Category Archive: Playwrights

NEW: 2017

We’re very pleased to announce that once again we will be working with the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. As part of NEW: 2017 we’ve jointly commissioned writer Alison Carr to write a play for their graduating actors in 2017. The plays will run alongside commissions from the Royal Court and Sherman Theatre. They’ll open in Cardiff and then transfer to The Gate in London.

Dates:

Tues 28 – Fri 31 March
Richard Burton Theatre & Bute Theatre, Cardiff

Tues 4 – Sat 8 April
Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, London

We’re also very excited that Alison’s new play will be directed by Hannah Banister who was the Assistant Director on our production of James Graham’s THE ANGRY BRIGADE in 2015.

Our past productions with RWCMD have been:

TEN WEEKS by Elinor Cook (2016)
GROWTH by Luke Norris (2015)
BLISTER by Laura Lomas (2014)

Alison Carr, Writer

Alison Carr

Alison’s theatre credits include: CLOTHES SWAP THEATRE PARTY (Forward Theatre Project); FAT ALICE (Traverse Theatre); A WONDROUS PLACE (Northern Spirit, tour); NEVER RAINS BUT IT POURS (Theatre503); THE GIRLS FROM POPPYFIELD CLOSE, CLINT (Live Theatre) and CAN CAUSE DEATH starring Olivier Award-winning actor David Bradley (Forward Theatre Project at the National Theatre, Northern Stage & Latitude Festival).

Alison has also worked with theatres and companies including Paines Plough, nabokov, Old Vic New Voices, New Writing North and 5065 Lift.

Radio credits include Afternoon Drama DOLLY WOULD (BBC Radio 4) and YACKETY YAK (The Verb, BBC Radio 3).

In 2013, Alison was awarded the Live Theatre/Empty Space Bursary Award to develop her play THE SOAKING OF VERA SHRIMP. The play opened at Live Theatre in September 2014 and was subsequently produced by Live Theatre in association with Rosie & Me at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015.

Alison is a member of The Traverse Fifty and last year completed a 6-month attachment with Monkeywood Theatre.

Alison’s first full-length play commission IRIS opened at Live Theatre, Newcastle in April 2016 (directed by Max Roberts). Most recently, Alison was shortlisted for the Theatre503 Playwriting Award for her play CATERPILLAR.

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Hannah Banister

Hannah is a freelance theatre director who is most excited about working on ambitious projects which have at the heart of them an extraordinary story. She loves new writing, re-imagined classics, comedy, sketch comedy, verbatim, non-fiction, adventure, fantasy. Anything you might consider to be a bit rock and roll in theatre.

She has directed THIS IS ART by Charlene James at Proud Archivist in Haggerston and was a finalist for the JMK young Directors’ award 2014.

Her other work as a Director includes STRINGS (in development), I KILLED RASPUTIN by Richard Herring (Assembly), GARDENING FOR THE UNFULFILLED AND ALIENATED (Pleasance, Fringe First Award Winner), CRIMBLE (Old Red Lion), TRAPP (Old Vic) and BEST MEN (Southwark Playhouse). As Associate Director, her credits include PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), THE ABSENCE OF WAR (Headlong), TIGER COUNTRY (Hampstead Theatre), ANOTHER COUNTRY (Trafalgar Studios). As assistant director her credits include THE ANGRY BRIGADE (Paines Plough, The Bush, Theatre Royal Plymouth), THE TEMPEST (The Globe Theatre), LONGING (Hampstead Theatre) and JUMPY (Royal Court Theatre and West End).

#RWCMDNEW17

Writing submissions: Yorkshire writers

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We’ve been notified of another exciting opportunity for Yorkshire based writers. The play submission window at West Yorkshire Playhouse has just closed but as one door closes another opens…

Sheffield Theatres – 4×15

Sheffield Theatres are looking for Yorkshire-based early-career writers for exciting new writing initiative 4×15. Our Joint Artistic Director James started his career at Sheffield Theatres and we worked with them on our first Roundabout season back in 2011. We can’t recommend working with them enough.

Sheffield Theatres has a national reputation for developing exceptional new work and wants to continue supporting local emerging writers, directors, and actors through projects that respond to their main stage productions. They believe these opportunities are vital for early career practitioners to develop connections and confidence in their craft. They are particularly interested in hearing from underrepresented voices.

Overview

4×15 will bring together four early-career writers and two movement directors to develop fifteen-minute plays for the Crucible Studio Theatre.

Ten applicants will be shortlisted to meet with Sheffield Theatres and receive a series of stimuli inspired by the upcoming production of ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’. Shortlisted writers will be asked to produce treatments of their planned scripts from which four will be selected.

The selected four writers will work to develop their plays and see them professionally debuted in the Studio Theatre in early April 2017.

Sheffield Theatres will provide:

  • Dramaturgical support from two directors to mentor you through the development of your work
  • Having your play performed by professional actors in the Studio Theatre
  • Networking opportunities with other writers and industry contacts
  • The opportunity to explore the value of incorporating a Movement Director into the creative process

Timeline/Commitment

This project demands tight turnarounds and you must be able to commit to the schedule as detailed below:

  • You must be available to attend an initial meeting with other shortlisted writers on Wednesday 4th January 2017
  • 13th January – Treatment deadline
  • 16th January – Selection of four writers to continue development
  • 8th February – First draft deadline
  • 14th February – Development day: dramaturgical meetings, performance of ‘Everybody’s Talking about Jamie’ and Talkback
  • 24th February – Second draft deadline (character requirements to be confirmed)
  • 17th March – Final draft deadline
  • You should also be available as discussed with your director during rehearsals from Tuesday 28th March
  • The performances will take place on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th April 2017

Remuneration

Each of our four writers will receive a one-off fee of £300 for their work on the productions.

How to apply

Send a copy of your CV, a cover letter explaining your interest in this project and how it will help you to develop your craft, and a sample of your previous writing for the stage.

Applications to be sent by email to g.richmond-scott@sheffieldtheatres.co.uk by Wednesday 21st December at 5pm.

Not based in Yorkshire?

We accept unsolicited scripts year round. All the information about submissions is available here. We look forward to hearing from you.

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.

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COME TO WHERE I’M FROM London


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We’re excited to announce the latest leg of our COME TO WHERE I’M FROM series.

Since 2010, more than 100 writers from across the UK have returned to their home towns to pen plays about the places that shaped them. At theatres from Bristol to Belfast, Cardiff to Coventry and Nottingham to Newcastle, these plays have been performed by the playwrights themselves, coming home to tell their tale.

But COME TO WHERE I’M FROM has never been done in London, until now…

In June and July we’re partnering with Tamasha on a series of London COME TO WHERE I’M FROM events across the city which will see some well known names alongside some of the most exciting new voices from the Tamasha Developing Artists programme.

We’ve got a series of events across the Capital with writers from North, South, East and West performing in their local theatres over the course of six summer days in June and July.

Here are the details…

NORTH-WEST: Tricycle Theatre
Monday 27 June
With Karla Williams, Zia Ahmed, Mediah Ahmed, Ché Walker

SOUTH-WEST: Clapham Omnibus
Tuesday 28 June
With Elena Procopiu, Amman Singh Brar, Kathryn Golding, Alexandra Wood

WEST: The Gate
Wednesday 29 June
With Divya Sachdeva, Sally Woodcock, Satinder Chohan

EAST: The Yard Theatre
Thursday 30 June
With Lucy Sheen, Afsana Begum, Lizzy Dijeh, In-Sook Chappell, Arinze Kene

SOUTH-EAST: Ovalhouse
Monday 04 July
With Sandra Townsend, Vinay Patel, Miran Hadzic, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Adam Brace

NORTH: Park Theatre
Wednesday 06 July
With Mahad Ali, Isley Lynn, Cheryl Walker, Stephen Jeffreys, Monsay Whitney

In advance of our London series we’re launching the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app so you can listen to 100 short plays for free wherever you are!

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The app features audio recordings of COME TO WHERE I’M FROM plays read by the playwrights themselves. It’s available for free from the App Store – just search COME TO WHERE I’M FROM or click this link.

Search the map for plays by location or find your favourite playwright in the plays index. You’ll discover a huge range of playwrights from Olivier Award winners to first timers reading tales of their home towns stretching from Edinburgh to Ipswich to the Isle of Wight. A theatrical tapestry of the UK, woven by writers asking if home is really where the heart is.

Let us know what you make of the app by tweeting us using #CTWIF. Happy listening.

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM is supported by Garrick Charitable Trust and Royal Victoria Hall Foundation.

Developing New Writing: The Big Room

It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 months since the ray of sunshine that is Nathan Bryon joined Team PP as our Big Room Fellowship playwright – and what a year it has been! He’s been to Barcelona, joined us at Latitude and in Edinburgh, and also managed to squeeze in two development workshops to develop a new script. Not bad, eh? 

We got him to write one last blog for us before jetting off to film Benidorm – oh yeah, did we forget to mention that he acts too?! What a guy. It’s not goodbye, just see you later – it’s been a pleasure!

It’s that time again to blog for PP but sadly it will be the last time as the Big Room writer!

Down to business!!! I feel like I need to do one of those catch ups they put at the beginning of cheesy American show ‘Previously on the Big Room Fellowship…’ in bullet point form.

  • Another One Bites The Dust: A short play I wrote about police brutality in America was performed in Barcelona
  • I wanted to develop AOBTD play during my time with PP and after 3 days of workshopping and talking lots, the idea for Mixed Brain was floating around in my head, I just didn’t know what it was.
  • A further 4 days locked in the PP Big Room with no food or water resulted in me writing the first draft of Mixed Brain.

So after 4 days locked in the PP Big Room, OK I wasn’t technically locked in and OK there was food and water, lots of it actually. I had a first draft of my new play Mixed Brain… I wrapped up the first draft and ran off to the pub to see the Paines Plough Crew Dem and just forget about it for a while!

‘Mixed Brain is about exploring what it means to be Mixed Race in London in 2016, the story is set in a Mixed Race family about two brothers who have been bought up VERY differently and an incident that separates the whole family…’

Lots of Life happened and then George and James asked me what did I want to do to end this ‘Scheme??’ One thing was that I wanted see LOADS of theatre before I went back to Spain… so I did, I went and saw a lot, but what I really loved was ESCAPED ALONE – it was everything! MA RAINEY was magical!

I also wanted to hear Mixed Brain read out loud, as there is only so many times you can hear you own whiney voice saying your words! George and James then told me was money left over in the budget, after they had said no I couldn’t use it too fly first class to Jamaica for a week, I decided I wanted another 3 day workshop with Mixed Brain.

The script was in a first draft state, meaning bare spelling mistakes and just general chaos, and Rachel the legend then went around attaching dons to the workshop! First to the party is the Don of Dons, my flat white partner in crime, just general O.G Natalie Ibu was the director. We met in a PRET obvs, and I just thought YES she is a DON.  Natalie is the sort of person I can chat with for HOURS about everything and everything and just get wiser! SHE IS A WISE WISE DON!

Natalie and Rachel then literally got the avengers of young performers, god knows how all these dons were available at the same time.

The morning of the workshop Rachel texted me the cast list – I had just got back from working in Glasgow so was a bit knackered but I was just like RAAAAAAAAR!!! They are the fire of young British talent right now and I get to work with them for 3 days – what a fucking honor!

The first thing we did was a read of the text which for me was super useful to hear lots of other voices read in, and could allow me to realize that… the story would appear and disappear and some scenes were totally useless, but it’s cool I’m not down in the dumps – my first drafts I call my vomit draft: just getting it ALL out! There were also bits of text that I really liked as well it’s not doom and gloom out here.

Like most workshops WE debated WE Discussed LOADS over the 3 days, about things that give us rage and what we would like to change, revolving around mainly race.  We would leave a session and I think it’s fair to say everyone’s brains were bulging with thoughts of what we had discussed.

Unlike most workshops I’ve done, I usually bring in new scenes during the days to play with new material but this time I didn’t. It was great to interrogate the text and ask questions, exploring it more as it was a new writing style for me as I had written the play by assigning no characters or locations to the lines.

I almost wished we had a camera in the room filming us and you dons could just live stream in but a) that would be kinda creepy B) it wouldn’t be the same. Natalie created such a free raw space everything felt open to bring forward their thoughts and tings.

Before a workshop I usually write a list of things I want to achieve by the end of the days. My main one for this Mixed Brain pt 2 workshop was to leave inspired to make the next draft. I AM SOOOOO exited to re-draft it!!! Let’s hope I don’t make it shit…

We ate Caribbean for lunch like everyday, we were in Brixton so it was live! Then the workshop ended with BEERS and MUNCH, the way life should just end in general. We all sat down and I asked the actors questions like… ‘What scenes would you like to see in this play which I haven’t written?’ ( I’m such a lazy writer hahaha) ‘What characters would you like to see most developed?’ etc, and then we just chatted about life! It was VIBES.

My time at PP has been legit the best year of my life so far!!!!! I am soooooo fucking grateful to have had this incredible opportunity. I’ve done so much. I’ve literally just heard the first draft of my new radio play BILAL’S BIRTHDAY which was recorded in New York – yep NEW YORK!! CRAY CRAY CRAY!!!! A Naked Angels and Paines Plough production, it will be out mid March I’m guessing… I still can’t get over American’s reading my words hahahaha!

PPS. I am going to produce my play NEGRIL BEACH and I’m looking for producers – HOLLA at yo boy!!!!

Big Love

Nathan :)

Programme 2016: Part 1

We’re striding into 2016 with an armful of fantastic new plays alongside some returning favourites touring to destinations from Margate to Melbourne.

There’s a whole lot still to come so keep your eyes peeled for future announcements, but right now we’re ready to unveil a globe-trotting, dancefloor filling, airwaves rocking start to Programme 2016…

EVERY BRILLIANT THING

A year ago our co-production with Pentabus Theatre Company, EVERY BRILLIANT THING was in snowy New York City in the middle of a 16 week run Off-Broadway at Barrow Street Theatre.

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In the ensuing 2015 Jonny Donahoe performed Duncan Macmillan’s extraordinary play 147 times in 63 venues from Machynlleth to Jersey Opera House to Drumnadrochit on the banks of Loch Ness.

2016’s adventures begin with a trip Down Under. We’re honoured to have been invited to the Perth International Festival where we kick off an international tour that takes in Melbourne, Wellington and South Carolina.

Click here for details of international dates so far in 2016.

And never fear compatriots, EVERY BRILLIANT THING will be back on home soil soon…

#EveryBrilliantThing


 

TEN WEEKS

Elinor Cook won the prestigious George Devine Award whilst on attachment to PP in 2013 and we’re hugely proud to present her new play in co-production with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama…

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TEN WEEKS
By Elinor Cook
Directed by Kate Wasserberg

First things first, I just want to say to all of you –
Well done.
You’ve shown a lot of courage walking in here tonight.
You have.
Don’t forget that.

Ten weeks, ten commandments, a ten million pound turnover.

It’s Week One of a dizzyingly popular crash course in Christianity. There’s pizza, live music, lively debate and – sometimes – there’s insurrection.

A new play about faith, community and capitalism.

22-25 March Richard Burton Theatre, RWCMD, Cardiff
30 March-1 April The Gate Theatre, London

#TenWeeks


 

WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK

Our UK Garage musical premiered at co-producer Latitude Festival and had them dancing in the aisles all night long. Now you can get your rave on, wherever you are…

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WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK
By Sabrina Mahfouz
Directed by Stef O’Driscoll

I want to be iconic. I want to be beautiful, reckless, feared, hated, ahead of the times. I want to be different, I want to be dangerous…

2001. Raves. Revision. Re-election.

Nadia is swept up in one hot summer’s night of love that promises endless possibilities. Drinking, dancing, hope, ambition, lust, greed… and decisions that will determine the rest of her life.

Rhythmically underscored by a live mix of old school UK Garage, award-winning writer Sabrina Mahfouz explores the legacy of a cultural movement that defined the hopes of a generation.

2015. Re-wind.

Running Time: 60 minutes (no interval)
Age Guidance: 14+

“Fist-pumping euphoria… crackles with a rare and unexpected life.” The Stage
“Gorgeous genre-melding music and theatre.” Exeunt
“The same fizzing energy of the best club nights… marks Mahfouz out as a unique theatrical voice.” The Public Reviews

#WithALittleBitOfLuck


 

322 DAYS

Today Naked Angels released the first of our brand new podcast plays on Naked Radio. Have a listen to it here or download it on iTunes.

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322 DAYS
By Lucy Gillespie
Directed by Sean Linnen

Gemma and Weston are two young, beating hearts from different places and different worlds. Their relationship fragments over the internet as they try to stay connected in an over-connected world.

Navigating adolescence, they can neither embrace each other or the separate lives they lead and their virtual intimacy hinders them from fully connecting with the everyday world around them.

When a secret is uncovered and reveals a schism at the centre of their relationship, a deep emotional distance threatens to overwhelm their physical distance and put their future plans in jeopardy.

322 Days is a play about being together and being apart.

#322Days
www.painesplough.com

Recorded at the Lyric Hammersmith on Friday 4th December 2015, this play was made possible by the kind support of the Lyric Hammersmith.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the next episode, BILAL’S BIRTHDAY, by The Big Room Fellow Nathan Bryon, next month.

What an exciting start to 2016 – and with even more to come! We can’t wait to get more shows on the road…

– Team PP x

 

Developing New Writing: The Producer’s Perspective

Trainee Producer, Rachel, joined the team in May and has been managing Nathan’s development with us since then. Here she give us an insight into how she put together the development workshop and what she learned from it.

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Producing toolkit: Notepad, iPad and, most importantly, a diary!

I remember sitting with my friend Nicola as she spoke about the play she was writing while we were at uni. She was struggling for a title that communicated the themes and also got across a sense of where the play was set, in the world of DJ-ing.

Nicola: It’s the word for the thing they do? When they put one song into another…?
Me: Mixing?’
Nicola: No… It’s like that, but… Not.
Me: (struggling) Uh…Fading…?
Nicola: Yes! Well… Kind of, I feel like there’s another word they use…

I’m wracking my brains, at this point trying to remember something, anything at all, from when I studied music at school – school now a distant, foggy memory.

Me: What about… cross fade?

The word hung in the air in front of us for a moment.

YES! WRITE IT DOWN!’

I almost fell out of my chair with relief and, with a laugh, that’s how the title of her first play, and subsequently her theatre company, came about. Over a cuppa, sharing ideas in the student union.

I didn’t realise it, but that’s producing.

Of course there’s a bit more to it – scheduling, budgets, casting, and loads more I’ve still to learn – but at its heart it’s listening to each other, sharing ideas and making it happen.

So when it came to putting together a development workshop for Nathan, that experience is what I drew on. I have worked with emerging writers and directors in Scotland (now that I look back on it, coffee shops seem to be a recurring motif…) and I’ve seen the excitement, the fear, and the nerves that come when people share their ideas with you, and experienced the wonderful madness that accompanies figuring out how to make those ideas become a reality.

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Once Nathan had chosen a date for his workshop, the next thing to find was a director. After a meeting with George and James, we approached Titas Halder to see if he’d be interested in being involved and after meeting with Nathan, he agreed to come on board. We drafted in Trainee Director Nadia as Titas’ assistant in the room and the next thing I knew, I had a creative team.

After this my foot really hit the gas as we went full speed into casting, looking for actors who’d be active and engage in the discussion in the room to help Nathan get to the core of what he wanted to write about. A list of names was drawn up and I spent my days trawling through Spotlight like a woman possessed, contacting agents, doing availability checks… I was sorting through CV’s, communicating back and forth with Titas, and making so many phone calls that I felt like an octopus. Offers were made and accepted, and after an energetic few days I was able to relax and confirm with Nathan, Titas and the rest of Team PP that our cast was finalised.

I arrived for the first day of workshopping to set up the room and print out the stimuli that Nathan had compiled for everyone. Our actors – Tanya Fear Tunji Lucas, Michael Hadley and Llewella Gideon– arrived and after some warm up exercises and a little bit of time to get to know each other, we got down to discussing the contents of Nathan’s dramaturgical pack. Soon the ideas covered the walls and surrounded us.

It was a fascinating, scary, intense, relevant and necessary discussion. It felt theatrical in itself as the various subject matters – ethnicity, identity, class, family, belonging – provoked strong emotions and feelings from everyone in the room.

Each new day brought with it more writing from Nathan, and it was fascinating to see how the conversation in the room filtered in to his writing, stretching and reshaping his ideas in to what would eventually land on my desk a week later – the first draft of his brand new play.

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Without realising it, I’ve found the work I’ve contributed towards having a decidely musical slant in both Crossfade and Mix Tape. The aim in putting together the development workshop was to help Nathan try out new ways of writing and telling stories. Inadvertently, it’s also helped me to start shaping my identity as a producer and how I want to work with other creatives in the future.

-Rachel x

 

Developing New Writing: The Assistant Director’s Perspective

The second in our newest series of blogs on creating new work comes from our Nadia Amico, our Trainee Director from Birkbeck’s MFA in Directing. She’s previously assisted our Associate Director, Stef, on WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK and most recently has written and performed at Stratford East at the Empower House event.

It’s not very often you get asked by a director to do some research into Kendrick Lamar, and I knew at that moment that this was the kind of rehearsal room I was meant to be in.

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2 weeks out of a 3 day workshop and not only am I still reeling from some of the conversations but I certainly feel heavier with the knowledge and experience of being in a room with director Titus Halder and writer Nathan Bryon.

The topic was simple, yet incredibly raw, as George Perrin later reminded me, and raw it was – what it means to be black and, in a way, what it means to be white.

We spent a large amount of time being expertly navigated through a workshop by Titus, which ultimately encouraged us share an incredible amount of political, social and cultural material, breaking down personal barriers and crossing over racial thresholds. As the assistant director, a lot of what you’re told about the job involves listening and adhering to the room, but it was hard – not just coz I could talk the back legs off a donkey – but because I was frustrated and upset. How is it 2015 and the colour of someone’s skin, or the sexual orientation of a person is still being questioned, challenged and to some degree, oppressed?

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Kendrick’s album To Pimp A Butterfly crystalizes, in potentially the most eloquent and fundamental way, the issues facing black people in America today. You only have to mention Treyvon Martin and blurry images, recorded on handheld phones, shaking from left to right, distorting the forms of black boys and bullet holes, white cops and Taser guns, contradict the ironic point Lamar is trying to make – “we gon be alright”.

What really stood out for me was how inspired Nathan was by Titus’ handling of the workshop – Titus pushed Nathan to explore a more abstract way of writing. Letting his pen flow across the page rather then worry too much about characters and narration. “What really matters, man” I’m pretty sure is something I heard from most people throughout the workshop. After day one in fact, Nathan stayed behind, his brain close to exploding, and wrote something in response to the conversations and opinions formed in the room that day.

I was keen to come back into the room on Sunday to see what had changed or formed more vehemently in his mind. I wasn’t disappointed, as what Nathan at written encouraged further debates and conversation pertaining to everything we already had discussed and more. Class issues became a prominent talking point – and again, being a working class director, it was hard to not put my two cents in.

Within the first 20 minutes of the workshop, tears were shed and a comforting arm uniting a working class black woman and a middle class white man stretched out saying ‘it’s ok’. I was overwhelmed, happy, sad, excited and finally grateful. I got to witness something really special. Titus took me for a drink later and I said ‘all I want to do is extract the juice from everything’. I had said it in a jokey kind of way, but the workshop had left both a sweet and sour taste in my mouth. And I think that’s what theatre is all about. The good with the bad, the happy with the sad, but eventually really real situations and really real people.

– Nadia x

Developing New Writing: The Writer’s Perspective

Earlier this year, Nathan Bryon was selected to be our Big Room Fellowship playwright, and as part of the programme we are helping him to develop his playwriting skills. At the end of October we organised a development workshop with director Titas Halder, ably assisted by our Director Placement, Nadia, and four actors, to thrash out some ideas. Here’s a little insight from Nathan in to what happened…

Last week, was intense. Super, super, super, super intense… We had 3 days of rehearsal and development of my new play, and I had no idea what is or was going to be about. Then I set myself the mad challenge of writing a draft of my new play in 5 days… This is the blog that tells you how it went – it involved lots and lots and lots of COFFEE and expensive Eat sandwiches.

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(L-R: Nadia, Tanya, Nathan & Tunji)

I wrote a short play called ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST about the police brutality in America. I wrote it whilst in Spain watching the Walter Scott police shooting because I had major, major rage and the play was an immediate response to that. I knew for my new full-length play that I didn’t want it to be an extension to ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST because I felt, whilst it was short, the play was complete.

I met Rachel, the producer, a few days before the workshop like “Shit, I haven’t actually written anything proper to rehearse with the actors!”, just because I didn’t know exactly what I even wanted the story to be about. Rachel explained that it’s not about going into the rehearsal with a full piece, it’s about going in with provocations and bits of script to play with to inspire myself. This conversation was a massive relief so I went away and made like a 40 page pack for the day which the poor director, Titas, had to go through, hahaha. I had decided I wanted to discuss the black experience, black rage, police brutality, identity and a billion other things. It was full of short scenes, my wants for the pieces, the themes I wanted to explore, and a whole lot more.

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The Wall on Day 1

I had an amazing room of actors – Tunji Lucas, Llewella Gideon, Tanya Fear and Michael Hadley – who all came in on their weekends which I know is a long ting, hahah. They were so generous with their stories and thoughts, and I don’t think at any time I was not scribbling something down in my notebook. We would write things on a piece of paper – thoughts we had, sentences that we liked  – and stick them on them wall so we were literally surrounded by it all day.

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Titas in directing mode while Simone and Bhavini from Team PP watch on.

One of my favorite parts of the three days was us all watching Kendrick Lemar’s music video for ‘Alright‘, and just being mesmerised by how amazing it was. Nadia, the assistant director, printed me out a pack of research about Kendrick who is my favorite rapper right now, which I am slowly getting through.

We could have locked ourselves in that room for another 5 days, but thank god we didn’t because at the end of every day we all felt drained, mentally and physically.

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Tanya and Michael

Writing-wise, I sat down with Titas before we began the workshop and he really liked some of the poetry led pieces I had written in ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST. I have a poetry background as that was what I did before writing plays. He gave me debbi tucker green’s BORN BAD and RANDOM. I knew of debbi tucker green and loved her work but I had never read BORN BAD which blew my head off, just the anger in that play. I loved the non-naturalistic writing style which was something I had been learning loads about from my time in Barcelona.

The first day of the rehearsal I came in with some abstract scripts with no character names, scene headings, or locations and Titas directed the actors to perform this… For me it was a spark of magic – that night when the actors left, I stayed in the room for another 3 hours and just wrote, wrote, wrote. I came up with 4 more abstract scenes, so excited at the thought of hearing them read out loud in this new style the next day. I always used to think abstract theatre like that was totally wanky and would think ‘What’s wrong with being naturalistic?’. The answer is ‘nothing’, but I am so glad I now know I can try to do both.

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Covering the room over Days 2&3

The discussions got more intense as the workshop progressed and  after we shared some of the work with the Paines Plough team, the actors left on Monday. I was left in the room now covered in pieces of paper and I had to make sense of all the things we discussed figure out, with this new writing style, how on earth I was going to make a play this way which at first was very, very, very scary.

When I write, I try my best to make some element of the story relate to my life so that I can make it honest. I wanted to base this play around my family and my mixed raced background, which I hope I did hahaha.

For 5 days I wrote non-stop in that room, drinking copious amount of coffee playing Kendrick Lemar pacing around, eating expensive PRET sandwiches, sticking things up on the wall… it was fucking amazing. It was one of those moments were I felt like a proper, proper writer with writer problems, hahah. Everyday I would come home and just be a bit distant because my mind couldn’t switch off and I was just thinking about what I was going to write the next day.

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Sorting through and organising my favourite thoughts from the 3 days.

Everyday I would print off my progress (don’t worry it was recycled, I’m not about that wasteful life) and read it all out loud. The play was really taking shape and by Friday I had finished… god knows if it is total shit, I really hope not as I am definitely attached… To top it off, Hanna the producer brought me in a BOOM bowl of Mac and Cheese on the Friday which I was so happs about, as there are only so many sandwiches you can eat.

On the Friday at 5:30 I had finished the whole thing and I ran to the pub with the Paines Plough crew dem haha and had lots of pints which was wonderful. I felt like that week I had achieved something boom!

On the Saturday morning I woke up totally knackered, but also still feeling really affected by the subject matter, and on the Saturday evening I got rage that this white dude called his dog Django after the slave from the movie in a pub… After vexing and ranting for hours on twitter (tweets now deleted) I took a breath and
stepped away and watched RuPauls Drag Race. I think the subject matter really swallowed me up at one point which was fucking intense, but super interesting.

But yeah long story short, I finished the first draft, the play is called MIXED BRAIN: THE MIXTAPE and it is all abstract and that, I am super excited at the prospect of developing it. It’s a story about me and my brother and our different upbringings, what it means to be mixed raced, and an incident that split my family.

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Draft 1…

Now I need to get back to re-drafting something else as I said I would have it done tomorrow… I hope I didn’t just lie to the producer… first let me make another tea!

– Nathan

Programme 2015: 11 plays in 74 places

Here we go… we’re excited to announce our Programme 2015 in full. Eleven top class productions touring to 74 places from Cornwall to the Orkney Islands.

Here’s a snapshot:

•    This summer’s unmissable pop-up experience: ROUNDABOUT follows its run at The Brighton Festival with a two month residency at The Southbank Centre, a return to the Edinburgh Festival and a national tour.
•    THE HUMAN EAR, a brand new play from Alexandra Wood receives its world premiere in Roundabout in Edinburgh.
•    WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK by award-winning writer Sabrina Mahfouz premieres at the Latitude Festival.
•    EVERY BRILLIANT THING returns to the UK following its acclaimed Off-Broadway run in New York and tours nationwide in addition to performances in Roundabout.
•    OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL continues to thrill young audiences in Roundabout and in theatres on an extensive national tour.
•    LUNGS and THE INITIATE continue in the Roundabout rep.
•    DANIEL KITSON is amongst a thrilling programme of visitors performing in Roundabout.
•    NATHAN BRYON receives the inaugural Paines Plough Playwright Fellowship.

Welcome to Programme 2015.

TAB

Continuing at The Bush Theatre until 13 June…
THE ANGRY BRIGADE by James Graham
A pyrotechnic thriller from the writer of sell-out smash hits THIS HOUSE and PRIVACY.
“Memorably adventurous…a timeless depiction of young people agitating against a world that appears to exclude them.”
★★★★ The Times

The Bush // 30 April – 13 June

WALBOL

A Paines Plough world premiere at The Latitude Festival…
WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK by Sabrina Mahfouz
“I want to be iconic. I want to be beautiful, reckless, feared, hated, ahead of the times. I want to be different, I want to be dangerous…”
London, 2001. Raves. Revision. Re-election.
Nadia is swept up in one hot summer’s night of love that promises endless possibilities. Drinking, dancing, hope, ambition, lust, greed… and decisions that will determine the rest of her life.
Rhythmically underscored by a live mix of old school UK Garage, award-winning writer Sabrina Mahfouz explores the legacy of a cultural movement that defined the hopes of a generation.
London, 2015. Re-wind.

Latitude Festival // 16-17 July

Round

This summer’s unmissable pop-up theatre experience…
ROUNDABOUT
The Stage Awards ‘Theatre Building of the Year’ pops-up in Brighton, London, Edinburgh and on tour with a repertory of outstanding new plays.

Regency Square, Brighton Festival // 2-24 May
Southbank Centre, London // 7 June – 18 July
Summerhall, Edinburgh Festival Fringe // 6-30 August
Newbury Corn Exchange // 9–13 September
The Lowry, Salford // 16–20 September
Lincoln Performing Arts Centre // 23–27 September
Brewary Arts Centre, Kendal // 30 September – 4 October
Theatre Royal Margate // 7–11 October
New Vic, Stoke // 14–18 October

Human Ear RND 2015 image final

A Paines Plough world premiere…
THE HUMAN EAR by Alexandra Wood
A man turns up at Lucy’s door claiming to be the brother she hasn’t seen in 10 years. But why has he come? Is it really him? And what happens when there’s another knock at the door?  Forced to confront the messy inner workings of sibling love with its petty resentments, casual cruelty, profound betrayals and implicit understanding, can the bond between brother and sister be rebuilt?
An intriguing tale of loss, renewal and knowing who to trust from Fringe First Award winner Alexandra Wood.

Roundabout @ Summerhall, Edinburgh Festival Fringe // 6-30 August
Roundabout @ Newbury Corn Exchange // 9–13 September
Roundabout @ The Lowry, Salford // 16–20 September
Roundabout @ Lincoln Performing Arts Centre // 23–27 September
Roundabout @ Brewary Arts Centre, Kendal // 30 September – 4 October
Roundabout @ Theatre Royal Margate // 7–11 October
Roundabout @ New Vic, Stoke // 14–18 October

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The highly acclaimed and multi-award winning…
LUNGS by Duncan Macmillan
“The most beautiful, quietly shattering play of the year.”
★★★★★ Sunday Express

Roundabout @ Regency Square, Brighton Festival // 2-24 May
Repeated on BBC Radio 3 // 24 May
Roundabout @ Southbank Centre, London // 7 June – 18 July
Roundabout @ Summerhall, Edinburgh Festival Fringe // 6-30 August
Roundabout @ Newbury Corn Exchange // 9–13 September
Roundabout @ The Lowry, Salford // 16–20 September
Roundabout @ Lincoln Performing Arts Centre // 23–27 September
Roundabout @ Brewary Arts Centre, Kendal // 30 September – 4 October
Roundabout @ Theatre Royal Margate // 7–11 October
Roundabout @ New Vic, Stoke // 14–18 October

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The Scotsman Fringe First Award winner…
THE INITIATE by Alexandra Wood
“An intense, original and memorable play for today, with outstanding performances.”
★★★★ The Scotsman

Roundabout @ Regency Square, Brighton Festival // 2-24 May
Roundabout @ Southbank Centre, London // 7 June – 18 July

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Back in the UK following its four month run Off-Broadway…
EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe
Our co-production with Pentabus Theatre Company hits the road for an epic UK tour.
“Heart-wrenching, hilarious… one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop.”
★★★★ The Guardian

Barrow Street Theatre, New York // 6 December 2014 – 29 March 2015
Machynlleth Comedy Festival // 2-3 May
Unity Theatre, Liverpool // 9 May
The Drum, Plymouth // 12-16 May
The North Wall, Oxford // 18 May
Roundabout @ Brighton Festival // 19, 20, 23, 24 May
Quarterhouse, Folkestone // 21 May
The Spring, Havant // 22 May
The Dukes, Lancaster // 26 May
Trestle Arts Base, St Albans // 28 May
Leintwardine Village Hall // 30 May
Pulse Festival, Ipswich // 2 June
Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal // 3 June
Harlow Playhouse // 4 June
The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury // 5-6 June
Square Chapel, Halifax // 7 June
Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis // 10 June
The Muni, Colne // 11 June
The Lowry, Salford // 12-13 June
South Hill Park, Bracknell // 15 June
The Castle, Wellingborough // 17 June
The Garage, Norwich // 18 June
Key Theatre, Peterborough // 19 June
The Tolmen Centre, Constantine // 21 June
Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury // 23 June
The Phoenix, Bordon // 25 June
Derby Theatre, Derby // 26-27 June
Roundabout @ Southbank Centre // 7-11 July
Roundabout @ Summerhall, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 6-30 August
The Civic, Stourport // 9 September
Roundabout @ Corn Exchange, Newbury // 10 September
Bridport Arts Centre // 11 September
Mill Arts Centre, Banbury // 16 September
Roundabout @ The Lowry, Salford // 17 September
Isle of Eigg // 21 September
Sunart Centre ,Arainn Shuainert, Strontian // 23 September
Plockton Village Hall, Plockton // 24 September
Craigmonie Centre, Drumnadrochit // 25 September
Lyth Arts Centre, Wick // 26 September
Pier Arts Centre, Orkney // 27 September
Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds // 29 September
Roundabout @ Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal  // 30 September
South Holland Centre  // 1 October
Pegasus Theatre, Oxford // 2-3 October
The Theatre, Chipping Norton // 4 October
Tobacco Factory, Bristol // 6-10 October
Stahl Theatre at Oundle School, Peterborough // 14 October
The Old Market, Brighton // 18-20 October
Shop Front Theatre, Coventry // 21 October
Span Arts, Pembrokeshire // 22 October
Riverfront Theatre, Newport // 23 October
Pontardawe Arts Centre, Pontardawe // 24 October
Lakeside Theatre, Colchester // 29 October
The Civic, Barnsley // 31 October

troll

A colourfully comic show for children 7+ and their accompanying trolls / parents…
OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL by Dennis Kelly
“Fun, funny…comic perfection.”
★★★★ The Times
Our co-production with Half Moon Young People’s Theatre continues in Roundabout before embarking on its own national tour.

Roundabout @ Regency Square, Brighton Festival // 2-24 May
Roundabout @ Southbank Centre, London // 7 June – 18 July
Roundabout @ Summerhall, Edinburgh Festival Fringe // 6-30 August
Roundabout @ Newbury Corn Exchange // 9–13 September
Roundabout @ The Lowry, Salford // 16–20 September
Roundabout @ Lincoln Performing Arts Centre // 23–27 September
Roundabout @ Brewary Arts Centre, Kendal // 30 September – 4 October
Roundabout @ Theatre Royal Margate // 7–11 October
Roundabout @ New Vic, Stoke // 14–18 October
TakeOff International Children’s Theatre Festival, County Durham // 21-23 October
Arts Centre Washington // 24 October
Old Fire Station, Carlisle // 25 October
Brewhouse, Burton // 27 October
Derby Theatre // 28 October
Lakeside Arts, Nottingham // 29 October
Royal & Derngate, Northampton // 30 October
The Castle, Wellingborough // 31 October
Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, London // 2–5 November
Tarvin Community Centre, Chester // 6 November
Whitby Hall at Trinity Ellesmere Port // 7 November
Z-arts, Manchester // 8 November
South Holland Centre, Spalding // 10 November
The egg, Bath Theatre Royal // 12–14 November
The North Wall, Oxford // 15 November

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Paines Plough and friends present…
EARLIER/LATER
A series of early morning and late night one-off shows: theatre, poetry, comedy, music, rumbles, shenanigans and much more in Roundabout throughout the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Get your fix of fresh new work, exhilarating debates and rip-roaring performances. Kick start your morning and round-up your evening in Roundabout – “the loveliest venue at the fringe” The List, 2014.

We’re excited to announce a storming line-up of VISITING COMPANIES in Roundabout @ Summerhall throughout the Edinburgh Festival Fringe…

Eastern Angles in association with Unity Theatre present
CHICKEN by Molly Davies

Supporting Wall presents
JONNY & THE BAPTISTS: THE END IS NIGH

Papermash Theatre and Tricycle Theatre present
HAPPY BIRTHDAY WITHOUT YOU by Sonia Jalaly

THEATRE UNCUT
Clara Brennan, Vivienne Franzmann, Kieran Hurley, Dennis Kelly, Neil LaBute, Stef Smith

Dancing Brick and Soho Theatre present
I’M NOT HERE RIGHT NOW by Thomas Eccleshare

Daniel Kitson presents
POLYPHONY by Daniel Kitson

Plus…
The inaugural Paines Plough Playwright Fellowship is awarded to Nathan Bryon. Nathan is 23-years-old and from Shepherd’s Bush. He is one of the most exciting and original new playwriting voices we have come across and we are delighted he will join Paines Plough on attachment until the end of 2015. The Playwright Fellowship is supported by Jon and NoraLee Sedmak and an anonymous playwright. It aims to assist a playwright of exceptional promise at the start of their career by supporting them in the development of their craft. The Fellowship comprises an attachment to Paines Plough, a bursary of £6,000 and a place at the prestigious l’Obrador d’estiu playwriting conference in Barcelona.

We welcome two new members of our team thanks to our partnership with Creative Access. Joining Paines Plough are Trainee Administrator Bhavini Goyate and Trainee Producer Rachel D’Arcy. Former Creative Access intern Natalie Adams is now full-time Administrator.

Joining the Paines Plough Board of Trustees are Andrea Stark, CEO of High House Production Park, Matthew Littleford, Editorial Director for Digital, BBC Worldwide, Anne McMeehan Roberts, Founder Director of Cauldron Consulting and playwright Dennis Kelly.

And we’ll be hosting more Open Auditions, releasing two new Apps, launching a transatlantic radio project, offering lots of exciting opportunities for playwrights through The Big Room, programming one-off events in Roundabout and eating lots of cake in the office.

So there you have it… Programme 2015. We hope to see you there.