National Theatre All About Theatre


So you’re interested in theatre? Any form of theatre? Then, National Theatre All About Theatre is the book for you! Do you know tricks of a quick costume change in total darkness? Did you know that every prop has to be checked so it’s just ‘where the actors need it before the play starts’? What about special effects? Somehow the people with this responsibility ‘make the impossible possible’ from ‘fires, explosions, storms‘ to ‘flying or bleeding to death’

We realise that the theatre is the work of a strong and connective team, who work from a workshop of a story, through the drawings of a set, to realise a play. We get a glimpse behind the magic to see the skill of a wigmaker in creating a character, or understanding how lighting sets the scene or creates a mood.

This fulsome, wonderful, fascinating title is a necessity for readers of any age seeking to extend their knowledge and love of theatre. Bookwagon is proud to recommend National Theatre All About Theatre.

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National Theatre All About Theatre

Marina McIntyre

(Walker Books)

National Theatre All About Theatre is a fulsome examination of theatre. We learn how a play is formed through going behind the stage, and page.
After reading about the history of theatre, we learn the origins of the world-famous National Theatre. Then we see how a creative team might realise a play. How might a story like His Dark Materials develop? It seems like this requires workshops of playwrights, directors, actors and designers, experienced  to ‘discover what works before a play is chosen.’
A theatrical team is formed of people with specific roles. For example a designer needs to understand ‘what the director’s saying and turn that into three dimensions‘. Director Marianne Elliot explains what she saw when she directed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Thereafter, how might a director choose what sort of physical theatre she/ he wants for a play? What are the different types? Furthermore, how is a stage set built?
Actors step in with tips to audition, and how to act, including thoughts on gesture, voice and movement. Anne-Marie Duff explains how she builds a character through a ‘shared world‘ with lists and notes about what other ‘characters might say about me’.
There is a depth of information within this superb book alongside Try this at Home opportunities. Then there are the tips of the trade. For example, I enjoyed the pages devoted to showing how props are created, including a first world war cannon construed of ‘card and foam’! 


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