Category Archive: Playwright News

Dennis Kelly wins a 2013 Tony Award

PP alumnus Dennis Kelly won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical at last night’s 2013 Awards for MATHILDA.

Watch Dennis’ brilliant acceptance speech here.

We worked with Dennis on AFTER THE END and ORPHANS, both of which were directed by ex-PP Artistic Director Roxana Silbert.

Huge congratulations to Dennis from everyone at PP.

Bring us back some Hershey’s Peanut Butter Cups please.

THE BIG ROOM Playwright-in-residence

We’d like introduce our newest member of the PP team – THE BIG ROOM Playwright-in-residence Alexandra Wood.

Alexandra’s play THE ELEVENTH CAPITAL was produced by the Royal Court as part of their Young Writers’ Festival 2007. On the strength of this she won the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright.

Alexandra adapted Jung Chang’s bestseller WILD SWANS (Young Vic/American Repertory Theatre) and was one of the writers to contribute to DECADE, Headlong Theatre’s piece exploring the legacy of 9/11.

Other plays include: THE CENTRE (Islington Community Theatre); THE ANDES (finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award); UNBROKEN (Gate); THE LION’S MOUTH, (Rough Cuts at Royal Court) and the radio play TWELVE YEARS (BBC Radio 4). She has written short plays for Rose Bruford College, nabokov, DryWrite and curious directive.

She is currently working on PIIGS, a collaboration with a Spanish writer to explore the effects of austerity in Spain, part of the ‘Open Court’ season at the Royal Court and is looking forward to writing a new play during her residency at PP.

THE BIG ROOM offer’s bespoke developmental opportunities to professional playwrights of exceptional talent across the UK.

Named after PP’s rehearsal room space in our long-standing Aldwych offices, it is a resource that will invest deeply in a small number of writers each year, with the ultimate aim of supporting the best playwrights in the development of their art, on their terms.

Read more about the work of THE BIG ROOM here.

THE BIG ROOM Playwright-in-residence is made possible by a donation from an anonymous playwright.

In Battalions … still on the attack

You might remember a blog we did on the challenge that playwright Fin Kennedy was set by Ed Vaizey – to prove that cuts made to Arts Council England are having a dramatic impact on the culture of new writing within the UK.

The final report, which has been endorsed by signatories far and wide, came to the damning conclusion that reductions to the arts budget are having financial and cultural implications that are more deep-felt than initially expected. As well as this, a press release was produced to summarise the key findings again with the backing of several leading figures.

Venues that champion and commission new writers provide the lifeblood of most of the writing that takes place within the UK. Behind every writer that lands a three month run at the National, or who can churn off series after award-winning series for channel four, or who is discovering their voice on the Fringe, is a support network that has been built over years in cities across the country.

Sadly, it would seem that Vaizey is taking a vow of silence on the matter. Equipped with the report, there is still no answer from the Minister. Subsequently, an open letter has been sent to remind him of the matter, to no avail.

The missive from Fin is to make this silence public until it is broken. Arts organisations and individuals are encouraged to read and disseminate the above information. Only then can a conversation be struck up, which will then lead to greater understanding for both sides.

‘Old but urgent’ says Stephens

In case you missed it in today’s METRO, here is Simon Stephens‘ timely reminder of why we do what we do:

“…in the theatre, those big loves of mine synthesized: the dramatic narratives of the TV I loved combined with the edgy live-ness of a gig… Theatre involves a group of strangers coming together, looking in the same direction… You’re watching something in real time. You can’t keep your phone on. You can’t check your Twitter feed. You’ve got to be here, now, properly engaged… In our atomised, individualist culture, that’s a fantastically f***ing radical thing to do. It’s the oldest art form and yet it feels the most urgent.”

Damn straight.

You can read the full interview with Lucy Powell here.


The writer / director relationship

James and Mike. Just hanging out. By a wall. (Photo: Penny McGuire)

Calling all directors and playwrights…

Paines Plough and The Young Vic have teamed up to curate an open discussion on the writer / director relationship on new plays, led by our Joint Artistic Director James and our Associate Playwright Mike Bartlett.

James and Mike will talk about their experiences working together, and with other writers and directors. They will open the discussion out to the floor and to try to find some common ground on which writers and directors can agree, as a framework for positive collaborative relationships.

This event is open to playwrights and directors. Full details are below. We’d love to see you there.

The writer / director relationship on new plays – a discussion
Tuesday 22 January
2.00pm – 5.00pm
The Clare, Young Vic

From an initial exchange of ideas through formal commissioning, redrafting, casting, design, rehearsals, tech, previews and press, a strong and collaborative writer / director relationship is crucial to the success of any new play. Playwright Mike Bartlett and director James Grieve discuss their work together on ARTEFACTS and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, and open the discussion out to investigate best practice, and explore how directors and writers can work together most productively.

If you would like to attend please email Sue Emmas on by midday on Wednesday 16 January.

If you have any access requirements please let us know.

James Grieve is Joint Artistic Director of Paines Plough. He was formerly founder and Artistic Director of nabokov, and Associate Director of The Bush. His directing credits include Mike Bartlett’s plays ARTEFACTS (nabokov / Bush Theatre, National Tour, Off-Broadway) and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE (Paines Plough / Drum Theatre, Plymouth / Royal Court and National Tour).

Mike Bartlett is currently Associate Playwright at Paines Plough. In 2011 he was Writer-In-Residence at the National Theatre, and in 2007 he was Pearson Playwright in Residence at The Royal Court Theatre. His play LOVE, LOVE, LOVE won Best New Play in the 2011 Theatre Awards UK, COCK won an Olivier Award in 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. He won the Writer’s Guild Tinniswood and Imison prizes for NOT TALKING, and the Old Vic New Voices Award for ARTEFACTS.

Penelope Skinner scoops Standard Award

Penelope Skinner. Photo: The Evening Standard

Much cheering at PP HQ at the news that Penelope Skinner scooped the prestigious Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright at yesterday’s awards.

Penelope’s play THE SOUND OF HEAVY RAIN is currently playing as part of our Roundabout Season in Sheffield, and she was formerly part of our Future Perfect playwright’s group.

We loved her play THE VILLAGE BIKE at The Royal Court earlier this year, for which she was honoured.

Huge congratulations to Penelope. We’re dead proud.

You can read more about the awards here.

There’s a feature about Penny and similarly brilliant fellow nominees EV Crowe and Vivienne Franzman here.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE wins Best New Play

We were delighted to accept the Best New Play Award at last night’s re-branded TMA Theatre Awards on behalf of our Associate Playwright Mike Bartlett.

The newly-christened ‘Theatre Awards UK‘ honoured Mike’s play LOVE, LOVE, LOVE with the award following our 2010 co-production with the Drum Theatre Plymouth and 2011 National UK tour.

Other award-winners included our Roundabout co-producing partners Sheffield Theatres who scooped Best Supporting Performance and Best Design. There’s full coverage of the awards in Playbill, Variety, The Stage, Whatsonstage, Spoonfed and The Arts Desk.

Mike is out of the country at the moment so we can’t report how he feels about winning the award but we think he’ll be happy. We made sure his champagne didn’t go to waste.

So huge congratulations to Mike and thank you to everyone who came to see the show for your support.

Penelope Skinner wins 2011 George Devine Award

Penelope Skinner

Penelope Skinner

We were thrilled to be at this morning’s George Devine Award ceremony at the Royal Court Theatre where Penelope Skinner was announced as the winner of this year’s George Devine Award for her upcoming play at the Royal Court Upstairs, The Village Bike.

The Award, recognised as one of the most prestigious for new writing, was set up in 1966 as a memorial to the life and talent of George Devine, Artistic Director of the Royal Court 1956-65.

Previous winners of the George Devine Award include: Edward Bond (1968), Mike Leigh (1973), Hanif Kureishi (1980), Martin McDonagh (1996), Conor McPherson, Enda Walsh (1997), Rebecca Gilman, Mark O’Rowe (1999), Gary Owen (2002), Lucy Prebble (2004), Alexandra Wood (2007), Hassan Abdulrazzak (2008), Nick Payne (2009) and Vivienne Franzmann (2010).

Penelope was part of Paines Plough and Channel 4’s Future Perfect project and is writing a play for our upcoming Roundabout season, a collaboration with Sheffield Theatres.

Huge congratulations to Penelope from all at PP.

Congratulations to Arinze Kene – ‘Most Promising Playwright’

Thanks to tweets from @OvalDirector we’re thrilled to see that one of our Associate Company playwrights, Arinze Kene, won the award for Most Promising Playwright at’s Offie Awards last night. And we couldn’t be more delighted for him.

The prize was awarded for Arinze’s recent play, ESTATE WALLS which was directed by our good friend Ché Walker and produced by Inner City Theatre, one of our Associate Companies who we support and mentor as an emerging theatre company with playwrights at their heart.

All of us at PP HQ thought the play was fantastic and can’t wait to see his new play LITTLE BABY JESUS at Oval House Theatre in May.

Sam Burns longlisted for Blackburn Prize

We’re super excited to announce that Sam Burns, who we nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2011, has been named in the 10-strong longlist for her extraordinary debut play NOT THE WORST PLACE.

We first read the play when our friends at Sherman Cymru sent us the best of new Welsh writing to help us put together our line-up for COME TO WHERE I’M FROM : CARDIFF. We instantly fell in love with Sam’s gripping and tender tale of a teenage girl who moves out of her family home to share a tent with her listless boyfriend on Swansea seafront.

The Susan Smith Blackburn prize is given annually to a female playwright who has written a work of outstanding quality for the English-speaking theatre. Past winners include Caryl Churchill, Timberlake Wertenbaker and PP alumnus Rona Munro.

Alongside Sam, this year’s finalists include Olivier Award winner Katori Hall, Alex Wood, Tamsin Oglesby and COME TO WHERE I’M FROM : MANCHESTER writer Joy Wilkinson.

So huge congrats to Sam. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the announcement of the winner at a ceremony in New York on 28 February.

Meantime, you can listen to Sam’s COME TO WHERE I’M FROM play here.