Monthly archives: September 2015

Hello from Nadia

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I’ve been at Paines Plough for about 2 months now so I thought it was about time I said a big hello to everyone…HELLO! I’m Nadia and I am the new trainee director from Birkbeck. In our second year, we get put on placement at a theatre somewhere around the country, we apply and if successful get to spend up to 9 months working with amazing playhouses and theatre companies…and I really do think I’ve hit the jackpot working with Paines Plough.

My first assist was with Stef O’Driscoll, PP’s associate director, on Sabrina Mahfouz’s WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK, which premiered at Latitude festival. As a Latitude virgin I was glad to be in the safe hands of the PP team. But more importantly it was my first hedonistic leap into what PP was about. And aside from being probably the friendliest people I’ve ever met, my god do they care about theatre and all those involved.

Ok, I may be slightly biased here, seeing as though they took me under their wing and made me feel very much at home, but I also like to pay heed to people outside PPHQ and in Edinburgh this year, I gave a helping hand to the running of Roundabout. I was so proud to sickeningly gush about how great PP was, and rather then it being a one sided conversation, audience members responded by gushing back! It was great, and so inspiring to a young theatre maker.

But it was in my most recent conversation with George Perrin, as we discussed PP’s style of programming, when all that I had learnt over the past 2 months fell into place. I was about to jump on a train to Leeds to see EVERY BRILLIANT THING and George said that rather then holding up a mirror to the world to show the disarray and discontent, PP wants to provide hope and a feeling that there is greatness out there, even amongst the more tiresome of times. As a young theatre maker, angst was always my go to. Get people rattled by showing them how crap everything was. But I had come to realise that by being around people that care so much, are friendly, approachable and willing to demystify this wonderful world of theatre, the angst was just adding to the discontent around us. And that if we can spread a little bit of hope out into the world through theatre, for example, then maybe a change is a-coming. Maybe that’s the way to get people to engage with theatre, and with the people and issues around them.

I took someone to see EVERY BRILLIANT THING in Leeds last night, someone who isn’t really interested in theatre, someone who would probably find theatre quite cheesy, someone who probably would have preferred to watch the Arsenal match and the first thing he said to me as we walked out the door was – ‘I feel warm inside’. We walked out of the theatre in the highest of spirits. What George had said to me earlier that day rang in my ears – I couldn’t help but think that by making theatre which showed real people and how they find hope rather than wallow in how rubbish everything is, my night was inherently better.

We’re off to… Kendal

Today our ROUNDABOUT arrives in Kendal with THE HUMAN EAR, LUNGS, OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL and EVERY BRILLIANT THING in tow. The team are super excited to be visiting so we asked our friends at the Brewery Arts Centre for their list of brilliant things to see and do while we’re around…

WHERE TO STAY

The Castle Green Hotel, Castle Green Lane, Kendal, LA9 6RG.© www.stevenbarber.com

Kendal’s only 4 star hotel. The grounds are beautiful and it includes a separate real ale pub and fine dining restaurant so you can relax with a pint or do something a little special. There’s something for everyone.

WHERE TO EAT

The Brewery, Grainstore Restaurant, 122a Highgate, Kendal, LA9 4HE.Grainstore Restaurant

Serving a Mediterranean menu featuring tasty tapas menu with a quirky twist using local ingredients and pizzas. Situated in the Brewery complex, it’s a great spot to enjoy a bite before the show.

WHERE TO DRINK

The Brewery, Vats Bar, 122a Highgate, Kendal, LA9 4HE.Vats Bar

Settle into one of the Brewery’s original brewing Vats and enjoy a fantastic selection of local real ales, beers and wines. Super cosy and casual it’s a great spot to relax and unwind.

WHERE TO GET COFFEE

The Brewery, Warehouse Cafe, 122a Highgate, Kendal, LA9 4HE.Warehouse CAfe

Shabby chic café featuring a homemade cakes, pies, crepes, snacks and local Farrer’s coffees and teas. Treat yourself! There’s also free WiFi available so you can Instagram your treats and make your friends jealous.

WHERE TO HANG OUT

Abbot Hall Park.

Lucky for us, it’s just across the road from the Brewery. A lovely green open space by the River Kent surrounded by trees and historic buildings and with a nearby children’s playground. Ideal if you’re bringing the little ‘uns to see OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL.

MUST SEE

You can’t miss Kendal Castle.

Standing atop a hill overlooking the town, it’s a spectacular ruined castle and the reputed home of Catherine Parr (one of Henry the VIII’s wives). The perfect place for panoramic views of Kendal and the surrounding fells.

If you’re coming to see a show, why don’t you check out some of these spots too?

Now to find some mint cake to take back to PPHQ…

ROUNDABOUT Reviews and Responses

ROUNDABOUT is currently weaving its way across the country and this week we’ve popped up in Lincoln where our partners and good friends LPAC have programmed a fantastic festival of local talent alongside performances of LUNGS, THE HUMAN EAR and OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL.

We’ve been absolutely bowled over by your responses to ROUNDABOUT and our shows so a big hearty thank you to everyone who has already joined us and come to see a show – we’ve loved meeting you and keeping an eye on our Twitter to see what you’ve been saying! Here’s a little snapshot of our favourite responses…

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#RoundaboutPP is, in my opinion, exactly how theatre should be. A small space filled with nothing but great actors, acting their socks off.” (@SarahJCullum)

“I love that #roundaboutpp is able to go into communities without theatres. Vital work. @painesplough“(@shakespeareanLK)

And here’s just a selection of what Edinburgh’s critics and audiences have had to say about the shows…

OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL

“Fast paced and incredibly slick.” ★★★★★ (The Public Reviews)

“Thanks for a great hour of laughter and fun @painesplough #OurTeachersATroll fantastic venue #RoundaboutPP @edfringe” (@jcnewton90)

“Infectious from the off.” ★★★★ (BroadwayBaby)

THE HUMAN EAR

 “Stunning to watch.”★★★★★ (BroadwayBaby)

#TheHumanEar at #RoundaboutPP was unsettling and complex, yet another @painesplough success. @Reese_Williams absolutely riveting as always” (@Lisa_Varty)

“Reverberates quietly long after it’s over.”★★★★ (The Guardian)

“Dazzling technical tour-de-force… astonishing.” ★★★★ (The Scotsman)  

LUNGS

“Simple yet profoundly moving… it is one of the best plays I have seen all year.”★★★★★ (West End Frame)

“Highlight from yesterday had to be #LungsPlay at #RoundaboutPP @painesplough Hilarious and heartbreaking in the same breath!” (@michaelwoodhall)

“What a beautiful creation @painesplough #lungsplay thank you. Think you just broke my heart @edfringe Wonderful performances x” (@AngharadLee)

EVERY BRILLIANT THING

“Powerfully, stunningly, joyfully uplifting – you’ll be rushing off to start your own list too.” ★★★★★ (The Skinny)

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“the new @painesplough roundabout venue @Summerhallery is awesome and #everybrilliantthing defies description. MUST SEE!” (@markagorman)

You can catch ROUNDABOUT on the road until October 18th at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, Theatre Royal Margate and Appetite, Stoke.

For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

See you in ROUNDABOUT soon.

Roundabout Prototype FAQs

Hello everyone,

We’re thrilled our Prototype giveaway has fired so many imaginations and prompted so many expressions of interest. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response. So overwhelmed in fact that we’re going to struggle to respond to you all individually straight away, such is the volume of emails.

So for now we thought we’d direct you here so we could answer the most common questions in one go, we hope you don’t mind.

How much does it cost?

Nothing. We don’t want any money for it. We’re giving it away free to good homes. But there will be associated costs…

What are the associated costs?

All the following costs are estimates only, offered as a guide. You will need to cover the load from our store into a 40ft trailer (£400) and transport (£400 – £800 depending on where you are in the UK). You will need to hire a specialist crew of eight at £12-£15 pp p/h for the fit up at your venue plus our production manager (£500 + travel, accommodation and per diems) to include transport booking, organising truck load, assessing fit up site, updating relevant health & safety documentation, advising on crew and one day fit up. You will need a specialist carpenter present at the fit up (£250) and a hired skip (£200). Plus contingency.

Do I need a license?

The prototype is classified as seating so as long as it sits within a venue with an existing entertainment license there should be no further costs associated with licensing. If you do not have an entertainment license you will need to apply for one via your local council and there will be costs associated with that.

What are the dimensions of the structure?

12m diameter, 5m high. You will require a further 1.2m around the structure as a legal requirement for emergency exit routes. So you will need a minimum space of 14.2m² and clearance of 6m to the grid. The performance space is 4.6m diameter.

Do you have technical drawings?

Yes, you can download them here: http://www.painesplough.com/about-us/get-involved

Use the ‘Roundabout Prototype Plans’ link from the ‘Links and Downloads’ section on the right of the page.

How much space does it take up when stored?

It fills a 40ft trailer to the rim.

How much does it cost to store?

It’s about £75 per week to store it on a 40ft trailer.

How much does it weigh?

Approximately three tonnes.

Is it waterproof?

No. So it will need to sit inside an existing structure or at very least a tent.

Why are we doing this?

We now have our state-of-the-art, fully portable, pop-up Roundabout out on the road. So we no longer have a use for the prototype which we built back in 2011 to test the concept and the architecture before building the real thing. But the prototype remains a beautifully designed, highly engineered auditorium. We want it to go to good homes so it can be enjoyed by audiences and artists. We were only able to build Roundabout thanks to the belief and generous financial support of many wonderful Trusts & Foundations and individuals so we want to pass on some of that goodwill by lending the prototype to people who can give it a future life to benefit more people.

What else will I need?

You’ll have to provide proof of public liability insurance for the period of time the prototype is in your custody. We’ll insure the installation and removal, either end.

How long can I have it for?

If you could use the auditorium for part of the year, perhaps others could use it the rest of the time, and you could share the costs between you. It’s also possible you could have the auditorium for a couple of years or take it off our hands altogether. Once we’ve been in touch with everyone individually, we’ll work out if there is obvious home or convenient pattern amongst many interested parties and go from there.

What happens next?

If you’re still interested having read all the above and you have a concrete plan for the prototype and the means to absorb the associated costs, please could you send us an expression of interest that includes the following information:

– Your name

– Your organisation

– Where you’re based

– What’s your plan for the prototype (a really brief outline, just the salient points, we don’t want to make this hard work)?

– Who will benefit?

– How long you want it for and when you want it.

– How you’re meeting the associated costs.

– Anything else important you might want to tell us.

Please send your expression of interest to office@painesplough.com with Prototype as the subject line by 4pm on Friday 2 October 2015.

How will we decide who gets it?

Oh gosh, we’re not sure yet, we’ve been rather taken aback by the level of interest. We’ll gather all the expressions of interest on Friday 2 October and we’ll try to make a decision by Friday 16 October. It’s not a competition – we’d love all of you to have it, you’d all make great use of it. But as there’s only one prototype we’ll just have to bite the bullet and choose its new home(s) on the basis of where we think it can make the biggest difference or benefit people the most. It will be a really hard decision, but we’ll try to make it a good decision.

Thanks for reading. And thanks so much for your interest. We’re so excited the prototype will have new life.

More questions? If there’s anything we haven’t answered here please email office@painesplough.com with ‘Prototype question’ as the subject line and we’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.

Arts Council backing for Roundabout

High fives at PPHQ with the news that Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme will invest £784,052 in the future of Roundabout.

ROUNDABOUT - EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 2014

This is really exciting news for us because it means that we’ll be able to deliver festivals of brand new work in Roundabout every year for the next three years and develop and expand our already exciting partnerships in Barnsley, Margate, Lincoln, Kendal, Cornwall, Stoke-on-Trent and Salford right through to 2018.

Our aim is for Roundabout to become a creative hub everywhere it visits showcasing top notch new plays from PP alongside locally produced and curated festivals tailored to each community – engaging audiences while giving a platform to local talent.

Here’s what our ADs James & George had to say:

“We are indebted to Arts Council England for the belief and support evidenced by this investment from the Strategic Touring Programme. This enables us to further realise the potential of Roundabout to offer people across the UK access to the best new theatre. We look forward to working with key partners including Margate Theatre Royal, Lincoln Performing Arts Centre and Brewery Arts Centre Kendal to invite local people to curate and take part in festivals of new work in Roundabout in their home towns.”

Roundabout launched as the centerpiece of our 40th anniversary programme in 2014 thanks to the generous support of principal funder Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation along with J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, John Ellerman Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation.  This funding from the Arts Council will help us pop-up all over England and ensures that the Roundabout will form an integral part of future Paines Plough’s programmes.

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We love being out on the road, sharing our shows with audiences far and wide, and we’re super chuffed that we’ll be able to continue doing that in Roundabout. Thanks to everyone at Arts Council England for their belief and support, and thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm for Roundabout.

We’ll be popping up in a town near you soon…

Anyone want a theatre?

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Remember this? It’s our prototype Roundabout auditorium which we built to test the concept before we built the real thing. You will have sat in the prototype if you came to see our Roundabout seasons at Sheffield Theatres in 2011 or Shoreditch Town Hall in 2012.

It’s just sitting there in our store and we wondered whether anyone out there might want to put it to good use?

The prototype is essentially a scale model of our Roundabout auditorium. It’s made of steel and wood and seats 138 people completely in the round. It was never intended to tour so it doesn’t do any of the clever flat pack stuff and of course there’s no roof so no inbuilt lighting or sound.

But even though we’ve upgraded to a newer model, the prototype remains a very cool structure and it seems a terrible shame not to use it.

If you think you could resurrect the prototype and put it to use, give us a shout, we’d love to hear from you.

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We’re off to… Newbury

We’ve packed away our Irn Bru and migrated down south from Edinburgh to kick off the Autumn leg of Roundabout’s tour of the UK. First stop, Newbury!

Alongside EVERY BRILLIANT THING, OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL and LUNGS we’re super excited to be taking THE HUMAN EAR out and about having premiered at the Fringe. The show received glowing 4* star reviews from The British Theatre Guide, who said it ‘maintains high drama throughout’, and The Guardian who commented that the play ‘reverberates quietly long after it’s over’. It all kicks off TONIGHT, so what are you waiting for? Get involved!

For those of you joining us, here’s a little cheat sheet to make the most of your time in Newbury courtesy of our friends at the Corn Exhange…

Where to eat

Brebis (independent family run French restaurant – AMAZING food)

El Sabio (Spanish Tapas – independent family run)

Tiy Tea Bar (Asian snack – authentic!)

Chilis (Indian – the food is amazing and the staff are lovely!)

Where to drink

Kings Charles Tavern (nice atmosphere)

The Newbury (cocktails and good beers)

The Catherine Wheel (great selection of beers!)

Lock Stock and Barrel (nice outdoor seating on the canal)

Newbury Real Ale Festival on Saturday 12 September!

Mr Moo Juice (milkshakes and juices!)

The famous bridge in the town centre by the Lock, Stock & Barrel which a Troll might live under…

Where to get coffee

All independents…

If nice weather: The Teashop by the Canal – just a 3min walk from the theatre!

Quaint teashop just off the main high street: Weavers Walk Teashop

Top of the high street- Heatherton’s

Hang out at/Must see

101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space

Boat trip on the Kennet & Avon Canal – see Carolyn at the Tourist Information across the Market Place (the building with the big clock!)

Highclere Castle (open until 10 September)

Donnington Castle – great views of Newbury!

Shaw House – historical house

West Berkshire Museum – just 2mins walk from the theatre

Greenham Common

Our cinema! this week we’re showing Irrational Man