Monthly archives: January 2011

Emerging bleary-eyed into the light

Our NPO application Wordle

So, we’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front this month, sorry about that.

We’ve all been holed up at PP HQ working on our National Portfolio Funding Application. What’s that, you say? Well…

Paines Plough is currently regularly funded by Arts Council England, which means we get a set annual grant to support our programme of work. From April 2012 a new funding programme – National Portfolio Funding – replaces regular funding and we, like every arts organisation in England, have to apply to be part of it.

PP’s future may depend on us being part of the National Portfolio so everything else has been put on hold and, fuelled by cookies and pick ‘n’ mix, we’ve all been working super hard crunching numbers, compiling stats and condensing our plans for 2012-2015 into 3,000 words.

We’ve projected budgets up until 2015 and outlined in detail what sort of work we’re going to do and where we’re going to do it, which aside from being quite a challenge, has made us very excited about the next few years.

Proof-reading at PP HQ

Of course we can’t tell you exactly what’s in our application, but to give you a flavour of the content, we ran it through Wordle (word cloud above).

The application deadline was today at 10am, so after one final push over the weekend and a collective caffeine overdose …

We’ll find out whether all the hard work has paid of by 31 March. Wish us luck.

London Open Auditions are now open

Paines Plough Open Auditions:
Sunday 6 February 2011
Actors Centre, London
10am – 5pm

After our 2010 Open Auditions in London and Manchester, the company is delighted to announce the fourth Open Auditions Session in collaboration with The Actors Centre.

Many actors find themselves in the position of needing to be in something to be seen, and needing to be seen to be in something. In response to this often frustrating dilemma, Paines Plough has committed to meeting over 700 actors previously unknown to the company each year.

If you would like to be seen please d the following:

– Find yourself a partner – we are auditioning people in pairs

– Apply by sending ONE email with BOTH of your names to

– Please put OPEN AUDITIONS @ ACTORS CENTRE in the Subject line
Do not send CVs, biogs or headshots

We will email you back before Friday 28th January with an audition time. Once we have confirmed your time, please prepare a 3 minute piece of dialogue in your pair from a play written post 1995. If you weren’t in the first 90 people to apply we’ll keep you on a waiting list and let you know if a slot becomes available.

Please read our open auditions FAQs before applying.

Open Auditions FAQs

Here’s the answers to some frequently asked questions about our open auditions. We hope they’re helpful. If you’ve got a question we don’t answer below, post a comment.

1. What are you casting for?
2. How do I apply?
3. Do I have to audition with a partner?
4. What happens if I can’t find a partner?
5. How long should the duologue be?
6. What kind of audition piece should we choose?
7. How long is each audition?
8. Who will I be meeting at my audition?
9. I auditioned at your last open day, can I audition again?
10. Can my agent apply for me?
11. Should my partner and I both apply separately?
12. Should I send you my CV and headshot?
13. What happens if I don’t hear back from you after I have applied?
14. When will I hear back from you after the audition?

What are you casting for?

We’re not casting for anything specific. These open auditions are a way for us to meet actors previously unknown to the company, and to give you the chance to introduce yourself to us so we can have you in mind for future productions.

2. How do I apply?

We want to meet actors who want to work with Paines Plough. We’re excited when actors write having seen the company’s work with a clear idea of why they are drawn to working with the company. If you feel you have a particular affinity with our work, send an email to with AUDITION MAILING LIST in the subject heading and a short paragraph about why you want to meet us. We’ll then add your email address to our open auditions database. Before the next open auditions session, we’ll email everyone on the list with details.

3. Do I have to audition with a partner?

Yes. We’ll only be seeing people in pairs, so you’ll need to find a partner and prepare a duologue.

4. What happens if I can’t find a partner?

Unfortunately we’re not able to pair up individuals, so you’re responsible for finding your own partner. If you’re having trouble finding someone you might want to consider putting a notice up in the Actors’ Centre, contacting Spotlight, getting in touch with Old Vic New Voices, putting a post on IdeasTap, talking to Casting Call Pro or contacting a drama school. If you’re unable to find a partner then sadly we won’t be able to see you this time.

5. How long should the duologue be?

No longer than 3 minutes please.

6. What kind of audition piece should we choose?

Your duologue must be from a play written in the last 15 years (written no earlier than 1995). That’s because we’re a new play company so we want to hear you perform contemporary plays.

7. How long is each audition?

Each pair will have a five minute slot in which to meet the panel and perform your three minute duologue.

8. Who will I be meeting at my audition?

We use three rooms at the Actors’ Centre for our Open Auditions. In each room will be a member of the Paines Plough core artistic team – either one of our Directors or Producers. In addition there may be representatives from our Associate Companies, or carefully chosen directors, producers or casting directors from across the industry. After your audition we will email you to remind you who you met.

9. I auditioned at your last open day, can I audition again?

No, sorry. As there has been an overwhelming amount of interest in the auditions, we would like to maintain a fair system and meet as many new people as we can each year, so unfortunately we won’t meet actors who we’ve seen at an open audition before. We hope you understand.

10. Can my agent apply for me?

No, sorry. We don’t accept applications from agents. If you have an agent, you must still apply yourself using your own email address. That’s because we want to maintain a fair system for everyone, including those actors who are unrepresented.

11. Should my partner and I apply separately?

No. One person should apply on behalf of a pair. You can both put your email addresses on the audition mailing list if you like, but only one of you should actually apply please.

12. Should I send you my CV and headshot?

No, please don’t send anything in advance. If you are on Spotlight, please bring a print out of your Spotlight page to the auditions. It you are not on Spotlight, please bring a headshot and CV to the auditions. It’s worth bearing in mind that we always use Spotlight CVs in our casting processes and therefore encourage people to join.

13. What happens if I don’t hear back from you after I have applied?

If you’ve applied for an open auditions session and not heard back from us, then unfortunately you were not one of the first applicants. Please do reapply for our next open auditions – we look forward to meeting you soon.

14. When will I hear back from you after the audition?

After the auditions, we will keep your names on file and if we think you will be suitable for any future roles, we will be in touch to invite you to a casting.

2010 reviews round-up

With the advent of a New Year we’ve been reflecting on a thrilling 2010 and we thought we’d share with you some of the nice things the press said about our shows. So here goes – a round-up of 2010 in quotes…

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE by Mike Bartlett

“Mike Bartlett’s bang-on-the-money new play… required viewing”
***** The Telegraph

“Peppered with terrific lines and big laughs…Bartlett does the clash of generational world views with a devastating precision”
**** The Guardian

“Under Hartley T A Kemp’s vivarium-like lighting no nuance of the five actors’ brilliantly hyper-real performances is lost… Dazzling.”
The Observer

TINY VOLCANOES by Laurence Wilson

“Lit up by excellent performances from Kevin Harvey and Michael Ryan”
The Stage

“Brave enough to shake up the Latitude theatre tent with such a challenging piece of work.”
Liverpool Daily Post

“James Grieve’s direction employs many complex layers that build a compelling narrative… the script switches effortlessly between diverse styles of delivery such as stand up comedy and a quiz game.”
Oxford Daily Info

FLY ME TO THE MOON by Marie Jones

“Features two high-powered comic performances from Katie Tumelty and Abigail McGibbon”
**** The Scotsman

“James Grieve’s direction whisks it all quickly along, punting the laughs up front and giving Tumelty and McGibbon the necessary comedic broad-brush shorthands to whisk plot and development along in the brief time available. But not so broad and cartoon-like as to hinder their – and Jones’ – success in creating a pair of humane and likeable characters.”
The Stage


“The writing is brilliant, gripping, poetic, often sensationally powerful”
The Scotsman

“Directed assuredly by David Horan… the writing is sparkly and poetic.”
**** Metro (Dublin)


“Charlotte Gwinner’s production has a severe and brilliant quiet choreography, controlled down to the minutest gesture; and the performances are riveting, mature, eloquent, beautiful, and not only real, but true.”
**** The Scotsman

“This is tightly performed piece that evoked not just amusement but the recognition of the wide array of views with the theme of uncertainty at their core”
Edinburgh Guide

CALAIS by April De Angelis

“This is a little bit of female history brought to life in a moving and entertaining way with top performances all round.”
Edinburgh Guide

“Tamara Harvey’s clear, dynamic direction, picks right through to the emotional relationship”
The Stage

GOOD WITH PEOPLE by David Harrower

“Harrower’s dialogue is crisp, economic, and loaded with meaning… Duff and Scott-Ramsay both turn in riveting performances brimming with sexual chemistry and charged with danger.”
**** The Herald

“George Perrin’s razor-sharp production…a tremendous piece of work.”
**** The Guardian

Paines Plough: The Mumbai Report

After an exciting week of meeting emerging playwrights, theatre companies and generally taking in the sights of Mumbai, Sophie and I embarked on Paines Plough’s programme of work at the Thespo12 theatre festival at Prithvi Theatre.

1) Workshopping DARKLINGS by Titas Halder.

This project started with an informal reading of a first draft with director Arghya Lahiri and Artistic director of QTP, Quasar Padamsee (also Artistic Director of Thespo12 Theatre Festival.)

It was an exciting first evening of work culminating in an open discussion about the play.

The audience, Titas, Arghya and Sophie discussed of content, form, collective historical significance and most importantly a vital question for Titas:

“Is this a play Indians would want to see?”

The following morning, Titas, Sophie, Arghya and the actors headed over to the other side of the city to begin workshopping the text.

A full day of interrogation with two of Mumbai’s most talented actors Meherangeez Acharya and Tariq Vasudeva. This culminated in a Fringe performance/reading at the Prithvi Theatre.

2) Writing for the Stage & Today’s News

During the week, at the Andheri West Flyover rehearsal rooms, Sophie and myself carried out a writing for the stage workshop.

This was writer led and aimed to help young emerging writers talk about their various frustrations from their craft.

Sophie introduced the work of Paines Plough and explained about working with writers from a producing perspective, whilst I spoke about how I approach a piece of new writing as a young director.

After a number of interesting conversations relating to form & content, the writers broke off individually and took a looked over the stories reported in the days newspapers (written in Hindi).

The writers then began to write a response to the newspaper which was read later in the evening at Prithvi Theatre by a small group of actors. One used a single time, multiple space structure during an earthquake whilst another used a monologue in the form of a letter home about living abroad. A very interesting set of responses.

3) Come To Where I’m From – Mumbai

As part of the Fringe for the festival, Paines Plough was delighted to work with three Bombay based emerging writers: Aakash Mohimen, Dwijal Mehta and Siddharth Kumar.

“A very moving evening of new work.”
Dolly Thakore (famous and prolific Indian actress)

**Stay tuned for recordings of the Mumbai COME TO WHERE I’M FROM plays**

And thus, Paines Plough’s maiden visit to India is complete. SPECIAL thanks go to Q, Torel and Vidisha for their incredible hospitality from the moment we stepped off the plane and all the way through the festival. As well as these key people, there are a host of others without whom our first trip out here would not have been anywhere near as enjoyable as it has been.

There’s a huge amount of potential within this vast country to find new audiences whilst and delivering important new writing work; Q and his Team are a shining example of ambassodors for this exciting young movement in Indian Theatre.