Category Archive: Love Love Love

Love in Argentina

Mike Bartlett just sent us this poster for a new production of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE in Argentina…

We think it looks great. Though it does appear the part of Henry is being played by Officer Crabtree from ‘Allo ‘Allo.

A cursory read of the show copy suggests there have been some changes to character names too…

Sandra y Dany se conocen a finales de los `60. Son la generación del amor, la paz y la libertad que traen una nueva era para la humanidad. Crecen juntos, en los `90 son padres de dos adolescentes: Roxy y Teo.

Perhaps ‘Kenneth’ wasn’t such a vogue name in 1960s Argentina?

On the off chance anyone is reading this from Buenos Aires, please do go along and see the show and report back. We’re intrigued!

London calling

This time last year I wrote a blog about our decision not to produce work in London for two years. It started an interesting debate in the comments section.

In 2010 and 2011, we toured to 69 places around the UK, but London wasn’t one of them. We wanted to reaffirm Paines Plough’s historic commitment to touring far and wide, in pursuit of being a truly national theatre of new plays.

But you’ll have noticed we’ve landed in the capital in a big way in 2012. Our London Season this year sees seven productions across town. In true Paines Plough style they’re well spread out so you can see our work in your local theatre whether you’re in Southfields, Shoreditch or Sloane Square.

Despite some claims to the contrary, we’ve never been anti-London. Everyone who works at PP lives in London, so it’s our home town and we love it. And it has always been our plan to produce work here. We just wanted to get out and about a bit first.

We’ve been overwhelmed by the demand for our work to be seen in London, and we’re very proud to be presenting a wide range of top class new plays across 2012 in a year that sees the world’s focus on our city.

Our London Season map - seven shows across the city

Our London Season started with LOVE, LOVE, LOVE at The Royal Court, which had previously toured to 18 different venues from Plymouth to Glasgow.

Kate Tempest’s WASTED spent two weeks at The Roundhouse and also popped up in Deptford, Earlsfield and Redbridge as part of a 26 venue nationwide tour.

This week we’ve got two new shows in town. SMITHEREENS by Sean Buckley is a co-production with Rose Bruford College, performed by the Third Year Acting students. It’s already been seen in Zone 5 in Sidcup, and it’s in Zone 1 at Soho Theatre all this week.

And we made our debut at The Barbican with Paul Heaton and Che Walker’s THE 8TH, a stunning soul opera we first made with Manchester International Festival last year and which goes out on tour to Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham before headlining The Film & Music Arena at Latitude next week.

Then in September the Roundabour Season lands at Shoreditch Town Hall. Three new plays by Duncan Macmillan, Nick Payne and Penelope Skinner performed by a single ensemble of actors in rep within our unique portable in-the-round auditorium. Co-produced with Sheffield Theatres, the Roundabout Season premiered in Sheffield last year.

The Roundabout Auditorium pitches up in Shoreditch this Autumn

So seven shows across London in 2012 for you to enjoy. We’re thrilled to be camped in the city, but we’re also proud that all the work we’re presenting in London has been seen outside the capital first, by people from Cambridge to Cardiff to Canterbury. More people saw LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and WASTED outside London than saw the shows in town, and that’s an important barometer for us. So moving forward we’ll keep popping up in the city, but our focus will remain on the whole country.

Let us know what you think by posting a comment.

PS – We’re also producing a show this year called LONDON, that’s not playing in London. Call us obtuse, but we kind of like that.

Final Thoughts – Stephanie Königer

I remember clearly the day of my interview when Claire and Sean were sitting opposite me in the meeting room (which, since then, always gave me the feeling of serious events happening in there) – and the phone call with the acceptance a few hours later while I was attending rehearsals in the Jerwood Space. I can remember standing in the staircase looking over to the trains running between London Bridge and Waterloo and was excited and delighted by this offer and knew I had finally found my way.

At the end of March the twelve weeks ahead of me seemed endless but now the time is over and it went by so quickly. However during my time there I was able to achieve so much. Using my few days of holidays wisely I was able to run to Bristol for a Press Night, shot a short film at a beautiful Scottish beach near Edinburgh and jetted off to Munich for some German drama. All this time I was mainly occupied with leading the “literary department”, polishing my English on the phone while calling numerous writers regarding their unsolicited scripts, cultivating the office calendar with plenty of invitations to theatrical events, getting involved in financial management, announcing the full programme for 2012, writing an uncountable number of cards  for the opening of Love, Love, Love at the Royal Court, the welcoming of WASTED to the Roundhouse and the first public night of talented young creatives in SMITHEREENS at Rose Bruford College. And of course eating enough (to quote Sean) “cake/sweets/chocolate/doughnuts/cookies to sink a battleship“ – thankfully the four flights of stairs to the office kind of compensated for these sugary debaucheries. And of course I was as guilty as everyone else in supplying these sweet sins.

It has been an amazing time at Paines Plough during which I gained a lot of experience and insight into how a theatre company of this scale is run in this country, while meeting incredible, warm-hearted and driven people in a field where I am finding my occupation. Thank you very much to everyone.

And if I ever fancy a piece of cake I know where to go.

Administrator – Sabbatical Covered

Three and a half months ago, on a rainy Thursday morning I stepped back into 43 Aldwych, climbed the four flights of stairs, reached the top, caught my breath (trust me, if you’ve ever done those four flights, you’ll know they’re a killer!) and hey presto I’m back in the Paines Plough offices and ready to go.

Earlier this year Paines Plough received some funding from Esmee Fairbairn to do some audience development work on a small scale tour to discover more audiences, in more venues, in more places than ever before. In comes producer extraordinaire Hanna who took up this mantle and headed out on the road with the WASTED team to Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff, Folkstone and everywhere in between to compile some serious research that will help Paines Plough tour for years to come. Bonza!

This meant however that I was left to look after Hanna’s job as PP’s Administrator…well I promise nothing too serious went wrong; I excelled at spreadsheets (geddit…?!…sorry…), financed my way through Thursdays, booked that rehearsal room to within an inch of its life and yes, of course, ate enough cake/sweets/chocolate/doughnuts/cookies to sink a battleship.

It’s been a cracking few months at PP Towers with WASTED out on the road and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE at the Royal Court and after they were both up and running we announced the full programme for 2012 which has got some absolute corkers in it heading all over the country so be sure to check it out and book yourself a cheeky ticket or two.

I’ve had a cracking few months back with the brilliant PP Team and so I’ll leave you with some very wise and very apt words when working in the PP office courtesy of Sandra in Love, Love, Love:

‘Now, does everybody have a piece of cake?’

LX, ready and GO!

After a long day and 2 Gin and tonic’s I agreed to do a blog, describing what I do during a typical show.  But this blog would be far too long if I included every detail of what I do so here is a brief insight….

I’m the Deputy Stage Manager on Love, Love, Love, which means I predominantly, Call/Cue the show. During rehearsals I’m in the room taking down the actors blocking, prop notes, costume notes etc.  In also make any sound effects so can often be heard making the sound of a doorbell!  Then moving into Tech week I put all the cues for Lighting, Sound, Actors, and so on into the ‘book’ or ‘prompt copy’.

The first time we run the show with all guns blazing is very exciting but nerve racking at the same time.  The DSM waits for ‘Clearance’ from the Front of House Manager and then puts everyone on standby.  Once everyone is braced I take a note of the time take a breath and then say LXQ1, SQ 1 GO and we’re off on the 2 hour 35 minute rollercoaster.

I’m sat right at the back of the auditorium in a soundproof box with a very big glass window which has the feel of a goldfish bowl, as the last row of audience are sat right in front of me.  Sometimes people will give me smile or a wave, which is nice!  I get a great view of everyone’s reactions though, which is thrilling to watch.  People’s heads often blocks my view of the stage so I have two monitors one, which is colour, and one, which is zoomed in so that I can see when the TV and record player are switched on and off.

Then comes the interval, while the audience goes for a 20 minute relax and wonder what’s coming next, Stage Management and the amazing Crew zoom from Act 1 into Act 2.  The SM team quickly strike all the Act 1 props from the set and jump onto the Act 3 truck out of the way of the Act 1 truck which is being pushed off into the wings, and the carpet for Act 2 is laid.  Then it’s all hands on deck to get all the Act 2 furniture and dressing on and set in the right place.  The Sound & Lighting departments have speakers and lights to strike and then set in place while all this is going on.  No one ever stops, the time flies by suddenly it is time for Act 2 Beginners and time to Call the Audience back to their seats.   The DSM is chief timekeeper and so I’m always checking my trusty Casio Digital watch for how long we’ve had.

Then we’re off into Act 2 and the countdown until the next interval begins.  The minute the house lights come up Paul, the Sound Op, and I are up and running down to the stage (avoiding bumping into Ushers) to start the second Interval Change.  It’s the mad dash to get everything off and into ‘magic props corner’ where all the act 2 furniture and props are stored.  And then it’s a bit like a dance knowing where to go and where to stand so you don’t get squished or get in the way, then you know when it’s the right time to move.  Our SM team consists of 3; Ali the Stage Manager, Shannon the Assistant Stage Manager and me!  And we all have our own little jobs in the interval changes and we weave in and out around each other getting everything done.  Then it’s that time again and I’m calling the audience back to their seats and the Actors to the stage.  Act 3 is a bit like the home straight because the intervals are behind us, but it’s not over yet.

Act 3 is the quietest for me Cue wise and so I just keep an eye on everything to check all is as it should be.  But I also sneak a peak at the audience to see how they’re reacting.

Once the curtain comes down for the final time, it’s time for me to make a note of all the running times.  I then tell the Company how long each Act and the Show as a whole have been and then let them know their call for the next show. Then it’s off to the computer to write the Show Report.  The Show Report give details of anything that has gone wrong, broken, been amazing or just needs mentioning.   Also the Running Times, who was working on the show and how many tickets were sold, are all noted down.  Mike Bartlett has also given me the challenge of writing a pun on each show report, which I’m failing miserably at!  Any suggestions?

I think it’s time for a Gin & Tonic….

Sarah Caselton-Smith

We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a post show chat

Last night the audience at LOVE, LOVE, LOVE were treated to a post-show discussion with the cast of the show and director James Grieve. The evening was hosted by the Royal Court Literary Manager Chris Campbell. The company discussed the technical challenges associated with staging the production in 3 different time periods.

Victoria Hamilton (Sandra) revealed that when she first read the script she thought that “no one would ever believe we are 19”, but that the changes in speech rhythm and the stunning wigs made it all possible. They also commented upon the strong reaction the play provoked in audiences, provoking interesting debates in the bar afterwards.

The discussion extended to the audience as people discussed whether an age divide was discernible in peoples responses to the play, were Sandra or Ken were more to blame for their children’s fate and if Love, Love, Love is about different eras or family relationships .

Sam Troughton (Henry) also revealed how he spends his time during Acts 2 & 3 – watching Mad Men!


Half-time – England vs. Germany

And time flies and flies and flies and my half-time at Paines Plough is already over. The last weeks have been so busy that I hardly had time to digest them followed by a massive attack of exhaustion which I had to nurture with a lot of sleep over the weekends when I am not going back to my second job at the market, distributing German delicatessen on Saturdays.

Paines Plough opened recently two shows in London, Love, Love, Love at the Royal Court Theatre and WASTED at the Roundhouse in Camden before its tour continues and finally ends at the TakeOver Festival in York next Saturday. Furthermore we organised a fundraiser night at the Royal Court, as well as opened the full season for 2012 and tickets for the Roundabout run in London at Shoreditch Town Hall have gone on sale. What looks like cakewalk was a lot of hard work for everyone behind the curtain – but the show must go on.

The new bedside reading...

By the way it was literally a cakewalk: I cannot remember one day in the recent weeks when we had no cake, cookies or other treats. The warning of the last intern and the Paines Plough members from my very first day came to its proof. So I am still cycling regardless the weather conditions reckless in London’s traffic and still avoid the rackety lift but climbing all four floors by feet.

Apart from being at theatre for work, which also includes enjoying the shows most of the time, I follow a pilgrimage to London’s theatres seeing as much as I can – which does not help getting enough sleep. I enjoy especially new writing but also saw my first West End production.

A massive hit I was curious to attend was seeing Simon Steven’s Three Kingdoms at the Lyric Hammersmith again. I can remember my last days in Munich being a regular at the Kammerspiele and attending the press night there in autumn. I had a huge discussion with the writer, actors and the director’s assistant about the differences of German/Continental and British theatre and the directors different relationship to writing. I could not only see following twitter how many people loved Sebastian Nübling’s show but to my surprise reading a lot of dismissive critics. I would have guessed, after the show has been an incredible success in Germany (and is now about to tour in a very small scale), both positions, audience and press, would either love or hate it. But the opinions differed immensely. James and George were lucky enough to attend a workshop with Sebastian Nübling about German directing last week and I was happy and still am engaging myself in discussions about theories and theatre practicalities I have learned during my studies which suddenly come to life and being passed on.

My interest in theatre, although it is a tough industry, is exhaustless and I started to read a theoretical book about aesthetics and performance which was living in my bookshelf in Munich covered in dust for years and survived a move across Europe over kilometers – and now I read it with pleasure.

Stephanie Königer


Announcing Programme 2012

We’re super excited to announce our full Programme 2012 today.

We’re presenting 11 productions in 44 places across the country from Edinburgh to The Isle of Wight.

Some stuff you already know about, like Matt Hartley‘s SIXTY FIVE MILES which we co-produced earlier in the year with our friends at Hull Truck, and the two shows we have currently running in London – Mike Bartlett‘s LOVE, LOVE, LOVE at The Royal Court and Kate Tempest’s WASTED at The Roundhouse.

In addition we’ve lined up some real treats for you, wherever you live. WASTED continues its tour to festivals in Brighton and York. There’s a national tour of our Manchester International Festival smash hit soul opera THE 8TH by Paul Heaton & Che Walker culminating with a very special performance at The Latitude Festival. Simon Stephens’ LONDON opens its tour at Salisbury Playhouse in a co-production with both Salisbury and Live Theatre, Newcastle.

For the first time in three years, we’re presenting a season of work across London, all of which has premiered outside the capital. Love, Love, Love is currently running at the Royal Court. Wasted visits the Roundhouse. The 8th opens its tour at The Barbican. And we’re thrilled to be bringing our Roundabout Season to to town in the Autumn. Three new plays by Duncan Macmillan, Nick Payne and Penelope Skinner will be presented in our own purpose built portable in-the-round Roundabout auditorium at Shoreditch Town Hall.

Also we’re bringing back our 2009 hit GOOD WITH PEOPLE by David Harrower for The Edinburgh Festival. A new series of Come to Where I’m From will include playwrights from Brighton, Cheltenham, Chipping Norton and the Isle Of Wight; and we’re delighted to again be working with the students at Rose Bruford College on Sean Buckley’s SMITHEREENS.

Here’s a note from James & George:

“We’re hugely proud to announce our third annual programme of work as Paines Plough’s Artistic Directors.

“Our passion for new plays continues to grow thanks to the extraordinary playwrights that lie at the heart of our company. This year we’re presenting work by a huge range of writers, from Olivier Award winners to the stars of the future.writers who between them have won 2 Oliviers, 3 George Devine Awards, 2 Bruntwood Awards and a host of other accolades, whilst continuing to identify and support the stars of the future.

“We believe everyone should have the chance to see outstanding new plays, no matter where they live, so our commitment to national touring deepens this year with visits to over 40 different UK villages, towns and cities. We’re piloting new touring circuits The Local, Neighbourhood and Campus to make sure our unique brand of new plays reach every corner of the UK.

“After two years working outside the capital, we’ve been overwhelmed by the demand for our work to be seen in London. In response we’ve put together a London Season of productions, all of which have already been seen on tour. In typical Paines Plough style they’re spread right across the city so audiences can experience the work in their local theatre – whether that’s Shoreditch Town Hall, the Barbican, the Royal Court, the Roundhouse or the Albany, amongst others.

“As ever, we’re working in partnership across the programme, and are delighted to be working with old friends as well as new – including the National Theatre, Manchester International Festival, the Roundhouse, Birmingham Rep, Sheffield Theatres, Latitude Festival, National Student Drama Festival, Salisbury Playhouse and Live Theatre Newcastle.

“With these partners, we’re presenting astounding new plays by world class playwrights in places nationwide for people everywhere. We’re priveleged and excited to do so, and look forward to welcoming people to a Paines Plough show in their local theatre.”

So there you have it: Programme 2012. We hope you’re as excited by it as we are.

Lots of Love from the critics

Here’s a quick round-up of what the critics have said so far about LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

“Mike Bartlett’s Love, Love, Love is one of the most ambitious, and most accomplished, domestic dramas in a long while and in James Grieve’s fine production boasts two performances by Victoria Hamilton and Ben Miles that will surely feature at the year’s end in all the awards lists”
Michael Coveney, ★★★★★

“The audience was roaring its approval…an exciting evening, dart-sharp, horribly true.”
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail ★★★★★

“I loved it. Not least the laughing groans of recognition from the stalls, old and young…the best Court comedy since Clybourne Park…very funny at the start, bitterly so in the middle, and jerkingly moving at the end”
Libby Purves, The Times ★★★★ (paywall)

“Mike Bartlett’s scorching comedy…ambitious and hugely amusing…sensationally well played in James Grieve’s acerbically funny production. Victoria Hamilton and Ben Miles age four decades in under three hours and are at their best in their 1990s showdown: a drink-fuelled exchange that has the audience holding its breath.” Sarah Hemming, Financial Times ★★★★

“Rivetingly watcheable…a peach of a performance from Victoria Hamilton…Bartlett exhilaratingly combines the domestic and the epic.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian ★★★★

“Wow, this one packs a punch…a thrilling high voltage co-production with Paines Plough, this is a play that has you laughing uproariously at one moment and wincing painfully the next…scenes of extraordinary intensity and emotional truth shot through with dark humour…James Grieve’s powerful, evocative and elegantly designed production…haunting, heart-wrenching performances from Claire Foy and George Rainsford…one leaves the theatre in no doubt that the Court has another timely, hard-hitting success on its hands.”
Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph ★★★★

“Love, Love, Love sparkles…both funny and furious…Victoria Hamilton is the outstanding star.”
Susannah Clapp, Observer

“Very very funny and very very enjoyable…a first in contemporary theatre…thoroughly recommended.”
BBC Radio 4 (Listen again on iPlayer)

“Bartlett is a big talent…James Grieve’s stylish, sexy production…Victoria Hamilton is its star: she takes Sandra from hippy-chick 19-year-old to monstrous milf, to radiant retiree with extravagant conviction and an amazing voice full of vice, that oozes fag-smoke, wine and unrepentant pleasure.”
Caroline McGinn, Time Out ★★★★

“Piercingly funny…illuminated by some beautifully nuanced performances…the superb Hamilton and Miles.”
Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard ★★★★

“Highly entertaining…Bartlett’s lacerating dialogue balances satiric intent with painful truth about a long-married couple who feel trapped…Miles and Hamilton simply don’t miss a trick as they tear strips off one another. Their zinging precision means bitter laughs fly.”
David Benedict, Variety

“With wide-eyed rage and bayonet wit Mike Bartlett’s greatest play roughs up the Baby Boomers in three glorious acts…The cast is uniformly brilliant.”
Stewart Pringle, Exeunt Magazine ★★★★★

Love, Love, Love is now extending until Saturday 9th June 2012. To book tickets you can visit the Royal Court website or ring the box office on 020 7565 5000.


RUNS and STORMS – Love, Love, Love’s last week at the Southbank

A very excited “over and out” from us at London Bridge as we complete our final day between these lovely, draughty Chocolate Factory walls and head to the Royal Court to begin our tech. Next week we will, no doubt, remember fondly its pockets of heat, its scattered red pillars and the Donner und Blitz that framed each afternoon session, as if on cue. I have seen more storms in London during this past week than I have in my whole time living in England. We seem to attract them. Pathetic fallacy? Very possibly.

We discovered that the place is also, possibly, haunted. A ghost passed through our rehearsal room during Act Two on Friday. It rattled the huge stable doors at one end almost off its hinges and then made a sneaky escape through the main door out into the stairway with a move and a shake. It certainly caused a collective shiver. Come to think of it, the front door has been acting quite ghostly during this whole process. Unable to fully close (due to the fact that it self-locks), the door dithers and creaks every 15 minutes causing all three of us behind the desk to turn expectantly towards it, convinced someone is surreptitiously trying to enter. We do this every 15 minutes, without fail. We never learn. I tell you, it’s comedy gold: we’re like three synchronised meerkats.

The goblet saga continues.. the chalice has somehow made its way onstage and thus has become a minor character in the final act (complete with those dastardly wasabi peas). Watch out for it.

“Cheese Thursday” was the major event this week – a regular Royal Court tradition I hadn’t experienced before. And I really do mean ‘experienced’. We were informed by Stage Management and we got excited. It was discussed days in advance. I stressed the need to delegate (the horror of everyone turning up armed only with chutney, loomed in my mind). When the grand day finally arrived, our party of eleven was dismally diminished to only three hard-core cheesists. Their loss of course. Borough Market offered and we gladly accepted and a fantastical feast followed. Apples, grapes, chutney, spek, smelly brie, smoked cheddar, gorgeous stilton, oat cakes and french loaf. Olives were a slight deviation but welcomed by all involved. Needless to say, I went on quite a cheese roller-coaster that afternoon: a glorious cheese high was followed by a cheese low(er) which finally settled into a cheese lull for the rest of the day.

And finally, the Guardian crossword has taken the company by storm. Small victories and huge frustrations are played out over tea breaks. Mr Miles continuously spoils the fun by knowing every answer so we are forced to ban him from taking part and only defer to his vast intellect in emergencies.

We finished the week with two full runs of the play for small audiences of production team members. To see it all together like that for the first time was astounding. If one can watch it in a rehearsal room, with all the sounds of London Bridge zooming through the windows at high speed, and still feel that it is delightful, devastating, captivating and breath-catching, then we’re in for something pretty special indeed.

And to end, an attempt at a (somewhat) cryptic crossword clue:

“Seen three times in red: what a sight for old Peter Jones” (4)