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Theatre Studies - Biography and Autobiography

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Beside Myself
$27.26 ex GST
$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.

Review
'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
Gambon A Life in Acting
$20.86 ex GST
$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

Review
'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
Ken Campbell: The Great Caper
$31.81 ex GST
$34.99 inc GST

Ken Campbell: The Great Caper

Michael Coveney
 

Ken Campbell (1941-2008) was a one-man whirlwind who tore through the British theatre establishment using well-rehearsed anarchy and a genius for surreal comedy. Starting out in rep at Stoke-on-Trent, he founded the Ken Campbell Road Show—members included Bob Hoskins and Sylvester McCoy —touring pubs and clubs with dramatised urban myths and shaggy-dog stories. His later shows included Illuminatus!—the first show at the National Theatre’s studio—and the 22-hour The Warp, the longest play in the world. On television he played corrupt lawyer Alex Gladwell in the 1970s series Law and Order, and was Alf Garnett’s neighbour Fred Johnson in the sitcom In Sickness and in Health. He later found a devoted audience with his mesmerising one-man shows, which he toured worldwide.

Review
'One of the most original and unclassifiable talents in the British theatre of the past half-century.'  Guardian



Nick Hern Books, UK | 978-1-84842-076-2 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Kenneth Tynan Theatre Writings
$20.86 ex GST
$22.95 inc GST

Kenneth Tynan Theatre Writings

Kenneth Tynan selected and edited by Dominic Shell
 

Now in paperback: the best of Tynan’s theatre criticism

‘I doubt,’ wrote Kenneth Tynan in his review of Look Back in Anger, ‘if I could love anyone who did not wish to see this play’. Famous above all for his championship of the Angry Young Men at the Royal Court and for heralding Brecht, Beckett and Pinter, Tynan was not only the 20th century’s most influential theatre critic, but his writing was itself a ‘high-definition performance’ – one of the qualities he always sought in others.
   
This volume, selected and edited by Tynan’s biographer, Dominic Shellard, brings together the best of Tynan’s theatre writing drawn from his twelve years as a theatre critic (1951-63). Included are ground-breaking reviews of plays by Arthur Miller, John Osborne, T.S.Eliot and Noel Coward, as well as articles on such topics as Broadway musicals, censorship, Brecht in Berlin and the National Theatre, where he was to be Olivier’s right-hand man – thus ending his career as a critic.
    
Review
One can only wonder why Tynan’s theatre criticism, the crowning achievement of his professional life, has until now been mouldering out of print … His reviews aren’t just a brilliant record of this or that production… to read Tynan is to be thrilled into paying better and closer attention – which, in short, is the point of criticism -  Anthony Quinn, Telegraph



Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-543-0 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Love is Where It Falls: An account of a passionate friendship
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

Love is Where It Falls: An account of a passionate friendship

Simon Callow
 

A candid and moving account of Callow's platonic love affair with Peggy Ramsay. 

Review
At the time they first met in 1980, he was 30 and she was over 70. He, Simon Callow, was a flamboyant aspiring actor whose career was just starting to blossom. She, Peggy Ramsay, was London's leading agent, the representative and mentor of a large number of modern British and European playwrights. What (Callow) has written is a romantic and engaging tale. It is also a truthful, sympathetic story about the passions and the depth of our emotional responses -  Mail on Sunday.



Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-257-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | HB
Moment Towards the End of the Play, A
$20.86 ex GST
$22.95 inc GST

Moment Towards the End of the Play, A

Timothy West
 

The autobiography of a much-loved stage and TV actor, a born raconteur and a natural writer.

In his varied career Timothy West has worked in the box-office at Frinton, as assistant stage manager at Newquay, in weekly rep at Hull, then, via a two-year contract at Salisbury, on to roles in the West End, the Royal Shakespeare Company, doing the classics on tour with Prospect, performing Dickens and Dostoyevsky on television, running the Old Vic, and marrying an actress called Prunella Scales... But as he tells it, it all seems to happen a bit by accident, a bit by surprise. The modesty is engaging. The humour is irresistible.

Review
A theatrical memoir that doesn’t cloy, and is filled with insight, wit and a sense of the ultimate absurdity of life -   Judith Flanders, TLS



Nick Hern Books | 978-1-84842-109-7 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | HB
My Life in Pieces
$20.90 ex GST
$22.99 inc GST

My Life in Pieces

An Alternative Autobiography

Simon Callow
 

An alternative autobiography of the well-loved actor and man of the theatre.

In My Life in Pieces, Simon Callow recaptures the multifarious people, productions and events which have fed into his lifeblood and left their indelible mark. Starting with his first ever visit to the theatre, Peter Pan, he takes us through a somewhat chaotic boyhood in southern Africa and South London, an aborted university career, a testing time at drama school and on to an acting career that has encompassed roles in the West End and stand-out character parts in films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Callow writes with his customary perceptiveness, wit and flair about the remarkable people he has encountered in the course of his career: Laurence Olivier, Paul Scofield and Michael Gambon at the National Theatre; then Alec Guinness, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, David Hare, Simon Gray and Richard Eyre, among others.

This being an alternative autobiography, he also writes about figures he did not meet but whose influence was vital to a full understanding of his craft: figures such as Stanislavsky and Michael Chekhov, Nureyev and Cocteau, Laughton and Welles. There are also other, not-quite-legit performers like Tony Hancock, Tommy Cooper and Frankie Howerd.

Also included are accounts of his life as a solo performer, most notably as Charles Dickens. The result is a heartening, instructive and utterly beguiling book which, in tracing Simon Callow’s own ‘sentimental education’, goes to show how rich and nourishing a life can be had in and around the theatre.



Nick Hern Books | 978-1-84842-171-4 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | HB
Other People’s Shoes
$23.63 ex GST
$25.99 inc GST

Other People’s Shoes

Harriet Walter
 
Harriet Walter's wonderfully practical - and personal - introduction to acting.

"Acting is what I do with who I am", writes Harriet Walter. And in this book she takes us step by step through the processes involved in performance. Each step of the way is illuminated with brilliantly precise examples drawn from her own experience.

'My advice to a young actor: read this book.' Richard Eyre

Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-751-9 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Percy Grainger
$29.99 ex GST
$32.99 inc GST

Percy Grainger

John Bird
 
OUT OF PRINT

One of the world’s most popular pianists, Percy Grainger, was also one of our most innovative composers and instrument-makers. He was also a significant folk-song collector with a teeming intellect. He was known for his masochistic sexuality, his lifelong absorption with his mother, his Nordic triumphalism and his curious Anglo-Saxon form of language.

This biography includes a prefatory note by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, and an appreciation by Leopold Stokowski. Included in the extensive appendices are a list of Grainger's published compositions, a discography, a list of his Duo-Art Piano Rolls and two essays on Free Music and Elastic Scoring.

This fully revised edition includes much new biographical material from Bird's continuing research.



Currency Press | 978-0-86819-570-4 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Peter Dawson: the World’s Most Popular Baritone
$36.35 ex GST
$39.99 inc GST

Peter Dawson: the World’s Most Popular Baritone

Russell Smith & Peter Burgis
 

The Australian bass baritone who was the most widely recorded singer in history.

In his day Peter Dawson was an Australian icon moulded by a nationalistic loyalty to the British crown and empire. Remembered by some as the voice of British imperialism, of Kipling ’s Boots and The Road to Mandalay, to others he is the man who made Waltzing Matilda the anthem it is today. In his record-breaking career lasting over fifty years, Dawson made nearly 2,000 recordings, from cylinders to LPs, in a more diverse repertoire than any other artist in history.

In this, Dawson’s first and definitive biography, basso Russell Smith and sound archivist Peter Burgis have revealed a tough-minded, dedicated artist who was also a bon viveur and practical joker and whose personality, as much as his voice, contributed to his universal popularity.

The book includes a complete discography.



Currency Press | 978-0-86819-603-9 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
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