Monthly archives: February 2013

WASTED Rehearsal

This week I sat in one of the WASTED rehearsals.

I got to see James Grieve direct the actors through their choruses and choreograph particular scenes. I found it fascinating how one line could be said in so many ways, the different emotions and feelings it could portray, for example just by altering the tempo and volume of how it was said. The importance of understanding the meaning of every word also came across as significantly effective and James encouraged this strongly and the results were palpable. It showed just how important rehearsals are; they offer a chance for the director and actors to find the correct way to represent exactly what the writer; Kate Tempest is trying to create in order for the play to have the most powerful and positive effect it could have on the audience.

I was even lucky enough to get invited along with the rest of the PP team to witness its entrance back to the stage last night at The Garage in Norwich.
By having the opportunity to sit in rehearsals and then see the play live in action, I have been able to witness the whole producing process that this company has gone through in order to get a play that is admired by many back in business and on the road again, something that was a key objective for me when I first applied for this placement.

TED of the week: Film, on tour.

This talk by Beeban Kidron is a huge inspiration behind our touring ambitions:

“everything i do is terrifying until its done, and then its like, oh right, i can do that”

Kate Tempest reveals all about WASTED and writing plays in 140 characters:

So we’re joined by poet & WASTED writer @katetempest on Twitter for the next 20 mins for our #katetempestwasted #twinterview You there Kate?

@painesplough yep

@katetempest Hoorah. Thanks for chatting to us today, we’re SO excited WASTED reopens on Monday. Where did idea for the play come from?

@painesplough it was something i’d been thinking about for a while, it came from life, from my friends. hopefully people will feel that
@painesplough everyone i knew seemed to be going through the same process, wanting to make decisions about their lives but not being able to
@painesplough it’s not a judgement though. there’s a lot of love in it

@katetempest So is the play based on people you know?

@painesplough its just honest. its not intentionally based on people i know, but it comes from them.
@painesplough everything i do is informed by the people i love and have grown up with, in WASTED especially but the characters are fictional
@painesplough it’s about us. whether thats my us, or your us, or someone else’s us, hopefully everyone can relate to that feeling

@katetempest how did you find the transition between writing for your own performance and writing for other people? Challenging?

@painesplough it was a massive challenge. james grieve was amazing, very supportive. i was petrified the whole way through
@painesplough it’s been so great for my writing though to learn about theatre
@painesplough i feel like i’ve learned a whole new language. WASTED has been one of the most exhilarating things to have been a part of
@painesplough hearing the actors speak my words has been humbling and exciting.
@painesplough they keep finding nuances i never meant to be there. it makes me feel very smart

@katetempest has your writing style changed since you started writing plays?

@painesplough yeah it has. it’s been such a confidence boost. coz james really believed i could do it, and i didnt. but then we did it
@painesplough i think about story differently. i feel like i’m just beginning to find my way with my writing.
@painesplough everything i do is terrifying until its done, and then its like, oh right, i can do that.
@painesplough and i’d never writen narrative before. now it crops up in all my poems

@katetempest interesting. Who are your influences other than the people directly around you? Are there any writers you really like?

@painesplough i like lots of writers. i think if you want to write, you have to read.
@painesplough i like roberto bolano, william faulker, james joyce, carson mcullers, e.l doctorow, christopher logue
@painesplough but i also feel very influenced by the music i love and the rappers i listen to
@painesplough i read poetry, plays, novels, history books, i listen to beethoven and gravediggaz and make no distinction between them
@painesplough i would say that if you want to be a writer, you need to write. all the time. and dont worry if its shit.
@painesplough the shitter it is, the better, because it means you’re learning your craft
@painesplough you shouldnt be afraid of getting it wrong, because that will stop you ever trying and then you’ll never get it right
@painesplough i would say use your experiences and be honest, even when you’re making characters up, be real with them.

@katetempest great advice to aspiring writers. What other tips would you give writers who wanted to get into theatre?

@painesplough most important piece of advice i could give is to FINISH THINGS.
@painesplough there’s a difference between writers with ideas, and writers who finish things. ideas are safe, because they can never fail
@painesplough but finishing work is what makes you a writer. it will never live up to the idea. but once its finished, you can move on
@painesplough you grow as a writer through finishing things. if you are an aspring playwright. write a play.

@katetempest where is your favourite place to write?

@painesplough i’ll write anywhere. i like to be high up and looking out at london. thats cool. but anywhere is good if i have the feeling
@painesplough i like writing in places where there are lots of people. i love looking at people talking to each other
@painesplough i used to write a lot in the pub, but all the poems started coming out the same. squiggly about 2 pages in…

@katetempest do you have a favourite line in WASTED?

@painesplough i dont have a favourite line. some lines still really make me cringe. but i love what the actors do
@painesplough lizzy watts makes the lines i’ve written into something i never imagined they could be and i like the way Cary says everything
@painesplough not the word ‘everything’ but all the words he has to say.
@painesplough i think thats our time. thanks PP. last thing to say is that WASTED is fucking brilliant and everyone should go… :)
@painesplough do you have a favourite line in WASTED?

@katetempest Thanks Kate. Been great chatting. ‘Bish bash bosh there ya go.’

@painesplough been a pleasure. well bosh :)

Fran’s first month @ PP

I am a third year student studying Managing Performance at the University of Leeds and currently on my Year in Industry and I have been privileged enough to gain a place at Paines Plough for 6 months as the Administrative Assistant.

Feeling like a fully-fledged member of the Paines Plough family, I have now entered my second month of interning at the Paines Plough office at the same time as celebrating my 21st birthday! After an incredible introduction to the company (along with a lot of cake and chocolate), I am very keen to find out what else is in store and I know I certainly won’t be disappointed.

My first month at Paines Plough has already provided me with some incredible experiences. Not only do I feel like a valued member of a team of professionals that I truly respect and admire, I have also been given an invaluable opportunity to see the real day to day tasks and events that occur in such a thriving and dynamic theatre company.

Currently I am now working on the first ever Paines Plough ‘Individual Handbooks’, a responsibility which I take great pride in. I will be interviewing and videoing all staff members on their idea of what their job entails, then coupled together with extensive research I aim to collate all useful information on job roles, processes and problems into a easy and digestible format that can be used for any future employees.

During this project I will also be producing helpful and interesting insights into the life of a Producer, Director, General Manger and Administrator, so keep an eye out on our Insights blog if you’re an inspiring theatre professional and want to get a better idea of what really goes on behind the scenes in an award-winning, nationally and internationally renowned touring theatre company.

Whilst I am confident that I can create a useful yet unique insight into each role, I am more than content with the immeasurable amount of experience I will gain through the process and the incredible opportunity I have been given by Paines Plough to develop my skill set further. This internship is proving to me that I am in an industry that is right for me and that I am extremely lucky to be in a company that allows me to express my crazy ideas and learn from all of their knowledge.


We’re thrilled to announce that the fourth production of Programme 2013 is David Harrower’s GOOD WITH PEOPLE which opens on Wednesday 27th March at 59 East 59 Theatrers, New York.

We co-commissioned the play with Oran Mor in 2010 as part of A Play, A Pie and A Pint and toured it from Glasgow to Edinburgh, Coventry, Newcastle and Dublin.

There was such demand amongst Scottish audiences that the production was then revived in partnership with Datum Point and the Traverse, alongside THE LETTER OF LAST RESORT by David Greig, as the centre-piece of the latter’s 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Programme. A sold out run saw the critics lavish praise on both the play and our AD George’s production.

Now New York audiences will have a chance to see the show as it plays 3 1/2 weeks as part of both Brits Off Broadway and Tartan Week.

You can read all about the life of the production so far here.

To book tickets, click here.

Calling all playwrights: The George Devine Award

Since Paines Plough is the national theatre of new plays, we thought it only appropriate to publicise one of the biggest awards going for playwrights going: The George Devine Award.

Tom Wells won it last year, who we’re currently working with on Jumpers for Goalposts. Then Penny Skinner and Nick Payne before him, who wrote two of our Roundabout Shows – The Sound of Heavy Rain and One Day When We Were Young.

The award is worth £15000 and is open to any promising playwright for an original stage play, which need not have been produced.

To enter, applicants must send two copies of the play, plus an outline of their work to:

Harriet Devine,
9 Lower Mall,
W6 9DJ.

The closing date is 1st March 2013. So get writing!

Lines about love

Last year on Valentine’s Day we asked our Twitter followers for their favourite lines about love. It proved one of our most popular tweet-ups ever, with an outpouring of loved-up lines filling our feed with romance (and lust).

You can check out 2012’s top entries here.

And if you want to add your own, tweet us up @painesplough with the hashtag #LinesAboutLove.

Here are a couple we love from our forthcoming shows…

“Shit start. But it was everything after that, you know. Mattered. Just ordinary stuff. Trying. Having a laugh. Fucking up. Ploughing on. Arguing, not arguing. It’s boring except it’s not boring cos inside you it’s all bloody, swirling around all, massive, and, and messy. Brilliant.

“It’s hard, innit, life. It’s tough. And loving someone, that’s hard too. It’s not meant to be roses and blow jobs forever. It’s fucking hard work. It’s commitment mate. It’s knowing the kind of day she’s had just by hearing the way her key turns in the door.
Ted – WASTED by Kate Tempest

Andrew Lloyd Webber backs Roundabout

We are delighted to be the recipients of generous donation from The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to support the build of the permanent, touring ROUNDABOUT AUDITORIUM.

The Foundation has donated £150,000 towards our dream theatre – a fully self-contained in-the-round auditorium that will flat pack into a lorry and pop up anywhere from theatres to school halls and sports centres, in every corner of the country.

Round and Round we go.... Design Lucy Osborne

In October 2011 we built a prototype of the auditorium which housed three new plays by three of UK’s hottest writers – Duncan Macmillan, Nick Payne and Penelope Skinner. The protoype and the plays had their first outing at Sheffield Theatres, with whom we co-produced the season.

We then brought the prototype and the season of plays to Shoreditch Town Hall in Autumn 2012.

Thanks to the generous support of The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, we can now build a permanent, portable Roundabout Auditorium, fulfilling our long-held ambition to tour the very best new plays to every corner of the UK, to both established theatre spaces, and non traditional theatre venues.

Designed by Lucy Osborne (with lighting by Emma Chapman), the 111 seat venue will be built using sustainable materials and will flat pack into a single lorry and can pop up in any space from existing theatres to village and school halls, community and sport centres, warehouses and even parks.

Madeleine Lloyd Webber, Foundation Trustee, said:

“The Foundation is very proud to be funding this completely innovative performing space for Paines Plough.

“Paines Plough brings excellent theatrical productions to regions across the UK and we hope the new space will help enhance the work they already do.  Providing opportunities for everyone to have positive artistic experiences is a priority for the Foundation, so we encourage others to give to arts projects that make an impact on communities across the UK.”

Our ADs James and George said:

“We are hugely grateful to The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation for its game-changing support of The Roundabout Auditorium. We are thrilled the Foundation shares our passion for finding new ways to enable more people around the country to experience new plays. Its support will play a major role in making Roundabout possible, meaning our pop-up in-the-round touring amphitheatre will hit the road with a repertory of three outstanding new plays, offering audiences everywhere a unique theatrical experience.

“For years to come, the best new plays will turn up on people’s doorsteps in theatres, school halls, sports centres, warehouses and even parks. The ALW Foundation is supporting us to make this touring revolution possible, and we are galvanised as we seek to build a legacy of enjoyment of new plays in every corner of Britain. ”

The ROUNDABOUT AUDITORIUM has also been generously supported by:


18 anonymous donors
Alice Flynn & Family
Angela Cory
Caroline Mathison
Caroline Newling
David Lan
Deborah Joseph
Emma Keele
Emma Perrin
George Perrin
Gillian Kirk
Glen Pearce
Hannah Rodger
Hilary Puxley & Michael Crane
James Atkinson
Jemma Gardner
Jon & NoraLee Sedmak
Maggie Cronin
Micha Colombo
Rachael Hilton
Richard Wilson
Sandra Wilkinson
Zarine Kharas
Zoe Crick


Garfield Weston Foundation
John Ellerman Found

Without the generous support of Trusts and Foundations and individual donors, we simply couldn’t do what we do. We are truly grateful to all our supporters. If you would like to support us, we’d love to hear from you.

Read more about Roundabout on our blog.

Insights – Wasted, Day 1

No matter how many of them you do – day one of rehearsals always feels like the first day of school. It’s that heady mix of expectation, nerves and a smattering of excitement. Granted, WASTED has been around a few years now and has the boasts and bruises to prove it, but there are some new kids in class  a whole new stomping ground to tour.

Yesterday, our office on the Aldwych opened its heavy glass door to the first production of 2013. The endless phone calls, Spotlight print outs and publisher deadlines were all for this. As cast, creatives and Team PP marched up four flights of stairs and filed into the rehearsal room, you could feel the first day buzz.

Slightly later than planned (who’d have thunk it) we kick off around the circle with the usual intros – what’s your name and what’s your role? Cue familiar nods and intrigued glances. There’s little glamour in it – no embossed name badges or extended spiels. Just a group of people in a room trying not to draw too much attention to themselves:

Call to arms done, and we’re off into the first reading. This is a chance for everyone involved in the production to hear Kate’s words being spoken by those who are going to do so for the next couple of months. Although there is no pressure on Bradley, Cary and Lizzy to ‘act’ per se, I cannot imagine it’s particularly relaxing to read in such close quarters to everyone else. Still though, it’s a necessary evil of most first days.

With the readthrough, the whole room is reminded of why we’re here in the first place. And it’s an odd feeling of enjoying what’s there already, whilst thinking ahead to what it will be like when it reaches its potential. An early lunch break is then called (it’s an hour long show after all) for the actors so that the production team can chat.

Being well versed in poetry is one thing, but trying to make sense of every intricacy of technical language is another matter altogether. That’s especially true when your show is as AV heavy as Wasted is set to be. It’s always surprising how late on big decisions can be made in theatre, and today was no exception. There’s support of the road for everyone travelling, but during the meeting, lighting desks and monitors were discussed and debated, only for further research to be done before a decision can be made.

Lunch provides everyone with a chance to run off and do what they should have done earlier, and catch up on mobile silence for the past few hours. Most of the creatives won’t return for the afternoon, so now was also the chance to catch those they needed to, before everyone is in the same room again in a couple of weeks’ time.

The afternoon session is spent with Kate, isolating each scene and going through line-by-line with a fine toothcomb. Punctuation and word choice have to be exact before the final version is emailed to the publishers, so Kate and the company discuss and refine and revise, launchinglong conversations about the world of the play, the specifics of the characters and the intricacies of Kate’ extraordinary rhythm and rhynme.

So that’s the end of day one. Names have faces and the challenge is set. There’s a lot of work to do but it all feels much more vital with rehearsals underway.

Can’t wait.

TED of the week: The true power of the performing arts

This week’s ‘TED of the week’ features a compelling case for the performing arts from Ben Cameron: