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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!

Simulator Screen Shot 17 May 2016, 12.27.58

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.

Step Changing from NT to Play, Pie, Pint

please note: pint pictured is not actual size

As this is the end of my third week working with Paines Plough I thought it was about time I wrote a blog. I’m Rachel, and I’m here due to a frankly brilliant scheme called Step Change.

The idea behind the programme is to try and counteract the fact that the theatre industry can be haphazard in terms of spotting and nurturing people who have management and producing potential. My experience, working at the National Theatre as the Technical and Production Administrator, has been great in terms of teaching me about the theatrical process on a large scale; but when it comes to the next step in my career, I’m going to need specific experience that my role at the NT as a little cog in a big old machine doesn’t afford me.

Participants on Step Change get a week of masterclasses from industry experts and several follow-up sessions; a mentor to give advice/drink with/be talked down by (mine, Ros, is General Manager at the Old Vic); and a secondment of around 40 days in another organisation. And this is where my path meets Paines Plough’s.

Paines Plough had put together two secondment proposals, and when I first met with Tara and Claire I told them I was interested in working as Assistant Producer on what turned out to be the upcoming Roundabout project. I’m a Sheffield girl, and the concept – a portable theatre space, initially within the Crucible, a company in rep, three brand new plays – sounded very exciting whilst still allowing me to cling on to my comfort zone (read: opportunity to jump on the 82 to my Mum’s for a cuppa if it all got too much). I still think the Roundabout project is going to be brilliant and I’m really enjoying being in the office watching it all coming together.

But when Tara called and said they thought I’d be better served by being given even MORE responsibility, and would I be up for being the Trainee Producer on this year’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint, I was thrilled. Then terrified. Then thrilled again.

So I’m spending two days a week south of the river with the NT, and three on the north bank with Paines Plough, until mid-September when we hit Òran Mór in Glasgow with our three brilliant plays. We will then be touring to the Traverse in Edinburgh, the Royal Exchange in Manchester, and the Belgrade in Coventry. So far I have been meeting with the writers, putting together our teams (Stage Management, Lighting and Sound design), drafting ideas for marketing material and next week I’m travelling up to Edinburgh to continue casting one of the plays – at the National, there are whole departments to do each of those things.

I can see that our three plays are going to present me with completely different challenges, and I’m sure that that will mean a lot of thinking on my feet – particularly when I take the lead once we’re in Scotland. But that’s what I’m after – a buzz, a challenge and above all, the opportunity to get properly hands-on and help create some excellent theatre. I’ll keep you updated.

In the mean time, if you’d like to know more about Step Change, let me know by posting a comment here, or check out

Constructing the Roundabout

This, apparently, is OSB. You learn something new every day.

Producing embraces the balance of the creative with the practical.

I have had the pleasure of being in auditions for the ROUNDABOUT season, watching a wealth of talented actors and engaging with the three directors’ various creative processes.

On the more practical end of the spectrum, with four weeks to go to rehearsals of the first play, Nick Payne’s ONE DAY WHEN WE WERE YOUNG, it was time to source the builders for our 150-seater pop-up portable auditorium.

We went to see Andy at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre workshop, and listening to him and Lucy Osborne talk through her sketches and CAD drawings was a small challenge to keep up with. They dashed through materials – OSB, mdf, hardboard – discussing different attributes and finishes (it is also part of the brief for the auditorium to be built from sustainable materials). They also chatted through measurements – radius of stage and structure itself – but they have the added perameters of adhering to regulations for width of entry and exits and the incline on treads (staircases) whilst maintaining 150 seats. There were times when it felt like solving an algebra problem!

Andy showed me around the workshop, the smell of sown wood is inviting and drives home the physical labour and skill that builds the creative realisation of the three plays in ROUNDABOUT season.

The Belgrade currently has jobs from the National and are already building their panto – it was interesting to see the theatre landscape from a different perspective and begin to understand the scope of work and range of organisations these skilled carpenters and painters deliver for.

It is a world I hope to learn more about and spend time getting to know – and it certainly makes one want to improve on your basic DIY skills!

Linda McLean gives certain answers to her writing of THE UNCERTAINTY FILES

Is 45 minutes and max 3 actors easier or harder than 2 acts and a cast of ten?

 Just different.  Something i’ve only become aware of in the last couple of years is that limitations are strangely freeing.  If I set my mind the puzzle of what it can’t do, it invariably comes up with some creative way of beating me!  So, for example, with the Uncertainty Files, I made a piece for 3 actors playing 14 characters!

 Should every play come with a complimentary pie and pint?

 I’m keen on variation so I’d like to see a play a pasty and a pint (the south country tour); or a play a pasta and pint (the italian tour); or a play, a pastis and pint (the french tour where we all get maroculous).

 What is more scary, contemplating a blank sheet of paper, contemplating a deadline or contemplating the audience at the first performance?

All three are a challenge in their own way: the blank sheet of paper (or screen) always demands something new, it won’t tolerate same old same old. The deadline, especially when the show is already programmed is at once scary and exciting but with an inflexibility that reminds me of those terrible moments at school when you knew you were going to get the strap and there was nothing you could do except hold out your hand and wince. And the audience because no matter how much confidence i have in a piece I spend that first performance quivering.

In three words how do you feel about about the critics?

Medium rare, please.

Do you agree with Thomas Edison that “Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration” ?

I think he was talking about lightbulbs!  I’m more of a fan of Vilfredo Pareto’s 80:20 principle.

Come To Where I’m From Hipsta Gallery

We’re a little bit obsessed with the Hipstamatic iPhone app at Paines Plough HQ. Could you tell?

Here’s a gallery of photos of everywhere we’ve been so far on our our COME TO WHERE I’M FROM tour, Hipsta style…

Come To Where I’m From – Coventry

We’ve just finished our final rehearsal room run of TINY VOLCANOES in Liverpool and now we’re headed for Coventry for the latest COME TO WHERE I’M FROM – at The Belgrade, tonight at 9:30pm.

We’ve got a stellar line-up of writers performing their own short plays about the places they grew up – Vanessa Oakes, Chris O’Connell, Alan Pollock and Paven Virk. So if you’re round Coventry way, come on down, should be a cracker.

Then it’s an overnight drive to Suffolk and Latitude in time for tomorrow morning’s tech…