shakespeare's Globe, a reality, despite many battles. The fascinating life of Sam Wanamaker is explored for the first time in this biography by Diana Devlin, who worked closely with him for his last twenty years.
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  • This Is Shakespeare

    Emma Smith

    Product Code: BXLKI
    Hardback
    This book argues that so much of what we know about Shakespeare is actually untrue or irrelevant. It thrives on revealing and not resolving the ambiguities of the Bard's works - and how they reflected the topical issues of the time.
    • £16.00
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  • Teaching Playwriting

    Paul Gardiner (University of S

    Product Code: BXKYB
    Paperback
    Playwriting is a skill under-explored in the classroom, despite the strong evidence that it's an engaging and rewarding activity for young people. Teaching Playwriting addresses this gap and is an essential resource for teachers wanting to gain the skills and confidence necessary to introduce playwriting to their students. Based on rich research and clearly explained theoretical concepts, the book explores the lessons from creativity theory that will provide the teacher with the skills and knowledge necessary to empower students' writing and creativity. It also includes extensive practical activities and writing exercises to develop students' playwriting proficiency and creative capacity. Discussing key concepts in playwriting such as idea, dialogue, character, action and structure, the book enables teachers to respond to the unique learning needs of their students and help them tell their stories and reach their potential as young playwrights.
    • £24.99
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