The Society for Theatre Research

STR Theatre Book Prize


The Winner (for books published in 2016)

The Theatre Book Prize is awarded to Stage Management Chaos by Jackie Harvey, written with the collaboration of Tim Kelleher. Jackie is a former National Theatre Stage Manager and the book is her account of the exceptional circumstances in which the National Theatre mounted a production of Fernando Arrabal's The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria at the Old Vic.

The award was presented by Sir Richard Eyre in the Grand Saloon at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, after the audience of theatre people, publishers, writers and academics, along with the Society's own members had heard this year's judges describe some of the highlights among the more than seventy books that were entered for our prize in 2016.

Sir Laurence Olivier, then running the National had some concerns about this production which was directed by Argentinian Victor Garcia, an enfant terrible highly thought of by NT Associate Kenneth Tynan. He asked stage manager Jackie Harvey to keep a detailed diary of rehearsals - which now forms the core of this book.

It's a tale of disaster that nearly gave star Anthony Hopkins a nervous breakdown. Reading not is, as judge Aleks Sierz out it, "really thrilling, the story of a slow car crash told with impressive clarity and enormous readability."

Stage Management Chaos, which Jackie Harvey wrote with the collaboration of Tim Kelleher, gives a wonderful insight into what the job is really like and, for the reader at least, it is very, very funny as star Anthony Hopkins is nearly driven to breakdown.

Sir Richard, who remembers seeing it, certainly thought it a disaster. He suggested that the making of this now published record was Olivier's way of dissociating himself from it.

The judges: Sierz, Cathy Hail of the Theatre Collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum and actress Nichola McAuliffe (chaired by committee member Howard Loxton for the Society) made lively presentations about some of the highlight among the 78 books that were entered this year.

Their enthusiasm for some of the other titles made it clear that the winner had hot competition from the other short-listed contenders who also received awards.

A fuller report will appear later.

Publishers wishing to enter their 2017 titles for next year's prize should contact bookprize@str.org.uk.


Short List

Juggling Trajectories: Gandini Juggling MXMXCI ­ MMXV
by Thomas J M Wilson (Gandini Press)

London's West End Actresses and the Origins of Celebrity Charity, 1880-1920
by Catherine Hindson (University of Iowa Press)

Nobody Knows but Everyone Remembers
by Mark Long (People Show)

Shakespeare in Ten Acts
by Gordon McMullan & Zoe Wilcox (British Library Publications)

Stage Managing Chaos: A Diary of the Old Vic Production of Fernando Arrabal's The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria
by Jackie Harvey and Tim Kelleher (McFarland)

Theatrical Unrest: Ten Riots in the History of the Stage
by Sean McEvoy (Routledge)


This Year's Judges

The judges for books published in 2016 were actress, director and author Nichola McAuliffe, critic, academic and author Aleks Sierz and Victorian and Albert Museum Theatre Collections curator and author Cathy Haill.


Books Published in 2016

A list of books entered with links to their publishers' catalogue entries is here.


Previous winners

2015The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 by Steve Nicholson
(University of Exeter Press)
2014Oliver! by Marc Napolitano (Oxford University Press)
2013The National Theatre Story by Daniel Rosenthal (Oberon)
2012Mr Foote's Other Leg by Ian Kelly (Picador)
2011Covering McKellen by David Weston (Rickshaw Publishing)
2010The Reluctant Escapologist by Mike Bradwell (Nick Hern Books)
2009Different Drummer: the Life of Kenneth Macmillan by Jann Parry (Faber & Faber)
2008Theatre and Globalisation: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger Era by Patrick Lonergan (Palgrave Macmillan)
2007State of the Nation by Michael Billington (Faber & Faber)
2006John Osborne: A Patriot for Us by John Heilpern (Chatto & Windus)
20051599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro  (Faber & Faber)
2004Margot Fonteyn by Meredith Daneman (Penguin/Viking)
2003National Service by Richard Eyre (Bloomsbury)
2002A History of Irish Theatre 1601-2000 by Christopher Morash
(Cambridge University Press)
2001Reflecting the Audience: London Theatregoing, 1840-1880 by Jim Davis & Victor Emeljanow (Iowa University Press/University of Hertfordshire Press)
2000Politics, Prudery and Perversion.... Censorship 1906-68 by Nicholas de Jongh
(Methuen)
1999Garrick by Ian McIntyre (Allen Lane)
1998Threads of Time by Peter Brook (Methuen)
1997The Life of Margaret Ramsay, Play Agent by Colin Chambers  (Nick Hern)

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