Monthly archives: May 2014

EVERY BRILLIANT THING – rural tour round-up

Starting at Pentabus in Ludlow,  we got to eat our weight in pork pies, frolic in the sun and enjoy the clean countryside air as we winged our way to Worcester, Much Wenlock and finally rounded up our short EVERY BRILLIANT THING rural tour in Whaddon last Friday.

We had a blast and made sure to take snaps along the way.

Arriving in Ludlow.

So, it turns out – a theatre on a farm is just as  cool as it sounds.

We love Pentabus.

Did we mention we ate lots of food?


All the while, our awesome  two-man performer/stage manager team Jonny and Alicia kept powering through…

That focus. That intensity...

Balanced out by more of this…

Noticing a recurring egg and pork theme...

We had fun opening the show to different audiences each night.

And each night was filled with surprises, laughs and great moments from the audience.

And we finally reached the last stop of our rural tour.

It’s been a very special tour, and we’ve all been humbled by the wave of responses to this uplifting show.

If you didn’t catch us this time around, watch this space as we’ll be announcing more EVERY BRILLIANT THING tour dates later this year.

Audience feedback on EVERY BRILLIANT THING

Equipped with barely contained excitement and seriously glorious weather, we kicked off our rural tour of Duncan Macmillan’s EVERY BRILLIANT THING this Monday at Pentabus Theatre.

Each night, we asked audiences in Ludlow, Worcester and Much Wenlock to share what they thought of the show with us. The responses and overall reception has truly blown us away. Here are some comments from the feedback forms:

‘Absolutely brilliant. I was so absorbed in the story. Would recommend to absolutely anyone – people who would normally go to the theatre and those who’d never.’

‘Enjoyed it very much. Good mix of humour and more serious side of depression whilst remaining thought provoking and not trivialising a serious issue.’

‘Excellent lead actor, moving, funny, wonderful music, original, highly enjoyable.’

‘Frank. Beautiful. Interactive. Engaging. Important subject and emotions to deal with.’

‘I absolutely loved it.  It was great to be involved and feel part of it.’

‘Very good. Emotional and funny at the same time. Thought provoking – I wish it was a bit longer!’

‘Never seen anything like it. Loved the involvement.’

‘ I thought it was fantastic. Honest, real, funny, massively thought-provoking and moving. Quality.’

Last stop on our rural tour: Jubilee Hall, Whaddon.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and stories with us.


In preparation for the start of our EVERY BRILLIANT THING rural tour with Pentabus Theatre, check out these snaps from rehearsals.

All images by Richard Davenport.

For the full selection, visit our Flickr page.

PP’s Brilliant Things

Reveling in that Friday feeling, here’s our list of things in the world  that we think are brilliant:

– Walking bare feet on wet grass

– When a stranger in front of you stops to give food to the homeless man on the street

– Knowing that you can make someone laugh even though you know you’re not that funny

– The weekend

– Funny texts from your dad

– Walking across Waterloo Bridge with the sun shining. Even though you didn’t dress appropriately and are too hot. It doesn’t matter because summer is coming!

– Really smelly cheese (though debatably brilliant)

- The weekend Rice

– Staying up so late and seeing the sunrise

– That Friday feeling


Keep your eyes peeled for all the brilliant things in the world (maybe even add them to this group) and have yourselves a lovely weekend! Looks like summer’s here.

– Team PP.

PP’s Brilliant Things

Today’s list of brilliant things about the world from Team PP:

– Thinking you’re going to be late for work but ending up being early

– Torrential rain that you don’t have to go out in

– An unexpected text from an old friend

– Someone making you laugh just as you take a sip of water, spitting it out everywhere

- Bubble and squeak with bacon and eggs

- Your prehistoric computer starting up quicker than you expected

- Early morning meetings in the sunshine

We’d love to hear yours.  Add them to the Every Brilliant Thing Official Facebook group or sit yourself down with a cup of tea and have a browse of the group’s ever-growing list. Guaranteed to be more than a couple of things to laugh out loud at or nod in agreement to.



PP’s Daily Brilliant Things

We’re all geared up at HQ with rehearsals rounding up for our upcoming rural tour of EVERY BRILLIANT THING with our pals at Pentabus Theatre.

So we thought we’d take a leaf out of Duncan Macmillan‘s book (play?) and start our own PP daily list of everything in the world that we find brilliant. Adding to the official Every Brilliant Thing group, here’s our list for today:

1. Using new shampoo.

2. Cycling in the rain knowing you’re headed someplace warm.

3. That first hit of strong, black coffee in the morning.

4. Re-watching The West Wing.

5. Heavily buttered toast.

6. Headphones.

7. A stranger telling you that you smell nice.

8. Mixing two cereals.

We’ll keep adding to our PP list but if you’d like to join the conversation online, do check out the Every Brilliant Thing Official Facebook group and add your own list, or tweet us @painesplough with #EveryBrilliantThing

Be sure to also check out our Instagram for fun snaps of brilliant things as we go along. Stay tuned.

James and George on PP’s 40th Year

Our ADs James and George recently wrote a piece for WhatsOnStage on celebrating PP’s biggest season to date. You can view the original article here or read on below.

James Grieve and George Perrin

It’s a great honour to be the custodians of the company as it reaches this milestone. The anniversary has given us an excuse to properly delve into the archives at The V&A and it’s been thrilling to find sepia photos of Joe Marcell and Harriet Walter and Eric Richard performing in early Paines Plough productions in the 70s; photos of Andy Serkis and Peter Capaldi and Ben Whishaw.

We found this incredible portrait of Ian Hart taken by the legendary rock ‘n’ roll photographer Kevin Cummins in 1986, so we got in touch with Kevin and amazingly he remembered the shoot, remembered Paines Plough and agreed to come and photograph our production of Mike Bartlett‘s An Intervention as part of our 40th. He took an astonishing portrait of Rachael Stirling which someone will unearth in 40 years time. Some of the great actors of the past four decades have worked with Paines Plough.

But it is the roll call of playwrights that really articulates what 40 years of PP has meant for British theatre. The company was founded by a playwright, David Pownall, and a director, John Adams in 1974. Initially the company produced David’s plays which John directed, but in the early 80s the company started producing the work of Stephen Jeffreys, and the debut play by an aspiring writer called Terry Johnson. Since then it has been Paines Plough’s raison d’être to discover brilliant young writers, produce their early work, and send them off to write for the National Theatre and Hollywood, and win Oliviers and BAFTAs. Tony Marchant, Sarah Kane, Mark Ravenhill, Dennis Kelly, Abi Morgan, Jack Thorne – it’s an illustrious alumni.

And so we see turning 40 as a chance to celebrate those extraordinary writers whose work has shaped theatre and television and film, and to secure the legacy of PP for another 40 years by producing great new talent like Tom Wells and Kate Tempest.

We started the anniversary year by hosting a party for everyone who’s ever worked for the company at The Young Vic. Our founders David and John were guests of honour, and actors from the very first company swapped stories with the cast of Jumpers for Goalposts.

The National Theatre invited us to stage a Platform event at which Fiona Victory, Harriet Walter, Stephen Jeffreys and John Tiffany told amazing tales from their time on tour with PP through the ages. Then we held an industry symposium in Manchester titled The Future Of Small Scale Touring to try to energise the debate around touring new plays.

But mostly we’re just doing what the company has always done – producing great new plays and touring them. Programme 2014 is our biggest ever, with 12 productions touring to 50 places nationwide. We’re producing the work of Olivier award winners and debutants, in proscenium arch playhouses and student union bars, at music festivals and in village halls.

At the heart of our anniversary programme is the launch of the Roundabout Auditorium – our new pop-up theatre. Roundabout is a 170 seat in-the-round auditorium that flat packs into a lorry and can be erected anywhere from theatres to school halls, sports centres to warehouses. It means that we can tour new plays to more places than ever before, and introduce a whole new audience to our best playwrights.

Paines Plough has always existed to produce the best new plays and tour them far and wide. We strive to be a truly national theatre of new plays, by travelling to every corner of the country to give as many people as possible the chance to see the best of British new writing.

If you live in London, you’re spoilt for choice. On any one night you can choose from more than 50 productions ranging from Shakespeare, to Sondheim, to a new play by a first time writer. But if you live in Frome or Folkestone or Falkirk, your menu is rather more limited. And even if the odd King Learcomes to town, very few of the nation’s best new plays are ever seen outside major cities. You’ve got more chance of seeing the best of British new plays if you live in New York, than if you live in York.

We believe everyone should have the opportunity to see the best new plays. So we try to be the national touring theatre showcasing the best of British new plays far and wide, from Aberdeen to the Isle of Wight.

PP has premiered many plays that were ahead of the curve and changed the landscape. Plays like Craveand Mercury Fur. But its impact resonates beyond its own programmes, in the work of the playwrights Paines Plough championed at the start of their careers, who go on to be world-beaters. Abi Morgan‘s films Shame and The Iron Lady have been seen by cinema audiences worldwide. Dennis Kelly’sMatilda: The Musical has taken the West End and Broadway by storm. Writers like Jack Thorne, Nick Payne, Penelope Skinner and Tom Wells came through our Future Perfect playwright attachment programme. Vicky Featherstone now runs the Royal Court, John Tiffany is the toast of Broadway. PP has launched the careers of some of our nation’s greatest artists.

To read the full article, click here.

Rock ‘n’ roll legend returns to PP

Back in 1986, the legendary photographer Kevin Cummins took this incredible shot of Ian Hart in our production of Pinocchio Boys at Liverpool Playhouse.

Then he went on to take some of the most iconic rock ‘n’ roll photos of all time, like this one…

And last week he came to photograph AN INTERVENTION at Watford Palace Theatre, and took some stellar shots including this of Rachael Stirling…

Nice one Kevin. An honour having you work with Paines Plough 28 years after the last time.

You can see all Kevin’s AN INTERVENTION production shots over on our Flickr stream.