Monthly archives: February 2014

HOPELESSLY DEVOTED production photos

After opening HOPELESSLY DEVOTED to a very excited audience at The Garage last Wednesday, we made our way to The Phoenix Theatre in Bordon, and serenaded audiences by the sea at Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis.

Our nationwide tour now in full swing, we’re kicking off week two at Key Theatre in Peterborough tomorrow. To view the  full list of venues on our tour, click here.

In the mean-time, here’s a look at a selection of production shots from the show. For the full set, visit our Flickr page.

All images by Richard Davenport

Join us online:

@painesplough #KTHopelesslyDevoted

Friday Feature – Blast from the Past

This week’s PP blast from the past is CRAVE, the iconic play by Sarah Kane, directed by Vicky Featherstone.

Last Thursday Feb 20 marked Sarah Kane’s 15 year death anniversary. Though a short career, between 1995 to 1999 Kane created work that was always innovative, challenging, and incredibly visceral.

So today, we revisit an incredible talent – one we’re honoured to have as part of our PP history – and a production we’re very proud of.

A letter from Sarah Kane to former PP Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone.

Thoughts/comments? Join us online:


#PP40 #PPblastfromthepast


The HOPELESSLY DEVOTED gang spared some time between rehearsals to give us a quick insight into their characters. Have a look!

In rehearsals with…HOPELESSLY DEVOTED

As our HOPELESSLY DEVOTED nationwide tour opens at The Garage in Norwich this Wednesday Feb 26, feast your eyes on these great snaps from rehearsals at PP HQ.

To view all photos, visit our Flickr page.



Photos by Richard Davenport

Insights with the cast of HOPELESSLY DEVOTED

It’s now just ONE day until show-time.

Our Spring tour of HOPELESSLY DEVOTED officially kicks off at The Garage tomorrow, February 26, before winging its way to an extensive list of places all across the country.

But to tie you over as you await the arrival of Kate Tempest‘s latest lyrical firecracker at a venue near you, here are some insights with the brilliant.


For full details on our nationwide tour, click here.

Have you seen the show trailer?

Join in the twitter discussion with: @painesplough #KTHopelesslyDevoted

Weekly Friday Feature: Blast from the Past

As we’re celebrating 4 decades on the road, we thought it fitting to start a weekly feature revisiting the wonderful people, productions and places that turned PP into what it is today.

So, this week’s Blast from the Past is AFTER THE END by award-winning writer Dennis Kelly.

Thoughts to share? Join in the twitter conversation with @painesplough #ppblastfromthepast


40th Platform at the Shed

A few weeks ago, we held a platform event at the National Theatre Shed as a lead-up to our Programme 2014 announcement. 

Stephen Jeffreys, John Tiffany, Fiona Victory and Harriet Walter joined our ADs James Grieve and George Perrin in sharing tales of 40 years on the road, and discussing PP’s rise in becoming the national theatre of new plays.

Have a look at some photos from the event below.

For the full set, visit our flickr page.

Have you seen Programme 2014 yet? Click here to check out our brand new season of shows.


Images by Alex Brenner


It’s week two of HOPELESSLY DEVOTED at PP HQ, which means we have some pretty exciting content of the lyrical explosion type to share with you. Starting with the official, spanking new trailer.

Feast your eyes on this below:

HOPELESSLY DEVOTED rehearsals begin

We’re delighted to be welcoming both old and new faces to PP HQ this week!

Our offices are serenaded with lyrical poetry and live music from dusk til dawn, which can only mean one thing: rehearsals for Kate Tempest’s HOPELESSLY DEVOTED are now in  full-swing. Our wonderful cast and crew are working to blow you away at our upcoming Spring tour, opening Feb 26th. Stand by!

Did you know: we’re now Hopelessly Devoted to…Instagram. Follow our daily visual narrative and all updates with #KTHopelesslyDevoted

PP x

First full cast read-through

The Future of Small-Scale Touring

Two weeks ago, in partnership with ITC, PANDA and Manchester Royal Exchange, we hosted a symposium to explore the future of small scale touring. The responses to a survey we conducted in 2013 highlighted a uniformity of issues amongst companies, artists and venues throughout the sector, including audiences taking less risk on new work, an unsustainable financial model and challenges in maintaining consistently high production values.

We invited producers, artists, venue programmers and touring companies to discuss the ways in which we can meet these challenges head on with inventive and strategic solutions.The day was split into three sections; New Touring Models and Approaches to Tourbooking, Data and Audiences, and Working in Partnership; and each section was delivered through a series of TED style talks, which shared practical and applicable ideas.

Opening the event, Louise Blackwell and Kate McGrath from Fuel, presented New Theatre In Your Neighbourhood and highlighted their use of local “Theatre Adventurers” as a way to start conversations with local audiences. Their speech concluded with a call to arms: “when you get back to your towns and cities invite three new key members of your community to see a show in your favourite venue and meet them for a drink before or after the show and ask them what they thought”.

‘Conversation’ was a recurring theme throughout the day, instigated by key note speaker Vikki Heywood. She asked: “how much are we talking to our audiences about what they want?”

The need for local ambassadors to encourage and broker these conversations with audiences was then echoed by BAC‘s Katie Roberts and Fevered Sleep‘s Sophie Eustace, both of whom create touring work to reach new and young audiences. Sophie said “we’re making meaningful touring partnerships rather than just asking venues to present the work. So there is a shared ownership of the project and an excitement and belief in the work.”

Paines Plough joint Artistic Director George Perrin discussed similar consultative relationships with venues through Paines Plough’s small-scale network and the development of a portable small-scale in-the-round auditorium, which will embed itself in local communities and lend its space to local artists, as well as playing a repertory of new plays on tour.

On taking work out of traditional theatre spaces, Chris O’Connell from the Shop Front Theatre said “being at the shop has helped us make a point of having conversations with our audiences and understanding what they can afford, what they like, and what they can pay. We’re not retailers like other shop keepers, but we welcome people at the door, we trade experiences, build relationships with our audiences and have conversations.”

On touring in rural Scotland, Neil Murray of NTS asked “how can we change the demographic of audiences?” and introduced Five Minute Theatre – plays by anyone, for anyone – as their means to bridge an ever widening social gap.

Contact Theatre‘s Artistic Director Mat Fenton presented the need for internal collaboration through multiple programmers and artistic visions, to enable a socially diverse programme of work.

Sam Eccles introduced the The Touring Network, an on-line tool to enable more efficient rural tour booking in Scotland. A similar database to that of partnership touring network HOUSE, which Mark Makin presented while emphasising a fundamental need for shared risk between venues and touring companies.

This financial sharing of risk was later reaffirmed by ITC‘s Charlotte Jones, who in reference the #illshowyoumine campaign said “we cannot keep pretending it’s acceptable to work for nothing,” and suggested that the Arts Council help level the playing field, calling for re-distribution of funding across the UK.

But it wasn’t all about money. Warwick Arts Centre‘s Matt Burnham and Marine Theatre‘s Tim Bell and Harry Long spoke passionately about artist collaboration and development through their offerings of space and time resource. As well as their R&D by the Sea, Tim and Harry celebrated breaking down exclusion zones by working with neighbouring venues on programming.

Throughout the day, we were reminded of Arts Council England’s recent announcement to enforce the sharing of audience data amongst NPOs. As explained by Nick Bareham from Au Insights, to use this data effectively we must provide a value exchange which calls for transparency with our audiences and again, conversation. Jo Taylor of Morris Hargreaves McIntyre also said “if we understand what someone wants to get out of the experiences we offer, we are best placed to fulfill them.”

Speakers from the wider industry also offered interesting provocations. Sholeh Johnston from Julie’s Bicycle noted that rural touring is 30% more sustainable than bringing a theatre full of people into a city, and likewise, the emissions from a theatre production are less than if the audience were to stay at home and watch TV.

As the day drew to an end and delegates descended on the Royal Exchange bar to continue their discussions, we at Paines Plough left Manchester abuzz with ideas on how we can implement this sharing into our own touring models, and in particular how we can create more meaningful relationships with our audiences and partners. For all the challenges we face as a touring theatre sector, the reasons for collaboratively finding a way of securing its future feel more urgent than ever.

We’ve collected all available online material on The Future of Small-Scale Touring, which you can access here. To view some of the speeches and presentations from the event, click here.

As we move forward and continue discussions on the development of touring, we’ll be adding all interesting contributions, so if you have anything you think might add to the discussion then, please tweet @futuretouring with #fsst and a link to the material.