Monthly archives: January 2015

Taste Tuesday: Stilton Puffs

Sticking to our New Year’s introduction of Taste Tuesday, this week was the turn of our Administrator, Natalie. Want to recreate these cheesy delights, then look no further…



  • 1 x ready-made roll puff pastry
  • 300g Stilton
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 100g parmesan, freshly grated


  • Preheat the oven to Gas 6. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to no thicker than a one-pound coin.
  • Cut the pastry into four strips lengthways and then six across, leaving you with 24 rectangles of pastry.
  • Crumble the stilton into a bowl and crush with a fork.
  • Put a heaped teaspoon of the cheese into the centre left of each rectangle, brush the edges with the egg wash.
  • Fold the pastry over the cheese and crimp the edges to seal and place onto the lined baking tray.
  • Brush the outside with the beaten egg and grate the parmesan over each parcel. Make a little hole in the top of each parcel with the tip of a sharp knife.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden-brown all over.


It’s Hanna’s turn next week and we can’t wait. Scrap that Friday feeling… we’ve got that Taste Tuesday feeling!

HOPELESSLY DEVOTED (thanks) to you


It’s just over a month since we brought down the curtain on Kate Tempest’s extraordinary play HOPELESSLY DEVOTED.

Since we premièred the show with our co-producers Birmingham Rep back in 2013, it has visited 43 different theatres. We’ve performed in fields and at German theatre festivals, on campus at Universities and at local arts centres: we’ve been anywhere and everywhere finishing with a bang  at London’s Roundhouse just before Christmas.

We’ve received an overwhelming response to the show over the past few months, so rid us of those January blues we’ve picked our fave bits of your feedback to share here.

Brilliant, great acting, very moving.  Made me cry.  What’s coming next?  Can’t wait!
Karen Raphu, Aylesbury

Saw @painesplough #HopelesslyDevoted by @katetempest @Pegatweet *Brilliant* young people that we took lit up like Xmas trees! Great theatre!

Best show I’ve seen since being at uni!  Honestly amazing!
James Ashfield, Lincoln

With the help of the incredible Roundhouse Digital Productions team we also live streamed HOPELESSLY DEVOTED online. We’ve just checked out the viewing figures:

664 people watched the show live with overall playbacks totalling 2,365 in 30 countries.

@painesplough @RoundhouseLDN Wow! amazing stuff. big thanks for bringing #KTHopelesslyDevoted to my kitchen in #Manchester. Incredible show.

Boom. Thanks for tuning in y’all. AND to all of you who came and watched – a MASSIVE thank you.  We loved performing the show for you and reading your feedback.


We’re on the lookout for brilliant Stage Managers

It’s a new year, and here at PP HQ we thought: what better way to kick off than by meeting some new people who might want to work with us.  So, we’re putting an OPEN CALL OUT to excellent Stage Managers this January, whether you’re an ASM, CSM, DSM or TSM we want to hear from you.

Much like our open auditions this is an opportunity for us to broaden our horizons, say hello and have a cup of tea with some people we haven’t met before.

We’re planning to hold some informal meetings on the 3rd and 4th of February so if you’d like to meet and maybe work with us in the future then send your CV to by Thursday January 29th, with the subject  line STAGE MANAGER CALL OUT.

We can’t wait to hear from you.


*This is one of our stage managers Alicia – look how much fun she’s having.*

Jonny on Broadway.TV

Here’s Jonny being interviewed by Broadway.TV after Opening Night of EVERY BRILLIANT THING at Barrow Street Theatre in NYC…


Luke Norris premiere kicks off 2015

Drum roll and crashing cymbals, here’s our first new show for Programme 2015…

We’re once again joining forces with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to premiere a brand new play especially commissioned for their company of graduating actors. And we’ve snared an outstanding  scribe to write it.

GROWTH by Luke Norris will premiere in the beautiful Richard Burton Theatre at RWCMD in Cardiff on 31 March 2015 before transferring to The Gate in London’s Notting Hill.

The show will be directed by our Trainee Artistic Director Sean Linnen, and will star the faces of the future in their final show in training.

We’re thrilled to be working with Luke, whose play GOODBYE TO ALL THAT we loved at The Royal Court in 2012. Luke is also an actor. He’s in A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, which is just about the best thing we’ve seen since, well, time.

We’re once again teaming up with RWCMD following the success of last year’s premiere of Laura Lomas’ BLISTER, directed by Stef O’Driscoll. We’ve worked with loads of Royal Welsh graduates over the last few years including Lizzy Watts, Scott Arthur and Rosie Wyatt, so we’re big fans.

What a cracking way to kick off the New Year. There’s lots more to come in Programme 2015, stay tuned.

Taste Tuesday: Tapenade

New year and the introduction of a new excuse for eating at PPHQ – Taste Tuesday.

Apart from new plays, the thing we like most at PPHQ is food. Cake, mostly. But also cheese. And burgers. Actually most kinds of food.

So to titilate our tastebuds, we’ve introduced Taste Tuesday. Every week, one person cooks something for everyone else to have a taste. It can be anything from cup cakes to sausage rolls to ice cream to lassi. The only rule is that it has to be homemade. We’re not allowed palm off Waitrose luxury microwave mac&cheese as our own. That would be cheating.

Today was the inaugural Taste Tuesday, and the our AD James was first up at the galley. Here’s what we got…

James' Tapenade on salt & pepper crostini. Yum.

James’ Tapenade on salt & pepper crostini. Yum.


1 jar of green olives
1 jar of black olives
3 teaspoons of capers
A handful of cherry tomatoes
4 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
A handful of parsley
A glug of olive oil
A splash of dry sherry – fino or manzanilla
A splash of tabasco
Juice of half a lemon

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and smush with a pestle or hand blender. Keep it rustic. Squeeze the lemon juice over last. Serve with crostini or crudites.

The first Taste Tuesday treats unveiled at Company Meeting.

The first Taste Tuesday treats unveiled at Company Meeting.

We’ll be posting Taste Tuesday pics and recipes here each week. It’s George’s turn to be chef next. We can’t wait.

Meantime, if you want to send us recipes or invite us round for dinner or take us for a slap up feast at some fancy restaurant then please do give us a shout.

Production Placement: Over and Out

Wowza!  Four months have whizzed by since I arrived to finish off my MA in Creative Producing for Theatre and Live Performance at Birkbeck by doing a placement in the production office at Paines Plough.

As a long time PP fan girl, seeing PP plays move from selection stage to sitting in on the read-throughs and first runs and press nights to going to see them out on tour has been massively exciting.  I have loved being swept up in the fast-paced whirlwind of the production office and getting to know all the lovely people on Team PP.

The time since August has gone past in a blur of sorting out travel and accommodation and expenses, drafting contracts, preparing press packs, reading a whole lot of new and exciting plays, working on play texts for publication, commissioning a model box, putting in availability check calls to agents and arranging auditions, collecting copy for a new app and getting stuck in to making the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM project a success.  I have learned an enormous amount about the everyday management and decision making that goes into touring work and developing new plays and have squirreled tonnes of useful tit-bits and advice away for future use.

Paines Plough Installation at The Southbank. Come to Where I'm From

It’s been a pleasure to witness the genuine enthusiasm everyone at PPHQ has for the PP mission, for getting hot new plays to all the far reaches of the UK (and beyond) and proactively nurturing all the writers, actors and creative who make them.

I can honestly say that apart from one stressful bad dream about Trainline (you know you spend too much time on Trainline when you start having nightmares about it) the only thing I will not miss is trundling up and down the numerous flights of stairs to the fourth floor multiple times a day. Although this has doubtlessly been helpful in getting rid of the unwanted effects of the well-stocked Paines Plough treat box!

It’s been a blast Paines Plough – thank you!



We recruit for placements to join us throughout the year working with either our Production or Administration team. If you’re in full-time education and are looking to complete a work placement as part of your University course, get in touch by emailing with ‘UNIVERSITY PLACEMENT’ in the subject line.

The One Time That Jonny…

Last January, the playwright Duncan MacMillan asked if I’d work with him for a few days on a little project, “making something funny about depression.” Two years later, we’re still doing it, now in New York for a four-month run in Greenwich Village.

EVERY BRILLIANT THING  is about a boy who creates a list of everything he can think of that’s special about the world, as a present for his depressed mother. During the show, I get the audience to read out entries from the list, for example, “Sunlight,” “Wearing a cape,” “Peeling off a sheet of wallpaper in one intact piece.” It’s essentially a one-man show, although I get audience members to play my dad and other characters as it progresses.

This is my first time performing in New York, and I arrived as nervous and excited as I did on the first day of high school. I’ve promised to keep a diary while here, as chances like this don’t often come around twice. And while the show has me meeting many downtown theatregoers, I wasn’t quite prepared for the famous faces.

Nov. 29 America is the land of exceptional service, where you can get anything, at any time, served with a smile. Except airport immigration, of course. But George Perrin, the director, and I are adept at dealing with the two-and-a-half-hour queue; we are, after all, British. Long queues and people barking orders just feel like normal service in Britain. For a brief second, I genuinely think they’ll turn us away when we show our passports and visas, but we’re in. It’s really happening.

Nov. 30 I wake up in the hotel where I’ll be staying until an apartment is ready. The room has two king-size beds and a bathtub large enough for two people to lie comfortably side by side. What kind of a relationship would you have to be in to require separate beds but still want to bathe together? Is this a New York thing? I include a photo here. For a sense of scale, I have placed two pairs of mens size ten shoes at the end of the bath.


Dec. 1 Before I arrived, my sister warned me, “I really don’t think Americans will find you funny.” We’re very close: The English just aren’t great at paying a compliment. This comment is on my mind as we spend the first few hours of rehearsal trying to work out what Britishisms just won’t cut it with a New York audience. “Crumpet” is replaced by “waffle.” My dog in the British version was named Ronnie Barker; no one here will get that pun, so he is now Sherlock Bones.

Dec. 4 Open dress rehearsal. These are performances where friends of the theatre the show to give us a dry run before the previews. I invite everyone I know in New York. They’re both busy. Still, everyone laughs a lot, and there are even a few sniffs and wet eyes during the sad bits. People like Sherlock Bones.

I’ve been told New Yorkers will hate the interaction, but they seem keen to be involved. The show is a bit rough-and-ready tonight, but they give us a standing ovation at the end. I’m reminded of the famous Hollywood actor I saw starring in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in Edinburgh. During the curtain call, he would open his arms and literally gesture everyone upward until they stood. Incredibly blatant, of course, but you’ve got to admire someone who always gets what they want.

Dec. 7 Jackie Hoffman! The Jackie Hoffman — the comic and actress, improv star and a real hero of mine — played my teacher in the show tonight. More accurately, she stole the show with her dry wit and timing. Afterward, I got my photo taken with her, which means whatever happens now, I’m happy with this trip.


Tonight was also a party for Paines Plough. The team from London flew in, and after a ridiculous number of photos and speeches we all went to a little French bar and drank until very late. American cocktails seem to be pure alcohol, and everyone keeps buying me drinks. To slow down the inebriation, I order a gin and tonic. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the barman pouring a highball glass full of gin, then garnishing it with a shot of tonic. Tomorrow will be horrible.

Dec. 14 After six shows open to critics, it’s opening night. Lots of notable names have been invited. I ended up with John Patrick Shanley, the playwright, as my dad and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (from the movie “Belle”) as my partner. Everyone afterward thinks I was trying to be “starry” by picking them out of the audience to participate, but at the time I hadn’t realized who either of them were. I can be a bit of an idiot like that.

I’m eating a mini-burrito at the party when someone taps me on the shoulder and tells me the reviews are out. They are brilliant. My friends back home are going to hate us. Later on the phone, my sister tells she was upset that one of them called me a “spunky, balding fellow” and another referred to me as “pudgy,” but I’m delighted. I am pudgy, balding and spunky. Why try to hide it?

Dec. 19 I’m shooting an excerpt from the show for The New York Times’s “In Performance” series. In the green room, a beautiful blond lady who looks strikingly like Courtney Love walks in. “Hello, I’m Courtney,” she says to me. How hard it must be, I think, to be a performer who looks so much like Courtney Love and has the same first name. We chat about what we’re working on, and she leaves.

My press guy, Michael, walks in. “Did you see Courtney Love?” he asks me. It’s only then that I realize the reason she looked so much like Courtney Love and talked so much like Courtney Love was because she actually was Courtney Love.

The reviews have been out a week, I’m settled in New York, but thankfully I’m still as much of an idiot as ever before.

This blog is taken from an article written by Jonny for the New York Times: That’s Sherlock Bones to You, Mate

Check out Jonny’s website to read more blogs.

EVERY BRILLIANT THING runs at Barrow Street Theatre until March 29. Tickets are available here.