Monthly archives: May 2011

‘The Wire’ star to perform in The 8th

We’re incredibly excited to announce that our collaboration with the Manchester International Festival on Paul Heaton and Che Walker’s The 8th will star Reg E. Cathey.

Reg E. Cathey as Norman Wilson in 'The Wire'

Reg E. Cathey as Norman Wilson in 'The Wire'

As well as playing Red in the recent West End production of The Shawshank Redemption, Reg starred in HBO’s The Corner and The Wire. Here at PP, we’re self-confessed Wire obsessives, so to be working with the actor who gave us Norman Wilson, Tommy Carcetti’s right-hand man for seasons 3 and 4, is pretty cool.

Here’s an article from Saturday’s Guardian where Paul and Che talk in more detail about the project.

In fact, for Wire-lovers there are quite a few upcoming opportunities to see stage-appearances from the stellar cast behind one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Dominic West (Jimmy McNulty) is about to open in Butley in the West End. Then West is joined by Clarke Peters (Lester Freamon) for Sheffield Theatres’ production of Othello, which opens around the same time as Roundabout.

Here’s an interview with Dominic West in today’s Guardian.

What we’ve been seeing at the theatre

We’ve had a brilliant few months at the theatre this spring. Fighting the urge to end every working day with wine in the sun on our office roof, we’ve been royally rewarded.

Having devoured the lion’s share of Hampstead’s World Premieres season – including Rona Munro’s LITTLE EAGLES, Filter and the RSC’s SILENCE, David Eldridge’s THE STOCK DA’WA and BELONGINGS by Morgan Lloyd Malcom – we’re booking up for AMERICAN TRADE by Tarell Alvin McCraney and eagerly awaiting the next season of downstairs plays.

Brilliant, but been and gone, were BOY ON A SWING by Joe Harbot at the Arcola, WASTWATER by Simon Stephens at the Royal Court Theatre, SUNDAY MORNING AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD by Louis de Bernières at Southwark Playhouse, PRECIOUS LITTLE TALENT by Ella Hickson at Trafalgar 2, CHEKHOV IN HELL by Dan Rebellato in a Plymouth Drum production at Soho Theatre, ELEKTRA in a new version by Nick Payne at The Gate and SOLD by Suzie Miller at Theatre 503.

If you’re quick you can still catch MANY MOONS by Alice Birch at Theatre 503, I AM THE WIND by Jon Fosse (in a translation by Simon Stephens) at the Young Vic, IN A FOREST DARK AND DEEP by Neil LaBute at the Vaudeville and DO WE LOOK LIKE REFUGEES? By Alecky Blythe at Riverside Studios – all of which we saw and enjoyed.

This month we’ve booked for Anya Reiss’ THE ACID TEST and Penelope Skinner’s THE VILLAGE BIKE at the Royal Court, The Bush’s WHERE’S MY SEAT? by Deirdre Kinahan, Jack Thorne and Tom Wells, Anthony Neilson’s REALISM at Soho Theatre, Arinze Kene’s LITTLE BABY JESUS at Oval House and LONDON ROAD by Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork at the NT.

Also worth catching are the NT’s THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Mike Leigh’s ECSTASY at the Duchess, Little Bulb’s OPERATION GREENFIELD at Soho, Molly Naylor’s WHENEVER I GET BLOWN UP I THINK OF YOU at BAC, the RSC’s KING LEAR and FLARE PATH at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

We’ve even managed to sneak out of the office to see the graduating acting showcases of RADA, East 15 and Central as well as having the great pleasure of listening to Paule Constable giving the annual Edward Gordon Craig Lecture.

That said, there’s loads we’ve missed that we would have loved to see. There’s only five of us here at PP which means there’s only so much we can get to. But if there’s anything coming up that you think we’d be mad to miss, let us know by posting a comment below and we’ll get booking.

Penelope Skinner wins 2011 George Devine Award

Penelope Skinner

Penelope Skinner

We were thrilled to be at this morning’s George Devine Award ceremony at the Royal Court Theatre where Penelope Skinner was announced as the winner of this year’s George Devine Award for her upcoming play at the Royal Court Upstairs, The Village Bike.

The Award, recognised as one of the most prestigious for new writing, was set up in 1966 as a memorial to the life and talent of George Devine, Artistic Director of the Royal Court 1956-65.

Previous winners of the George Devine Award include: Edward Bond (1968), Mike Leigh (1973), Hanif Kureishi (1980), Martin McDonagh (1996), Conor McPherson, Enda Walsh (1997), Rebecca Gilman, Mark O’Rowe (1999), Gary Owen (2002), Lucy Prebble (2004), Alexandra Wood (2007), Hassan Abdulrazzak (2008), Nick Payne (2009) and Vivienne Franzmann (2010).

Penelope was part of Paines Plough and Channel 4’s Future Perfect project and is writing a play for our upcoming Roundabout season, a collaboration with Sheffield Theatres.

Huge congratulations to Penelope from all at PP.

We’re sprucing up PP HQ

For the last two weeks the air in the Paines Plough offices has been filled with the distinctive smell of fresh paint. We’re decorating! We decided that it was time to spruce up the 4th Floor so that our team, the writers and companies who use our facilities have a brighter and more organised space to work in. All of the painting has been expertly done by Phil, Ben and Kris and our brilliant Intern Harriet has been organising everything from storage crates to IT solutions.

As well as painting the walls and steam cleaning the carpets, we’ve invested in some furniture and storage which we hope will make the 4th floor of 43 Aldwych an even nicer place to work. Today we’ve had a delivery of bespoke handmade desks, and second hand shelving and office chairs from a fantastic company called Green Works. Based in 5 locations throughout the UK, Green Works are a registered charity who recycle and reuse unwanted office furniture.

It’s very exciting to think that this time next week, we’ll all be settled into our new desk spaces in our bright white offices and the rehearsal room and writers’ rooms will be gleaming, ready for action.

Now, where did I put that calculator…?

Love, Love, Love Podcast 7

The old & the new at the Royal & Derngate

The LOVE, LOVE, LOVE tour continues this week at the beautiful Royal & Derngate, Northampton.

Here’s the seventh in our  series of LLL PODCASTS featuring a chat with the whole cast of LOVE,LOVE,LOVE about touring and some thoughts about their time in Northampton.


We’ll be bringing you interviews, discussions and audience feedback from across the UK as we bring LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to you, with a new podcast every week.

At each venue we’ll be taking a bit of the 60s out into the towns and cities we’re visiting. See if you can spot the LLL-LP on its journey through the UK – here it is by the silent and still memorial for the victims of the First World War.

We’d love some suggestions for where LLL-LP should visit on our other tour dates.

See you in a town near you soon!

A play that costs less than a pint

We were up in Hull last week where Love, Love, Love was stopping off on the latest leg of its tour. We were delighted to spot Hull Truck selling copies of the play-script for less than the cost of an ale, which we like to think is no reflection upon the value of the play, but rather on the theatre’s passion for getting new plays on to the book-shelves of its audience.

Enabling more people to read more plays is a passion we share here at PP towers. We’ve a few copies left of the published play-scripts from our more recent productions, including Orphans, Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat and After The End. If you get in there quickly, we’ll price-match Hull Truck and even cover the cost of the postage for you.

We’ve limited stock though and it’s first-come first-served. Be first off the mark and drop Hanna a line on

Meanwhile, here’s a picture of the breath-taking Humber Bridge, near Hull.

The Humber Bridge near Hull

Imogen Moffat live on stage

Has anyone been watching our Lisa in Campus? Lisa plays Sandra in LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, but for the past few weeks has been moonlighting as maths whizz Imogen Moffat in Channel 4’s hit comedy Campus.

If you missed it, the whole first series of Campus is available on 4OD here. And you can catch Lisa in the flesh at Hull Truck Theatre this week.

Lisa Jackson as Sandra in Love, Love, Love

58 days until Latitude

Yesssireee, it’s 58 days and counting until the undisputed champion of festivals anywhere, ever – Latituuuude. It’s fair to say we’re already a little bit excited.

We’re even more excited having received the first draft of Kate Tempest’s debut play over the weekend. It’s a stunner – passionate, powerful, poetic and featuring some seriously dirty bass tunes blasting from a stereo.

Alongside our friends Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the Roundhouse, and in association with The National Student Drama Festival and Latitude, we’re premiering Kate’s play in the theatre tent at the beautiful Henham Park in July. It will then tour in 2012 to theatres and student unions nationwide.

But to be the first to see it you’ll need to pack a tent, some suncream, some wellies, a silly hat, some alka seltzer and your dancing shoes and get yourself to Latitude. Tickets are here.

You can read a feature on theatre at Latitude on The Public Reviews, featuring an interview with our AD James.

Blythe Duff shortlisted for CATS award

Blythe Duff as Jackie Reid in Taggart (photo: Edinburgh Evening News)

On Wednesday night we opened LOVE, LOVE, LOVE at The Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, and we were delighted to welcome as our guest Blythe Duff, who played Helen in last year’s GOOD WITH PEOPLE by David Harrower, and is best known for playing Jackie Reid in Taggart.

On Thursday morning, as we were thrilled to learn Blythe has been shortlisted in the Best Female Performance category of the Critics Awards For Theatre In Scotland (CATS) for Good With People.

The awards are Scotland’s most prestigious for theatre, and Blythe in shortlisted alongside Kate Dickie, Gemma McElhinney, Mercy Ojelade in her category. The winners will be announced at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, on Sunday 12 June.

Blythe and Andrew Scott-Ramsey toured Good With People to Edinburgh, Coventry, Dublin and Newcastle after the production’s premiere as part of our A Play, A Pie And A Pint season with Oran Mor in Glasgow last Autumn. Our AD George directed.

Here’s what the critics had to say:

“In George Perrin’s razor-sharp production, Blythe Duff is brilliantly deadpan as a Helensburgh hotel landlady, hilariously hidebound by petty regulations.”
★★★★ The Guardian

“Terrific short dialogue – performed with electrifying power by Blythe Duff and Andrew Scott-Ramsay.”
★★★★ The Scotsman

So congratulations Blythe! We’ll be rooting for you on 12 June.

Last chance to see 5-star Tiny Volcanoes

Nick Clegg makes a cameo in Tiny Volcanoes

After two years and three tours visiting nearly 30 different towns and cities across the UK, there are just two more outings for Laurence Wilson’s hilarious Tiny Volcanoes.

Tonight the show is at Dartington Arts, near Totnes, and tomorrow it takes its final bow at The Arc Theatre, Trowbridge.

There have been more great reviews for Tiny Volcanoes this week:

“Great writing, great acting…a very funny play”
★★★★★  Devon Life

“Very slick and accomplished…a relentless stream of sketches, songs, jokes and soliloquies, painting a vivid picture of our troubled land. Documentary theatre at its best.”
★★★★ Watford Observer

If you’re anywhere near either Trowbridge or Totnes, hot-foot it along, and jump aboard a theatrical rollercoaster ride through Broken Britain.