Amber Massie-Blomfield






From the tip of Cornwall to the Isle of Mull, Amber Massie-Blomfield takes the road less travelled to discover Britain’s most astonishing and unexpected theatres. A ruined playhouse, haunted halls, a stage hewn from granite cliffs. Theatres on wheels, squeezed into a former public lavatory and rescued from fire. A theatre that is not there at all.


 Making the case for radical, quirky and nonconforming performance spaces alongside iconic venues, this book is a celebration of thriving against the odds. It also tells a personal account of a life-long love affair with the places where ‘anything is possible’: from open-air fry-ups and an impromptu can-can to paranormal manifestations. An adventure through theatre, place and the people who make it happen, Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die gives us reason to be hopeful.


Recipient of the Society of Authors' Michael Meyer Award, shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize and winner of Gladstone Library's Politics in Residence Prize.


You can download a sample of the book here


Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die is published in the UK by Penned in the Margins. Purchase the book here





'a sustained and deep inquiry into what theatre is and what it does...It is all resolutely youthful and don't often read such meandering, lyrical prose about theatres' - Holly Williams, Times Literary Supplement


'a gorgeously written, heart-felt book’ – Lyn Gardner, The Stage


 ‘a beautifully written book, informative and considered’ – Lynn Enright, The Pool

'a beautiful paean to the nation’s radical, nonconformist performance spaces' - The London magazine


‘I loved Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die more than I can say. It’s a beautiful, beautifully written book, that deserves to win prizes.’ – David Eldridge, playwright of Beginning




I'm a non-fiction writer and arts professional.


My first book, Twenty Theatres to See Before You Die, was published by Penned in the Margins in May 2018, and received the Society of Authors' Michael Meyer Award. I am a regular contributor and columnist for The Stage, and have written for titles including The Independent, The Guardian, The Pool, Standart, Exeunt, Brixton Review of Books, New Internationalist, Open Democracy, Run Riot, The Journal of Wild Culture and many more. I regularly appear in the media and at events, usually talking about the power of the arts. I am winner of Gladstone Library's political writer-in-residence prize 2019 and shortlisted for the 2019 Theatre Book Prize (cruelly pipped to the post by Sir Anthony Sher). In January & February 2020, I was writer-in-residence at Arthouse Jersey.


I am proud to be Executive Director of theatre company Complicité.

Read and subscribe to my newsletter, The Creative Life, here.

Photography: Rosie Powell


Check out some examples of my writing at the links below.


Various articles for The Stage can be read here

'Pantomime is Under Threat' for The Guardian

'An Argument for Theatres' for The London Magazine

'On Saturday We Drove to the Sea' for Tart Magazine

'The Arts Belong To All Of Us - So Let's Make That A Reality' for Open Democracy

'Dismantling the Theatre Building' for Brixton Review of Books

'How to read 22,000 books' for Gladstone's Library

On Switching Off for Gladstone's Library

'On the Benefits of Dancing Naked in Public' for The London Magazine

On The Minack for The London Magazine

'Walking the South West Coast of England, Barefoot' for The Journal of Wild Culture

'How to deal with rejection, from someone who really, really knows' for The Pool 


'The most spectacular theatres to visit in the UK' for The i

'The Art of Kindness (Or What I Learnt from Adrian Howells)' for Unbound


'Sex scenes in theatre: Why are we so prudish about making love on stage?' for The Independent


'Austerity, Inequality and the Arts' for Open Democracy


Various articles for Run Riot can be read here

Various articles for Exeunt can be read here

And something a bit different... 'It's Christmas Jumper Day at Jackson's Estate Agent' for Ellipsis Magazine



You can reach me through the channels below - I'd love to hear from you!

 ambermblomfield*at*|      @ambermb

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Creative Non Fiction Club meets on the third Monday of every month from 6-8.30pm in Central London. It's a workshopping and peer support group for 'serious' writers of creative nonfiction - what 'serious' means is up to you, but generally our writers have a track record of published/produced writing (in any form - we have journalists, playwrights, academics and poets!) and have either written or are working on a creative nonfiction book. It's free to attend, and at the moment we still have a bit of space for people who want to join - just email me below and I can add you to our mailing list with info.