STR Theatre Book Prize

Established to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Society for Theatre Research in 1998, the aim of the Book Prize is to encourage the writing and publication of books on British-related theatre history and practice, both those which present the theatre of the past and those which record contemporary theatre for the future.  It was first awarded for books published in 1997.

The award is presented annually for a book on British or British related theatre which an independent panel of judges considers to be the best published during the previous year.  All new works of original research first published in English are eligible except for play texts and studies of drama as literature. Publishers who wish to enter titles for the prize should contact and this is also the address to which all queries about the prize should be directed.

The three judges, who are different each year, are drawn from the ranks of theatre practitioners, theatre critics, senior academics concerned with theatre, and theatre archivists, with a member of the committee of the Society for Theatre Research as chair.


2020 Judges

Graham Cowley

Graham Cowley has produced plays in a wide range of theatres, from West End and large scale tours to tiny fringe theatres. While at the Royal Court with Max Stafford-Clark and Stephen Daldry he transferred several hits to the West End, and submitted the Lottery application which funded the theatre’s rebuilding. While serving as Producer with Out of Joint, in 2003 he founded Two’s Company with Tricia Thorns and Ian Talbot. Initially known for its six-year project, Forgotten Voices from the Great War, the company has continued to present rediscovered plays that offer authentic voices from the 20th century.

Donald Hutera

Donald Hutera is a dance critic for The Times of London and has written widely about theatre, especially on dance, mime and circus both in print and on line publications including The New York Times, Dance Magazine, Time Out and Exeunt as well as curating festivals, mentoring aspiring critics, serving on award panels and creating performances. He is co-author of The Dance Handbook and edited The Rough Guide to Choreography.

Edith Hall

Edith Hall is Professor in the Classics Department of King’s College London, a broadcaster and lecturer, co-founder of the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama and a consultant to theatres. She has written more then twenty books including Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre, 1660-1914 (co-authored with Fiona Macintosh) which was short-listed for the Theatre Book Prize.

Theatre Book Prize 2020


The Society for Theatre Research have announced their shortlist for the 2020 Theatre Book Prize for books published in 2019.

This year’s shortlist features a biography of Vivien Leigh, insightful examinations of playwriting and directing, expansive histories of 18th century and modern theatre, and the untold story of one of Drury Lane’s most enterprising (and financially-doomed) managers.

The winner of the Theatre Book Prize will be announced on Thursday 18th June.

The 2020 Theatre Book Prize Longlist

Previous winners (by year of publication)

2018-Year of the Mad King: The King Lear Diaries by Antony Sher (Nick Hern Books)

2017-Balancing Acts by Nicholas Hytner (Jonathan Cape)

2016 – Stage Managing Chaos by Jackie Harvey with Tim Kelleher (McFarland)

2015 – The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 by Steve Nicholson (University of Exeter Press)

2014 – Oliver! by Marc Napolitano (Oxford University Press)

2013 – The National Theatre Story by Daniel Rosenthal (Oberon)

2012 – Mr Foote’s Other Leg by Ian Kelly (Picador)

2011 – Covering McKellen by David Weston (Rickshaw Publishing)

2010 – The Reluctant Escapologist by Mike Bradwell (Nick Hern Books)

2009 – Different Drummer: the Life of Kenneth Macmillan by Jann Parry (Faber & Faber)

2008 – Theatre and Globalisation: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger Era by Patrick Lonergan (Palgrave Macmillan)

2007 – State of the Nation by Michael Billington (Faber & Faber)

2006 – John Osborne: A Patriot for Us by John Heilpern (Chatto & Windus)

2005 – 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro (Faber & Faber)

2004 – Margot Fonteyn by Meredith Daneman (Penguin/Viking)

2003 – National Service by Richard Eyre (Bloomsbury)

2002 – A History of Irish Theatre 1601-2000 by Christopher Morash (Cambridge University Press)

2001 – Reflecting the Audience: London Theatregoing, 1840-1880 by Jim Davis & Victor Emeljanow
– (Iowa University Press/University of Hertfordshire Press)

2000 – Politics, Prudery and Perversions…. Censoring the English Stage 1901-1968 by Nicholas de Jongh (Methuen)

1999 – Garrick by Ian McIntyre (Allen Lane)

1998 – Threads of Time by Peter Brook (Methuen)

1997 – Peggy: the Life of Margaret Ramsay, Play Agent by Colin Chambers (Nick Hern)

Book Prize Archive

The Book Prize has been awarded each year since 1997.

Click on the links for more information.