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Theatre and Performance Guidebooks - Directing and Stagecraft

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An Untidy Career
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An Untidy Career

Conversations with George Hall

Lolly Susi

Lolly Susi’s interviews with performer and teacher George Hall are a unique insight into the mind of a great all-round theatre practitioner.

George Hall trained at Old Vic Theatre School and worked as an actor at the Old Vic, in regional theatre, on radio, television and film. He has worked in cabaret, as writer, composer, performer and director. He has composed scores for the Old Vic, RSC, and plays for film and television. George was director of the Acting Course at Central School of Speech and Drama for many years. He is currently on the staff of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Including photographs from George Hall’s time teaching and on stage, An Untidy Career is full of revealing thoughts regarding the theatre and acting industries.

An Untidy Career is part of the  Oberon's Masters Series of good-value and attractively presented hardbacks on key themes within the theatre written by leading lights in each subject.

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-989-5 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
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Peter Gill

Apprenticeship is Peter Gill’s potent recollection of the changing theatrical landscape of the 1960s and his journey from being a young actor to becoming a world-renowned director and playwright. Using his recently re-discovered 1962 diary, he recalls being in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, as part of the first RSC London season, and how this experience began to develop his own ideas of what theatre might be.
Gill explores his reaction to that apprenticeship in the context of young directors training today. An experience the diary shows to have been at times "baffling and exhilarating and sometimes frankly awful", it nevertheless produces an evocative portrait of post war British theatre and the profound impact of the work of Brecht and the Berliner Ensemble on theatre and on Gill's own subsequent work.
Apprenticeship is also, in part, the story of a young actor trying to understand what the theatre is and, in the process, moving towards becoming a director.

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-871-3 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | HB
Art of Darkness, The:
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Art of Darkness, The:

Staging The Philip Pullman Trilogy

Robert Butler

Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials is an ambitious and magical theatrical event. In The Art of Darkness: Staging the Philip Pullman Trilogy, Robert Butler tells the story of this theatrical epic, from its first rehearsal to opening night, taking the reader on a backstage journey of a production unrivalled in its narrative scope and staging. His Dark Materials involves technologies old and new and The Art of Darkness presents a unique inside account of how the magic of Philip Pullman’s world is created on stage. This book will make you feel involved in the play, whether you saw it produced or not.

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-414-2 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Art of the Theatre Workshop, The
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Art of the Theatre Workshop, The

Murray Melvin (Editor)

The publication of this title coincides with a major exhibition at the National Theatre in London. This is a photographic record of the work of Joan Littlewood's famous Theatre Workshop, based at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East.

In the 1950's and 60's the company was responsible for some of the most famous and influential work of modern British theatre such as The Quare Fellow and The Hostage both by Brendan Behan; A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney; Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'be by Frank Norman, music by Lionel Bart; and the massive success of Oh, What a Lovely War.

Joan Littlewood, considered ‘one of the great creative forces of British theatre in the 1950s and 1960s and one of the great figures of political theatre in this country [UK]’, left an enduring legacy which is celebrated in this volume.

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-691-7 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Commedia Plays
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Commedia Plays

Scenarios, Scripts, Lazzi

Barry Grantham

A unique collection of performance pieces and improvisation exercises in the Commedia style by the UK's leading practioner. A sequel to the best-selling Playing Commedia .

Commedia Plays contains eight plays each with a detailed introduction, illustrating the different periods and styles of Commedia dell'Arte. Suitable for performance on stage, the plays can also be used in the classroom and workshop as the basis for improvisation.

Also included is a compilation of 'Lazzi' - the pieces of 'business' that form the basis of Commedia's comic action. These range from the Double Takes and The Surprise Embrace to whole scenes such as Cross Dressing and The Unwanted Proposal.

The book as a whole serves as a practical illustration of the development of Commedia over some four hundred years.

Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-871-4 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Complete Brecht Toolkit, The
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Complete Brecht Toolkit, The

Stephen Unwin

A practical, hands-on guide - for actors, directors, teachers and students - to Brecht's theory and practice of theatre, with a full set of exercises to help put theory into practice.

The Complete Brecht Toolkit examines, one by one, Brecht's many, sometimes contradictory ideas about theatre - and how he put them into practice. Here are explanations of all the famous key terms, such as Alienation Effect, Epic Theatre and Gestus, as well as many others which go to make up what we think of as 'Brechtian theatre'.

The book also explores the practical application of these theories in Acting, Language, Music, Design and Direction.

Also included are fifty exercises contributed by Julian Jones, to help student actors investigate Brecht's ideas for themselves, becoming thoroughly familiar with the tools in the Brecht toolkit.

Nick Hern Books, UK | 978-1-85459-550-8 | Sales Rights: Australia/NZ only  | PB
Different Every Night
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Different Every Night

Rehearsal and Performance Techniques for Actors and Directors

Mike Alfreds

A top-ranking director sets out his rehearsal techniques in this invaluable handbook for actors and directors
Mike Alfreds has been directing plays for 35 years. He founded Shared Experience—still going very strong—in the 1970s and ran the Cambridge Theatre Company in the 1990s, also working extensively at the National Theatre and abroad. He is hugely respected within the profession.

Now he has done what no other director has dared to do since Stanislavsky—he has committed his methodology to print.

So, in Different Every Night, we are taken into the rehearsal room to work principally on Chekhov. He shows how to break down the text into units and individual beats—and offers techniques for the actor to bring the text to life. And to keep it alive through many repetitions not only in rehearsal but also in performance. In doing so he offers a vital masterclass for actors and directors.

Different Every Night is the culmination of a lifetime working in the theatre. It is intensely hands-on and full of practical advice for both directors and actors. No director should ever again not know how to conduct rehearsals and bring them to successful fruition!

Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-967-4 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Don’t Tell Me, Show Me: Directors Talk About Acting
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Don’t Tell Me, Show Me: Directors Talk About Acting

Adam Macaulay


A collection of ‘informal’ interviews with Australian directors of stage, film and TV about actors and acting. An intelligent and enlightening commentary on acting in Australia today, which strips away the layers of mythology surrounding the industry, revealing the energy, passion, humour and vision within.

The directors are: John Bell, Bruce Beresford, Di Drew, Gale Edwards, Michael Gow, Michael Jenkins and Nico Lathouris, Ros Horin, Barrie Kosky, Aubrey Mellor, Simon Phillips and Kate Woods.

Currency Press | 978-0-86819-669-5 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Exposed by the Mask
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Exposed by the Mask

Peter Hall

In these four lectures Peter Hall reveals a lifetime of discoveries about classical theatre, Shakespeare, opera and modern drama. The central argument is that form and structured language paradoxically give freedom to power of thought and feeling, much as the masks of early Greek drama enabled actors to express extreme emotion. The mask may take many forms – the precise language of Beckett and Pinter, the classical form of Mozart’s operas, or Shakespeare’s verse.

Now reprinted to form part of the Oberon's Masters Series; a brand new series of good-value and attractively presented hardbacks on key themes within the arts written by leading lights in each subject.

The wisest and most stimulating short book about theatre since Peter Brook’s The Empty Space - Charles Spencer, Sunday Telegraph

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-993-2 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | HB
From Word to Play
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From Word to Play

A Textual Handbook for Actors and Directors

Cicely Berry

Widely regarded as one of the most significant voice teachers in the world, Cicely Berry, the Royal Shakespeare Company's Voice Director, has been working alongside some of Britain's greatest actors and directors for over fifty years.

From Word to Play draws on Cicely's extensive experience of working with theatre companies across the globe. It is her manifesto for a return to the words themselves: for moving away from and over-conceptualised, over-literal view of language and rediscovering the meaning in its sounds and rhythms.

At the heart of this book is a concise, practical guide for directors in rehearsal, setting out work strategies that help bring out both the shape and the details within all kinds of text - whether verse or prose, seventeenth-century or contemporary.

Foreword by Michael Boyd, Artistic Director of the RSC.

Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-601-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB