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Author Profile

Biography

DAVID EDGAR is one of Britain's leading playwrights. He calls himself ' a writer of public life', and once remarked that he wanted to be 'a secretary for the times through which I'm living'. His many plays include Nicholas Nickleby for the RSC (adaptation), Destiny, Maydays, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Pentecost, The Prisoner’s Dilemma, The Shape of the Table, Entertaining Strangers (with Judi Dench), Albert Speer and, most recently, Playing with Fire.  His bestselling book How Plays Work was published by NHB in 2009. He also writes for radio, television, and film and is a frequent commentator on political and theatre issues, as both essayist and public speaker. He founded the Theatre Writer's Union, as well as Britain's first graduate playwriting course at Birmingham.

By David Edgar, available through Currency Press - see all

Albert Speer
$27.26 ex GST
$29.99 inc GST

Albert Speer

David Edgar
 
Plucked from obscurity to be Hitler's architect and Minister of War, Albert Speer became the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany and the closest Hitler had to a friend. This panoramic adaptation of Gita Sereny's definitive and magisterial biography tells the epic story of a man whose devotion to Hitler blinded him to the the worst crime of the twentieth century.

Review
David Edgar's compelling new play offers a clear-sighted examination of the psychology of guilt, denial and repentance, an unsqueamish and chilling dissection of a heart of darkness -  The Mail on Sunday.


Cast : 6F, 20m - more if desired
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-485-3 | Sales rights: worldwide | PB
Arthur & George
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

Arthur & George

Adapted from the novel by Julian Barnes

David Edgar
 
The gripping story of the sensational, real-life case in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle found himself playing detective - based on Julian Barnes’s Booker Prize-nominated novel

In 1903, Birmingham solicitor George Edalji was found guilty of a terrible crime and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. Desperate to prove his innocence, he recruited Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, to help solve his mysterious case and win him a pardon.

As gripping as any Sherlock Holmes mystery, Arthur & George also raises many questions about guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race.

Review
David Edgar has distilled 500 pages into two-and-a-half hours of theatre - involving you in the whodunnit aspect of the case while serving the finer intellectual textures of the novel Daily Telegraph


Cast : 2F, 18M (doubling possible)
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-84842-096-0 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Continental Divide: Daughters of the Revolution/ Mothers Against
$20.86 ex GST
$22.95 inc GST

Continental Divide: Daughters of the Revolution/ Mothers Against

David Edgar
 

Two linked plays by the UK's leading political playwright, investigating the machinations of the Democratic and Republican parties in America.

In this two-play cycle set against the background of a bitterly fought American governor's election, David Edgar explores what has happened to the revolutionary fervour which took hold of both the Right and the Left in the 1960s, and how it has been carried over into the politics of today.

Review
In Daughters of the Revolution [David Edgar] uses a political thriller to show how the 1960s radical baby-boomers turned into today's bland conformists ... Its companion piece, Mothers Aganist, deals with the Republican side of the same west-coast election is a total triumph The  Guardian


Cast : Daughters - 7M, 8F ; Mothers - 4M, 4F
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-778-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
$21.81 ex GST
$23.99 inc GST

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

David Edgar
 

A superb adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's famous story of the unassuming Dr Jekyll and his dark alter-ego Mr Hyde.

Review
'Both a theatrical feast and an intellectual challenge.' -  Sunday Times






Cast : 6M, 3F
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-297-2 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
How Plays Work
$23.63 ex GST
$25.99 inc GST

How Plays Work

David Edgar
 

A masterclass in the art of playwriting by an accomplished and successful practitioner . How Plays Work has grown out of Edgar’s teaching the University of Birmingham’s MA course in Playwriting Studies. The book analyses the basic elements of dramatic structure – action, plot, character, dialogue, genre – through historical and modern examples. By looking at existing plays and drawing lessons from them, it builds a unique toolkit of theatrical devices for use by other playwrights – as well as by other theatre practitioners and students of drama.

Review
'Lucid, deeply intelligent... combines theoretical acumen with the assured know-how of a working dramatist.'  Terry Eagleton,  TLS



Nick Hern Books, UK | 978-1-85459-371-9 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
If Only
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

If Only

David Edgar
 
An explosive, topical drama from one of the UK's top political playwrights.

It’s 16th April 2010, the day after the UK's first ever televised prime ministerial debate. Stranded in Malaga Airport by a volcanic ash-cloud, a Labour special adviser, a Lib Dem staffer and a Tory candidate consider their options. Can their parties survive without them? How will they get back home? And who’ll end up in government?

Fast forward to 4th August 2014. As the nation settles down to commemorate the outbreak of the First World War, the three politicians meet again. One of them knows something that could change the outcome of the 2015 election. Should they reveal it? And at what cost? 
Nick Hern Books UK | 978-1-84842-333-6 | Sales: Australia/NZ only | PB
Master Builder, The
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

Master Builder, The

Henrik Ibsen (Adapted by David Edgar)
 
An enthralling new version of an unforgettable Ibsen classic.

Part psychological thriller, part Gothic tragedy, Ibsen’s late masterwork is a compelling portrait of one man's obsessive determination, and what might lie on the darker side of ambition.

Halvard Solness, the leading architect of his age, is at the end of his career. A single-minded man of angry pride, trapped in a frozen marriage to Aline, he is terrified of being eclipsed by the younger generation snapping at his heels.

A decade after their first meeting, the charismatic and bewitching young Hilde Wangel comes back into his life and inspires him to even greater heights. But will his last towering achievement renew him or destroy him?

Review
A taut new version by David Edgar, smartly underscored in ways that heighten the supernatural mood  -  Telegraph


Cast : 4M, 3F
Nick Hern Books, UK | 978-1-84842-106-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Master Builder, The
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

Master Builder, The

Henrik Ibsen (Adapted by David Edgar)
 
An enthralling new version of an unforgettable Ibsen classic.

Part psychological thriller, part Gothic tragedy, Ibsen’s late masterwork is a compelling portrait of one man's obsessive determination, and what might lie on the darker side of ambition.

Halvard Solness, the leading architect of his age, is at the end of his career. A single-minded man of angry pride, trapped in a frozen marriage to Aline, he is terrified of being eclipsed by the younger generation snapping at his heels.

A decade after their first meeting, the charismatic and bewitching young Hilde Wangel comes back into his life and inspires him to even greater heights. But will his last towering achievement renew him or destroy him?

Review
A taut new version by David Edgar, smartly underscored in ways that heighten the supernatural mood  -  Telegraph


Cast : 4M, 3F
Nick Hern Books, UK | 978-1-84842-106-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Master Builder, The
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

Master Builder, The

Henrik Ibsen (Adapted by David Edgar)
 
An enthralling new version of an unforgettable Ibsen classic.

Part psychological thriller, part Gothic tragedy, Ibsen’s late masterwork is a compelling portrait of one man's obsessive determination, and what might lie on the darker side of ambition.

Halvard Solness, the leading architect of his age, is at the end of his career. A single-minded man of angry pride, trapped in a frozen marriage to Aline, he is terrified of being eclipsed by the younger generation snapping at his heels.

A decade after their first meeting, the charismatic and bewitching young Hilde Wangel comes back into his life and inspires him to even greater heights. But will his last towering achievement renew him or destroy him?

Review
A taut new version by David Edgar, smartly underscored in ways that heighten the supernatural mood  -  Telegraph


Cast : 4M, 3F
Nick Hern Books, UK | 978-1-84842-106-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Peer Gynt
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

Peer Gynt

Henrik Ibsen (Adapted by David Edgar)
 
Peer Gynt is a dreamer, a liar and a serial womaniser. Cast out from his hometown, Peer embarks on a wild and astonishing journey in search of fame and fortune that takes him from Norway to Africa and eventually back home again. An exhilarating tale of a life lived on the edge.

This radical new co-production promises a mix of trolls, madmen, dancing girls and live music. Under the direction of Dominic Hill in a colourful new version from the writer of the Rep’s recent hit show Monkey, Peer Gynt finally brings together two of Scotland’s most acclaimed theatre companies.

Be prepared for a theatrical roller-coaster ride through one of the greatest works of modern literature.

Review
A brilliant reinvention that's both irreverent and profound . -  The Herald, Glasgow



Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-806-5 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Peer Gynt
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

Peer Gynt

Henrik Ibsen (Adapted by David Edgar)
 
Peer Gynt is a dreamer, a liar and a serial womaniser. Cast out from his hometown, Peer embarks on a wild and astonishing journey in search of fame and fortune that takes him from Norway to Africa and eventually back home again. An exhilarating tale of a life lived on the edge.

This radical new co-production promises a mix of trolls, madmen, dancing girls and live music. Under the direction of Dominic Hill in a colourful new version from the writer of the Rep’s recent hit show Monkey, Peer Gynt finally brings together two of Scotland’s most acclaimed theatre companies.

Be prepared for a theatrical roller-coaster ride through one of the greatest works of modern literature.

Review
A brilliant reinvention that's both irreverent and profound . -  The Herald, Glasgow



Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-806-5 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Peer Gynt
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

Peer Gynt

Henrik Ibsen (Adapted by David Edgar)
 
Peer Gynt is a dreamer, a liar and a serial womaniser. Cast out from his hometown, Peer embarks on a wild and astonishing journey in search of fame and fortune that takes him from Norway to Africa and eventually back home again. An exhilarating tale of a life lived on the edge.

This radical new co-production promises a mix of trolls, madmen, dancing girls and live music. Under the direction of Dominic Hill in a colourful new version from the writer of the Rep’s recent hit show Monkey, Peer Gynt finally brings together two of Scotland’s most acclaimed theatre companies.

Be prepared for a theatrical roller-coaster ride through one of the greatest works of modern literature.

Review
A brilliant reinvention that's both irreverent and profound . -  The Herald, Glasgow



Oberon Books | 978-1-84002-806-5 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Pentecost
$21.81 ex GST
$23.99 inc GST

Pentecost

David Edgar
 

Winner of the 1995 Evening Standard Play of the Year Award.

A valuable mural is discovered in a church in war-torn Eastern Europe. International and local art historians argue over who should own the painting. The fate of the mural becomes powerfully interwoven with the fate of the country.

Review
'One of those rare works that makes you want to climb on to roof tops to shout about its merits.'  Daily Telegraph.



Cast : 12M, 8F - 1 girl (doubling required)
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-292-7 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Playing with Fire
$29.95 ex GST
$32.95 inc GST

Playing with Fire

David Edgar
 
David Edgar's breakthrough play, Destiny (1976), looked at the rise of racism and the National Front — and wondered about the future shape of a multicultural society in Britain. Now, thirty years on, Edgar looks at the realities of this multiracial nation in a brilliantly layered new play.







Cast : 16M, 7F (doubling required)
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-880-6 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Prisoner's Dilemma, The
$21.81 ex GST
$23.99 inc GST

Prisoner's Dilemma, The

David Edgar
 

The third in David Edgar’s post-Cold War trilogy—an urgently topical account of a bloody conflict on Europe’s Eastern borders.

Review
'The greatest virtue of David Edgar’s enthralling new play is that it confronts the kind of intractable ethnic conflict that has blown up in the wake of the Soviet Union’s demise.... Edgar’s erudition and appetite for major subject-matter have paid off.'  Daily Telegraph



Cast : 10M, 4F (doubling required)
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-631-4 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Shape of the Table, The
$21.81 ex GST
$23.99 inc GST

Shape of the Table, The

David Edgar
 

The second in David Edgar's post-Cold War trilogy.

The Shape of the Table tracks the collapse of an Eastern Bloc government at the end of 1989. As the old regime retreats, former political prisoners join banned writers around the negotiating table...

Witty and informative, this play is both an intensely topical account of what actually went on in the corridors of power and a timeless analysis of revolution in action. In particular the play explores not only the challenge of seizing power, but also the difficulty of relinquishing it.



Cast : 11M, 4W
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-079-4 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Shorts
$20.86 ex GST
$22.95 inc GST

Shorts

David Edgar
 

This collection of Edgar’s shorter plays offer further examples of his versatility. 

Included are:

Blood Sports
Five hilarious sketches on sporting subjects

Ball Boys
An unlikely match between Marx and tennis

Baby Love
Edgar’s most widely performed play - a powerful and moving account of a baby-snatcher.

The National Theatre
Chekhov's Three Sisters... in a strip club

The Midas Connection
An ironic look at gold dealing.



Cast : Various
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-051-0 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Testing the Echo
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

Testing the Echo

David Edgar
 
Helpful advice to foreigners visiting Britain: When first entering a tube train, be sure to shake hands with every passenger. And do not fail to test the famous echo in the Reading Room of the British Museum.

Emma is a dedicated ESOL teacher (English for Speakers of Other Languages) whose class includes people from Somalia, Serbia, The Congo, India and Egypt. She also has to coach them to pass the new Test of UK Citizenship. As the Foreign Office worries away at whether the questions in the Test are the right ones, and Emma’s friends and pupils challenge its underlying attitudes, Emma finds her commitment drowning in the conflicting currents of ethnicity, religion and political correctness.
   
Testing the Echo is a provocative and often satirical look at the overwhelming difficulty of defining what it is to be British. It asks crucial questions about whether fundamentalist Muslims can ever be truly assimilated into a society whose values and assumptions are so very different from their own.



Cast : 4M, 4F (doubling required)
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-553-9 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Time to Keep, A
$19.95 ex GST
$21.95 inc GST

Time to Keep, A

David Edgar and Stephanie Dale
 
A large-scale play from Britain’s leading political playwright – a historical romp crossing Jane Austen with Charles Dickens
       
David Edgar is back in Nicholas Nickleby mode with this energetic and wide-ranging story of a whole community in early 19th-century Dorset. With over 50 characters from Mad King George III to labourers and jailbirds.




Cast : 9M, 9F (doubling required)
Nick Hern Books | 978-1-85459-585-0 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB
Written on the Heart
$20.86 ex GST
$22.95 inc GST

Written on the Heart

David Edgar
 
An enthralling historical drama about the creation of the King James Bible, commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company to mark its four-hundredth anniversary.

Written on the Heart is the dramatic story of the translation of God's Word into English. For one man, this endeavour leads to death at the stake. For another, it could mean an archbishop's mitre.

After almost a century of unrest, the King James Bible was intended to end the violent upheavals of the English Reformation. But deep-seated discord forces a leading translator to confront the betrayal of his youthful religious ideals, for the sake of social peace.



Cast : 15M, 2F (doubling required)
Nick Hern Books, UK | 978-1-84842-207-0 | Sales rights: Australia/NZ | PB