Sixty-six miniature memoirs by leading playwrights, actors, and directors, celebrating twenty-five years of Nick Hern Books. In this remarkable collection, leading artists recall the plays that first influenced them.
My First Play is a unique collection of pieces by playwrights, actors and theatre directors – all of them regular Nick Hern Books authors – in response to the simplest of briefs: write about your first play.
Candid, hilarious, and often sharply revealing, the resulting pieces – many of them written in the hurly-burly of work on a new production – combine to prove the power of theatre to entrance us, and hold us captive in its spell.
Included here are remarkable first-person accounts from many of our leading playwrights: Caryl Churchill performing Cinderella to her parents with a cast of dolls and stuffed animals; Howard Brenton pinching his first main character from a boy’s comic; Jack Thorne having to become a thief to get his first play on; Conor McPherson still waiting to write his ‘first play’.
There are also enthralling insights into the first steps in theatre of some of our principal actors and theatre directors: Antony Sher discovering theatre in Cape Town during the apartheid years; Dominic Cooke paying the price for using a real knife in performance; Harriet Walter’s photographic recall of the annual outing to Peter Pan; Richard Eyre on an open-air performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that descends into chaos.
Published to celebrate twenty-five years of Nick Hern Books, the royalties from the sale of this magical collection of sixty-six miniature autobiographies will be donated to the Theatre Section of the Writers’ Guild.
Contains contributions from:
Nick Hern (introduction), Mike Alfreds, Clare Bayley, Alecky Blythe, Andrew Bovell, Howard Brenton, Simon Callow, Alexi Kaye Campbell, Anupuma Chandrasekhar, Caryl Churchill, Jo Clifford, Dominic Cooke, Oliver Ford Davies, Gregory Doran, Ariel Dorfman, David Edgar, Helen Edmundson, Kevin Elyot, Richard Eyre, Stella Feehily, Vivienne Franzmann, Stacey Gregg, Catherine Grosvenor, Chris Hannan, Nancy Harris, Ella Hickson, Sam Holcroft, Robert Holman, Joel Horwood, Stephen Jeffreys, Fin Kennedy, Deirdre Kinahan, Dawn King, Larry Kramer, Elizabeth Kuti, Jonathan Lichtenstein, Liz Lochhead, Linda McLean, Conor McPherson, Chloë Moss, Rona Munro, Elaine Murphy, Joanna Murray-Smith, Bruce Norris, Ronan O'Donnell, Mark O'Rowe, Michael Pennington, Mike Poulton, Nina Raine, Lou Ramsden, Morna Regan, Billy Roche, Tanya Ronder, Diane Samuels, Antony Sher, Ali Taylor, Polly Teale, Steve Thompson, Jack Thorne, Stephen Unwin, Harriet Walter, Steve Waters, Tom Wells, Timothy West, Amanda Whittington, Nicholas Wright
"A terrific read... This is a revealing, funny, quirky, sexy, confessional, touching collection of love stories by people for whom theatre isn't so much a vocation as a lifelong passion." - The Stage
"Humorous, passionate and revealing... packed with comical anecdotes and serious insights." - Times Literary Supplement
"Delightful... provides oceans of wisdom and experience." - British Theatre Guide