Nick Hern Books launches new virtual reading group

Theatre publishers Nick Hern Books have launched The NHB Playgroup, a new initiative offering one free play each week to read and discuss, plus a Q&A with the writer.

Nick Hern Books Play Group

Each Wednesday during the coronavirus shutdown, Nick Hern Books will be making one play available for free, and inviting everyone who reads it to send in a question for the writer. They’ll then record a Q&A with them, which will be released as a podcast the following Wednesday, along with the next free play.

The first NHB Playgroup play is the Bruntwood Prize-winning Yen by Anna Jordan, which premiered at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, in 2015, before transferring to the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 2016. Other writers lined up for The NHB Playgroup include James Fritz, Winsome Pinnock, Enda Walsh, Stef Smith and Ella Hickson, with further names to be announced.

The plays will all be made freely available to read online, with readers invited to submit questions by the end of Sunday for the opportunity to be included in the Q&A. Throughout the week, NHB readers to keep the discussion of the play going online, using the hashtag #NHBPlaygroup on Twitter to share their thoughts with everyone else who’s reading.

More information about The NHB Playgroup can be found online, or by emailing [email protected].

Other current initiatives from Nick Hern Books include Still on the Page, a celebration of and 30% offer on the almost thirty NHB-published plays who’ve had performances cancelled or runs cut short, and Keep Creating While Isolating, a curated selection of resources to support creativity at home. They’ve also partnered with organizations including Papatango Theatre Company and Company Three to support other projects. Information about all of these can be found here.

Matt Applewhite, Managing Director of Nick Hern Books, said:
‘There are many adjectives being used to describe the days we’re living through: unprecedented, unusual, challenging, impossible… Whilst undeniably all true, at Nick Hern Books we’re trying to focus on the ways in which we, and the theatre industry more widely, can become more connected, collaborative, inclusive and imaginative. Amongst several new initiatives, The NHB Playgroup offers readers and theatre-lovers free access to some of the best contemporary plays, followed by debate and discussion, including with the playwrights themselves. We hope we can encourage many people to discover the pleasures of reading and engaging with some great plays during this time.’

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