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.
‘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