Category Archive: General PP stuff

Website maintenance

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Unfortunately we’re having some issues with our website. We’re blaming the cold weather but it’s probably something to do with words like ‘server’ and ‘hosting’. We’re working to have the website back up and running as soon as possible. Sorry for any inconvenience caused in the meantime.

The good news is our blog is still holding strong so we’ve tried to put as much information here as possible. Below we’ve got our tour dates until the end of the year and links to recent announcements. If there’s any PP information you need urgently you can ring the office on 020 7240 4533 and we’ll do our best to help you out.

A Paines Plough and Live Theatre production
BROKEN BISCUITS
by Tom Wells

08-12 November
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
01723 370541
sjt.uk.com

15-19 November
Crucible Studio, Sheffield Theatres
0114 249 6000
sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

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

29 November – 03 December
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
0121 236 4455
birmingham-rep.co.uk

 

A Paines Plough, Sherman Theatre and Theatr Clywd production
LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY
by Alan Harris

2-12 November
Theatr Clwyd, Mold
01352 701521
www.theatrclywd.com

15-19 November
Sherman Theatre, Cardiff
029 2064 6900
www.shermantheatre.co.uk

 

Recent announcements:

Every Brilliant Thing will tour internationally in 2017
Zia Ahmed will be on attachment at PP in 2017 as part of Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme

We’ll be posting updates on Twitter and Facebook.

TheatreCraft and General Management Workshop

We’re thrilled to announce not one, not two, but THREE upcoming workshops aimed at sharing our processes and demystifying the way we make new plays.

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We are delighted to be returning to TheatreCraft – this year being held on our very own doorstep at The Waldorf Hotel on Monday 14 November. You’ll be able to find us at our stand in the Marketplace, where you can chat to members of the PP team about our work, and on top of this we will also be holding two workshops:

ROLES TO REACH GOALS – PAINES PLOUGH ON HOW TO PUT ON NEW WORK

11:45am-12:30pm

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

In this workshop aimed at people interested in pursuing a career in the theatre industry, we will be exploring the ins and outs of how you go about putting on a play, from first commission through to press night, and how the different people in a company work together to make it all happen.

THE ONLY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD – NEW WRITING

2:15pm-3:00pm

Novello Theatre

Hosted by our Playwright Fellow, Sam Steiner

Simon Stephens once told me that there has only ever been one story and we’re just retelling it over and over again. Let’s spend an hour trying to figure out whether he’s right.

Sound exciting? If you want to secure your place on these workshops, or find out more about this year’s TheatreCraft event, visit their website here.

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Trainee Director Anna Himali Howard in rehearsals for GROWTH earlier this year.

As if two workshops aren’t enough, we will be hosting the next in our series of General Management Workshops on Monday 12 December, 6:30pm-8:30pm (with attendee registration from 6pm), in the Paines Plough Rehearsal Room. We are located on 4th Floor, 43 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4DN.

This workshop is a chance for anyone interested in working in the theatre industry as a General Manager, or in Finance and Administration, to find out more about the profession. The evening will consist of a panel discussion followed by a Q&A; there will also be a chance to get to know everyone before and after the workshop.

We already have some brilliant panellists confirmed with more to come:

Natalie Adams, General Manager at Coney.

Fiona Gregory, General Manager at Frantic Assembly.

Catherine McKinney, General Manager at Almeida Theatre.

Sue Storr, freelance Arts Consultant and former General Manager at Paines Plough.

If you would like to register for a place just email Charlotte at charlotte@painesplough.com with the following information by 10am on Monday 21 November:

– Your name.
– Current role and where you work. (If you don’t have a job at the moment, don’t worry about this part – if you’re a student, please put what, and where, you are studying)
– A few sentences on why you’d like to attend this workshop.

So there we have it. A workshop for future playwrights, a workshop for future General Managers and a workshop for everyone in between. We hope to see you there!

Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme: Zia Ahmed

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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.

Save

Happy #InternationalStageManagersDay

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

Broken Biscuits Rehearsal Room Blog

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Broken Biscuits © Matt Humphrey 2016

As Team BROKEN BISCUITS prepares to up sticks to the wonderful Live Theatre, Newcastle, we wanted to give you all a brief check-in on our London rehearsals so far!

We’ve been having a shed-load of fun *groan* discovering the world of Megan, Holly and Ben and their musical adventures have become somewhat our own! Many biscuits have been consumed, too many biscuits some might say (though they would be wrong) and the shed is really starting to come to life. The cast have been playing with all the possiblities of the space and it is really starting to transform into a stage owned by our glorious characters.

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Elmo has been keeping a keen eye on biscuit consumption (cred. Jack Heaton)

The office has been brimming full with the trio’s developing musical talents, and Faye’s (Megan) drumming will undoubtably be missed from everyone’s mornings here. Diving into the deep end of teendom, we have been finding the friendships, feelings and frustrations at the heart of our sixteen year old’s summer.

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© Matt Humphrey 2016

Props are a heavy feature throughout the play (what garden shed would be complete without numerous odds and ends) and keeping track of the box of biscuits has become a near full time job for our Stage Manager, Aimee.

We’ve been very lucky to have some visitors to rehearsals over the past few weeks: the wonderful Elspeth Morrison came to support with voice and dialect; the equally wonderful Tom Attwood came to lend a hand with our singing talents; then the equally equally wonderful Polly Bennett dropped by to get us up to scratch with movement. This last session resulting in joyous (slightly exhausting) morning warm-up-boogie that has certainly been doing it’s job.

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© Matt Humphrey 2016

We are all very excited to start our Newcastle adventure, watch this space for more updates!

Anna Ryder, Assistant Director.

Roundabout Rehersal Room: An extensive range of dungarees

As we gear up for previews (TONIGHT, AH!) we thought we’d take a look back on our last day in the rehearsal room before our tech rehearsals.

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Thinking, planning, rehearsing (cred. Helen Murray)

It’s getting more populous in here as we get closer to putting the plays in the Roundabout itself. As well as having the writers working with us in the room, we’ve had movement workshops with Kate Sagovsky (I couldn’t resist joining in), Elspeth, our dialect coach, helping the actors with their Merthyr accent and also their Ron-Burgundy-from-Anchorman, and an extensive range of dungarees on offer from Kat, the costume designer. We’ve also been working with a film crew to create trailers for the three shows which I’m really excited about, so look out for those.

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Caitlin thinks about tech week… (cred. Helen Murray)

Dom, our Sound Designer, comes bearing gifts of a beautiful indie soundtrack for LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY and high-octane sound effects for I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY which range from gross to hilarious, some of which make the PP team in the office next door to the rehearsal room jump a bit (sorry guys). Prema, our Lighting Designer, gave me a sneak peak at the visual simulation of Roundabout that she’s been using to create the lighting design, because we are living in the future.

Basically, if you picture the Avengers assembling, walking in slow motion with big explosions in the background, that’s the creative team behind these shows right now. Boom.

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“So no one wants to be Hawk-Eye?” (cred. Helen Murray)

See you next time, when we’ll be in the Roundabout itself in Hackney!

Anna.

Roundabout Rehearsal Room: 3 actors, 55 characters

Hello! Welcome to the latest update from the Roundabout rehearsal room. The plays are up on their feet now and it’s all kicking off. The circular stage has been marked out in tape on the floor by Caitlin, our Stage Manager, with the yellow, blue and pink of the seats around the edges. The colour codes, arrows and crosses all help, because rehearsing three plays at once in the round can be figuratively and literally dizzying.

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Colourful rehearsals = black and white photos (cred. Helen Murray)

The circle comes to life as we explore the huge amount of possibilities for playing in it – it can feel like an intimate little stage or a huge space depending on the dynamics in the scene we’re doing. Altogether, we’ve counted 55 different characters across all the plays, and that makes for a lot of different accents and shapes. We aren’t using any set or props, which means all the focus is on the actors, and they’re conjuring everything from a bedroom to an entire Welsh town to a giant slug in our imaginations.

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Richard Corgan counts how many characters he’s playing… (cred. Helen Murray)

At the end of the week, we went to the beautiful space at Half Moon Theatre to show I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY to a young audience. We got some lovely and useful feedback, including “when’s the sequel?” (top secret, sorry guys), and someone compared it to the amazing Avatar: The Last Airbender, which reminds me – I need to watch the last series.

This week’s top tip comes not from me but from one of the actors, and it’s about wearing loose clothing when playing mythical creatures.

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Director George reacts to Andy’s wardrobe malfunction (cred. Helen Murray)

See you next time!

Anna

Roundabout Rehearsal Room Blog: The beginning

Hi, I’m Anna! I’m the new Trainee Director at Paines Plough and I’ll be assistant directing the Roundabout plays this year – GROWTH, I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY and LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY. I’ve just moved to London to work at PPHQ and in between rehearsals you can find me skipping delightedly across Waterloo Bridge like I’m Andrea Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada and I’ve just arrived in New York.

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Rehearsal room walls (cred. Helen Murray)

Back to the rehearsal room – the first thing you would notice if you came in would be the walls. They started off blank and inviting, and quickly began to fill up. Detailed maps of Merthyr Tydfil, pictures of Captain Planet and The Incredibles, and medical information about orchidectomies cover every surface, along with timelines of each play. As the days go by, all the work we’re doing on the texts manifests itself on the walls, and it begins to look like the office of a particularly eclectic and obsessive private investigator *sips scotch*.

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Hilarious moments with Remy Beasley (cred. Helen Murray)

Incidentally, investigating is exactly what we’re doing at the table in rehearsals (stunning segue Anna) – lots of going through the plays, hearing them out loud, playing and finding information about the characters and stories. Beautiful and hilarious moments emerge, and already I’ve learned a lot about the initial rehearsal process for new writing, about day-to-day life at PPHQ, and NEVER to Google ‘hybrid taxidermy’ (I’m serious, don’t do it guys).

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Anna accidentally googles ‘hybrid taxidermy’ (cred. Helen Murray)

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back soon with more rehearsal updates,

Anna

Introducing our new Playwright Fellowship & Trainee Director

Here at PPHQ we find nothing more exciting than supporting talented people to develop their craft. We are therefore pleased to announce that we have two exceptional young artists joining Team PP. Our second Paines Plough Playwright Fellowship is awarded to Sam Steiner and the new Paines Plough and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Trainee Director bursary goes to Anna Himali Howard.

Sam Steiner

Sam Steiner pic

Our Joint Artistic Directors James and George saw Sam’s debut play LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS last year: “From the hundreds of new plays we’ve seen and read in the past year, Lemons stood out for us as the work of a singular talent. We are thrilled to welcome Sam to Paines Plough as the recipient of our Playwright Fellowship 2016. With the generous support of Jon and NoraLee Sedmak and a Paines Plough alumnus playwright, we look forward to supporting Sam in the next stage of what promises to be a great career.” Sam’s debut won three awards at the National Student Drama Festival prior to an acclaimed, sold out run at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015. You can catch it this year in Edinburgh at Roundabout @ Summerhall.

Anna Himali Howard

Anna Himali Howard

We’re very excited to be joining forces with Birmingham REP to provide this bursary supported by another Paines Plough alumnus playwright. “Anna Himali Howard is a real talent with a brilliant and imaginative theatre brain. We are hugely excited to welcome her to our team. We [James and George] were both fortunate to receive training opportunities that made our careers possible – not least from Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director Roxana Silbert – and we are delighted to now be in a position to offer some support to the next generation of theatre directors and the artistic directors of the future.” Anna will be the Assistant Director for our three Roundabout shows this year: LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY, GROWTH and I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY.

We’ll have blogs from both Anna and Sam coming soon as Anna lets us know what’s going on in the rehearsal room and Sam checks in from Barcelona where he’ll be attending the annual l’Obrador d’estiu playwriting conference.