Monthly archives: October 2016

A New Brilliant Thing: James Rowland



We’re excited to announce a new face of EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe. Actor and comedian James Rowland will play the part of the narrator for international dates in Australia and New Zealand in 2017 (and maybe a few dates closer to home too, stay tuned).The original brilliant thing Jonny Donahoe will continue in the role he has now performed a staggering 229 times in three different continents. Jonny will be taking the show to North America while James is the other side of the planet in the Antipodes.

So there will be two brilliant things. Brilliant!

We’ll announce full worldwide tour dates for EVERY BRILLIANT THING with our full Programme 2017 in the New Year, and my word have we got some treats in store for you.

But for now we can reveal James and EVERY BRILLIANT THING will appear at Adelaide Festival which was announced today.

If you follow us on Twitter @painesplough we’ll let slip some more international tour dates in the next few weeks.

We’re thrilled to welcome James to Team PP. His one man show in Edinburgh this year TEAM VIKING was our favouritest thing, and we’re honoured to be working with an actor of James’ calibre.


James has performed in Theatre, Radio and Television. Recently he has done lots of immersive theatre including The Crystal Maze, Heist and You Once Said Yes. He has also performed musical comedy under the stage name ‘James Rowland’ and is a member of the cabaret band The Idiot Circus. He performed his debut storytelling show Team Viking in London and Edinburgh and won The Origins Award (Vault Festival, 2016).


Broken Biscuits: #nowplaying Plymouth


Broken Biscuits at Live Theatre (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

This week BROKEN BISCUITS by Tom Wells is in Devon at Theatre Royal Plymouth (in an aptly named space – The Drum) so we’ve decided this week we’ll be listening to bands and artists who started out in Devon. Here’s our list:

MUSE – Teignmouth

The Grammy Award winning stadium rockers started out life at Teignmouth Community College where they all played in different bands. Much like our gang in BROKEN BISCUITS they struggled to settle on a name going through the following: Carnage Mayhem, Gothic Plague, Fixed Penalty and Rocket Baby Dolls before settling on MUSE. Twenty million album sales later and we’d say they’ve done pretty well.

Chris Martin from Coldplay – Whitestone

That’s right. Not only is Devon home to MUSE but also Chris Martin who with Coldplay has sold over 80 million records world-wide. This makes them one of the biggest selling artists of all time. All that thanks to a boy from Whitestone.

Ben Howard – Bantham

The Brit Award winning boy from Bantham started writing songs when he was eleven and things are going pretty well for him. In addition to international fame and recognition his face was chosen to be on the Totnes 10 pound note  in 2014. Hopefully our Ben from BROKEN BISCUITS can get his face on a tenner too.


Roundabout @ Futures House, Marsh Farm (Luton)


It’s week eight of the Roundabout national tour and, sadly, our final week, but we’re determined to go out with a bang. This week we’re in Luton working with Revoluton (we love that name) to bring a festival of theatre, art, spoken-word, DJ-ing and more to Futures House on the Marsh Farm Estate. If you need to find us we’ve dropped a pin on this map for you. We’ll be popping up from Thursday 27 October to Sunday 30 October and we can’t wait.

All the events in the programme are PWYD (Pay What You Decide) so just reserve your ticket online and then Pay What You Decide on the day. Easy!

Thursday 27 October:

16:30 // MARSH DAYS
19:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris

Friday 28 October:

09:30 // Baby Sensory Session
12:30 // Acting For TV Taster Workshop
15:30 // Revoluton Drop In
18:30 // LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
20:30 // Soul Food Poetry

Saturday 29 October:

09:30 // Baby Sensory Session
12:45 // DJ Workshop
16:15 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
20:00 // Post Show Discussion
21:00 // Music and Chill

Sunday 30 October:

10:00 // Exercise and Relaxation by Ghar Se Ghar
16:00 // Post Show Discussion
19:00 // LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
21:00 // Wisdm & Small Green Shoots Spoken Word

You can book for all events through Revoluton’s website here. Or just wander over to Futures House – tickets will be available for all Roundabout events from the pop-up Box Office up until the performances open.


Did you know?

Riots to Revoluton is a brand new play created for Roundabout. It tells the story of the Marsh Farm Estate and is inspired by residents. Here’s more about the show:

Marsh Farm Estate, Luton. 1995. Where youth unemployment seeped like a poisonous chemical through its foundations. Where petrol got poured on a spark and reason turned to riot.

Using real life testimonies of those who experienced it, Revoluton Arts offers an alternative prospective behind Luton’s notorious riots. Revealing a story of massive but passive defiance and a demonstration of what power music and art can have in uniting people and changing the course of events.


Broken Biscuits: Reviews Round-up


After playing for three weeks at co-producers Live Theatre in Newcastle, Tom WellsBROKEN BISCUITS hits the road. We thought we’d do a quick round up of all the brilliant feedback our young rockers have received so far.

“A sweet meditation on the fierce, fragile alliances formed on the cusp of adulthood… incredibly endearing.” ★★★★ The Guardian

“Wonderful, funny and original ★★★★ The i Newspaper

“Funny, confessional and well-crafted… Matthew Robins’ music and Wells’ lyrics feel like Victoria Wood for a new generation.” The Stage

“Quirky, warm and hugely entertaining.” ★★★★ The Chronicle

“It’s funny. It’s engaging, even heart-warming.” British Theatre Guide

“Great atmosphere.” ★★★★ The Reviews Hub

“A funny script and rocking soundtrack… filled with warmth.” Narc Magazine

“A brilliant script… may well be the most uplifting thing you’ll see all year.” ★★★★★ Once Upon a Tyne

“Charming and recognisable… provided laughs along the way in its feel good message about growing up.” North East Theatre Guide

“A new play by Tom Wells is always a welcome event.” The Northern Echo

We’re touring until December visiting all of the following places. Are we coming to you?

25-29 October
The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth
01752 267222

01-05 November
Hull Truck Theatre
01482 323638

08-12 November
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
01723 370541

15-19 November
Crucible Studio, Sheffield Theatres
0114 249 6000

25-26 November
Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol
0117 902 0344

29 November – 03 December
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
0121 236 4455


Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme: Zia Ahmed


Writer and poet Zia Ahmed (cred. Alex Nicolaou)

We’re delighted to announce that Zia Ahmed will be on attachment with us in 2017 as a recipient of the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme.

We worked with Zia earlier this year when, alongside Tamasha, we commissioned him to write a short play about where he calls home, North West London, for our COME TO WHERE I’M FROM series. The short play which was first performed at Tricycle Theatre on Monday 27 June moved us in such a way that we knew we had to work with Zia again.

Joint Artistic Directors James and George said:

“We’re thrilled Zia’s singular talent has been recognised by this prestigious award and that we get to hang out with him for the next year as a result. We’ve been Zia fans for a few years as audience members for his singular spoken word performances. The originality of Zia’s writing, his flair for storytelling, his linguistic dynamism, his natural dry humour combine in one of the most original voices we’ve heard, and we can’t wait to see what he writes over the next year. We’d like to thank the panel for backing Zia, and look forward to supporting him over the next year and welcoming him to Team PP.”

We caught up with Zia on the news:

“I am chuffed to bits to have been picked as one of the writers on the Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme.  

The bursary will afford me time and space to progress to the next stage of my writing. To be in residency at Paines Plough makes this even more exciting and it feels like the perfect place to develop as a writer especially after being part of Come To Where I’m From where local stories met national + global + personal met political to create a wide ranging, moving and changing map of the UK.

I’m looking forward to spending the year with Paines Plough and immersing myself in this world. Whether spoken word or theatre, for me it all comes down to stories and I can’t wait to start exploring all the different ways of telling them.”

You can listen to Zia’s COME TO WHERE I’M FROM, and 130 other short audio plays, for free on our app available for download here.


Roundabout @ Albion Sq, Hanley (Stoke-on-Trent)


Roundabout in Ablion Square, Hanley.

We’re back in Stoke-on-Trent! A year has flown by since we were last in Abion Square with Roundabout and now we’re back with three brand new shows to share with the wonderful people of Hanley. We open on Thursday with a packed schedule of events for all the family including free workshops on poetry and sculpture making. We’re popping up in Albion Square in Hanley town centre from Thursday 20 October to Sunday 23 October. If you need help finding us why not check out Google Maps who happened to be filming when Roundabout was around last year – click here to have a look around.


Roundabout is officially famous.

Thursday 20 October:

20:00 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
21:30 // Post Show Talk with the cast

Friday 21 October:

12:30 // Roundabout Tour (No need to book, just come along and say hello!)
16:00 // Roundabout Tour (No need to book, just come along and say hello!)
19:00 // MAN UP by the New Vic Youth Theatre (curtain raiser)
19:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
20:40 // Post Show Talk with the cast

Saturday 22 October: 

10:30 // Roundabout Tour (No need to book, just come along and say hello!)
12:00 //  I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
14:00 // Baby Sensory class in Roundabout
15:00 // LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
16:00 // Post Show Talk with the cast
18:00 // LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
20:45 // NOW IT’S NOT THE TIME by Scratch n Sniff Theatre Co.

Sunday 23 October: 

11:00 //  I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
12:00 – 16:00 // Sculpture Making Workshop with Shaun Doyle (free, drop in anytime)
12:00 – 16:00 // Poetry Picnic with The Poetry Takeaway (free, drop in anytime)
14:00 // Roundabout Birthday Party
15:15 //  I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas

You can book for all events through Appetite’s website here. Or call the Box Office on 01782 381373. Or just wander over to Albion Square – tickets will be available for all Roundabout events from the pop-up Appetite Box Office up until the performance.


Audiences pile into Roundabout.

Did you know?

We love this section of the Appetite website. We’ve picked out our favourite facts about the team there.

Karl Greenwood (Project Director) – Karl’s passion for creativity started when he bought a pink bass guitar at age 14 for £20 and he hasn’t looked back since.
Gemma Thomas (Creative Producer) – Gemma is a vegetarian but is partial to the odd prawn cracker (don’t worry Gemma, we won’t tell).
Gary Cicinskas (Programme Manager) – Gary’s background is traditionally in community arts but he also used to be a head chef, a waiter and he used to make Doc Martins for a living.


Roundabout in Albion Square, Hanley.

Broken Biscuits: Previews


Broken Biscuits (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

As a creative team, we spend countless hours in the lead up to a show attempting to create and hone an audience’s experience of the play. We coordinate and plan how all aspects of the production will come together. Rehearsals are held in preparation for an audience but without them present we can never have a full understanding of the production’s workings.

If you think of it as preparing for a dinner party: you can plan meticulously what you will cook; what you will wear; what music you will play, but the evening is an unknowable thing until your guests have arrived.


Broken Biscuits (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

This is where previews play a part.

Previews allow the team to see the production with all elements in place, the final element being, you, an audience. While the changes between first preview and opening may be barely perceptible to a first time viewer, there are also occasions where much bigger changes are made in this period. It is in these intial runs that the final pieces click into place.


Broken Biscuits (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

Every audience brings something slightly different to the show. They’ll discover a moment of absolute belly laughter at a point the previous night’s audience gave out a small titter. Every audience will relate to the play slightly differently and previews help actors to become acclimatised to this changing reception.


Broken Biscuits (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

We were incredibly happy in the Broken Biscuits previews to play to some really varying audiences. The actors got the chance in previews to feel how an audience response to the play can vary. The creative team had chance to tweak and perfect the lighting and sound. Previews are a perfect reminder to us all of how important an audience is in shaping a production. Now they are finished, the show is up and running and we can’t wait for you to see it!


Broken Biscuits (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

Anna Ryder, Assistant Director.

Roundabout @ Mandela Gardens, Barnsley

Roundabout audience Rich Lakos

Roundabout (cred. The Other Richard)

Bring on week six of the Roundabout national tour. This week we’re in Barnsley, our only Yorkshire venue, and we can’t wait to open on Thursday with another jam-packed schedule of wonderful events in Roundabout. We’ll be popping Roundabout up right outside The Civic on Mandela Gardens from Thursday 13 October until Sunday 16 October. If you need help finding us, dont worry here’s a map.

We’ve got an exciting mix of events for you this week from stand up comedy to a concert performed in-the-round, not to mention two one off talks from the Barnsley Trade Council.

Thursday 13 October:

19:00 // LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris

Friday 14 October:

18:30 // Ensemble 360
20:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris

Saturday 15 October:

10:30 // The Yorkshire Rising of 1820 (Barnsley Trade Council)
12:00 // Readings from “The Annals of Barnsley” by John Hugh Burland (Barnsley Trade Council)
13:30 // The Civic Scratch
16:00 // LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
18:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
20:30 // Cabaret Boom Boom

Sunday 16 October:

10:30 // Sponge (Turned on its Head)
12:00 // The Life of A Bee (Manasamitra)
19:00 // Two Pianos (American Rock and Roll Concert)


Roundabout being built (cred. Caitlin O’Reilly)

You can book for all events through The Civic’s website here. Or call the Box Office on 01226 327000. Or just wander over to The Civic – tickets will be available for all Roundabout events from the Box Office up until the performance.

Did you know?

The original Civic was built as a Public Hall by Charles Harvey in 1877. In 1962 the Hall became Barnsley Civic Theatre, a traditional proscenium arch theatre seating 800 people and attracting some of the biggest names in show business to the town. Big names like Ken Dodd performed here regularly and the theatre continued to entertain audiences until sadly closing in 1998. The remodelled building and site reopened to the public in 2009 and now includes a 316 seat performance space and a design led gallery.


Civic Hall (cred. The Civic, Barnsley)

Happy #InternationalStageManagersDay


TSM Callum Thomson in action (cred. Caitlin O’Reilly)

We want to say thanks. Thanks to the Stage Managers. The Stage Mangers who help us everyday.

Who help us build Roundabout.
Who cue our shows.
Who set Tickle Me Elmo in the right place every night.
Who organise rehearsal schedules.
Who facilitate garage raves.
Who spike our floors.
Who drive tour vans up and down the UK.
Who listen to endless line runs.
Who make sure all the Every Brilliant Thing list entries are just right.
Who fix things that are broken.
Who make sure we don’t lose our costume. Even the fiddly bits.
Who send us funny show reports after a tiring days work.
Who make it possible for us to do what we do.

We couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you to all the Stage Managers we have worked with in 2016, in alphabetical order because we thought you’d like that: Hamish Ellis, Rachel Hendry, Carrie Hitchman, Charlotte McBrearty, Caitlin O’Reilly, Ben Pavey, Callum Thomson and Aimee Woods.

Broken Biscuits Tech Week


Broken Biscuits at Live Theatre Newcastle (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

Hello! Team Biscuits here, all the way from sunny Newcastle (you may think I jest, but the sun has done nothing but beam up here).

For weeks now an eavesdropper of rehearsals would have become familiar with patient phrases such as:

‘In this bit of the show there will be an effect where…’

‘This is when, during the show, you’ll hear…’

‘Once we have the lights…’

No more!


Broken Biscuits at Live Theatre Newcastle (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

Tech week is here and the imaginings of the creative team are leaping into reality. It truly is glorious.

For all very practical and sensible reasons, rehearsal rooms never begin with all the elements in place. We have to wait for the wonders of tech week before we can stop talking in possibilities and start working with all the practical components of the show. Lights, sound, props, this is your time.


Broken Biscuits at Live Theatre Newcastle (cred.Richard Kenworthy)

Tech week is a hectic, fast paced and brilliant period in the world of a production. It’s the sort of week that if someone reminds you of a conversation that you had that very morning, your brain spends a good five minutes computing how it can possibly have taken place on the same day as now. You’ve been to the world of fairy-lights and back since then.


A world of fairy lights (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

It’s a week of high-speed naps, delirious green room conversation and a huge amount of hard work. It’s safe to say caffeine consumption is at an all time high, but the results are well worth it!

We are so excited to share Broken Biscuits with you all, in the immortal words of Megan ‘You will be wanting to spend the next two months in this shed, I promise.’

Anna Ryder, Assistant Director.