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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Roundabout @ Albion Sq, Hanley (Stoke-on-Trent)

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Roundabout in Ablion Square, Hanley.

We’re back in Stoke-on-Trent! A year has flown by since we were last in Abion Square with Roundabout and now we’re back with three brand new shows to share with the wonderful people of Hanley. We open on Thursday with a packed schedule of events for all the family including free workshops on poetry and sculpture making. We’re popping up in Albion Square in Hanley town centre from Thursday 20 October to Sunday 23 October. If you need help finding us why not check out Google Maps who happened to be filming when Roundabout was around last year – click here to have a look around.

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Roundabout is officially famous.

Thursday 20 October:

20:00 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
21:30 // Post Show Talk with the cast

Friday 21 October:

11:00 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
12:30 // Roundabout Tour (No need to book, just come along and say hello!)
13:30 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
16:00 // Roundabout Tour (No need to book, just come along and say hello!)
19:00 // MAN UP by the New Vic Youth Theatre (curtain raiser)
19:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
20:40 // Post Show Talk with the cast

Saturday 22 October: 

10:30 // Roundabout Tour (No need to book, just come along and say hello!)
12:00 //  I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
14:00 // Baby Sensory class in Roundabout
15:00 // LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
16:00 // Post Show Talk with the cast
18:00 // LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
19:30 // POETRY TAKEAWAY LIVE
20:45 // NOW IT’S NOT THE TIME by Scratch n Sniff Theatre Co.

Sunday 23 October: 

11:00 //  I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
12:00 – 16:00 // Sculpture Making Workshop with Shaun Doyle (free, drop in anytime)
12:00 – 16:00 // Poetry Picnic with The Poetry Takeaway (free, drop in anytime)
14:00 // Roundabout Birthday Party
15:15 //  I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
16:15 // POETRY PICNIC PERFORMANCE

You can book for all events through Appetite’s website here. Or call the Box Office on 01782 381373. Or just wander over to Albion Square – tickets will be available for all Roundabout events from the pop-up Appetite Box Office up until the performance.

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Audiences pile into Roundabout.

Did you know?

We love this section of the Appetite website. We’ve picked out our favourite facts about the team there.

Karl Greenwood (Project Director) – Karl’s passion for creativity started when he bought a pink bass guitar at age 14 for £20 and he hasn’t looked back since.
Gemma Thomas (Creative Producer) – Gemma is a vegetarian but is partial to the odd prawn cracker (don’t worry Gemma, we won’t tell).
Gary Cicinskas (Programme Manager) – Gary’s background is traditionally in community arts but he also used to be a head chef, a waiter and he used to make Doc Martins for a living.

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Roundabout in Albion Square, Hanley.

Broken Biscuits: Previews

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Broken Biscuits (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

As a creative team, we spend countless hours in the lead up to a show attempting to create and hone an audience’s experience of the play. We coordinate and plan how all aspects of the production will come together. Rehearsals are held in preparation for an audience but without them present we can never have a full understanding of the production’s workings.

If you think of it as preparing for a dinner party: you can plan meticulously what you will cook; what you will wear; what music you will play, but the evening is an unknowable thing until your guests have arrived.

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Broken Biscuits (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

This is where previews play a part.

Previews allow the team to see the production with all elements in place, the final element being, you, an audience. While the changes between first preview and opening may be barely perceptible to a first time viewer, there are also occasions where much bigger changes are made in this period. It is in these intial runs that the final pieces click into place.

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Broken Biscuits (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

Every audience brings something slightly different to the show. They’ll discover a moment of absolute belly laughter at a point the previous night’s audience gave out a small titter. Every audience will relate to the play slightly differently and previews help actors to become acclimatised to this changing reception.

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Broken Biscuits (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

We were incredibly happy in the Broken Biscuits previews to play to some really varying audiences. The actors got the chance in previews to feel how an audience response to the play can vary. The creative team had chance to tweak and perfect the lighting and sound. Previews are a perfect reminder to us all of how important an audience is in shaping a production. Now they are finished, the show is up and running and we can’t wait for you to see it!

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Broken Biscuits (cred. Richard Kenworthy)

Anna Ryder, Assistant Director.

Roundabout @ Mandela Gardens, Barnsley

Roundabout audience Rich Lakos

Roundabout (cred. The Other Richard)

Bring on week six of the Roundabout national tour. This week we’re in Barnsley, our only Yorkshire venue, and we can’t wait to open on Thursday with another jam-packed schedule of wonderful events in Roundabout. We’ll be popping Roundabout up right outside The Civic on Mandela Gardens from Thursday 13 October until Sunday 16 October. If you need help finding us, dont worry here’s a map.

We’ve got an exciting mix of events for you this week from stand up comedy to a concert performed in-the-round, not to mention two one off talks from the Barnsley Trade Council.

Thursday 13 October:

13:30 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
19:00 // LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris

Friday 14 October:

10:30 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
13:30 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
18:30 // Ensemble 360
20:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris

Saturday 15 October:

10:30 // The Yorkshire Rising of 1820 (Barnsley Trade Council)
12:00 // Readings from “The Annals of Barnsley” by John Hugh Burland (Barnsley Trade Council)
13:30 // The Civic Scratch
16:00 // LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
18:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
20:30 // Cabaret Boom Boom

Sunday 16 October:

10:30 // Sponge (Turned on its Head)
12:00 // The Life of A Bee (Manasamitra)
14:30 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
19:00 // Two Pianos (American Rock and Roll Concert)

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Roundabout being built (cred. Caitlin O’Reilly)

You can book for all events through The Civic’s website here. Or call the Box Office on 01226 327000. Or just wander over to The Civic – tickets will be available for all Roundabout events from the Box Office up until the performance.

Did you know?

The original Civic was built as a Public Hall by Charles Harvey in 1877. In 1962 the Hall became Barnsley Civic Theatre, a traditional proscenium arch theatre seating 800 people and attracting some of the biggest names in show business to the town. Big names like Ken Dodd performed here regularly and the theatre continued to entertain audiences until sadly closing in 1998. The remodelled building and site reopened to the public in 2009 and now includes a 316 seat performance space and a design led gallery.

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Civic Hall (cred. The Civic, Barnsley)

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.

Roundabout @ Abbot Hall, Kendal

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Roundabout at Abbot Hall, Kendal.

It’s week five of the Roundabout national tour and we’ve arrived in the gorgeous Lake District where we’re setting up outside Abbot Hall thanks to Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal. We’re on the bowling green outside Abbot Hall from Thursday 6 October to Sunday 9 October. You can find directions here.

We’ve got another fantastic programme including curtain raisers from the Brewery Young Actors who have been working on responses to the plays by Alan Harris and Luke Norris. Also joining us will be comedian Ed Gamble, spoken-word and musical improv ensemble Some Some Unicorn and The Hey Down Treaders, back after a raucous sell-out show in Roundabout 2015.

Thursday 6 October:

19:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
21:00 // STAMPEDE by Ed Gamble

Friday 7 October: 

10.30 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas (Schools)
13:30 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas (Schools)
19:30 // LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
21:00 // SOME SOME UNICORN – VERBALISE SPECIAL

Saturday 8 October:

12:00 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
17:00 // LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
19:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
21:00 // THE HEY DOWN TREADERS

Sunday 9 October:

12:00 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas
17:00 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
19:30 // LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris

You can book for all events through Brewery Arts Centre’s website here. Or call the Box Office on 01539 725133. Or just wander over to Roundabout – there’s Box Office is right next to us!

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The build

Did you know?

Roundabout is popping up next to Abbot Hall, a beautiful Georgian house situated on the banks of the river Kent, which houses Abbot Hall Art Gallery. Well worth a visit between shows.

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Abbot Hall (cred. Visit Cumbria)

Roundabout @ POP OUT Festival, Lincoln

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Roundabout outside Lincoln Performing Arts Centre

Another week, another Roundabout location. This week we’re so proud to be part of the first POP OUT Festival produced by Lincoln Performing Arts Centre. We’re on the lawn outside LPAC on the University of Lincoln campus from Thursday 29 September to Sunday 2 October. You can find us here.

As usual we’ve got a jam packed schedule with theatre, music, comedy, Shakespeare and more. We’re even hooking up with our Edinburgh friends Walrus who are touring PP Playwright Fellow Sam Steiner’s LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS. Here’s the full schedule.

Thu 17:00 Lincoln Arts Mash Up Meeting
Thu 18:30 GROWTH
Thu 20:30 TOM WEBB: Mega Games
Fri 08:00 Culture Connects / Culture Café Breakfast Meeting
Fri 10:00 LIL PACS: Dance with Beth
Fri 11:30 SCRIPT THIS
Fri 13:00 HAPPY TOGETHER
Fri 14:30 LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY
Fri 19:00 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Fri 21:00 ROB AUTON: THE SLEEP SHOW
Sat 10:30 I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY
Sat 11:45 ENCORE: Sing! From Broadway to Brayford
Sat 13:00 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Sat 15:00 LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY
Sat 17:00 LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS
Sat 18:30 GROWTH
Sat 21:00 THE RUBY DOLLS
Sun 10:30 I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY
Sun 11:30 BABY SENSORY CLASS
Sun 15:00 O DUO
Sun 17:00 GROWTH
Sun 19:00 MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
Sun 21:00 LOVE, LIES & TAXIDERMY

You can book for all events through LPAC’s website here. Or call the Box Office on 01522 837600. Or just wander over to Roundabout – LPAC’s Box Office is right next to us!

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Did you know?

The programme in Lincoln includes Much Ado About Nothing by a certain William Shakespeare. This is the first time The Bard’s words will fill Roundabout. Catch the performance by Lincoln Stage Company on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

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Broken Biscuits: The Trailer

It’s one week until BROKEN BISCUITS by Tom Wells opens with our co-producers Live Theatre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and we’re very excited to give you a glimpse of Megan’s shed where our musical heroes are tuning up.

We hope to see you at one of our tour dates:

05-22 October
Live Theatre, Newcastle
0191 232 1232
live.org.uk

25-29 October
The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth
01752 267222
theatreroyal.com

01-05 November
Hull Truck Theatre
01482 323638
hulltruck.co.uk

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

The brilliant trailer was created by Rory Gibson. You can check out his work here.

#BrokenBiscuits

Come To Where I’m From: London plays added to the app

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We’re very excited that the plays we commissioned with partners Tamasha for COME TO WHERE I’M FROM: LONDON have now been added to the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app.

Added to the app today are:

NORTH-WEST: Tricycle Theatre
Monday 27 June
With Karla WilliamsZia AhmedMediah AhmedChé Walker

SOUTH-WEST: Clapham Omnibus
Tuesday 28 June
With Elena ProcopiuAmman Singh BrarKathryn GoldingAlexandra Wood

WEST: The Gate
Wednesday 29 June
With Divya SachdevaSally WoodcockSatinder Chohan

EAST: The Yard Theatre
Thursday 30 June
With Lucy SheenAfsana BegumLizzy DijehIn-Sook ChappellArinze Kene

SOUTH-EAST: Ovalhouse
Monday 04 July
With Sandra TownsendVinay PatelMiran HadzicMorgan Lloyd MalcolmAdam Brace

NORTH: Park Theatre
Wednesday 06 July
With Mahad AliIsley LynnCheryl WalkerStephen JeffreysMonsay Whitney

You can listen to all 31 of the plays on the app for free alongside the 100 plays already available. You can download the app from the App Store here.

Be sure to let us know what you think on Twitter @painesplough #CTWIF

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The COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app was developed by Milk Bar Studios. Check them out here.