No book of the play

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The Independent Online
ROD WOODEN is a successful new playwright. He has won two awards and the Royal Shakespeare Company and Manchester Royal Exchange are presenting his new works. But no British publisher will touch them, writes David Lister.

Wooden is a victim of a trend that is alarming theatres and playwrights: publishers in the recession are wary of works by playwrights who are not widely known and guaranteed a reasonable sale.

Wooden is rehearsing Moby Dick at Stratford-upon-Avon. He has been told by Methuen, which has published previous work of his, that it will not publish Moby Dick, opening at the RSC's Other Place on 28 October, or Smoke, which opens next month at Manchester Royal Exchange, until it sees how they go down.

After getting the same response from other publishers, he has put pounds 3,000 into setting up one of his own, called Crimes Against Theatre. He said: 'You don't make money from having your plays published. It's so that people can see the words. But if you get the text published people are more likely to put on the play again.'