I love writing this blog, but I recognise that with only a single post a week to read, you’re probably looking for other reading material! These are some of the books I’d recommend to you; some about theatre administration/production, plenty not, some linked to theatre, some not… Basically, lots of books I like I think you might enjoy, split into a few categories, so you can find what’s best for you…
Books about Theatre Production and Administration
This is a blog about theatre production, first and foremost, so it kind of goes without saying that this would be the first category. Many of these books are relatively expensive to buy, but libraries are your friends!
– So You Want to Be a Theatre Producer, James Seabright.
This is the first book about how to do producing that I ever read, and I cannot recommend it enough as a starting point. It focuses more on commercial producing than subsidised producing, but it is general, factual, clear and so, so useful. And not incredibly expensive, so if you can afford it, worth buying, to refer back to regularly, until you know its content really well.
– Production Management: Making Shows Happen – A Practical Guide, Peter Dean
– How to Produce a West End Show, Julius Green
– Producing Theatre: A Comprehensive and Legal Business Guide, Donald C. Farber
– Essential Guide To Making Theatre, Richard Fredman
– Theatre Management: Producing and Managing the Performing Arts, David M Conte
– How to Run a Theatre: Creating, Leading and Managing Professional Theatre, Jim Volz
I enjoyed this, but found that the general advice was mostly common sense (not a bad thing: it’s good to be reminded that sometimes things are literally as simple as you think they are) and the specifics were very American-centric. Useful for my American readers, perhaps less so for UK residents like me.
– Producing Musicals: A Practical Guide, John Gardyne
– The Commercial Theatre Institute Guide to Producing Plays and Musicals, Fredric Vogel
– How to Start Your Own Theater Company, Reginald Nelson
– Stage Management and Theatre Administration, Pauline Menear
This is short and sweet, nothing particularly groundbreaking or in great depth, but everything covered is clear and useful to know/be reminded of.
I can’t recommend reading without recommending some of my favourite fiction; I have after all now spent almost three years doing a degree all about books (English, University of Cambridge for anyone who isn’t a regular reader), which was something I wanted to do, because I love reading.
These are a selection of books I’ve enjoyed; some related to theatre, some not. Some highbrow, some not. They are in no particular order (well, they’re in the order they popped into my head), because my ‘favourite’ book(s) change daily, if not hourly.
– David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
– Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens
– A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
– Villette, Charlotte Brontë
This is really underrated – I think it’s fantastic!
– Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
– The Salterton Trilogy, Roberston Davies
This one is related to theatre – it’s hilarious, and theatrical, what more could you want?
– Anne of Green Gables, and all eight books in this series, L.M. Montgomery
– Nemesis, Agatha Christie
Or anything else by Agatha Christie, but this is a particular favourite of mine. Not only because it’s the one where I’d guessed the guilty party correctly, honest.
– Dubliners, James Joyce
– Collected Short Stories, Jean Rhys
I wrote a dissertation in my second year comparing the two collections of short stories above, and I think they’re wonderful.
– Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
Read this after Jane Eyre…
– Anything by Shakespeare.
Obviously. There is a reason this man is so famous, and if you’re in the least interested in theatre or literature, you cannot avoid him, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t embrace him. Read his work, go see it in a theatre, see films of it… If you can, do all of the above! But enjoy him.
– Wise Children, Angela Carter
Centred around theatre, dark, feminist and sexy. It’s really, really great.
– To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
– The Woman in Black, Susan Hill
– Emma, Jane Austen
– Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
– Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
– Persuasion, Jane Austen
– Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
– Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
Yes. That is every complete novel by Austen. But she’s wonderful, so go with it.
– The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
– The Color Purple, Alice Walker
– Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
– The Narnia Series, CS Lewis
– Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
– The Harry Potter Series, JK Rowling
They’re the books of a generation. And they’re wonderful. Don’t just watch the films, read the books. They are great. (Don’t bother with reading The Cursed Child though. I haven’t seen the stage show, though I imagine it’s impressive and enjoyable for the spectacle it creates, and worth seeing if you can get/afford tickets, but the plot is not the highlight.)
– Atonement, Ian McEwan
– The Help, Katherine Stockett
– The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
(Also any poetry by Plath.)
– The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon
– North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell
– To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
– The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling
I know a lot of people don’t like this because ‘nothing happens’. I love it, I think it’s practically contemporary Dickens (which, in my opinion, is a massive compliment, as you may have guessed from the list of Dickens above…).
– White Teeth, Zadie Smith
– The Cormoran Strike Series, Robert Galbraith
– S, Doug Dorst
– P.S. I Love You, Cecelia Ahern
–Freakonomics, Steven Levitt
Lots of statistics about how the world works. I found it fascinating. There are a series of sequels too.
– Quiet, Susan Cain
I recommended this before, in my post on networking as an introvert, but I really think everyone on earth needs to read this book. It will help you either understand yourself, or understand 30% of earth’s population. Go read it already.
– How to be a Heroine, Samantha Ellis
I don’t know if this is strictly non-fiction, but you should read it anyway!
– Brutus and Other Heroines, Harriet Walter
I read this while writing a dissertation on female actors and Shakespeare, but if you’re interested in theatre, Shakespeare, acting or all of the above, I really recommend it. And even if you aren’t but you are interested in gender theory, it’s fascinating.
4. Feminist Theory/Criticism/Empowerment
This comes under non-fiction, but is, on my bookshelf at least, a category in and of itself. You should inform yourself, regardless of your age/gender, and these are my recommendations. They are obviously reflections of the time in which they were written, and that time’s preoccupations, and the author’s knowledge/position, so if you’re reading this in the future (hello future!) some things which are current as I write this may be outdated, and even in 2016, none of them are anywhere near perfect, but I think it’s worth knowing how society evolves as well (hence the inclusion of some key texts of feminist theory which are now part of wider discussions, and with which not everyone agrees entirely at all).
– Everyday Sexism, Laura Bates
This is essentially a list of facts and statistics about how sexism works in 2015 and what still exists/is problematic. It focuses on the western world, which has different issues to other areas in the world, but, especially if you live in the western world, it’s a good place to start.
– How to be a Woman, Caitlin Moran
There are lots of issues with this, including, again a focus on western issues, and the problems facing straight white women, without considering the effects of intersectional discrimination against other groups, but it has good ideas and is an empowering and interesting read in many ways.
– The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
– Gender Trouble, Judith Butler
– The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer
– The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
The last four are classics of the development of feminist theory: they’ve been built upon, expanded and contextualised since, but they’re worth reading for the context and history.
– Girl Up, Laura Bates
– The Feminist Fight Club, Jessica Bennet
– We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
– Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do About It, Kate Harding