Monthly archives: September 2012

Our AD George needs your help

All this week George is rehearsing Simon Stephens’ LONDON at PPHQ – the eleventh production of our Programme 2012. On Wednesday 26th September at 6pm he is going to do a work-in-progress runthrough of one half of the production and he needs a supportive test audience of about ten people to show the work to.

We’d like the audience to be drawn from our dedicated twitter followers.

You really would be doing George a massive favour as he and Cary need a small group of objective viewers to show the work to before they go in to the final stage of rehearsals.

It is of course free to attend and we’ll even furnish you with a nice cuppa and biscuit in return for donating 45 minutes of your time.

If you’re able to help us out please follow us on twitter and tweet @painesplough with the name of your favourite Simon Stephens play and at 12pm on Wednesday we’ll pick ten names out of a hat and contact you directly with full details.

Rehearsals begin for LONDON by Simon Stephens

With ROUNDABOUT up, running and open for business at Shoreditch Town Hall, rehearsals began in earnest at PPHQ yesterday for the eleventh production of Programme 2012 – Olivier Award-Winning Simon StephensLONDON.

The project incorporates Simon’s play SEA WALL – which was originally commissioned and produced by The Bush Theatre in a production directed by our Joint Artistic Director George – and its companion piece, T5, which was recently published alongside WASTWATER.

We are co-producing LONDON with our friends at Salisbury Playhouse and Live Theatre Newcastle, before touring to Brighton Dome, Manchester Royal Exchange Studio and The Tron Theatre Glasgow.

LONDON is directed by George and designed by Hannah Clark, with lighting from Malcolm Rippeth and Sound by Tom Gibbons.

The production stars Cary Crankson and Abby Ford (below).

As usual, you’ll be able to follow the rehearsals, opening and tour right here on the PP blog.

In the meantime you can get daily updates from @painesplough or by searching twitter for #LondonPlay and you can find links to book tickets here.

Paines Plough are looking for a housemate

As you may know, PP HQ is based on the 4th floor of 43 Aldwych in the heart of theatre land and in the rafters of the Aldwych Theatre.

We currently have two housemates on the 4th floor, Improbable and Sue Storr and we’re looking for another company or individual to join us.

The office that we have available is around 6m x 4m and has space for three to four people to work comfortably in there at the same time. Kitchen and toilet facilities are shared with and maintained by Paines Plough and tenants can also use the bright rehearsal room on the 4th floor at a discounted rate.

If you would like to hear more about the office space including rates and terms and conditions, please contact Claire Simpson at for more information.

Meet the Volunteers

We’re delighted to have such a brilliant team of Volunteer Ushers for the Roundabout Season and want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all 23 of the volunteers for their support. Here are just a few of the friendly faces who will be happy to welcome you in to Shoreditch Town Hall over the next six weeks…



Name: Roisin McAweaney
I want to be a Roundabout volunteer because: I love the theatre and it seemed like an exciting project to be a part of.
My favourite play is: Metamorphosis.
My favourite thing that is round: Pie.
My party trick/an interesting fact about me: An interesting fact about me is that I have no party trick.


Name: Jon Barton
I want to be a Roundabout volunteer because: I love new writing and am a big fan of Paines Plough
My favourite play is: The Beauty Queen of Leenane
My favourite thing that is round: The Moon
My Party Trick: I can do something weird with my nose.
An interesting fact about me: I still climb the stairs on all fours.



Name: Annie Jackson
I want to be a Roundabout volunteer because: I’m an actress but love the theatre in every form and also find backstage a really exciting place to be – this sounded like a fantastic opportunity to meet knew people and see some great theatre!
My favourite play: I saw a double bill of two plays in the Brighton Fringe called Fleeto and Wee Andy. They were incredible.
My favourite thing that is round: Probably biscuits.
My party trick/an interesting fact about me: I just got back from Ecuador where I built a theatre. My party trick is that I now know how to use power tools.



Name: Caroline Charles
I want to be a Roundabout volunteer because: Paines Plough are a fantastic company and it’s wonderful to be involved in such an adventurous season as the Roundabout.
My favourite play is: Slava’s Snowshow/The Importance of Being Earnest
My favourite thing that is round: Carousel
My party trick/an interesting fact about me: Almost unbeatable in a strawberry lace race.



Name: Paul Bonner
I want to be a Roundabout volunteer because: I’d like to know more about Paines Plough as a company as they seem like good people to work with.
My favourite play is: Back In Anger, John Osborne
My favourite thing that is round: The Earth
My party trick: I can do a couple of good card tricks



Name: Mia Keadell
I want to be a Roundabout volunteer because: I love new writing, plays being performed in interesting spaces and the intimacy the round brings.
My favourite play is: The Night Season
My favourite thing that is round: My scented candles from Ikea
My party trick/an interesting fact about me: At 30 I am finally learning to drive



Name: Ariane Barnes
I want to be a Roundabout volunteer because: I believe in new writing and hope to start writing myself, I want to learn from the best and support them !
My favourite play is: Angels In America by Tony Kushner
My favourite thing that is round: Big Petrol Coloured Marbles
My party trick/an interesting fact about me: I can do a Gremlin voice/ I’m Mauritian Creole !

Calling playwrights: The Traverse 50

Here’s a great opportunity from our friends at The Traverse, with whom we recently co-produced David Harrower’s GOOD WITH PEOPLE as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

As part of The Trav’s 50th anniversary celebrations they are searching for the best voices from Scotland and beyond. They want to find 50 writers who embody the spirit of invention, adventure and risk taking that has come to define the Traverse over the last 50 years.

The Traverse Fifty is a year-long writer’s attachment to the Traverse, featuring   tailor-made events for the writers, including panel discussions, workshops and one-on-one dramaturgy with the artistic team. The programme will culminate in a New Writing Festival featuring the work of the Traverse Fifty. At the end of the process The Traverse will offer three seed commissions.

So The Traverse are looking for 50 brilliant writers of any age, from anywhere, who have had no more than two professional productions staged.

Sounds like a cracking gig to us. Fore more details visit Traverse Fifty.

Go, go, go!

Readings from the Big Room

Though Paines Plough currently has 2 new shows in rehearsal (Roundabout Season London and the UK Tour of London by Simon Stephens) there is plenty of other work still going on and the office is buzzing.

One of our running yearly programmes is The Big Room, which offers bespoke development opportunities to professional playwrights.

As part of the programme we are organising some rehearsed readings this autumn for the 5 playwrights involved – Alice Birch, Elinor Cook, Ella Greenhill, Reuben Johnson, Alistair McDowell. This is a very exciting time for us as a company, working with these extraordinary talented writers at a crucial stage in the life of their work.

First up is Little Light by Alice Birch which has gone into rehearsal this week at Shoreditch Town Hall (where Roundabout Season London is taking place). Alice and the director David Mercatali are spending 4 days rehearsing the play with professional actors, before holding a reading (script in hand) for members of the industry to attend.

We can’t wait to see Little Light and will keep you updated with all the news from The Big Room.


Songs from The Sound Of Heavy Rain

This morning we’re being serenaded through the walls of PPHQ by the cast of THE SOUND OF HEAVY RAIN who are hard at work in the rehearsal room with ace Musical Director Tom Attwood, working on the cabaret numbers that feature in the show.

Penelope Skinner’s play follows Dabrowski PI through the streets of Soho hot on the trail of missing cabaret superstar Foxie O’Hara. Along the way he decends the stairs to neon soaked bars where the mystery thickens as singers take to the microphone.

We thought we’d share some of the songs we’re listening to through the walls, classics one and all. Enjoy!


Excitement is building to fever pitch at PPHQ as we gear up for the biggest project we’ve ever undertaken – a season of three extraordinary new plays in our very own portable, in-the-round pop-up theatre.

Yes indeed, The Roundabout Season is nearly upon us. Six weeks showcasing three new plays by Duncan Macmillan, Nick Payne and Penelope Skinner at Shoreditch Town Hall in our beautiful mini 360 degree auditorium.

We’ll be talking about it quite a lot in the coming weeks, as you can imagine, and we hope you’ll come and see the plays and the theatre and be so excited about it all you’lll want to talk about it too.

So we’ve created some hashtags to streamline those Twitter convos:

The Roundabout Season

One Day When We Were Young


The Sound Of Heavy Rain

So tweet us up @painesplough and let us know what you think of the plays and our gorgeous little theatre.

You can buy tickets for the shows via the National Theatre website.

Nice one. See you there. We can’t wait.


An actor’s life is one of transformation which for some can extend to changes in physical appearance.

One of the stars of Roundabout Season London Alistair Cope (LUNGS and THE SOUND OF HEAVY RAIN) has been keeping us up to date on twitter with preparations for his roles with some dashing pictures to match.

So here is what happens when you shave off your beard, which can then lead to this and even this!

Alistair is now minus beard but ready to take to the stage.

What changes have you had to make for a role? Send us your stories and pictures (if you have them).

If you want more information or to book for the Roundabout Season London click here.


The Alternative Job Market

During the lunch-break for The Sound of Heavy Rain rehearsals we ended up chatting about the part-time jobs which many people in the theatre industry have to do (at least at some point).

This led to a rather interesting discussion of the most alternative jobs the team have done at some point in their lives. Here’s a sample:

– photocopying exam papers

– selling religious books to children

– door to door salesperson

– call centre (the person in question shall remain nameless but they only lasted 4 hours!)

We’d love to hear your experience in the part-time job market – let us know the most different job you’ve done…

If you want more information or to book for the Roundabout Season London click here.