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Theatre Studies - Biography and Autobiography

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Athol Fugard
$26.32 ex GST
$28.95 inc GST

Athol Fugard

His Plays, People and Politics

Alan Shelley

A playwright whose work is appreciated on a global scale, Athol Fugard’s plays have done more to document and provide a cultural commentary on Apartheid-era South Africa than any other writer in the last century. Using mostly migrant workers and township dwellers, and staging guerrilla-raid productions in black areas, Fugard frequently came into conflict with the government, forcing him to take his work overseas. Consequently, powerful plays such as The Blood Knot, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, and Master Harold... and the boys came to broadcast the inequities of the Apartheid-era to the world. Fugard’s work retains an insistent influence, and is studied and performed the world over.
Alan Shelley’s study is an accessible but profound analysis of the man, his work and its influence, the social injustices that drive him, and the lives of those who people his remarkable plays.

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-821-8 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Beside Myself
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$29.99 inc GST

Beside Myself

An Actor's Life

Antony Sher

A remarkably candid autobiography, utterly involving and often startlingly revelatory, Beside Myself is an inspiration to young actors and a treat for seasoned theatregoers.

'I wish I'd read this book when I was starting out. Not only is Antony Sher one of the all-time greats of classical theatre, he also manages to be a writer of enormous skill and insight' David Tennant

Actor, author, artist Antony Sher grew up in the Old South Africa with a profound sense of being an outsider. Small, Jewish and secretly gay, he found refuge in theatre and escaped to London aged just nineteen.

In Beside Myself, Sher takes us to the heart of what it is to be an actor today, describing the journeys he undertakes in order to inhabit the roles for which he is famous - including The History Man (his TV breakthrough), Macbeth, Tamburlaine, Cyrano, Stanley Spencer and Richard III.

This edition, published to mark the author's 60th birthday, includes a new foreword and epilogue.

'The most unsparingly honest actor's autobiography I have ever read.' - Michael Billington, Guardian

Nick Hern Books, UK | 978-1-84842-035-9 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Clinging To The Iceberg
$27.27 ex GST
$30.00 inc GST

Clinging To The Iceberg

Writing for a Living on the Stage and in Hollywood

Ron Hutchinson
Wickedly funny, insightful, often absurd but always true, Clinging to the Iceberg explores the inner workings of the business of writing for hire. It’s written by someone whose career has spanned over forty years on stage and on screen, including thirty lucrative and sometimes uproarious ones in Hollywood. Genuinely laugh-out-loud, it will astound and inspire and along the way reveal the REAL tricks of the dialogue writers’ trade.

Hutchinson takes us through his successful career via hilarious anecdotes including a near-death experience on Venice Beach, being paid by Dreamworks to not actually work for them, and struggling to stay sane on location on one of the great movie flops of all time.

Oberon Books | 978-1-78682-220-8 |  Sales rights: Australia/NZ only | PB
Close Up: An Actor Telling Tales
$19.95 ex GST
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Close Up: An Actor Telling Tales

John Fraser

John Fraser starred in films such as Repulsion, El Cid and Tunes of Glory, and was nominated for a British Academy Award as Best Actor for his performance, opposite Peter Finch, as Bosie in The Trials of Oscar Wilde. He has written fiction, non-fiction and drama. This paperback edition includes a previously unpublished chapter.

Genuinely moving...a deliciously gossipy read, but much, much more than a set of anecdotes about famous people. What distinguishes Close Up from a hundred other celebrity memoirs is the skill of the writing, and also the sense that a real warm heart lies at the centre. -  The Mail on Sunday

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-504-0 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Coral Browne
$35.41 ex GST
$38.95 inc GST

Coral Browne

'This Effing Lady'

Rose Collis

A larger-than-life character that towered over the London stage for half a century, Coral Browne was remarkable for her mesmerising character performances, her glamour, her liberated attitude to sex and the quickness of her often-savage wit.

Arriving from ‘awful Australia’ as a 21-year old she quickly became the talk of wartime London—performing as bombs rained around her. Prodigiously talented and highly unconventional for the age she lived in, she forged a reputation as a brilliant comic and classical actress, though she would later perform in the premiere of Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw in her underwear, alongside Ralph Richardson. She is also remembered for a series of iconic performances in films such as Auntie Mame, The Killing of Sister George, Theatre of Blood, The Legend of Lyla Clare, The Ruling Class, and in television dramas such as Dennis Potter’s Dreamchild, and Alan Bennett’s An Englishman Abroad, in which she played herself.

Almost as famous for her bawdy wit and unashamed appetite for men (and women), her famous lovers included Maurice Chevalier, Cecil Beaton and Paul Robeson, though she played confidante to many more, including Alec Guinness, John Schlesinger, Alan Bates, and, remarkably, the traitor Guy Burgess. Later in life she became ‘Mrs Vincent Price’, one half of one of the most passionate and remarkable celebrity marriages of all time.
'This Effing Lady' is Rose Collis' humane and funny account of a remarkable and truly original star.

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-764-8 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | HB
Dream, The
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$21.95 inc GST

Dream, The

An Actor's Story

Leigh Lawson

'The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good – In spite of all the people who say he is very good.' Robert Graves

In 1996 actor Leigh Lawson was asked to spend a season playing both Oberon and Theseus in Adrian Noble’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Royal Shakespeare Company, during which (and in-between visits from Prime Ministers and trips to the pub) he rediscovered his love for the bard.
The Dream is an actor’s odyssey, full of stories and anecdotes from throughout a theatrical career, as well as the obligatory dwarves, false phalluses, and encounters with a predatory Franco Zefferelli.
This book is a delight for anyone interested in what goes on behind the curtain, and what motivates anyone to tread the boards in the first place.

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-867-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Elaine Paige
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$19.95 inc GST

Elaine Paige


Elaine Paige

Elaine Paige, the undisputed ‘First Lady of Musical Theatre’ celebrates 40 years on the stage in 2008. Memories is the remarkable story of her own life, on and off the stage, in words and pictures.

She takes us through her extraordinary career from her earliest stage appearances, to her many starring roles in some of the biggest musicals of the modern era, including Hair, Grease, Evita, Cats, Chess, Piaf, Sunset Boulevard and The Drowsy Chaperone. She tells it how it was, sharing moments of joy and regret.
Illustrated with an extraordinary collection of images in colour and black and white, Memories depicts Elaine Paige in some of her most iconic roles – Evita, Grizabella from Cats, Edith Piaf, and Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard – but also shows Elaine away from the stage, in childhood, with family and friends, and on her travels. Above all we get an insight into the life and career of a true national treasure in this revealing, funny and personal book.

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-852-2 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | HB
Find Me a New Way to Die: Édith Piaf's Untold Story
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Find Me a New Way to Die: Édith Piaf's Untold Story

David Bret

'Every damn fool thing you do in this life, you pay for.'

Édith Piaf was one of 20th-century France's brightest stars, an international sensation, and since her death in1963 has become a legendary figure. Her life story is so compelling that it has become difficult to separate the fact from the fiction, thanks to a wealth of stories, plays, films and biographies designed to lionize: her birth on the pavement of Rue deBelleville 72 on a pile of coats; being raised in a brothel; her role in the French resistance;the near misses with death; the money, the men, the moods, the drugs, the fame.

Shrouded by these stories, the 'real' Édith Piaf is often indistinguishable from the legend.

Following on from his two bestselling biographies of Édith Piaf, David Bret, in her centenary year, has written an account of the singer's life which centres around previously unpublished interviews he conducted with her friends, lovers, colleagues and songwriters. For the first time, Bret is in a position to reveal the material that was too controversial to publish whilst the interviewees were still alive. This new book will mean a significant revision to the Piaf myth.

Oberon Books, UK | 978-1-78319-929-7 | Sales Rights: Australia/NZ only | HB
For the Love of Dance
$45.45 ex GST
$49.99 inc GST

For the Love of Dance

Dame Beryl Grey

Published to celebrate Dame Beryl’s 90th birthday, this is the only autobiography from this famous classical ballerina, and is a must-read for dance and ballet lovers.

Dame Beryl’s life is defined by her love of dance. Her life and career spanned the period that saw the flowering of British ballet. Knowing and working with virtually everyone in the dance world, she reveals fascinating insights into the people, characters and institutions that made up world dance in the 20th century.

Grey began her dancing career with the Sadler’s Wells Ballet in 1941 at the unprecedented early age of 14. Her natural virtuosity saw her quickly promoted to prima ballerina, dancing her first Giselle at 17, and Princess Aurora at 19. Dame Beryl became the first English dancer to appear as a ballerina at the Bolshoi and the Kirov, as well as with the Peking Ballet.

Throughout WWII, Dame Beryl continued to perform throughout the country, despite the dangers. This autobiography provides a fascinating and personal insight into an extraordinary woman, her life and career.

Oberon Books, UK | 978-1-78682-097-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ only | HB
Gambon A Life in Acting
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$22.95 inc GST

Gambon A Life in Acting

Mel Gussow

Michael Gambon is a notoriously private man. Yet this profile of him in his own words—assembled from interviews with drama critic, Mel Gussow—offers the most complete portrait yet of a man who 'has just about everything—enormous power, great depth, absolute expertise and the ability to illuminate a character by the simplest of means' (Harold Pinter). The book is rounded off by interviews with writers, directors and actors who have worked with him: Dennis Potter, Alan Ayckbourn, Harold Pinter, Simon Russell Beale, Deborah Warner, Peter Hall and Adrian Noble.

To read an extract from this book, as published the Guardian, please click here

'Gambon emerges from this entertaining book as a master of understatement, but not of underaction... illuminating flashes of what makes an actor tick -  Daily Mail ''Book of the Week''

Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-806-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB