Monthly archives: October 2010

Life imitating art?

We’ve been struck by the similarities betwen our Trainee Director Jack Lowe:

Life immitating art?

And Kenneth from MIke Bartlett’s Love, Love, Love:

Or art immitating life?

We’d love you to post any differences you can spot as a comment on this blog. The winner can come and claim one of these next week:

One lucky winner gets a Halloween doughnut.

One lucky winner gets a Halloween doughnut.

The PP team is divided today between London and Manchester. Beavering away down south at PPHQ are Tara, George, Nick and Mike whilst having it large up north as part of our two-week residency are James, Jack, Hanna, Sophie and Mimi.

There’s loads going on as part of our residency – you can read about it here. Plus both Calais by April De Angelis and Good With People by David Harrower are both still on the road.

So if you’re in Manchester, Coventry or Dublin this weekend come and see a Paines Plough show at your local theatre and say hi. If you’re not, keep your eyes on this blog and our website to see when we’re next in your neighbourhood.

Wishing you a great weekend from everyone here at PP.

Team PP (less Mike)

Back L-R: Mimi, Nick, James, George. Front L-R: Hanna, Jack, Tara, Sophie. Hiding behind George: Mike.

Hello Manchester!

Manchester - who says it always rains?

We’re all really looking forward to seeing Mike Bartlett’s LOVE, LOVE, LOVE which is opening tonight at The Royal Exchange, Manchester. After the success of the show at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth, everyone is on a high and looking forward to a great fortnight.

With the generous support of the Royal Exchange Theatre we are accompanying the run of the show with a two-week Paines Plough Manchester residency. As a national touring company we’re committed to being local to the whole of the UK – this residency will be the first of many to come that will see Paines Plough holing up at theatres across the country in the coming 6 months. Watch this space for info.

Before then, here’s what we’re bringing to the North West this week and next week:


‘In Response’ sees three Manchester based writers respond to Mike Bartlett’s LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Reuben Johnson, Danielle Sibley and Andrew Sheridan will all see the play tonight, and will then write a short piece each in response to the play. These new pieces will be performed 10 days later at The Royal Exchange on Friday 5th November before the evening performance of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Keep an eye on the blog and twitter to see how the writers get on…


Following the success of Sunday’s Open Auditions at the Actors Centre in London, we are hosting a third session of auditions at Manchester Metropolitan University on Friday 29th October. The idea behind the project is to meet as many actors as possible who are currently unknown to us, in order to widen our net before we start casting for future productions. We love meeting people who share our passion for new writing; if you’re an actor based in or around Manchester interested in working with Paines Plough, do visit our website for information on how to apply – there are only a couple of spaces left!


George and James are both really looking forward to the workshops they’ll be running at The Royal Exchange on Saturday. The first one will focus on how to write for theatre, and the second will concentrate on how to set up a theatre company. If you haven’t already applied, I’m afraid we’ve already filled all the slots, but to hear more about the sessions, keep in touch with the blog. For those of you are coming along on Saturday, we look forward to seeing you there.


On Tuesday 2nd Nov, I’ll be talking to members of PANDA all about Paines Plough and our work. If you are planning to attend, do please suggest particular topics or pose questions you’d like me to address by posting below…


Wednesday 3rd Nov sees the last Come To Where I’m From event of the series. Paines Plough have been travelling all around the UK over the past few months working with over 60 writers at various venues around the country. On Wednesday, it’s Manchester’s turn. Come and see Phil Davies, Lu Cardey, Chris Thorpe, Joy Wilkinson, Rory Mullarkey and Sarah Macdonald Hughes perform their own pieces inspired by where they’re from at 6pm at The Royal Exchange. For tickets, click here.

We will also be seeing lots of shows in Manchester during our residency. For all the latest gossip and news, follow us on twitter.


The Actors Centre

Yesterday saw the second of our Open Auditions. Introduced by Paines Plough in order to meet new faces (our aim is to meet 700 actors previously unknown to the company within a year), the Open Auditions is an opportunity to break the viscious cycle of needing to be seen to be cast in something, but needing to be cast in something to be seen. It is also a great way for us to introduce ourselves to actors particularly keen on working in new plays. A big thank you to everyone who came down yesterday – it was a pleasure to meet each and every one of you.

Once again the day was hosted by The Actors Centre and gave 180 actors the opportunity to be seen by members of Paines Plough’s team and selected associates. We had 3 rooms filled with creativity, and everyone on the panel felt as though they each got to meet some very talented people.

On the panels were: George Perrin (Co-Artistic Director, Paines Plough,) Tara Wilkinson (Producer, Paines Plough), Sophie Larsmon (Assistant Producer, Paines Plough), Jack Lowe (Trainee Director, Paines Plough), Hanna Streeter (Administrator, Paines Plough), Mimi Findlay & Natasha Bloor (interns at Paines Plough), Titas Halder (Resident Assistant Director, The Donmar Warehouse), Joe Murphy (Artistic Director, nabokov), Charlotte Bennett (Artistic Director, Forward Theatre Project), Fran Bradley (Casting Director, Forward Theatre Project), Stef O’Driscoll (Co-Artistic Director, Inner City Theatre) and Arinze Kene (Co-Artistic Director, Inner City Theatre).

Thanks to everyone who came over to see us – we really appreciate all your efforts – especially as it was a Sunday! We got to see some fine work from some fine, fine writers (including Penny Skinner, Sarah Kane, and our very own Mike Bartlett). It’s always great to meet new faces; we will be meeting 180 more in Manchester this Friday at our third Open Auditions held at Manchester Metropolitan University. For more information about this and other events happening during our 2 week Manchester Residency, keep an eye on the blog.

If you came along to see us yesterday, we’d love to know what you thought of the day. Do drop us a line either on the blog, on twitter (@painesplough) or on our facebook page.

Paines Plough heads from South to East to North-West.

Now that we’re back in PP HQ and preparing for a two week residency and the Manchester Exchange, we thought we’d reflect upon the time the company spent down in Plymouth.

We were very excited by the response to Love,Love,Love which makes the tour starting next week even more mouth watering.

But whilst Love,Love,Love played at the Drum, the Paines Plough company took the opportunity to have two “Away Days”, where we spent a total of 30 hours talking through a huge list of interesting and exciting issues surrounding the ethos of company.

We talked about ideas for future projects, exciting venues, where we still haven’t been, and much much more. The sea air gave us all a sense of calm to discuss and enter, at times, into some front-footed debates about the nature of our work and how to move forward in these testing times. As we ate our fish and chips, there was much fat the chew.

Andso, back to London and very tired…

We’re very excited because on Sunday, we’re hosting  the Open Auditions at the Actors Centre and then we’re off to Manchester that same evening to start our residency!

We look forward to seeing some of you there for ‘Love,Love,Love’ or the final part of CTWIF including playwrights Lucinda Cardey, Phil Davies, Sarah McDonald Hughes, Rory Mullarkey, Chris Thorpe, Joy Wilkinson.

We will also be announcing the playwrights working on a “Responses” project. Myself, Sophie and Sam Prichard are putting together an exciting model to continue the thematic discussions aired by Mike Bartlett’s ‘Love,Love,Love.’

Meanwhile, over in Liverpool, James will be working on rehearsals for ‘Tiny Volcanoes’ by Lawrence Wilson.

More soon. Keep well and wrap up warm, we’re heading North-West!

P.s. Come to Plymouth again!

Mike Bartlett’s LOVE, LOVE, LOVE is almost halfway through it’s final week at the Drum Theatre in Plymouth before touring to Manchester Royal Exchange and Bath Theatre Royal. Get your tickets while you can!
The audiences in Plymouth have been loving the show and we’ve had some great feedback…

“Lived up to the Guardian review.  Well acted, Excellent atmosphere with such a small cast.  Good use of music.  P.s. Come to Plymouth again!”

“Very well written, with some good laughs in the script.  Good direction brought out some outstanding acting.  D D – A an actress of remarkable qualities.”

John Heffernan and Daniela Denby-Ashe

Image by Manuel Harlan

We’ve been nominated!

We’re super excited to have been nominated for The Stage Award for Special Achievement in Regional Theatre as part of the TMA Awards, acknowledging our commitment to taking more plays to more places across the UK.

The panel said: “The company’s new artistic directors James Grieve and George Perrin launched their inaugural season of new work this year with an increased focus on touring the whole breadth of the UK. The current programme will reach 29 places across the British Isles including Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”

We feel really honoured to have received the nomination, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed… the winner will be announced in early November.

There’s an article about the announcement of the shortlist in The Stage here.

Take that Don Draper

Don Draper: Lightweight

The whole PP gang came down to Plymouth on Tuesday for press night and we’ve stayed on for a couple of days to plan our work for the next year and beyond. Yesterday we set ourselves a challenge by asking the question, “why should audiences come out and see our work when they could stay in and watch Mad Men?” So, we’re most delighted with this quote from the Guardian review of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this morning…

Fuelled by drinking that makes Mad Men look like lightweights

Take that Don Draper.

Five Stars for LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

John Heffernan and Daniela Denby-Ashe in LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

The reviews of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE have started to hit the newstands and we’re thrilled to say they’ve been raves. Here’s a taster:

Mike Bartlett’s bang-on-the-money new play…a thrilling charge…required viewing.”
***** Daily Telegraph

Devastating precision… peppered with terrific lines and big laughs.
**** The Guardian

Compelling performances, cutting dialogue and a thought-provoking premise.
**** Whatsonstage

A Hard Day’s Night


Kenneth:  “Nothing like this has ever happened before… “

One of the most nerve racking and exciting aspects of putting on new plays is that moment when it first meets an audience. And so, safe inside the Drum Theatre, a packed crowd of all ages sat in anticipation of the World Premier of Love,Love,Love.

And how did it go?…Drum (theatre) roll…

The first preview went down a STORM. The night included ripples of laughs from all ages and raised eyebrows throughout the three acts, as the audience lent forwards on the edge of their seats.

With two intervals, it was great chatting to the audience between acts, asking for predictions as to what might happen next and discussing their thoughts about the play and what it is saying to us today.

feedback on the writing included how;

  • endearing and provocative the characters were.
  • beautifully Mike had crafted his observation of the different time periods.
  • cleverly the thought patterns of the characters evolved across the acts.

Audience feedback can be viewed here – Love, Love, Love by Mike Bartlett – First Preview

Overall, a very exciting first glimpse at Love,Love,Love and we await a second wave of response this evening – and as for the rest of the run…

Sandra: Are you ready?

Kenneth: For what?

Sandra: Adventures!

…more next week and have a fantastic weekend!

One man and his dog

Robin French has been using the Writers’ Room at PP HQ for the last two weeks, and it has been fantastic to have him here. Not least because he brought his dog Roland along to cause mischief in the office. He’s been working on an exciting new play (Robin has, not the dog) and we can’t wait to read it!

Robin working hard in the Writers' Room

Roland also working hard...

The Writers’ Room is one of the many resources we offer to writers as part of our new concept for playwright development, The Big Room. As a boundless, playwright-led space, The Big Room offers bespoke developmental opportunities to professional playwrights of exceptional talent across the UK. We are investing deeply in a small number of writers each year, to support them in the development of their art, on their terms. Watch this space to see who’s in the Writers’ Room next… whoever it is, we hope they have a dog!