20 May 2021 / Theatre Book Prize

Theatre Book Prize Shortlist Announced!

The Society for Theatre Research is delighted to reveal the shortlist for the Theatre Book Prize 2021.

Judged by journalist Lucy Popescu, actress Cleo Sylvestre and Professor Steve Nicholson on a panel chaired by STR Committee Member Howard Loxton, the shortlist includes six titles ranging from the birth of the West End in the 19th Century to 20th century Black British theatre.

The judges read over 50 books submitted by publishers encompassing studies of medieval performance to contemporary practitioner memoirs. The complete list of entries appears on the Theatre Book Prize page here.

The shortlist, to be announced at the Society’s virtual Annual General Meeting tonight is as follows:

  • Nicola Abram: Black British Women’s Theatre: Intersectionality, Archives, Aesthetics (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • Michael Coveney: Questors, Jesters and Renegades: The Story of Britain’s Amateur Theatre (Methuen Drama) 
  • Matthew Franks: Subscription Theater: Democracy and Drama in Britain and Ireland, 1880-1939 (University of Pennsylvania Press) 
  • Nadine Holdsworth: English Theatre and Social Abjection A Divided Nation (Palgrave Macmillan) 
  • Rohan McWilliam: London’s West End: Creating the Pleasure District, 1800-1914 (Oxford University Press) 
  • Janice Norwood: Victorian Touring Actresses (Manchester University Press)


2021 marks the 23rd STR Theatre Book Prize, which was established in 1998 to celebrate the Society’s Golden Jubilee. The aim of the Book Prize is to encourage the writing and publication of books on British-related theatre history and practice.

Recent winners include Year of the Mad King: The King Lear Diaries by Antony Sher; Different Drummer: The Life of Kenneth Macmillan by Jann Parry; Margot Fonteyn by Meredith Daneman and Balancing Acts by Nick Hytner. Previous members of the judging panel include actors Penelope Keith and Corin Redgrave, producer Thelma Holt, actress-director Yvonne Brewster and critics Michael Billington and Daisy Bowie-Sell.

The winner of this year’s prize will be announced in June 2021.