Philip Pullman's award-winning trilogy His Dark Materials had everything the new Director of the National Theatre could want for a modern audience, but for one thing. It was almost impossible to stage.
Nicholas Hytner was halfway through reading the books when he decided to take the risk. "It felt crazy. But we had to try."
Robert Butler's intimate backstage account takes us into the meetings, workshops and rehearsals where, over six months, Pullman's 1300-page novel - about daemons, armoured bears and parallel universes - was transformed into six hours of drama.
The Art of Darkness follows the ups and downs of the actors in rehearsal, as they bring Lyra, Will, Pantalaimon, Lord Asriel, Mrs Coulter and many others to life.
Philip Pullman's award-winning trilogy, "His Dark Materials", inspired the National Theatre to perform the story on stage. A daunting task, given the esoteric storyline and the fact that practically every reader will have already formed impressions themselves. How did they pull off this feat? Robert Butler reveals all in The Art of Darkness, telling the story of this theatrical epic from first rehearsal to first night, taking the reader on a unique back stage journey of a production unrivalled in its narrative scope and staging. To find out how His Dark Materials made it from print to stage, read this book.