Monthly archives: April 2013

Get Wasted in your local

Kate Tempest’s rave theatre smash hit WASTED has already completed two nationwide tours, visiting 43 places around the UK from Lancaster to Luton to Lyme Regis.

And there’s no stopping there.

WASTED will hit the road once again this Autumn in response to unprecendented popular demand. As long as you guys want to see the show, we’ll keep on touring it.

But where shall we send Ted, Danny and Charlotte next? They’ve been to Frome and Bromsgrove and even Aberdeen. Folkestone, Bracknell and Crewe.

So we want tips on where to go next. If you’d like to get WASTED in your local theatre this Autumn, we want to hear from you. Hit us up with an invite to your home town and we’ll have a go at getting the show to you.

Tweet us @painesplough, leave a message on our Facebook group, or send us an email.

Tell us where you live, the name of your local theatre, and we’ll do our best to do the rest.

Meantime, check out the WASTED trailer here, or browse our Flickr gallery.

This is it.

New York, New York

GOOD WITH PEOPLE closed in New York last week after a sell-out run as part of 59 East 59 Theaters’ annual Brits Off Broadway festival which brings together an eclectic mix of (mainly new) work and is one of the only platforms in the city for smaller-scale British productions (alongside the Public Theater’s Under The Radar festival and Carol Tambor’s annual Edinburgh to NYC transfer award).

GOOD WITH PEOPLE is the third show we have presented at Brits Off Broadway since the festival’s inception nearly ten years ago, following Gregory Burke’s THE STRAITS in 2004 and Dennis Kelly’s AFTER THE END in 2006.

Highlights of this year’s festival programme include Rob Drummond’s BULLET CATCH and BULL by PP Associate Playwright Mike Bartlett, which is directed by ONE DAY WHEN WE WERE YOUNG director Clare Lizzimore and produced by our friends at Sheffield Theatres.

In fact, PP has its prints firmly smudged all over New York at the moment.

Ex-Associate Director John Tiffany has two shows running on Broadway, a one-man MACBETH starring Alan Cumming and the critically acclaimed ONCE, which is authored by one-time PP Associate Playwright Enda Walsh and will soon star our brilliant 2012 Research Intern Jo Christie (who James and George first worked with on the 2005 Old Vic New Voices 24 Hour Plays). Meanwhile Dennis Kelly’s version of Matilda has just opened to triumphant reviews.

Needless to say, it’s a fantastic city to present theatre in, and in which to spend a few days. So while most of team PP were opening JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS in Watford, it was left to Joint Artistic George along with creative team Ben Stones and Tim Deiling to forage the city on our behalf in search of the finest sights, theatre and burgers the Big Apple has to offer.

Their favourite show by far was Amy Herzog’s BELLEVILLE at New York Theatre Workshop. We first met Amy at the Orchard Project in Hunter, up-state New York. We were out there with Laurence Wilson and Joel Horwood, developing work. Amy was there working on several plays, including 4,000 Miles which – after a sell-out run on Broadway – has just opened in the UK at the Ustinov in Bath. Directed by Artistic Director designate of Northampton Royal and Derngate Theatres James Dacre, the British production transfers to West London’s Print Room next month. Without doubt Amy is a major new voice in American playwriting and, along with writers like Annie Baker and Katori Hall, now finally has a well-deserved UK premiere. Trust us when we say you don’t want to miss it.

Sadly we didn’t manage to see Annie’s play THE FLICK which, alongside BELLEVILLE, was the talk of the town.

Meanwhile, ‘Best Burger’ goes to (drumroll) the Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridian hotel. Thanks to Stacey Sampson (@OurStace) for the recommendation. It’s a low-fi, in-and-out little hideaway, nestled secretly (but for an illuminated neon picture of a burger) behind a plush red curtain in the marble opulence of the hotel foyer. Simple ingredients executed to perfection for a great price in an great atmosphere, served with plastic beakers of Sam Adams. Surely that’s what a New York burger is all about.

We also tried: the 5 Napkin burger thanks to Louise Miles-Crust (@loumilcru), whose twist on the classic cheese-burger was to include a smothering of aioli; the classic burger at PJ Clarkes, which was a pale version of what it once was; Corner Bistro’s cheese burger which hit the spot in a hurry; Shake Shack’s special which ran in a close second; and finally the burger at the Standard Hotel Bar and Grill, which designer Ben gave a big five stars to but which we ultimately marked down on price.

The Highline was the tourist attraction of choice amongst the team. A rail-road that has been converted in to a city park that runs about 20 blocks on the lower west side it offers an unparalleled perspective on the city and a great place to catch respite from the bustle four stories below.

And bar-of-the-week, for entertainment value alone, has to be Marie’s Crisis in the West Village, where the entire bar gather around a piano to sing show-tunes together late in to the night.

I want to wake up in a city,

That doesn’t sleep,

To find I’m king of the hill,

Head of the list,

Cream of the crop

At the top of the heap.

New York, New York.

[GOOD WITH PEOPLE featured as part of Brits Off Broadway with the kind and generous support of Creative Scotland and Made In Scotland.]

A playwright’s guide to Plymouth

Tom Nicholas

Freedom Fields Park.  

I was born in the now closed Freedom Fields hospital not far from here.  Although I’ve lived a lot of my life over in Cornwall, twenty years later I’ve found myself living just five minutes down the road.  Oddly, I’m not even sure where the hospital was which gives me extremely conflicted feelings every time I come to the park.  The thing that’s dragged me here more recently (and which inspired my Come To Where I’m From piece) is the monument which stands in the park to those who fought in the Battle of Freedom Fields in 1643.  Being born in the vicinity, and sharing somewhat similar republican sentiments, I’ve always felt a bit of a connection with these young men who fought, and died, in defence of defiantly parliamentarian Plymouth.

Ebrington Street.

When me and my mate Hugh were younger this was the home of ‘Super Super Street Shop’ (Prime) which we’d often venture to to look at clothes we couldn’t afford and weren’t quite cool enough to wear.  Later it became the route to my girlfriend Katy’s house.  Nowadays it’s my home.  It’s long been the slightly hip, metropolitan street of Plymouth but recently Tesco and the immanent arrival of Sainsbury’s has lead to a lot of the smaller shops closing down.  Even Jack Chams (underneath my shared flat), Plymouth’s favourite punk hangout, has recently shut up shop.  When hundreds of student flats open up next year even more of the heart of this fabulous street will be gone and, I for for one, will be extremely sad.  Long live the butchers and its lovely garlic and herb sausages.

The Drum Theatre.

This was perhaps the first bit of Plymouth I really knew.  When I was a member of the Theatre Royal Young Company I died a couple of times on that stage (possibly in both senses of the term), drank a lot of horrible imitation whisky (one part flat own-brand cola and four parts water, incase you’d like to try it yourself at home), and made an awful lot of friends.  This was the building that taught me to love theatre.  The Drum, and TR2, often felt like home and even had the same telephone prefix as my parents house in Crafthole (albeit with a different area code).  I’ve always jumped at the chance to return to that stage (and thank you to Paines Plough for letting me do so of CTWIF) and hope I may get to do so again some day in the future.

Danny Strike

Wembury Church and Bay-spent much of my childhood playing there. Later it became the starting point for one of my favourite walks which has a lovely combination of coastal path and woodland. I also came to appreciate its history and architecture and also developed a fascination for these lonely, wind swept holy places.

The Barbican- have always loved this medieval/Elizabethan quarter with its bars, coffee shops, rough edge and cosmopolitan touches –it teems with history, and when I stand and think of the seafarers that have passed through here-well!

Barbican Theatre and Theatre Royal-two very different theatres. I work regularly in both as well as enjoying their varied programmes. Memories, friends and moving moments-places of magic, laughter and tears.

Hannah Silva

My favourite thing about Plymouth is the water and the sky. I love it when they’re the same colour. We walk on the Esplanade, West Hoe most days – it’s just up the steps from where we live and we take our dog there. When I return to Plymouth after being in London for a while, I feel like I get my breath back when I look at the sea.

Gin Distillery in the Barbican….Hardly ever go because it’s expensive but they do the best cocktails. With gin in them.  Had a good one called ‘Seven Bells’ once.

A literary night run by Rachel Gipetti at the Plymouth Social Club. Rachel started this night recently, and I’ve only been once so far. But there are writers there! In Plymouth! Lots of them! And the Social Club is as Plymouth as it gets.

Glenn Waldron

Royal William Yard

The former Royal Naval buildings at the mouth of the River Tamar are quite beautiful in an often-used-as-a-backdrop-for-blokey-period-dramas-starring-Sean-Bean kind of way. There’s a great bakery here and – gentrification ahoy – a River Cottage Canteen. On a clear day, you can also catch a ferry that will take you around Plymouth Sound to the Barbican. (On a not-so-clear day, you can also do this if you want but it’ll probably be quite crap). Oh and the Yard recently played host to an exhibition of abstract expressionist art by Timmy Mallett. Sold.

Plymouth Arts Centre

A longtime cultural hub for Plymouth, the place has been pleasingly tarted-up in recent years with a rather nice café, which, unlike the rest of Plymouth, doesn’t seem to have an almost-primal obsession with paninis. And the cinema now shows films only approximately three weeks later than everyone else – progress. It’s also a great place to see Chumbawumba play live (circa 7 June 1995).

Quay 33

A nice little restaurant serving genuinely alright, not-too-expensive food on the Barbican, one of the most picturesque bits of The ‘Muff. It’s also just around the corner from the Gin Distillery and the Dolphin Inn, an iconic-yet-downright-scary Plymouth landmark. Nabokov’s Joe Murphy is particularly partial to the ‘Three Way’ Chicken Appetiser, FYI.


British writing takes centre stage in Uruguay

A couple of weeks ago Anthony Fletcher got in contact with PP to say he was going to see Mike Bartlett’s CONTRACTIONS in Montevideo, Uruguay and would we like to hear how it is received. Following our intrigue from LOVE, LOVE, LOVE in Argentina we were all pretty excited to hear what the production was like and how it went down and Anthony has very kindly written us a guest blog all about it:

Contractions at El Gapon in Montevideo

Mario Ferreira has recently finished his second stint as Artistic Director of the Comedia Nacional, Uruguay’s National Theatre. He is an unabashed fan of British writing. He is also, like many Uruguayan directors, on a constant search for new plays and playwrights. At the end of last year he stumbled across the work of Mike Bartlett. Cock had already been performed in Buenos Aires, but he came across a translation of Contractions. The play grabbed him, immediately. He took it to the city’s second largest theatre, El Galpon, and they agreed to stage it.

Bartlett is not the only British author whose work is currently being staged at El Galpon. Another recent hit was Mike Leigh’s Ecstasy, which won numerous awards. Perhaps less surprisingly, plays by Ayckbourn and Pinter have also been recently staged. But El Galpon is only one of the city’s many theatres. Montevideo, a city of 1.5 million inhabitants, apparently has more theatres per capita than Paris. An eclectic range of writers, South American, European and beyond are staged, but the British have staked a large claim. In January you could pick and choose from Bartlett, Leigh, Pinter, Caryl Churchill. Last year Blackbird by David Harrower was a surprise hit, and the Comedia staged the first Latin American production of Simon Stephens’ Harper Regan.

Elizabeth Vignoli and Guadalupe Pimienta

There are several reasons for this British success. Various local writers have attended the Royal Court’s international program, others have worked with Stephens at Sala Beckett in Barcelona. The legacy of both Pinter and Ayckbourn is also strong. But Mario ascribes it to the quality of the writing. He suggests that British writers have a capacity to create narratives that succeed in speaking about the way people live today, engaging with the modern world, in a humane and surprising fashion. Contractions, with its twisted view of the modern workplace, being a case in point. He views Bartlett’s office-bound play as a metaphor for the way in which the modern world is constantly demanding we make compromises in order to obtain something (ie a standard of living) which is not as beneficial as it first appears.

The fact that Bartlett’s play can translate so effortlessly and with such resonance to a culture so distinct from the UK reflects the way drama can cross borders within a globalised world. In a theatre-crazy city, the appetite of British writers to create narratives which reflect the contemporary human condition shines through.

INSIGHTS: Post Show Q&A with the JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS company

Earlier this week, JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS writer, Tom Wells, director James Grieve, and the cast, took to the stage at Watford Palace Theatre for a post show chat. An opportunity for the audience to ask questions to the company and get to know more about the play.

We caught it on a trusty flip cam and put it on YouTube for all to have a watch:

JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS ends its run at Watford Palace Theatre this Saturday 20th April. Tickets are £12.50 and £5 for under 26s. Get your tickets here.

#Twinterview with Tom Wells

This week JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS writer Tom Wells took over our twitter for twenty minutes to do a wee #twinterview with Watford Palace Theatre. From fish trails to five aside football, here’s what Tom had to say:

Are you a shark or anchovy kinda guy?

@painesplough What gave you the idea for #Jump4Goal?

Tom Wells/ @Paines Plough
@watfordpalace I wanted to write a group of gay characters, 5-a-side seemed a good way to bring them together #jump4goal
@watfordpalace & I thought a scruffy northern romcom would be fun #jump4goal

@painesplough It certainly is fun! #Jump4goal
@painesplough You’re writing is very true to real-life speech, tell us about the process #Jump4Goal

Tom Wells/ @Paines Plough
@watfordpalace I read it out loud as I go along & try to be careful with rhythm but it’s the actors who make it sound natural. #jump4goal
@watfordpalace They do the hard bit. #jump4goal

@painesplough Cool, James Grieve once said you write about underdogs. Are you drawn to these characters? #Jump4Goal

Tom / @Paines Plough
@watfordpalace They just keep popping up. Don’t know why. #Jump4Goal

@painesplough Well they seem to work for you ;) #Jump4goal
@painesplough So tell us, is the Hull fish trail a real thing, have you ever been on it? #Jump4goal

Tom Wells /@Paines Plough
@watfordpalace Yes I have followed Hull’s unique pavement of fish. Some people go straight for the shark. I started at anchovies #Jump4Goal

@painesplough Brilliant, love anchovies #jump4goal
@painesplugh Beardy is a fan of the drunken lunge, what’s your flirt style? #Jump4Goal

Tom Wells/ @PainesPlough
@watfordpalace Low-level panic. If that’s a style. I’m no Beardy, sadly – I’ve lunged and lost. #Jump4Goal

@painesplough Better to have lunged and lost, I say! #Jump4goal
@painesplough And finally, Tell us about your next project #Jump4Goal

Tom Wells / @Paines Plough
@watfordpalace Next job is Cosmic, a new play touring youth centres and village halls in Hull / E. Yorks in May. #Jump4Goal
@watfordpalace Should be lovely. #Jump4Goal

@Watford Palace
@painesplough We’re sure it will be! Best of luck and congratulations on such an awesome play. #Jump4Goal


JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS runs until 20th April 2013 at Watford Palace Theatre and tours nationwide in the Autumn.

In Battalions … still on the attack

You might remember a blog we did on the challenge that playwright Fin Kennedy was set by Ed Vaizey – to prove that cuts made to Arts Council England are having a dramatic impact on the culture of new writing within the UK.

The final report, which has been endorsed by signatories far and wide, came to the damning conclusion that reductions to the arts budget are having financial and cultural implications that are more deep-felt than initially expected. As well as this, a press release was produced to summarise the key findings again with the backing of several leading figures.

Venues that champion and commission new writers provide the lifeblood of most of the writing that takes place within the UK. Behind every writer that lands a three month run at the National, or who can churn off series after award-winning series for channel four, or who is discovering their voice on the Fringe, is a support network that has been built over years in cities across the country.

Sadly, it would seem that Vaizey is taking a vow of silence on the matter. Equipped with the report, there is still no answer from the Minister. Subsequently, an open letter has been sent to remind him of the matter, to no avail.

The missive from Fin is to make this silence public until it is broken. Arts organisations and individuals are encouraged to read and disseminate the above information. Only then can a conversation be struck up, which will then lead to greater understanding for both sides.

JUMPERS scores Five Stars

Last week we opened Tom Wells’ hilarious and heartwarming new rom com JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS at Watford Palace Theatre, in co-production with Watford Palace and Hull Truck.

We’re delighted to report the critics are united, and it’s a winner…

Here’s a round up of some of the reviews so far:

“Wells has given us another winner…Unreservedly recommended.”
★★★★★ Independent

“You won’t know whether to laugh or cry (you’ll probably do both).”
★★★★★ Public Reviews

“Tom Wells’s radiantly warm new play… effortlessly moving and twinkling with wit, in a huge-hearted production from James Grieve. Gorgeous.”
★★★★ The Times (Paywall)

“Humane, funny and poignant…some TV company will soon be offering Wells a transfer. Watch him live while you can.”
★★★★ Sunday Times (Paywall)

“Tom Wells’ drama finds extraordinary beauty in the ordinary lives of its characters.”
★★★★ Financial Times

“A surprising, spirited new comedy…it opens its characters’ hearts, and it cracked open mine.”
★★★★ Sunday Express

“Balancing the comic with the emotionally touching…scores a number of goals.”

“The comedy is lively, often uproarious…a stunning piece of writing – fresh, funny, painful, engaging.”
The Stage

JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS plays at Watford Palace Theatre (a 15 minute train from London Euston on Oyster Card) until Saturday 20th April. Tickets are only £12.50 & £5 for 16-25s as part of WPT’s Rumour Scheme.

Get tickets at or call the box office on 01923 225671.

The play opens at Hull Truck Theatre this autumn before touring nationwide. Keep an eye on our website for dates.

Rumour has it…

…that Watford Palace Theatre are doing £5, yes FIVE POUND, tickets for 16-25 year olds throughout the run of Tom Wells’ JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS, which ends this Saturday 20th April.

Rumour is Watford Palace Theatre’s free young person’s membership scheme. Members get £5 theatre tickets, £4 film tickets, 20% off food and drink at the theatre, and access to exclusive events and offers.

What’s that you say? Bargain? Yep, we know. And only a hop, skip and jump away on a train from London Euston and Clapham Junction? AND you can use your Oyster Card to get there? Yes, really, we know. Sign up to get your £5 tickets here, and we’ll see you in Watford!

All other tickets are £12.50, you can get yours here or from the box office by calling 01923 225671.

TED(s)-of-the-week: Work/Life Balance

Here at PP it is very important to us that everyone who works for the company strives for a healthy work/life balance.

In an industry known for its long hours, working evenings and weekends and complete lack of lunch breaks, it’s common to encounter some form of burn-out – especially given that most theatre organisations are ambitiously reaching for a standard and volume of output often just slightly beyond their theoretical means.

So we were hugely inspired then, when we watched these two TED talks about the importance and value of a healthy work/life balance.