Monthly archives: July 2012

The BIG O goes East (And I am not talking Olympics)

So whilst IOC, LOCOG, Danny Boyle, Lord Coe and Olympic Deliverance team (yes, I am talking Hugh Bonneville and co) can now breathe a small sigh of relief as the Olympic Torch burns brightly in the East – at PP HQ we are just getting started…

Hopefully our wooden Roundabout Auditorium will not have the same fate as this fiery cauldron designed by Londoner Thomas Heatherwick

It is 51 days until we open our doors to the Roundabout Auditorium and the first preview of Roundabout Season plays by Duncan Macmillan, Nick Payne and Penelope Skinner and from that day (Wednesday 19th September) we will dwell at Shoreditch Town Hall for five and half week in heart of East London.

So whilst we won’t spending £27million on an opening ceremony (more like a few sausage rolls and perhaps some local jellied eels) and there is no ticket ballot process (and hopefully less empty seats) simply go to National Theatre, we do want your help on one things – your tips for all things East.

So give us a London style holler back @painesplough #RoundaboutLDN with your top picks and if we like them we’ll send you one of the Roundabout Season plays.

 

 

Good With People rehearsal diary – Days 6&7

Is London good with people? If the figures are to go by, the largest urban zone in Europe has its charm. More than eight million of us live here, and another million more are set to join by 2020. So, what’s the draw? Boris’ dulcet tones remind us about the Olympics on tannoys across the TFL system this summer, a lot of people think the jobs worth having solely exist within the M25 motorway, and on occasions it even rains art. The answers are endless.

There was, however, not a cloud in the sky for the London stint of Good with People rehearsals. And whilst a lot of the team grew up elsewhere and can identify the more unsavoury aspects of our city of residence, the appearance of the sun on the London skyline has cast some welcome rays into the rehearsal room over the past two days.

Which is where things have been heating up too. After a three week break, everyone in the creative team has had time to digest what was explored during the week in Glasgow and allow their thoughts to develop. This was obvious during the read-through for the whole office, as was it when we discussed the ‘homework’ that had been set.

Decisions have been made to take the piece in a different direction to last time it was produced by Paines Plough. For that reason, we also spent time considering the model box, practicalities of the space and what the costumes might look like. Another feature is the music, which we talked and sung through as a cast.

When the table was pushed against wall and the chairs cleared from the room, the piece had a completely different feel. Already, some of the choices that had been made during the first week, or at home, or on the phone, made themselves manifest. Though we will continue to experiment with physicality and the space itself over the next two weeks, something really quite exciting started happening on the fourth floor on the Aldwych.

The rest of the week is going to be spent sketching the outline of each scene, to incorporate some of the illusions that are going to be created, and to best make the language that we’ll use onstage for the month at The Traverse. Then comes the detail of each scene. But all in good time.

Maybe London is not so bad after all.

Muddied but unbowed: Latitude 2012

Our kitchens look like chinese laundries, our mud splattered wellies perch on plastic bags in hallways, our legs feel like lead, our heads like cotton wool. It can only mean one thing – we’ve been Latituded.

It’s our favourite weekend of the year bar none, and now the tents have been dismantled for another year, we’re back at PP HQ reflecting on another vintage festival.

Team PP assembled in Suffolk on Thursday. With THE 8TH in Birmingham the previous night, the creative team travelled rock ‘n’ roll style with the artists in Paul Heaton’s tour bus, while the office disgorged into trains and cars and buses, weighed down by rucksacks jammed with pillows and rum and crisps.

Having pitched PP Camp in our usual spot in a glade of the lovely Henham Park forest, it was straight to The Film & Music Arena for tech rehearsals for THE 8TH. It’s always an exciting few hours before the Arena opens to the public – stallholders prepping their wares, wafts of music from multiple soundchecks, anticipation in the air. THE 8TH’s band tuned up, Reg roared his opening lines into the mic, the singers stepped up to stretch their vocal chords, Tim waved his wand at the lighting rig, Bernd frantically searched for a drill.

Tech done, and the gates to the Arena about to be opened, we beat a retreat backstage and waited for showtime.

THE 8TH from backstage at The Film & Music Arena

For six consecutive years, Paines Plough has appeared in the Theatre Tent (in its various guises), so it was a new and exciting experience to be performing in the Film & Music Arena for the first time in 2012. Thursday night is a brilliant night for theatre, because none of the music stages are opened until Friday, so the Arts stages are all packed with eager punters seeking their first festival fix.

Reg and the gang were on top form, bringing the curtain down on the tour with a rabble-rousing performance, roared on by a jammed to capacity tent head-bopping and yowling approval. “It’s my first rock ‘n’ roll tour,” grins Reg afterwards as celebratory beers are cracked. Huge thanks to everyone who came to see us, you were an incredible crowd.

No festival fun for the band and singers, they’re straight back on the tour bus and off into the night. Team PP heads to the theatre tent to cheer nabokov’s brilliant SYMPHONY before heading to the woods to dance idiotically to Dermot O’Leary‘s deliciously retro indie disco set.

With THE 8TH done and dusted, the whole weekend stretched out ahead of us, ripe for the revelling. Kate Tempest’s stunning BRAND NEW ANCIENTS has everyone on their feet for a raucous standing ovation in the theatre tent. There’s more theatrical delights from Tangled Feet and Rash Dash, a smorgasboard of poetics in the poetry tent and a great Latitude moment on the Lake Stage as the sun makes a hesitant appearance just as Clock Opera walk on stage for an imperious set. Our excitement at Bon Iver was a little pre-emptory. He wasn’t very good. We were sad.

The Latitude crowd packing out the tent for THE 8TH

Saturday offers up Luke Wright’s epic poem The Vile Ascent Of Lucien Gore And What The People Did in the outdoor theatre – one of our highlights from last year and the same again this. In the literary arena we heard PP alumni Abi Morgan in conversation with Edith Bowman, praising Kate Tempest‘s show as a reminder of how exciting live theatre can be. Also a great quote: “For a writer there’s nothing better than the moment you press send on the first draft.” Look Left Look Right bestowed not one but four new musicals to much hilarity, and Jimmy McGhie‘s wry observational anecdotes were much to our liking in the comedy arena, as was the wildly-inappropriate-and-all-the-funnier-for-it Lee Nelson. We couldn’t see Subtrkt because he’s a man of mystery, but he sounded great. Los Campesinos struck a blow for the liberation of fun by continuing their  set acoustically when someone officious pulled the plug on them, and Guy Garvey showed Bon Iver how it’s done with a barnstorming headline set. “So throw those curtains wide! One day like this a year’d see me right!” And so it would. Especially if it continued with arm-flailing dancing to Guilty Pleasures, a sensational DJ set from Shy FX and our legendary Car Park Disco until sunrise. Or in this instance until some jobsworth security guards shut us down. Boo. Hiss.

Bernd (in the hat) watching Reg from backstage

Sunday comes too soon at Latitude. It always does. But what’s this orange ball in the sky? Should we be worried? No, we should buy cider and sit on the grass and listen to Ben Howard. That’s what we should do. Matthew Bourne on the lake, Daughter in the woods, a sensory out-of-body experience in Curious Directive’s enchanting Olfactory…a bounty of epicurean delights. Alabama Shakes got us shaking, Buena Vista Social Club proved we can still be shaking when we’re 70, and Wild Beasts smashed it in the Word Arena. Off to the woods for a final jig to Norman Jay, then the traditional bop in the Performer’s Bar to bring down the curtain on another magical mystery tour through the enchanted fields and forests of Henham Park.

And so the sad trudge to the car on Monday morning, sleep deprived and malnourished, resplendent in damp clothes from the Mud by Jackson Pollock range and fearing the onset of trench foot. The A12 is at a standstill. It’s raining apologetically. There is glitter absolutely everywhere. Has anyone got any nurofen?

All hail Latitude. The greatest festival in the world. Thank you to all who sailed in her. We loved performing for you, we loved partying with you, we miss your glittered faces and ludicrous head gear. We are counting down the days uintil we commune with you again.

And meantime, you can reminisce with our Latitude Spotify Playlist or buy THE 8TH album, or leave a comment to tell us your Latitude tales.

30 seconds with… Emma Chapman

Ahead of our Roundabout Season in London this Autumn, Lighting Designer Emma Chapman discussed her experiences of working in the round…

Q:  Have you worked in the round before?

A: One of my first experiences in theatre was as a work placement at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond.  It is a beautiful space in the round.  I have previously lit a production for the New Vic in Stoke which is also in the round.

Q: What surprised you the most about working in and creating work for the ROUNDABOUT auditorium?

A: The ROUNDABOUT auditorium is a unique space to work in, designed to fit within existing buildings, it has a language of its own which requires you to approach it in a particular way.  The fact the first row of the audience are raised helps the lighting angles into the space, making it easier to light an actors face without lighting into the eyes of the audience behind.  The position of the entrances opposite the staircases means it is possible to float the actors within the round, this allows a new dimension to the space.  The entrances also provide the chance to use strong keylight to emphasis for example a doorway, throwing the actors shadow across the space – the ability to pursue a film noir quality.  The first outing of the roundabout in Sheffield saw the structure remain in it’s original bare wood structure, this provided some challenges as wood bounces light making it difficult to focus the space – the audience however helped this with the variety of clothing!  Everything within the ROUNDABOUT is visible so decisions about houselights, step lighting and lighting underneath the rostra is vital to the overall experience of the ROUNDABOUT.

Q: What do you think makes ROUNDABOUT auditorium a different audience experience?

A: The proximity of the audience to the actors is fantastic, it has an old fashioned  amphitheatre feel.  The height of the auditorium gives uninterrupted views of the acting area from all seats, offering a unique experience from different areas – the front row feels as though you are onstage, whilst the areas over the voms give the feeling of a private box.  It is quite unusual to have a pure round, from my first experience of working in the ROUNDABOUT I feel this accentuated the audiences experience of the text and their ability to connect with the actors.

If you would like to find out more about The ROUNDABOUT season or book tickets click here

 

A playwright’s guide to Brighton

A couple of weeks back we spent a heavenly weekend in sunny(ish) Brighton, culminating with local playwrights Kefi Chadwick, Fin Kennedy, Sue MacLaine and Judy Upton telling us the secrets of thier home towns in COME TO WHERE I’M FROM.

Afterwards, we asked them to tell us about their favourite places in Brighton so we could compile this for you – a natty little tour guide with a personal touch. Here is a playwright’s guide to Brighton…

KEFI CHADWICK’S favourite places in Brighton

My home. It’s where I feel safest. I love being at home more than anywhere else. I work from here, live here, have friends round. It is full of great memories and wonderful times. Every time I put my key in the door I think ‘thank God I’m home’.

Chili Pickle restaurant – because it’s the best food in Brighton. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach when I come here.

The beach down from Morrocco’s in Hove. It’s sandy when the tide goes out and if you look to the right it has an uninterrupted view of the sea. Some days you can see France, apparently. Not that I ever have but I do look for it. You can get French radio on that beach so when it’s hot you can listen to eclectic French pop on FIP and eat homemade Italian ice cream and paddle. It’s where I go with my daughter to swim in the sea (for the twenty minutes in stops raining during British summer time).

King's Esplanade - for French radio, Italian ice cream and paddling

Dyke Road park/BHASVIC playing fields. One back on to the other. I’ve got up to all sorts of mischief in there so walking past always makes me smile and reminds me that life isn’t always so serious. It’s also where I go running when I’m struggling with work. I always find solutions to problems while I’m slogging round the playing fields. Something about running always opens up my imagination and the playing fields have no distractions. And you can see the sea while you run.

BHASVIC Playing Fields for runs with a sea view

Moorish on Dyke Road. I get my lunch from there when I’m working at home. Sometimes they are the only other adults I speak to all day!

SUE MACLAINE’S favourite places in Brighton

Locally called ‘top of the world’ or Hollingbury camp. It is the remains of a Roman hill fort set in the middle of a public access golf course. Quarter of a mile circumference every inch affords views across Brighton; out to the seas, across to the race course, to Bevendean, Coldean, Stanmer and Hollingbury. Looking to the sea, on a clear day, you can glimpse the Isle of Wight floating in the east.

Top Of The World - Hollingbury Camp

Ovingdean cafe is situated within the Undercliff walk, a seashore walk that stretches from the Marina to Saltdean…a bright white path concrete path with the sea on one side and the shorn cliff on the other. When the tide is out a sprawling city of rock pools are revealed and the remnants of the old Volks Railway, a toy railway whose tracks used to run through the sea. The train had spider legs that elongated, rose up and up, it’s feet in the water and the carriage in the air. From end to end the Undercliff walk will take about 60 minutes. Then, looping back, an additional 30 minute stretch and the reward is Ovingdean Cafe…chairs and tables nudge the beach, home-made cake, bacon buttes and tea, or coffee….we sit, we sit and we look at the sea.

Volks Railway at Undercliff Walk

My flat. As the train draws into Brighton station, look to your right, look up and there is my home. Always there. Always kind.

FIN KENNEDY’S favourite places in Hove

The charred skeleton of the West Pier is pretty mysterious and iconic, and still something I strongly associate with the area. Apart from that there’s only really restaurants and other grown up things like that which I’ve discovered since being back as an adult. Actually, there is also Hove Museum which is still there, though much updated. It used to be quite a creepy place in an old church, with dusty medieval artefacts and elderly staff who seemed to date from the same period. So that’s two to be getting on with, I’ll let you know if I think of any more. Does the beach count? I’d spend ages there, examining dead crabs and jellyfish and things like that. If it does then there’s three!

The creepy remains of the West Pier

JUDY UPTON’S favourite places in Shoreham-by-Sea

Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex is a great place for daytrip. Plenty of cafes, lots of interesting smaller shops and great places to walk; it’s close to the countryside and has its own quiet beach. Here are some of my favourite places around the town:

The walk/cycle path up or down either side of the river Adur – great views, fresh air and wildlife watching (access close to Ropetackle Arts Centre off the High Street).

The river Adur at sunset

Widewater. A freshwater lagoon between Shoreham and Lancing, accessed from Shoreham Beach. There’s an outdoor cafe for an icecream, tea or a lunch and it’s right next to the beach too.

Widewater lagoon

Marlipins Museum at 36 High Street, Shoreham. Although currently without the squirrel from the monologue, you can look at a model of the old film studio and marvel (or mourn) at how close the town came to being Hollywood! The building dates in part from at least 1120 and there’s plenty about the town’s seafaring and smuggling history here too.

St. Nicholas Church and surrounding area of Old Shoreham. A Saxon church and some picture-postcard-pretty thatched cottages. Many artists came here to paint the scenery in bygone days.

St Nicholas in the snow

Mill Hill has no windmill these days but great views and in the summer, butterflies and poppies too.

Poppies on Mill Hill

Ropetackle Arts Centre – theatre, films, music, art and a cafe. It’s just off the High Street. Plus, I’ve a play here in September 2012 :)

Go and see Judy's play here in September, ok?

Latitude Survival Guide

Hmm... it's not looking promising

Undaunted by record-breaking summer rainfalls, we’re pulling on our wellies, donning shades and sou’westers and pumping up the volume on our Spotify playlist in preparation for Paines Plough’s sixth consecutive Latitude Festival appearance.

Whereas our weekly Tuesday morning company meetings are generally spent discussing production updates or budgets or tour schedules, this week we gave Latitude virgins Mark and Sarah a shopping list to ensure they’re fully kitted out for their Latitude debut.

And as hardened veterans, we thought we’d share our insights with you too, in case you need some assistance in planning what to pack. Just collate the following items, and you’ll be all set up for the best weekend of your lives:

1. Tent (obvs)
2. Wellies (really quite essential this year)
3. All manner of waterprooofs
4. Thermals
5. Nurofen
6. Hand sanitizer (we’re sticklers for hygeine)
7. Beer
8. Bottled water (in case you run out of beer and need hydrating)
9. Cherry tomatoes (bite sized nutrition)
10. Babybel cheeses (snackage)
11. Peperami sausages (more snackage)
12. Suncream (ever the optimists)
13. A silly hat (de rigeur)
14. Loo roll

Have we missed anything? Let us know by posting a comment.

See you on the A12.

Yeah!

Latituuuuuude!

It’s fast approaching our favourite weekend of the year.

PPHQ is in the grip of anticipatory and preparatory fervour ahead of our sixth consecutive Latitude Festival. And. We. Can’t. Wait. Yeeeaaaah!

(A little excitable, as you can see)

Okay, deep breath, we need to reserve some energy for our legendary late night car-park discos.

But yup, we’re off to the beautiful Henham Park tomorrow to once again partake in the multifarious delights of the nation’s greatest arts festival.

Following our previous festival hits MURDER AT GOBBLERS’ WOOD (07), CRAZYLOVE/SHOOT GET TREASURE REPEAT (08), TRACES (09), TINY VOLCANOES (10) and WASTED (11), we’re making a departure from the theatre tent to headline the Film and Music Arena with THE 8TH.

Paul Heaton and Ché Walker’s sensational soul opera closes its sell-out national tour with an all-guns-blazing festival finale at 9:30pm on Thursday night.

THE 8TH features an all-star ensemble cast including Simon Aldred (Cherry Ghost), Gareth David (Los Campesinos!), Jacqui Abbott (Beautiful South) and Reg E Cathey (Norman Wilson in HBO’s The Wire) and in true last-night-of-the-tour style they’re all bang up for a stellar finale.

So get there early and get down the front. Then wave your hands in the air.

Reg E Cathey in THE 8TH. Thursday, 9:30PM, Film & Music Arena. Be there.

There’s a whole heap of stuff we’re excited about seeing at Latitude. Pretty much the whole lip-licking theatre line-up for starters, plus the largest collection of performance poets in Europe, dance on the lake, funny people telling jokes, all manner of weirdness, and of course some mighty fine musical maestros.

As an outlet for our excitement, we’ve put together our collective LATITUDE playlist. We’ve shared it on Spotify – our music channel of choice (they don’t sponsor us to say that, but if they’d like to they can contact us here)  – so that you too can share in our festival spirit.

Have a listen to our highlights and let us know what we’re missing by making your own recommendations by leaving a comment.

And if for whatever reason you’re not going to Latitude* you can recreate the experience by listening to THE 8TH at home**.  The studio album and exclusive DVD is now available to buy from HMV, Fopp, Amazon and Play.com and you can listen on Spotify.

* Firstly, take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. What could you possibly be doing this weekend that would mean you’d miss Latitude?

** To fully recreate the festival experience, stand in a puddle whilst listening.

London calling

This time last year I wrote a blog about our decision not to produce work in London for two years. It started an interesting debate in the comments section.

In 2010 and 2011, we toured to 69 places around the UK, but London wasn’t one of them. We wanted to reaffirm Paines Plough’s historic commitment to touring far and wide, in pursuit of being a truly national theatre of new plays.

But you’ll have noticed we’ve landed in the capital in a big way in 2012. Our London Season this year sees seven productions across town. In true Paines Plough style they’re well spread out so you can see our work in your local theatre whether you’re in Southfields, Shoreditch or Sloane Square.

Despite some claims to the contrary, we’ve never been anti-London. Everyone who works at PP lives in London, so it’s our home town and we love it. And it has always been our plan to produce work here. We just wanted to get out and about a bit first.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the demand for our work to be seen in London, and we’re very proud to be presenting a wide range of top class new plays across 2012 in a year that sees the world’s focus on our city.

Our London Season map - seven shows across the city

Our London Season started with LOVE, LOVE, LOVE at The Royal Court, which had previously toured to 18 different venues from Plymouth to Glasgow.

Kate Tempest’s WASTED spent two weeks at The Roundhouse and also popped up in Deptford, Earlsfield and Redbridge as part of a 26 venue nationwide tour.

This week we’ve got two new shows in town. SMITHEREENS by Sean Buckley is a co-production with Rose Bruford College, performed by the Third Year Acting students. It’s already been seen in Zone 5 in Sidcup, and it’s in Zone 1 at Soho Theatre all this week.

And we made our debut at The Barbican with Paul Heaton and Che Walker’s THE 8TH, a stunning soul opera we first made with Manchester International Festival last year and which goes out on tour to Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham before headlining The Film & Music Arena at Latitude next week.

Then in September the Roundabour Season lands at Shoreditch Town Hall. Three new plays by Duncan Macmillan, Nick Payne and Penelope Skinner performed by a single ensemble of actors in rep within our unique portable in-the-round auditorium. Co-produced with Sheffield Theatres, the Roundabout Season premiered in Sheffield last year.

The Roundabout Auditorium pitches up in Shoreditch this Autumn

So seven shows across London in 2012 for you to enjoy. We’re thrilled to be camped in the city, but we’re also proud that all the work we’re presenting in London has been seen outside the capital first, by people from Cambridge to Cardiff to Canterbury. More people saw LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and WASTED outside London than saw the shows in town, and that’s an important barometer for us. So moving forward we’ll keep popping up in the city, but our focus will remain on the whole country.

Let us know what you think by posting a comment.

PS – We’re also producing a show this year called LONDON, that’s not playing in London. Call us obtuse, but we kind of like that.

The 1st day of The 8th

Sunday Sabbath? Not in the world of rock ‘n roll. With just one day in London to wash clothes and fold away any newly-bought Tartan from Glasgow, Paines Plough were on the 8.10am to Manchester to kick off rehearsals for The 8th.

The two shows could not stand in starker contrast. Good with People takes place in a lochside, marine base town in Scotland. The 8th, in the religious underbelly of the Deep South. The former is punctuated by unspoken thoughts and underlying tension, the latter by spiralling guitar solos and the raspy orations of a Christian preacher.

Slightly croaky-throated ourselves, we made our way across the city to the King’s Arms, Salford. Setting up in the upstairs room of the pub were Christian on keys, Jonny Wright on bass, Jonny Lexus on guitar, Pete on drums and Jamie also on keys. Our actor Reg, the voice of the preacher, was sipping water, preparing to rehearse all the spoken narrative sections of a musical piece.

This is no small task given that he is expected to tell these stories himself, colouring the details and bringing to life the important events in the journey purely by the way he narrates the tale. Added to that is the general distraction of strings, synth, drums and keys; it takes a certain type of actor to hold his ground centre stage in such a piece.

And yet, the tempo with which these rehearsals have to move does not allow for too much deliberation. Although lodged somewhere in the memory of most people in the room as they performed last time as well, there are only four days to put together a show that has eight singers doing eight different numbers. They have to work in harmony with the narrative that interweaves all their ‘sins’ together, so that Ché Walker and Paul Heaton’s lyrics and story can be appreciated in their entirety.

Maybe the way the room was set out best describes how the rehearsal room worked on day one. Everyone in the room created a circle, with the centre of the room the place to send the sound. Eye contact was crucial not only for timing, but also for everyone to be able to speak on behalf of their instrument or specific skill. Discussions were more often than not communal, and given that there were so many disciplines and ideologies present, sometimes translation work needed to be done.

If the creative team gave a note, and it needed to become manifest musically, it was for the musicians to decide how that might be achieved. They would improvise or suggest to one another as those less musically inclined listened. Whilst this was done, Reg might get some notes on where to best place the beats in his interventions, or which details in the story to really paint for the audience, so that the story is clear. Then everyone would come back and rehearse the same section, putting all the elements together.

Sometimes the note would have transferred itself to the music first time, others not. The musicians might not agree with a certain piece of direction, then listen to the explanation and agree, or vice versa. This process of trial and error continued until all the narrative sections had successfully been underscored, and everyone in the circle was happy with the final outcome.

Interspersed with this process were numerous fag breaks, pint refills and points of information from tour management about the schedule for the next week. The general feel of the room was extremely relaxed, but there was also a desire to finish what needed to be done. Which, by the end of the day, it was.

Day two is to be spent repeating what was produced on day one. Then the singers are to join, whilst the lyrics are refined with Che in the room.

THE 8TH opens and hits the charts

As regular readers of this blog will know, we don’t like an easy life here at PPHQ.

Earlier in the year, joint-AD James rehearsed Mike Bartlett’s LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and Kate Tempest’s WASTED back-to-back. This summer it’s George‘s turn.

So whilst he and Trainee Director Mark Maughan began rehearsing David Harrower’s GOOD WITH PEOPLE last week in Glasgow – leaving Tara, Claire, Hanna and the rest of team PP overseeing SMITHEREENS‘ transfer to London’s Soho Theatre – he has pretty much simultaneously started rehearsals of Paul Heaton and Che Walker’s THE 8TH.

We premiered the show last year with the Manchester International Festival. Thanks to some fantastic audience feedback, SJM Concerts are remounting the show on a much bigger scale this summer. We’re transferring from a 350-seat tent outside Manchester Town Hall to the 1160-capacity Barbican, as well as touring to Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield and Southwold.

If you missed the show last time you can get the gist of it from The 8th Blog, here.

And you can find out how to book tickets, here.

The show features a five-piece band, a string quartet, 8 singers, 1 actor and tackles a mysterious eighth deadly sin. It’s part staged concert, part soul opera, part gig, part one-man-show.

The brainchild of former Housemartins and Beautiful South lead-man Paul Heaton, it’s brought to vibrant life by an A-list, heavyweight crew of artists. ‘The Wire’ Seasons 4 & 5 star Reg E Cathy is a tour-de-force as the ‘underground railroad reverend’ of celebrated, Award-Winning British playwright Che Walker’s redemptive sermon. The soaring soul of Wayne Giddens, Yvonne Shelton and Steve Menzies pitch up against the song-bird beauty of Jacqui Abbott and the gravel-studded depth of Mike Greaves and Simon Aldred (Cherry Ghost), whilst exciting new-comer Aaron Wright features alongside crowd favourite Gareth David (Los Campesinos) – all singing songs dedicated to each deadly sin. And it’s pulled together by Paul himself as he finally takes to the stage to unmask the eight, and deadliest, sin.

We’ve thrown together a spotify playlist of work by some of the singers that feature in THE 8TH which you should be able to listen to here.

If you type ‘The 8th Paul Heaton’ in to YouTube you can watch some terrible quality pirate recordings of last year’s show.

But to be honest, if you want to get a true flavour of the piece, you’d be best off clicking here and buying the album from amazon, which – along with the single ‘Lust’ – will be hitting the charts later this month.

But don’t just take our word for it. Describing the piece as “Leonard Bernstein meets Public Enemy”, the Independent on Sunday picked THE 8TH as their CD of the week last Sunday.