After a tranquil week developing work in the mountain village of Hunter, James and I immediately threw ourselves in to the whirlwind of New York City. We had two fantastic days dashing around town seeing shows and meeting some brilliant and inspiring theatre companies.
We started off by catching up with Annie McRae and Stephen Willems, Literary Managers of Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) and Manhattan Class Company (MCC) respectively. We have been in touch with both Annie and Stephen for a few years now, and were thrilled to see that their passion, knowledge and championing of British playwrights remains undimmed. We dropped in on Peter Tear and Elizabeth Kleinhans at 59East59 Theaters, where we took Dennis Kelly’s After The End in 2006. Then we had the great honour of attending the opening night of 4,000 MILES by our good friend Amy Herzog. Amy is an incredibly exciting young American playwright – an opinion clearly widely held in New York – who we had the pleasure of meeting at the Orchard Project in 2010. Amy’s play is being produced by the Lincoln Centre at an off-Broadway theatre just off Times Square and received this glowing review from the New York Times.
Tuesday brought first visits to the extraordinary St.Ann’s Warehouse, the NYC home to Blackwatch and Enda Walsh’s Walworth Farce, and where Susan Feldman and her team are in the process of moving to a new space. From there it was a subway ride back to Manhattan to see Patrick Daly and Mirella Cheeseman in the office of Jean Doumanian, one of the driving forces behind BOOK OF MORMON, which we were incredibly fortunate to see that night. The show came down just in time for us to nip east to one of my favourite places in New York – Bluesmoke.
Before flying back to Blighty we managed to find time to talk about all things Paines Plough with three more facinating companies; Soho Rep, Atlantic Theater Company and Naked Angels. Raphael from Soho Rep (who used to work at both The Gate and The Bush) talked us through the success of recent productions of Sarah Kane’s BLASTED and Debbie Tucker Green’s BORN BAD at their miniature, 74-seat powerhouse of a theatre. Just up the road we saw Christian Parker, Associate Artistic Director at Atlantic, who later in the summer is producing Simon Stephens‘ long-overdue New York premiere in the shape of BLUEBIRD, starring Simon Russell Beale. Finally we caught up with Alex and Andy at Naked Angels, a company not dissimilar to Paines Plough. Naked Angels produced last year’s Off-Broadway hit THIS WIDE NIGHT by Chloe Moss. One of the things we were excited to talk with them about is their use of podcasts through Naked Radio – an interesting comparison to our own podcasting of Come To Where I’m From last year.
Then there was just enough time to squeeze in a few Brooklyn lagers and a burger from Shakeshack before the flight – they’re good for you, after all.