How to launch a book.

The official launch of Devising Theatre With Stan’s Cafe was a proud and long anticipated day.

For many years ‘the Stan’s Cafe book’ held a place in our forward planning but practicalities meant it always retreated into that future at exactly the same pace as the present advanced, so the book never grew closer.

Our principle impediment was the lack of a suitable collaborator to actually write the damn thing. We needed someone who knew our work well and who would share our vision for a highly accessible book, a ‘page turner’ if possible, pitching not at stratospheric levels of esoteric abstraction but at undergraduates, theatre makers and theatre fans. Our ambition was to produce a book that would be read and loved, be passed from hand to hand, grow scruffy and battered.

Eventually, like childhood friends who finally realise they are in love and should marry, we recognised that Mark Crossley, who we had first met in 1997 as a tousle haired drama teacher, had matured into a authoritative, book writing, university lecturing, Doctor of Theatre. We liked Mark, we knew we shared his values, we talked, we agreed, we shook hands, we shaped up a proposal and to our great surprise Bloomsbury Methuen stepped forward to publish our search engine friendly book “Devising Theatre With Stan’s Cafe” simultaneously in Hardback, Paperback and e-Book around the world. All that remained was to write it and this is where Mark came into is own.

We agreed to structure the book around the creative process from the inception of ideas to reception by an audience. Mark then interviewed twelve company members, some more than once and wrote the book from there. I wrote a few bits and pieces, including a Stan in Action section with practical exercises for the end of most chapters. Together we edited the book back and forth.

There were various light touch editorial suggestions from the publishers, a choice of cover, the addition of 24 black and white photographs, proof reading back and forth, Mark working up the index and then a long wait whilst mysterious publishing wheels ground away. Eventually each got a copy of the book (paperback) and I set to work creating an online companion for the book, bonus material – photos, videos, links, commentary and corrections (frustratingly the proof reading wasn’t flawless).

On 25th October we held an official launch for the book at mac and the web element is now live. Let’s see how many copies we sell and whether it gets passed from hand to hand.

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