Monthly archives: April 2014

AN INTERVENTION reviews round-up

Here’s a quick round-up of some of the raves for Mike Bartlett’s AN INTERVENTION. You’ve got until Saturday to catch it at Watford Palace Theatre.

John Hollingworth and Rachael Stirling in AN INTERVENTION

“This playful two-hander – a mischievous, deceptive look at friendship in its many forms… provocatively questions our responsibilities as friends and citizens who sometimes let each other down… a funny, sad play about the need to look after each other.”
★★★★ The Guardian

“It will be performed with infinite variations for years…dextrously twists together ideas of personal and political intervention so that at one moment you’re considering whether Britain should have gone into Iraq, and the next whether you have the right to censure a friend’s new partner.”
★★★★ Observer

“Played like a side-splitting yet sobering music-hall double act.”
★★★★ The Sunday Times (Paywall)

“The dialogue hurtles along at a furious pace, through tight turns and rapid-fire punchlines… politically engaged but also fiercely uncompromising in its mission to entertain.”
★★★★ Exeunt Magazine

“This engrossing and entertaining piece ends on a powerful visual image of a suicidal mutual dependency that has a rare metaphorical power. Work such as this puts Bartlett and Paines Plough at the forefront of a theatre that is both contemporary and unafraid of challenging the hegemony of bog-standard naturalism.”
The Stage

“Quick-fire, crackling dialogue and the electric performances… super stuff.”
★★★★ The Watford Observer

“Rachael Stirling and John Hollingworth…both give superb performances…a coup de théâtre.”

“Stirling’s performance all the way through is – well, sterling. She leaps, circles, yells, drains glasses, brags, berates, plays the harmonica with terrible despair. She’s both funny and awful, and anyone who has ever dealt with an alcoholic in denial will shiver in recognition.”
Libby Purves / TheatreCat

“Played with great wit and spark by Rachael Stirling and John Hollingworth…it has Bartlett’s astute wit and extraordinary ability to pinpoint the way maturity can suddenly slip away. It asks what we really want from friendship and it also, despite all the wrangling on view, succeeds in catching the nebulous, shifting nature of love.”
Financial Times

And here’s a few quotes from blog reviews…

“Go and spend £20 and get your backside to Watford and see this play. No excuses. Go. It’s the best 90 minutes you’ll have in London for the foreseeable future. I actually don’t want to see another comedy drama play as I’m so bloody certain that now nothing will quite live up to this and nothing will ever get quite such a glowing review… An Intervention was sublime.”
Thumbs Up Thumbs Down

“Stirling and Hollingworth are brilliant together, the ever-changing contours of their interdependency beautifully portrayed as the play winds to its visually stunning and emotionally compelling climax… Bartlett’s customary acuity in exploding the way we relate to each other is as perfectly conceptualised as ever, he remains one of our most exciting young playwrights.”
There Ought To Be Clowns

“Rachael Stirling (for once out of period clothes and away from period stories) is stunning. She has the indefatigable energy of a clown: persistently funny and bursting with wit and desperation, her character is as confused about herself as she is lucid about others. She perfectly captures that person who is the most remarkable in the room, but also the most annoying and the saddest.”
The Other Bridge Project

“The 90 minute run time packs a witty and poignant punch….I’m sure this will transfer into London. I hope it transfers into London because I’d like to see it again.”
Rev Stan

So what are you waiting for? Huh? Book now.

NOT THE WORST PLACE production shots

So NOT THE WORST PLACE debuted at Clwyd Theatr Cymru last week, and we’re very excited to be heading to Cardiff next week to set up shop at Sherman Cymru.

In the mean-time, check out these fab production shots, taken by Richard Davenport. (For the full set, visit our Flickr page).

NOT THE WORST PLACE  plays at Clwyd Theatr Cymru until 3 May, before transferring to Sherman Cymru from 6 – 10 May. For further information, click here.

Why not join the conversation online? 

#NTWP @painesplough or visit us on Facebook.

(And make sure to follow @RhysTweetsNTWP for hilarious quotes from the play).

We’re recruiting a Touring Production and Technical Stage Manager

We’re recruiting a Touring Production and Technical Stage Manager for our ROUNDABOUT AUDITORIUM.

About the Roundabout: Developed over the past 3 years, the Roundabout Auditorium is a demountable theatre in the round with incorporated LED lighting features.

  • travels in a single 45ft trailer
  • can be build in 20 hours and a crew of 4-6 plus PP TSM
  • runs of 3-4 13Amp sockets
  • facilitates a specially developed LED ceiling and does not rely on traditional theatrical lighting
  • tours 3 Paines Plough productions and provides a useable and flexible space for local people – anything from amateur dramatics to meetings, screenings and conferences.

Job Purpose: To take full responsibility of the auditorium fit up / strike, venue liaison and all technical touring operations whilst on the road. Managing all technical aspects of Paines Plough’s productions on tour. Facilitating the training and being first point of contact for local technical managers for their independent use of the Roundabout Auditorium.

Managing and monitoring all relevant H&S procedures whilst touring.

Person Specification: Minimum of 4 years professional mid to large scale touring experience, preferably with temporary, demountable structures.

  • Demonstrable experience of supervising crew during get ins and get outs.
  • Working knowledge of lighting control especially with regards to LED technology and pixel mapping
  • Working knowledge of sound control including Qlab and digital control desks.
  • Bright, proactive and energetic, with an evident record in the delivery of productions at the highest technical level.
  • Dedicated and committed with excellent focus and organisational skill, with the ability to demonstrate the application of excellent project management
  • Good working knowledge of industry H&S regulations Experienced in monitoring and enforcing H&S regulations and ideally H&S trained (IOSH certified)
  • Rigging qualification
  • Able to demonstrate a recognisable level of credibility within the industry.
  • IT and AutoCAD literate.
  • Degree in technical theatre practice or equivalent qualification.
  • First Aid trained

For more information please download the full job description here.

To apply please email a CV and brief cover letter to Hanna Streeter, Producer,

Application deadline: 5pm Wednesday 21st May 2014

Interview date: Tuesday 27th May 2014

Please note there may be second interviews. Date TBC.

Interview with Sam Burns & George Perrin

We caught up with playwright Sam Burns and PP joint-AD  George Perrin for an insight into NOT THE WORST PLACE.  Check out the interview below.

AN INTERVENTION – Production Shots

As the curtain went up on AN INTERVENTION at Watford Palace Theatre last night, the brilliant Kevin Cummins paid us a visit to snap up some production shots from Mike Bartlett’s latest high-powered double-act.

You can see a selection of the images below or view the full set on our Flickr.

Pictured: Rachael Stirling & John Hollingworth. All images by Kevin Cummins.

AN INTERVENTION plays until 3 May at Watford Palace Theatre. Book tickets here.

Join us online:

#AnInterventionPlay @painesplough @watfordpalace

Your guide to…Watford

Watford lies just 17 miles northwest of Central London.  As we excitedly prepare for the world premiere of Mike Bartlett’s AN INTERVENTION at Watford Palace Theatre tonight (playing until 3 May), we consulted with our pals at Watford to bring you this guide to the town’s top 5 hang-outs. Starting with:


“…comprising of over 190 acres of green space stretching from Watford town centre to woodland and countryside to the west of the town.”

With the increased  likelihood of the sun peeping out, the largest public open space in Watford sounds like the perfect place for anything spontaneous – from picnics, to bike-rides or just long walks to take in all that’s on offer around the park.


“…great tasting food, professionally brewed espresso coffee, loose leaf tea and good hospitality.”

Just wait ’til you see the cake menu. Word has spread about their banana loaf and vanilla cupcakes… and once you set foot, you might never leave.  (This will certainly be the case for Team PP).


“…a little bit of the Middle East in the centre of Watford.”

A Mediterranean restaurant located in the heart of Watford, Tarboush is the perfect spot to grab lunch, drinks with friends or spend a chilled out evening dining. Plus – there’s a great Shisha garden.


“Our feel is 1920’s speakeasy meets jazz club with heavy drapes and deep leather sofas to offer a welcome that’s akin to a long hot bath after a rough day.”

A lovely, intimate place for relaxed drinks.


Conveniently located just a few minutes walk from Watford Palace Theatre and Bar Bordega, The Horns might be the perfect place for an all out post-show party. With live music, an impressive selection of drinks and even traditional pub food, this sounds like the perfect place to let your hair down. So, we’ll see you there?

– B.

About Sam Burns

As rehearsals come to an end and NOT THE WORST PLACE sets to open in Mold next Wednesday 23 April, here’s the skinny on the writer of our upcoming co-production with Clwyd Theatr Cymru and Sherman Cyrmu.

Sam Burns. Photo credit: Richard Davenport

In early 2009, Sam Burns was invited onto a five-week writing course at Sherman Cymru following the submission of an unsolicited play. This led to the creation of a full length piece, NOT THE WORST PLACE, which was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn award in 2011.

In 2010 Burns completed Sherman Cymru’s Advanced Writers’ Programme and in April 2012 she spent a week in Sherman Cymru’s writing room.

Produced work includes a monologue in Paines Plough’s COME TO WHERE I’M FROM (July 2010), TWO BEARS as part of SIXTY-SIX BOOKS at the Bush Theatre (October 2011), and AMNESTY FOR AGENT 160 PRESENTS AGENT 160 (February 2012).

Photo credit: Richard Davenport

NOT THE WORST PLACE premieres at Clwyd Theatr Cymru, playing from 23 April – 3 May 2014, before transferring to  Sherman Cyrmu from 6 – 10 May 2014.

Join us online:

@painesplough #NTWP @RhysTweetsNTWP

Mike Bartlett – An Intervention Interview

Here’s an interview Mike Bartlett did with Exeunt Magazine‘s Dan Hutton,  discussing next week’s world premiere of his new play AN INTERVENTION, at Watford Palace Theatre.

Pictured: John Hollingworth and Rachael Stirling. Photo credit: Phoebe Cheong

See below for highlights, or read the full interview here.

What form does An Intervention take?

It’s a double act – two best friends with shared lives and jokes realise they might not be as close as they thought – for various personal and political reasons. And this causes huge upset. As a play it’s all about the two parts and the two actors. We’ve got a fantastic set and production, but there’s something I love about focussing on live performance – the complicity, division, drama and complexity between two people. It’s what an audience comes out to see ultimately. Something live.

Should we, as citizens, ‘intervene’ in general society more regularly?

That’s one of the things the play asks. It’s got to be up to the individual to make a choice – and is related to how much responsibility you think you have for society in general.

Why is it important that theatre engages with these subjects?

Only because it’s part of the world we live in and theatre should be able to address everything and anything. The subject of this play is protest, and politician intervention, but it’s equally about love, betrayal and friendship. Our lives are full of all those things.

Click here for full Exeunt Magazine interview.

AN INTERVENTION plays from 16 April – 3 May 2014.

Book tickets here.

#AnInterventionPlay @painesplough @watfordpalace

AN INTERVENTION: Week three in pictures

After all the table work, in the space of a week and a half we now have the full play on its feet and ended Friday with out first run! Wow, what a marathon of a tennis match it is between these two…!

Here are some of our favourite shots taken by Richard Davenport:

And you can see the rest on our Flickr page here

And if you could ask anything, what would YOU ask Rachael Stirling? The best question gets a video response from Rachael herself, so keep your questions coming in on twitter. You only have until tomorrow! Find us @painesplough with #AnInterventionPlay

Bring on the final week of rehearsals for AN INTERVENTION… Party hats, harmonica lessons and more…

– Kay.

We’re seeking a new Admin Apprentice

Paines Plough is currently seeking a dynamic and highly motivated individual to join our team as an Admin Apprentice for a paid year-long apprenticeship position run through independent training provider DiVA.

The apprentice will assist with day-to-day administration tasks and will work alongside the Admin and Finance Assistant providing vital support to ensure the effective and efficient running of Paines Plough and delivery of its work.

This is a particularly exciting time for Paines Plough, as we celebrate our 40thAnniversary. The successful candidate will be an enthusiastic member of our dedicated team of seven full-time employees based on Aldwych.  This is an opportunity to develop a wide knowledge of theatre and new writing, as well as to learn about theatre administration, production, marketing and finance in a fast-paced environment.

For a full job description and information on how to apply, click here.

Deadline for applications: 20th April at 12pm

First interviews: 29th April

Second interviews: TBC (if applicable)

Applications should be submitted to 

Please note that Paines Plough is unable to accept direct applications for this post.


Paines Plough strives to be an equal opportunities employer.

Registered charity number: 267523