Category Archive: Tiny Volcanoes

Programme 2011 in Pictures

As the last one standing in the PP office at 5pm on the day before Christmas eve I thought I’d say one last goodbye to 2011 with a pictoral journey through Paines Plough’s Programme 2011.

Over the past 12 months more than 24,000 people saw one of 11 new plays by 15 different playwrights in one of 39 different places across the UK. Thank you to everyone who contributed, came, saw, enjoyed and supported – we hope to see you in your local theatre in 2012.

2011 round-up

It’s nearly Christmas, and we’ve reached the end of another fabulous year at Paines Plough.

Programme 2011 is now complete and we’ve had a brilliant time over the year, working with 15 playwrights, and touring 11 productions to 39 places where 24,868 of you have come to see one of our shows. Thank you to everyone who joined us as we made our way around the UK, we hope you’ve enjoyed our shows.

Here’s a quick round-up of Programme 2011:


We started the year with our co-producers Drum Theatre, Plymouth on our spring tour of Mike Bartlett’s LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, which we are delighted won the award for Best New Play at the 2011 Theatre Awards UK last month, and has been shortlisted for Best Regional Production in the upcoming Whatsonstage Awards.

Here are some of the reviews from the tour:

“Bang-on-the-money new play… required viewing.”
★★★★★ The Telegraph

“Devastating precision… peppered with terrific lines and big laughs”
★★★★ The Guardian

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE will return in Programme 2012 in a brand new production at the Royal Court in April. You can book tickets here.

Read the LOVE, LOVE, LOVE blog here.


We then returned to the Liverpool Everyman with our co-production of Laurence Wilson’s TINY VOLCANOES, before taking the show on the road for its second national tour.

Here’s what some of you said about the show:

“Wild and exciting, terribly funny”
Audience member, Trowbridge

“Excellent, thoughtful, great performance, please come back to Folkestone”
Audience member, Folkestone

“Very engaging, challenging and entertaining”
Audience member, Harrogate

Read the TINY VOLCANOES blog here.


In July we hit festival season, and collaborated with Manchester International Festival on THE 8TH by Paul Heaton and Ché Walker, which played for three nights at The Pavilion Theatre and starred Reg E Cathey.

Have a look at some production shots from the show.

Read THE 8TH blog here.


Later in July we braved the rain and took to the muddy fields of the Latitude Festival in Suffolk, where we premiered WASTED by Kate Tempest alongside our co-producers Birmingham Repertory Theatre and The Roundhouse, and our friends at NSDF.

We’re touring WASTED in spring 2012 and will be announcing dates in the new year. Keep an eye on our website for updates, and in the mean time check out our production shots from Latitude here, and watch our online trailer here.

Read the WASTED blog here.


The second half of the year saw us tour three new plays in co-production with Òran Mór in Glasgow, in our A Play, A Pie and A Pint season. We opened the season with DIG by Katie Douglas, which was followed by YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW by David Watson, and JUICY FRUITS by Leo Butler.

Here are some reviews on each of the plays:

“Devastatingly effective”
★★★★ Edinburgh Evening News

“Funny, intelligent, observant”
★★★★ Edinburgh Guide

“Brilliantly witty, acerbic and dark…”
★★★★ The Public Reviews

Read the A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT blog here.


In October, we opened the first ever Roundabout Season in partnership with Sheffield Theatres. The season consisted of three new plays, performed by an ensemble cast in our prototype Roundabout Auditorium which lived in the Crucible Studio for two months. We opened the season with ONE DAY WHEN WE WERE YOUNG by Nick Payne, followed by LUNGS by Duncan Macmillan and THE SOUND OF HEAVY RAIN by Penelope Skinner.

Here are some Tweets about each of the plays:

@MatthewDPlant: @painesplough @crucibletheatre #OneDayWhenWeWereYoung: stunningly emotive/engaging. Original/ innovative scene changes with costume. BRILL.

@lyngardner: Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs at Sheffield Crucible is fab. Edgy, anxious, very funny, horribly honest and completely now. #stage

@Cory_face: Enjoyed ‘The Sound of Heavy Rain’ by @painesplough + @crucibletheatre brave but silly, consciously stylised and dramatically justified. See!

You can watch a film about The Roundabout Auditorium here, or read more here.

Read the Roundabout blog here.


To close Programme 2011, we staged COME TO WHERE I’M FROM : JERSEY with playwrights Ben Evans, Leon Fleming, Martha MacDonald, Hannah Patterson and Colin Scott performing their own 15 minute pieces inspired by the place they grew up. The event took place at the Jersey Opera House and was part of The Big Room, and organised by the Jersey Arts Trust.

You will soon be able to hear podcasts of the plays on our website. In the mean time, have a listen to some of the podcasts from COME TO WHERE I’M FROM 2010 here.

Read the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM blog here.

So that was the year that was. We’ve had a ball. Bring on 2012.

If you saw any of our shows this year, please post a comment and let us know what you thought.

PP’s top tips for Latitude

We’re incredibly fortunate to have been taking work to the Latitude Festival Theatre Arena since its inception in 2006, first with our previous company nabokov (who are also back again this year) and most recently with Paines Plough. After Laurence Wilson’s incendiary TINY VOLCANOES fired up the 2010 festival, we’re back again this year with the debut play by explosive performance poet Kate Tempest. WASTED closes the bill on the Friday and Sunday nights of the festival this weekend.

So in the hope that readers of this blog snapped up tickets in time, we thought we’d offer our very own guide to a great Latitude, from what we can jointly remember of the last five years attending this exceptional festival.

Take risks on the new

Latitude programmers Melvin Benn and Tania Harrison are bold in their programming and have been incredibly astute over the past few years in the way they’ve brought relatively unknown acts to the heart of the festival, only for them to go on and become major stars. This year’s music line-up for example, is perhaps one of the bravest yet. A close listen reveals some incredibly exciting new talent taking prominent spots on big stages. Last week we posted our own top 13 bands not to miss along with samples of their work. You can still listen to it here.

Buy a festival programme

At £10 they’re not cheap, but the official festival programmes are beautifully put together and about the size of a small bible, crammed full of information about all of the acts at the festival. Most importantly, there’s a pull-out timetable at the back. Most venues fill up pretty quickly, so if there’s someone or something you simply refuse to miss out on, then get there a few shows early to be sure of a good seat.

Keep hold of your cup

In a concerted effort to be environmentally friendly, the festival uses renewable plastic pint pots. You put an initial £2 deposit down on them which allows you to keep them at the end if you wish. Every five or so cups features a unique Latitude branding for the enthusiasts out there. Just be careful not to lose your cup – entrepreneurial young things can be spotted scouring the site late on Sunday night for discarded cups, only to make a pretty penny when they return them all.

Hit the poetry tent

Latitude has one of the best collections of performance poets of any live event in the UK, spitting lyrics non-stop, for four solid days. If the words ‘poetry’ and ‘performance’ in quick succession make you think of cravats, foppishness and whimsy then you ain’t seen nothing. With the big laughs of comedy, the lyrical dexterity of verse and the drama of theatre, this lot are like three art-forms in one. Don’t take our word for it – see Kate Tempest, Luke Wright, Joel Stickley, John Osborne or Brigitte Aphrodite live for yourself and we defy you not to become a convert.

Keep your ear to the ground for previously unannounced special appearances

Tania and Melvin have a canny knack of throwing in last minute and wholly exclusive special appearances and events. Our favourites of the past few years have been an alarm-call Sunday lunchtime solo acoustic performance by Thom Yorke and a midnight masked ball in the forest.

Have a playlist ready for your very own car-park disco

With the main festival site closing down around 1am, its certainly worth having a good sequence of tracks on your iPod and finding someone with a decent car stereo. Open the doors, plug, play and dance til the sun comes up over your Volvo.

If there’s anything crucial we’ve missed let us know below. Otherwise, see you tomorrow in a field in Suffolk.

Last chance to see 5-star Tiny Volcanoes

Nick Clegg makes a cameo in Tiny Volcanoes

After two years and three tours visiting nearly 30 different towns and cities across the UK, there are just two more outings for Laurence Wilson’s hilarious Tiny Volcanoes.

Tonight the show is at Dartington Arts, near Totnes, and tomorrow it takes its final bow at The Arc Theatre, Trowbridge.

There have been more great reviews for Tiny Volcanoes this week:

“Great writing, great acting…a very funny play”
★★★★★  Devon Life

“Very slick and accomplished…a relentless stream of sketches, songs, jokes and soliloquies, painting a vivid picture of our troubled land. Documentary theatre at its best.”
★★★★ Watford Observer

If you’re anywhere near either Trowbridge or Totnes, hot-foot it along, and jump aboard a theatrical rollercoaster ride through Broken Britain.

Tiny Volcanoes in (near) London

In the past it’s been said that we’re anti-London, but nothing could be further from the truth. We just like giving Londoners an excuse to get out of town and experience other parts of the good old United K.

And this Friday night there’s a great reason to make the 20 minute journey to Watford because Tiny Volcanoes will be rocking Watford Palace Theatre.

Michael Ryan and Kevin Harvey in TINY VOLCANOES

Yes that’s right, just 20 minutes on a train from Euston and you’re there, ready to embark on a rollercoaster ride through Broken Britain with songs, stand-up, sketches, poems, political speeches, TV programmes and even hymns along the way. We promise a lot of laughs, and a cameo from Nick Clegg.

The Liverpool Post reckons Tiny Volcanoes “could be your show of the year“, so don’t miss out. You can get your tickets here.

And we’ve even looked up train times for you to show you how frequently, and how quickly, trains go from Euston to Watford.

Out 06 May 2011 London Euston (EUS) to Watford Junction (WFJ)

Option           1                        2                       3                        4
Depart           EUS 18:34     EUS 18:40     EUS 18:54     EUS 19:04
Arrive             WFJ 18:54     WFJ 18:58     WFJ 19:15     WFJ 19:26
Duration       0h 20m          0h 18m           0h 21m          0h 22m

Return 06 May 2011 Watford Junction (WFJ) to London Euston (EUS)

Option           1                        2                         3                         4
Depart          WFJ 21:29      WFJ 21:46      WFJ 21:57     WFJ 22:31
Arrive           EUS 21:48       EUS 22:08      EUS 22:20      EUS 22:52
Duration     0h 19m             0h 22m           0h 23m            0h 21m

Not forgetting all of you who actually live in Watford, of course. You don’t even have to get the train.

So come on down for Friday night fun. We’ll see you there.

Here’s the trailer to give you a taste of what’s in store…

Homeward bound to Folkestone

Costa Del Folkestone

I’m very excited to be returning to my home town this weekend with Tiny Volcanoes, and the PP gang in tow. We’re all heading for the seaside for bank holiday sun, sea, sand and sandwiches in my back garden.

I spent the first 19 years of my life in Folkestone, during which time there was no theatre at all despite a population of 50,000 people. You had to go to London to see a new play. Infact there wasn’t a whole lot of anything in Folkestone, which, like most port towns, suffered badly from the decline of domestic tourism. Where once the Royal Family regularly holidayed in the grand hotels on Folkestone’s seafront, the advent of cheap flights put the ferry port out of business and eventually the Channel Tunnel bypassed Folkestone altogether.

But an incredible regeneration project led by The Creative Foundation has seen tumbleweed streets transformed with derelict shops reopened as art galleries. The Quarterhouse, a 250 seat theatre, opened a couple of years back offering the town a purpose built venue for theatre, music and comedy, and we’re thrilled that the brilliant team there have invited us to visit.

If you’re in the South-East corner of the country, come on down. There’s loads to see and do in Folkestone and the show won’t let you down. Or even if you’re in London, the new high speed rail link will whisk you to the riviera in 45 minutes from St Pancras.

In case you need any more persuading, here’s my guide to the five best things about Folkestone:

1. The mighty Folkestone Invicta Football Club, recently relegated from the Ryman Premier Division. “Invicta” means undefeated in Latin. Which is ironic. But we’ll be back and will soon be competing for European trophies. Or at least the Kent Senior Cup.

2. The Creative Quarter. The thriving artist’s community, housing studios, galleries and The Quarterhouse where Tiny Volcanoes plays on Monday. Check out the forthcoming Folkestone Triennial too.

3. The South Downs. Rolling hills that meet the sea with dramatic white cliffs and offer stunning views as reward for a climb to the top.

4. Sandgate Esplanade. Miles of beach, seaside bars and views of France. Ok, so technically it’s in Sandgate rather than Folkestone, but there’s no need for pedantry.

5. The Chambers. A subterranean bar serving real ales and continental lagers. Run with conviviality by Chris and his team – the best place to hang out in Folkestone.

Sandgate Esplanade

On the road and review round-up

Hello everyone, we hope you had a lovely relaxing Easter break in the sunshine.

It’s back to work with a vengeance here at PP HQ with lots on the go, not least our two shows currently out on the road.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE is in Southampton this week at The Nuffield with performances Wednesday to Saturday at 7:30pm.

Lisa Jackson and Ben Addis in LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

Meanwhile, TINY VOLCANOES is in Artrix, Bromsgrove tonight before visiting The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal tomorrow; Harrogate Theatre on Thursday and Friday; and The Maltings in Berwick-upon-Tweed on Saturday.

Kevin Harvey and Michael Ryan in TINY VOLCANOES

There’s been lots written about both shows in the past couple of weeks so here’s a quick round-up of the news and reviews.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE was again one of Lyn Gardner’s Theatre Tips in The Guardian on Saturday. After last week’s shows in Ipswich, The East Anglian Daily Times gave its verdict: Sharply satirical…hilarious…the audience at the New Wolsey clearly loved the show“. Blogger Glen Pearce was also in the Ipswich audience and wrote: Once again Paines Plough demonstrates that they are not afraid to bring quality, challenging drama to regional audiences and, in Love, Love, Love, Mike Bartlett confirms his place as one of the country’s most exciting playwrights.

The York Post saw the show the previous week in Leeds and said: The wit is brittle, the dialogue caustic, the adult behaviour almost as selfish as in Noel Coward’s Hay Fever, and depending on your age, you may well take different sides in this zeitgeist generational clash“. Also in Leeds, Culture Vulture blogger Robert A Sharples had a soft spot for Sandra: With the audience left incandescent; I left with a complete crush“.

Looking forward to next week when LOVE, LOVE, LOVE rolls up at Liverpool Playhouse, The Liverpool Echo interviewed our AD James who said: What we’ve found is that families are coming to see the show together and arguing about it at the interval and at the end, and you really feel within an audience different factions supporting different characters in the play.”

And playwright Mike Bartlett revealed his inspiration for the play to The Liverpool Post:I’ve been brought up my whole life being told how amazing the sixties were and how if you can remember it you weren’t really there. I wanted to see which elements were true and important, and which were myth-making and nostalgia.”

Liverpool was, of course, host to the opening performances of TINY VOLCANOES last week at The Everyman.

The Liverpool Post loved it: A devil’s advocate in theatrical form…could be your play of the year.”

There was also a nice review in Liverpool Live, but it’s fair to say The Liverpool Echo wasn’t a fan: It’s a good job Cameron and Clegg weren’t there to see this – or the arts budget would be cut even further.” Ooh er.

Here’s an interview with playwright Laurence Wilson about TINY VOLCANOES.

If you’re anywhere near Southampton, Bromsgrove, Kendal, Harrogate or Berwick-upon-Tweed this week, we’d love to see you at your local theatre and hear what you think of our shows on the road.

An Interview with Laurence Wilson

Laurence Wilson’s TINY VOLCANOES opened to tremendous applause last night at the Liverpool Everyman in preparation for its nationwide tour. We caught up with playwright Laurence Wilson this week to hear all about his wildly provocative new play.

Laurence Wilson

Tell me a bit about Tiny Volcanoes?

Tiny Volcanoes is like nothing I’ve done before.  It’s a political satire sketch show performed by two fantastic actors. We’ve had a bit of trouble with them on the last tour, breaking out of character and bringing their own personal lives onto the stage, which is totally unprofessional but they were forced into the job by the new back to work scheme at the jobcentre. The director’s had a good long chat with them and they’ve promised not to do their dirty washing on stage anymore.

What inspired you to write the play?

The play came from the Nabokov Present:Tense event. Taking a piece of news about the BNP in our case and turning it into a piece of theatre in a short time. James who was artistic director of Nabakov and the director of the piece, became co-artistic director of Paines Plough and asked me to turn it into a full length play. We broadened it out into a full length production and made it about satire of Broken Britain. I really wanted to tackle the many issues Britain faces in these difficult times but do it with as much humour as possible.

What do you feel this production says about modern Britain?

We’re saying that modern Britain is a bit lost. Its identity is under attack or under suspicion, and the politicians haven’t got the answers. We have lost sight of so many important things in the glare of consumerism and the fear of depression. But underneath all that we are a vibrant, essential and bonkers people who need a bit of a kick up the backside.

Do you have any links to any of the venues and will you be visiting any to see the show?

I was born in Hemel Hempstead and moved away when I was two. It’s not too far away from the Watford Palace. The Liverpool Everyman is my spiritual home and has also been the home to several of my plays.

I’m coming to Watford, Liverpool, Harrogate and I’m not sure if I can do any others. We playwrights are ridiculously poor of pocket!

What’s next for you work wise?

My play for young people, Blackberry Trout Face, which won the Brian Way Award last year is touring in the Autumn, culminating in a week at The Unicorn. I’m working on a film script for it and a new play. I’m also about to go on a course hosted by Tutti Frutti to learn how to write a production for tiny people.

Watch our TINY VOLCANOES trailer here.

Read a review in the Liverpool Daily Post.

Click here for tour dates.

Tiny Volcanoes Trailer

We’ve had a brilliant week re-rehearsing TINY VOLCANOES in Liverpool with actors Kevin Harvey and Michael Ryan, and playwright Laurence Wilson who has been bringing the script bang up to date.

Here’s a trailer we filmed yesterday to whet your appetite for the show…

TINY VOLCANOES opens at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre on Wednesday and Thursday before embarking on a nationwide tour.

Here’s Kevin being filmed for a scene in the show in which he plays Jeremy Vine presenting Panoramarama from the mean streets of Liverpool City Centre. Sound designer Xenia is on the left and that’s AV designer Tim with the camera.

Xenia, Kevin and Tim in Liverpool

Full details of the show and tour here.

TINY VOLCANOES : Day 1 of rehearsals

Welcome to Liverpool

While George, Tara and Jack make their way back from this year’s National Student Drama Festival in Scarborough (blog to follow), James and Hanna are up in Liverpool with the cast and crew of Laurence Wilson’s TINY VOLCANOES for the first day of rehearsals of our 2011 Spring tour.

After a meet and greet with the lovely people at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse this morning, the brilliant cast, Kevin Harvey and Michael Ryan, who have re-joined the company after our 2010 Autumn tour, got straight back into the swing of things with a hilarious read through of the play.

Kevin Harvey, Michael Ryan and Laurence Wilson read through the script

Rehearsals are off to a cracking start and we can’t wait to see them back on stage.

Writer, Laurence Wilson, talks about the play in today’s Liverpool Echo.

The tour opens at Liverpool Everyman on Wednesday 20th. (Next week!) Get your tickets now.

20 – 21 April Liverpool Everyman
26 April Artrix, Bromsgrove
27 April Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal
28 – 29 April Harrogate Theatre
30 April The Maltings Theatre, Berwick-upon-Tweed
2 May Quarterhouse, Folkestone
3 May Ustinov, Theatre Royal Bath
4 May Colchester Arts Centre
6 May Watford Palace Theatre
7 May Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
9 May Key Theatre, Peterborough
10 – 11 May Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter
12 May Dartington Arts
13 May Arc Theatre, Wiltshire