Monthly archives: July 2010

We’re recruiting a General Manager

Check out the Guardian Jobs section for our advert for a new General Manager.

We’re looking for an outstanding individual to come and join our amazing team, based on Aldwych in the heart of Central London. You’ll be the best at what you do and have a passion for new writing and touring.

At Paines Plough we believe passionately in what we do – we work hard, but we relish coming into work every day and have a lot of fun along the way. If you think you’d fit right in, we want to hear from you.

To apply, download the application pack below and tell us why you’re the missing piece in the PP jigsaw by 6pm on Friday 6 August.

General Manager Job Pack 2010

Come To Where I’ve Blogged

A couple of great blog posts on COME TO WHERE I’M FROM we wanted to share.

The first is from playwright Alison Carr, who herself took to the stage in Newcastle to perform her play about being a Geordie.

Alison’s blog gives a wonderful insight into what our 61 playwrights have experienced taking part in the project, from the “cold sweat of fear” through “overexcitement, terror and alcohol” to actually “enjoying myself up there“.

The full post is well worth a read here.

The second is a review of the Coventry event from the mysterious Culture Vulture of the West Midlands who, according to the biog, scans the horizon for artistic activity and cultural excellence.

According to the Vulture, George and I “look very young” and the show “brought a pleasantly vibrant and artistic feel“. Natch.

You can read the full post here.

Open Auditions

On Sunday we held Paines Plough’s first ever open auditions.

As we wrote about last week, we have committed to meeting at least 700 actors previously unknown to Paines Plough each year, both in London and across the UK.

The first of these meetings took place on Sunday as the Paines Plough team, along with Titas Halder, Resident Assistant Director at The Donmar Warehouse, Joe Murphy, Artistic Director of nabokov and representatives from our Associate Companies, took over the Actors’ Centre in Cambridge Circus. We were delighted by the turn-out, and thrilled to meet so many new actors. It was also great to hear work by some of our glittering alumni, including Dennis Kelly, David Greig, DC Moore and Mike Bartlett.

Thank you to those of you that came down. For anyone who wasn’t able to secure a place, or who would be interested in attending a Paines Plough open audition in the future, there’s information on our website here. We will have more information on the next open audition soon.

Thanks also to the Actors’ Centre for being such wonderful hosts.

7 hours and 168 meetings later... Joe Murphy, Artistic Director of nabokov

Did you meet us on Sunday at the open auditions? If so, let us know your thoughts about the day by leaving us a comment via the link at the top of the post…

Mike Bartlett talks Love, Love, Love

Mike Bartlett. Photo (c) Daily Telegraph

Our Associate Playwright Mike Bartlett is interviewed by Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph today, as he prepares to open EARTHQUAKES IN LONDON at The National Theatre.

Mike was on stage in Oxford last Saturday night performing as part of COME TO WHERE I’M FROM, and we’re thrilled to be producing his sensational new play LOVE, LOVE, LOVE with Plymouth Theatre Royal in the Autumn. Mike gives The Telegraph an insight into what you can expect from the play:

Bartlett’s next play, due to be toured by Paines Plough in the autumn, is called Love, Love, Love, drawing its title from the hippy-era-defining Beatles classic All You Need is Love. It will, he reveals, address “even more explicitly the idea of the baby-boomer generation versus our generation. I suppose you find a question in one play and try to answer it in another. It will make accusations against the older crowd but,” he cautions, “the baby-boomers will answer back because, you see, I think they’ve got a case to make against us.”

You can read the full interview here.

The verdict on Tiny Volcanoes

There’s been lots written about TINY VOLCANOES over the past week, so here’s a bit of a round-up…

At Latitude, Alistair Smith from The Stage was pleased to see that “not everyone went musical“. Though he thought the show “not altogether subtle“, it “works well in a setting in which quiet consideration can be difficult” and was “lit up by excellent performances from Kevin Harvey and Michael Ryan“.

Laura Davis in the Liverpool Daily Post also noted the show was a bit different to the rest of the Latitude bill:

Tiny Volcanoes is a far cry from the work I’ve watched here so far – a mixture of gentle storytelling, mischievous fairies and an upbeat festival-themed rock opera. Wilson’s piece is angry, belligerent and very Scouse…Thumbs up to the Everyman and Playhouse for being brave enough to shake up the Latitude theatre tent with such a challenging piece of work.

Following the show’s standing ovation in Oxford, Lita Doolan in Oxford Daily Info thought “The clever use of contrasting film footage playing in the background marks an exciting new genre for theatregoers to enjoy,” and that “Laurence Wilson successfully tackles dark and difficult subjects… many complex layers build a compelling narrative.”

We’re much more interested in audiences than critics, though, so we’ve been delighted with the response to the show on Twitter. Here’s a selection of tweets:

@LatitudeFest Jonsi and Tiny Volcanoes. Both AMAZING.

Hello @painesplough Tiny Volcanoes was excellent. Sort of Shane Meadows meets William Wordsworth. (Though I hate ‘meets descriptions’)

I should welcome @painesplough to Twitter, and congratulate them on Tiny Volcanoes at #latitude – really fascinating & provocative piece

Latitude top 5: Jonsi, Byron Vincent, Tiny Volcanoes (Liv Everyman & Paines Plough), Great British Country Fete (the Bush), Black Mountain.

Highlights of the festival so far have been Kasidy, Mumford & Sons, Flo & the machine, Tiny Volcanoes and of course Guilty Pleasures!

Tiny Volcanoes is v well put together, slick,s trong performances. Liked it a lot. #latitude

Just saw ‘Tiny Volcanoes’ by @painesplough #latitude – interesting, provoking and dark. A lovely piece of theatre.

Did you see the show at Latitude or in Oxford? Let us know what you thought by posting a comment below.

Come To Where I’m From – Oxford

We had a fantastic day in Nottingham yesterday as guests of Giles Croft and Stephanie Sirr and their team at Nottingham Playhouse. We ran two workshops – for playwrights, and for emerging companies – and we were thrilled to attend the launch of the Playhouse’s exciting new season, replete with cocktails and canapes and some wonderful entertainment.

Then five incredible Nottinghamshire playwrights took to the stage to read their plays in the latest installment of COME TO WHERE I’M FROM which saw a sell-out crowd revel in stories of mining communities, the Radford estate, Robin Hood and the imagined kidnap of Kirsty Allsop as Leah Chillery, James Graham, Laura Lomas, Beth Steel and Mufaro Makubika told their homecoming tales.

Huge thanks to the team in Nottingham and everyone who came along to the show.

A rare day in London for us today as we met lots of fantastic actors for Mike Bartlett’s sensational new play LOVE, LOVE, LOVE at HQ, rounded off by a well earned pint in our local round the corner.

Tomorrow, we’re back on the road and heading back to Oxford where TINY VOLCANOES went down a storm a couple of nights ago at North Wall. This time we’re heading to the beautiful Oxford Playhouse where we’re running a combined workshop for playwrights and emerging companies at 3pm, followed by two performances by some very special writers in the Oxford edition of COME TO WHERE I’M FROM.

On the cusp of opening Earthquakes In London at The National Theatre, Mike Bartlett comes home to to tell his tale, alongside fellow Oxfordians Alice Birch, Catriona Kerridge, Duncan Macmillan and Penelope Skinner. It’s a stellar line-up, and you can catch the show at either 7:30pm or 9pm. Full details and booking information is here.

See you there…

Come To Where I’m From – Nottingham

Tiny Volcanoes ticket stubWe had a brilliant time beneath the dreaming spires of Oxford as TINY VOLCANOES tore up North Wall Arts Centre last night, eliciting lots of laughs and its third consecutive standing ovation!

Thanks to everyone who came along, and to the staff at North Wall for making us so welcome. We look forward to seeing you all again soon.

TINY VOLCANOES now lies dormant for a bit until a UK tour in November. Some dates have already been announced here, stay tuned for more.

No rest for us though. Today we’re off to Nottingham Playhouse to run two workshops – one for emerging companies at 11:30am and one for playwrights at 2pm. And then we have four outstanding Nottinghamshire playwrights performing their plays about the places they grew up in COME TO WHERE I’M FROM. Leah Chillery, James Graham, Laura Lomas, Beth Steel and Mufaro Makubika are on stage at 6:30pm. All the details are here.

Here’s a hipstamatic photo of Nottingham Playhouse, complete with it’s famous Anish Kapoor Sky Mirror.

Nottingham Playhouse

Nottingham Playhouse

Tiny Volcanoes set to blow in Oxford

After just enough time for a hot bath, a sleep and some fruit and veg retox, the TINY VOLCANOES bus is back on the road, driving the gang from Liverpool to Oxford for tonight’s gig at the beautiful North Wall Arts Centre.

We’re thrilled to be returning to North Wall, where we premiered our Future Perfect authored show TRACES last summer.

The show starts at 8pm. Full details here.

It’s the show’s only other gig of the summer, but never fear, the TINY VOLCANOES bus will be back on the road on a full UK tour in November. Stay tuned for full dates and details.

Tales from the tents – Latitude 2010

Sorry folks, we were planning to blog and tweet updates throughout the festival but we were somewhat thwarted by lack of internet access. We managed to send the tech photos back to the office on Thursday, but once the everyone had decamped to Suffolk we were scuppered.

So, now we’re back at HQ rested and somewhat recuperated, here’s a full round-up of the shows and the shenanigans as Paines Plough and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse pitched up at the glorious Latitude Festival 2010. Or what we can remember of it anyway!


The Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse fun bus departs from Liverpool carrying the TINY VOLCANOES team – Laurence (playwright), Kevin & Michael (actors), Xenia (sound & lighting designer), Tim (video designer) and heroic Stage Manager Sarah who’s doing all the driving. Meanwhile Paines Plough’s James, George and Tara head to Coventry for COME TO WHERE I’M FROM.

By midnight, the Liverpool contingent are pitched up round a camp fire at Latitude, joined by Suzanne and Lindsay – the brilliant Everyman & Playhouse literary team – while the PP gang are hurtling towards Suffolk from Coventry, via a flooded Travelodge and an adventurous break-in to a hotel with very few chickens and beds with protruding legs (you’ll just have to ask us next time you see us).


The PP car arrives on site and tent-pitching guru George takes charge of erecting canvas palaces for the entire crew. We grab our first glimpse of the Theatre Arena before our lunchtime tech – it’s as epic and gladiatorial as ever. Our brilliant creatives and the top notch onsite crew ensure the tech runs smoothly, as the boys get a feel for the stage. We can’t wait.

As evening falls, the main arena opens and the festival proper gets underway. We catch Theatre 503’s Epic and nabokov’s stonking musical It’s About Time in the Theatre Tent, head over to the Poetry Tent for Luke Wright and Aisle16 and Friends, before cramming back into the Theatre Tent for the RSC. Then it’s all back to ours for a campfire (expertly constructed by Fire Marshall Kevin, who was encouraging competitive firewood gathering) and a little nightcap.


It’s up bright and early for us as we head backstage for a couple of hours rehearsal to start the day. The boys are in tip top spirits and raring to rock the tent, but there’s still more than 24hrs to go until curtain up. Jack, Sophie, Hanna and Tash arrive from the PP office having been tied to their desks yesterday – the Latitude gang is complete.

Playwright Laurence is invited onto a BAFTA panel to discuss identity and Britishness in the literary tent alongside Billy Bragg and Mark Thomas. It’s a thrilling debate infront of 2,000 people, rounded off by Billy Bragg leading the masses in an accapello rendition of Jerusalem. Has he already seen the play, we wonder!

Then it’s off our leashes once more for a mosey around the beautiful festival site taking in multi-coloured sheep, Wild Beasts, Richard Hawley, dance, storytelling and poets. The camp is split between Florence and The National in the clash of the headliners, before re-uniting for a second trip to see nabokov’s It’s About Time.


It’s nearly showtime. Another early startas we’re awoken by the industrious amongst us cooking breakfast in camping stoves. Kevin is fast proving himself camp master general and whips up a full English. Suzanne challenges Tara to a British Military Fitness workout. Tara declines.

Over to the rehearsal tent and the adrenalin’s pulsing as we go through our paces. A brief break to watch The Bush’s brilliant The Great British Country Fete and we’re counting down. With half an hour to go, a sneak peak outside reveals a queue of people already snaking around the tent waiting to grab a seat. 5-4-3-2-1 blast-off!

In front of a jam-packed 600-capacity crowd with many more standing at the back, the boys get off to a flier and TINY VOLCANOES is go. Before we know it the tent’s echoing with applause as the lights dim on the curtain call. What a rush! One down, and the entire exuberant company toast the show backstage.

Then it’s time to watch the fantastic Lyric / Filter Dream and the imperious Belle & Sebastian, whose cover of Jumping Jack Flash has to rate as one of the great Latitude highlights of all time. Over in the poetry tent the astonishing Kate Tempest whips up a storm and then it’s post-haste to the backstage bar for a beer or three before bed.


Phew, it’s an absolute scorcher. We’re glad for the shade of the theatre tent as we gear up to take to the stage for our second TINY VOLCANOES show of the weekend at 1:20pm. An even bigger crowd has gathered and the boys are raring to sock it to ‘em.

From the get-go it’s an absolute stormer of a show. The crowd bellows and cheers and we have to stop six times for rounds of applause. At the curtain, a standing ovation. Bravo Kevin and Michael. Is there a more exciting place to produce theatre anywhere in the world than in a full-to-capacity-cheering-to-the-rafters theatre tent at Latitude? Not that we know of. Champagne corks pop and beer cans crack backstage as an elated company relives a truly thrilling experience.

And now, with the work over, it’s really time to enjoy the festival. We split in all directions to watch more theatre, see more bands, kneel in awe at the feet of John Cooper Clarke and generally whirr around this pastoral wonderland. Then it’s all backstage to boogie til sunrise, doused in lager and infected with the inimitable euphoria of Latitude. Some of us end up with unexplained tatoos, some with face-paint, some dancing inexplicably round a stereo with strangers, some staring sozzled down the neck of a cider bottle, some sound asleep under the stars.


Ouch. Our heads hurt. Tired, sunburnt and sad it’s all over, we begin the long slow march to the car park and wave goodbye to the greatest festival on earth for another year. Thanks Latitude – we had the time of our lives.

Tents up and tech down at Latitude

Kevin Harvey (left) and Michael Ryan

So, the wait is finally over. Our welly-clad feet officially touched down on the green, green grass of the Latitude Festival earlier today, and we’re  more than a little excited about what’s in store.

We went straight into tech rehearsals for Laurence Wilson’s brilliant TINY VOLCANOES, starring Michael Ryan and Kevin Harvey. The show erupts all over the theatre tent on at 5:10pm on Saturday and 1:20pm on Sunday.

Meantime, here’s some more photos from the tech…