Raine, Nina

Nina Raine is a director and playwright. She was born in 1975 to a Jewish mother, Ann Pasternak Slater (grand niece of the novelist Boris Pasternak), and the high-profile poet Craig Raine. She studied literature at Oxford University and won a Jerwood Space Young Regional Theatre Director bursary in 2000 to train as assistant director at the Royal Court.

Raine has directed numerous plays since then including Unprotected at the Liverpool Everyman and the Edinburgh Festival in 2006, for which she won the TMA Best Director award. The same year her first play Rabbit was staged at the Old Red Lion Theatre. After the succes of her debut play Raine rose to prominence with her second work Tribes in 2010 (Royal Court Theatre). Many productions across the globe followed, for instance in Australia (Melbourne Theatre Company, 2012), the USA (NYC Barrow Street Theatre, 2012; Artists Repertory Theatre, 2015) and Germany (“Sippschaft”, Ernst Deutsch Theater Hamburg, 2012).

Tribes focuses on a dysfunctional, eccentric academic family. The plot revolves around the confrontation of the deaf son, Billy, with the overbearing intellectual father Christopher. The play invites biographical readings and Raine has admitted to using biographical material: “I thought about my own family. Full of its own eccentricities, rules, in-jokes and punishments. What if someone in my (hearing, garrulous) family had been born deaf?” (“Why I wrote Tribes”, Royal Court 2010). Tribes has also a Jewish dimension. Raine has said about Tribes: “I went to New York and was fascinated by the orthodox Jews in Williamsburg, who all wear a sort of uniform. They were like an enormous extended family. And just like some religions can seem completely mad to non-believers, so the rituals and hierarchies of a family can seem nonsensical to an outsider” (ibid.).

Raine’s second play, Tiger Country, was commissioned and produced at Hampstead Theatre, London, in January 2011. Her play Consent (2017), produced for the Dorfman stage at the National Theatre, London, initiates a topical debate on sexualised violence and received excellent reviews. It is a conversation piece that deals with issues of rape, harassment, and marital infidelity. Raine returned to the National Theatre with Stories (2018), a play about a single woman who is determined to have a baby. Raine’s latest play is Bach & Sons (Bridge Theatre, London, 2021).

Interview with Nina Raine


—. Tribes. London: Nick Hern Books, 2013.

—. Rabbit. London: Nick Hern Books, 2014.

—. Tiger Country. Nick Hern Books, 2014.

—. Consent. London: Nick Hern Books, 2017.

—. Stories. London: Nick Hern Books, 2018.