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Sound and Vision

You join us, dear blog-reader, at a very interesting and exciting moment here at A Play, A Pie and A Pint HQ in Glasgow. We’ve just watched the first run of DIG, which takes to the Òran Mór stage on Monday. Our second play, YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW, is nearing the end of its first week of rehearsals which has been a brilliant period of exploring and playing with the text. And we’re just putting the finishing touches to preparations for ETERNAL SOURCE OF LIGHT, which starts the whole process again, going into rehearsals on Monday. Having taken you through the sounds we heard coming out of the DIG rehearsal room last week, this week we have a whole different kind of sound to deal with.

David Watson’s YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW is a fantastically original and poetic play in which sound is completely essential to the telling of the story. In it, snippets of conversations you might hear variously on talk radio shows, a police radio, across the pub and on your SatNav weave in and out of each other. So who better to talk us through the show than our Sound Designer and Composer, Scott Twynholm:

Scott, can you tell us about YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW from your perspective? I’m excited about being involved as the play is so sound dependant: I get the chance to cut up sound, record actors, re-create everyday sounds in the rehearsal room, we might even get round the piano to write the odd radio jingle.

What particular challenges are there when you’re putting together a show like this? The main challenge will be deciding what will be pre-recorded and what will be performed live. For this play we’re going for the Foley film studio approach of creating as much as possible live. These sounds will be performed by the cast so it’s important they are simple, effective and compliment the dialogue rather than distract. Of course there is the visual aspect which is naturally more theatrical than sound playback.

You’ve worked with us at Paines Plough for two years on Play, Pie and Pint: is this the sound-iest show you’ve had to work on with us? Yes and no. I would say the sound is written into this play to compliment the narrative. It can be just as challenging to compose the music to underscore the drama of a play. Last year I enjoyed writing the music for IN THE PIPELINE, which didn’t have an obvious sound element.

What do you enjoy about designing sound for the theatre? Composing for the theatre gives me great joy in that it differs from writing for film and commercial recordings. There is more variety and human interaction. There is a certain excitement about the live performance. And I enjoy the collaborative process – I enjoy getting out of the studio, working with actors and the creative team to put together a show.

And finally: What’s your favourite play, pie and pint? I don’t really have a favourite anything but I’ve enjoyed these over the past year or so: Medea/Steak/Heineken.

Sounds good to us.

Some of the items currently in the rehearsal room being used for Foley sound effects. Either that or they were having a tense round of Kim's Game.

A Play, A Pie and A Pint – On Tour

A Play, A Pie and A Pint

A Play, A Pie and A Pint

Later this year we’re presenting three World Première productions with our good friends at Oran Mor in Glasgow. Brand new work by Katie Douglas, David Watson and Leo Butler will open in Glasgow as part of the lunchtime series A Play, A Pie and A Pint, before heading out on tour. Oran Mor is in the heart of Glasgow’s West End – a vibrant and eclectic corner of this gorgeous city, home to students, families and some of our favorite cinemas, delis and bars in the UK.

Oran Mor

Oran Mor

First stop after Glasgow will be Edinburgh’s new writing power-house, The Traverse. A Scottish home to much of Paines Plough’s work of the past few years (including 2010’s PPP series as well as Orphans, After The End, Long Time Dead and The Straits), the Traverse is also one of the top venues for the Festival Fringe each summer.

Traverse Theatre

Traverse Theatre

From Edinburgh we head south to Manchester for our fourth visit in twelve months to this beacon of the north. After a fling with the Manchester International Festival this July we’ll be back at our home from home in M2, the formidable Royal Exchange Theatre, in October.

Royal Exchange Theatre

Royal Exchange Theatre

Last stop on this tour is Coventry, where 79% of our audience for last year’s PPP series were first time visitors to the theatre. We were in Coventry for Come To Where I’m From in July last year where our four writers painted a vivid picture of a fascinating city. You can still listen to the writers reading the plays themselves here.

Belgrade Theatre

Belgrade Theatre

We’ll be posting updates on Katie, David and Leo’s plays on this blog as well as on our website over the coming months. In the meantime, let us know if you’ll be coming to share a pie and a pint with us in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester or Coventry this autumn.

And, if you’re already a regular at Oran Mor’s PPP, vote them pub of the year by following the instructions below. We’re sure they’ll reward you royally.

To vote Oran Mor the Sunday Mail pub of the year:

Call 0901 229 2817 and enter the code 10. Calls cost 26p plus network extras. Calls from mobiles may be significantly higher.

Or text SMVOTE01 followed by a space and the code 10 to 84080.Texts cost 25p plus your standard rate.

Lines will close at noon on Thursday, June 2, 2011.

Spreading our wings…

Over the last few weeks, fellow colleagues have been jetting off all around the UK. Most of this travel (usually booked by myself or the administrator Hanna) has been related to our current A Play, A Pie and A Pint Season. Now don’t get us wrong, we understand these trips have to be made and we both thoroughly love Aldwych and PP HQ, but sometimes it’s nice to spread your own wings a bit rather than enabling others’, and last week our prayers were answered. We were going to Manchester!

Over the last few months, The Independent Theatre Council (ITC) have been hosting sessions with their members and staff from Arts Council England (ACE) to discuss what is on the horizon in terms of the future of touring. Chaired by Charlotte Jones, Chief Executive of ITC, the session was a great opportunity to meet other touring companies and swap ideas, stories, fears and experiences about theatre life on the road. We also had the opportunity to hear from Barbara Matthews (Director of Theatre, ACE) and Amanda Rigali (Director of Combined Arts and Touring, ACE) about the latest thinking within ACE. With public funding cuts on the horizon, many organisations funded by distributors of public funds like ACE are bracing themselves for a tricky time. Although there were no concrete answers (even ACE do not know themselves what decisions are going to be made by the government), it was still an informative session.

We had the opportunity to ask lots of questions to people who have been in the business for years and we all talked and talked about anything and everything associated with the T-word: international touring, mid-scale touring, rural touring, mutual risk, co-productions, relationships between venues and touring companies, collaboration, and much, much more.

We both came back buzzing with ideas and pleasingly optimistic about the future, and both look forward to spreading our wings further afield by meeting other peers at future meetings…

From Edinburgh to Glasgow

It was my turn to head up to the Fringe this weekend, and what a brilliant weekend it was. Leaving PP HQ on Friday morning, I was greeted in the afternoon by glorious sunshine in Edinburgh, and made my way straight to the Forest Fringe foyer to see James Baker’s 30 DAYS TO SPACE. An attempt for Baker to realise his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut with a ladder and a very shiny space suit. Over the weekend I saw a number of fantastic solo performances and plays, including I AM WOOF, created and performed by Robert Taylor, WHERE HAVE ALL THE LADIES GONE? created and performed by Victoria Kember, BUNNY, by Jack Thorne, and 10 DATES WITH MAD MARY, by Yasmine Akram. All were uniquely different and thoroughly engaging. I also got to enjoy HOT MESS, by Ella Hickson, and OTHERS, by The Paper Birds, and followed the crowds to the Traverse to see THE AUTHOR by Tim Crouch, PENELOPE, by Enda Walsh, FREEFALL by Michael West and The Corn Exchange Theatre Company Ireland, and SPEECHLESS by Linda Brogan and Polly Teale.

After my busy weekend hotfooting it around the city, on Monday morning I hopped on a train to Glasgow for the first day of rehearsals for Paines Plough/Òran Mór’s A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT. I joined PP’s James, Tara and Jack, and Artistic Director of Òran Mór, David MacLennan, to meet with the cast and crew of the season’s first play, FLY ME TO THE MOON by Marie Jones. With tea and coffee brewed, and Monday morning pastries on the table, we all gathered to hear the fantastic Abigail McGibbon and Katie Tumelty bring the script to life in the first read through. It was so brilliant to meet the team and see everyone’s excitement. Can’t wait to see the play up on it’s feet.

A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT will tour to five cities in the UK from 30th August, including Glasgow, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Coventry, and Dublin. If anyone has any suggestions for places to eat, things to do, and where to get the best watermelon martini in each of these places, please do get in touch! We want to hear from you.