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.