Theatrical, Maggie Harcourt (Book) | Things I Read Whilst Writing

Thursday 26 July 2018

A bit of a different post for you today, as you know I love theatre and books so when I heard about Maggie Harcourt's newest book release, Theatrical which is all about the stage, I was very excited to get my hands on it!

Maggie did a huge amount of research for this book, not only on shows but also a lot about what goes on behind the scenes as our lead character, Hope, is working as an intern backstage. This book is all things adorable and you can read my full review here, but without further ado lets set the stage for Maggie Harcourt's deep-dive into the DNA of Theatrical...

Maggie Harcourt: One of the best things about writing Theatrical was getting the chance to spend time completely immersed in the theatre world: not just writing about it but thinking about it, reading about it – and, of course, visiting it! 

Here’s my deep-dive list of everything that went on behind the scenes. Not everything is obviously part of the world of the finished book, but it’s still part of the story… 

Things I read: 
  • All About Theatre: the National Theatre
  • Unseen London (especially the ‘backstage’ section): Mark Daly and Peter Dazeley 
  • London Theatres: Michael Coveney, Peter Dazeley and Mark Rylance 
  • Stage Management – The Essential Handbook: Gail Pallin 
  • Stage Management and Theatre Administration: Pauline Menear, Amanda Saunders and Terry Hawkins 
  • Untold Stories: Alan Bennett 
  • Simon Stephens – A Working Diary: Simon Stephens 
  • The Oberon Glossary of Theatrical Terms: Colin Winslow 
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (black cover) souvenir brochure, which is full of detail about putting a big show together. 

I also read a lot of plays: not only for research, but because I was also taking a theatre writing class, and because I just enjoy reading them. Here’s a few of my favourites, which I know I was reading at the same time as writing the book. A couple of them make cameo appearances in Theatrical as Luke’s scripts or as things Hope has seen… 
  • Rope: Patrick Hamilton 
  • The History Boys: Alan Bennett 
  • And Then Come the Nightjars: Bea Roberts 
  • The Ferryman: Jez Butterworth 
  • Misterman: Enda Walsh 
  • The Hairy Ape: Eugene O’Neill 
  • The Dazzle: Richard Greenberg 
  • Sea Wall: Simon Stephens 
  • The Habit of Art: Alan Bennett 
  • Ink: James Graham 
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne 

Like Hope, I also read The Stage, which is the weekly theatre trade paper– especially the technical columns, and particularly Jess Gow’s stage management columns. And Usborne’s Slot Together Theatre was an invaluable tool for helping me picture the Earl’s Theatre! 

I hope you enjoyed this amazing peek at all the research Maggie did for Theatrical, I know I'll definitely be picking up some of the books to fulfil my thirst for all things stagey. Theatrical is out now, more information can be found here and my full review can be read here.

This review for Theatrical is a part of the official blog tour, be sure to check out the other blog stops for more reviews, personal stories and guest posts from Maggie.

Post by Editor, Olivia Mitchell