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Broken Biscuits: Reviews Round-up

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After playing for three weeks at co-producers Live Theatre in Newcastle, Tom WellsBROKEN BISCUITS hits the road. We thought we’d do a quick round up of all the brilliant feedback our young rockers have received so far.

“A sweet meditation on the fierce, fragile alliances formed on the cusp of adulthood… incredibly endearing.” ★★★★ The Guardian

“Wonderful, funny and original ★★★★ The i Newspaper

“Funny, confessional and well-crafted… Matthew Robins’ music and Wells’ lyrics feel like Victoria Wood for a new generation.” The Stage

“Quirky, warm and hugely entertaining.” ★★★★ The Chronicle

“It’s funny. It’s engaging, even heart-warming.” British Theatre Guide

“Great atmosphere.” ★★★★ The Reviews Hub

“A funny script and rocking soundtrack… filled with warmth.” Narc Magazine

“A brilliant script… may well be the most uplifting thing you’ll see all year.” ★★★★★ Once Upon a Tyne

“Charming and recognisable… provided laughs along the way in its feel good message about growing up.” North East Theatre Guide

“A new play by Tom Wells is always a welcome event.” The Northern Echo

We’re touring until December visiting all of the following places. Are we coming to you?

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

#BrokenBiscuits

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

Broken Biscuits: Tour & Casting announcement

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© Matt Humphrey 2016

We’ve got a double whammy of news for you today. We’re co-producing Tom Wells‘ new play BROKEN BISCUITS with Live Theatre in Newcastle and we’re very pleased to announce both the cast and the national tour dates.

We scoured the country for the talent to play Megan, Holly and Ben – the ‘Mis-Shapes‘ at the centre of BROKEN BISCUITS. We did Open Auditions in London, Hull and Newcastle. We met hundreds of talented actors. We did first calls and recalls. And then there were three. Here they are:

Faye Christall

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© Matt Humphrey 2016

Faye is making her debut with Paines Plough and trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Theatre credits include: GONE VIRAL (St James Theatre), ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (Edinburgh Festival Fringe). Film credits include: CUTE LITTLE BUGGERS 3D and AWAKE. Workshops include: THE UNTITLED MUSICAL (Tricycle Theatre). Faye is also part of the Cirque du Soleil Company.

Faye will play Megan in BROKEN BISCUITS.

Grace Hogg-Robinson

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© Matt Humphrey 2016

TV includes: The regular role of Beth Kennedy in THE CORONER: Series 1 & 2 (BBC1 and BBC Worldwide) as well as appearances in CASUALTY (BBC1), CAMPING (Sky Atlantic), DIARY OF A SNOB (Nickelodeon), DOCTORS (BBC1) and SUSPECTS (Channel 5). Film includes: EDGE OF TOMORROW (Warner Bros.), BIRDHOUSE (NFTS), CANDY FLOSS (HAUS Pictures) and THE NEST (Beyond Fiction). BROKEN BISCUITS will be Grace’s stage debut.

Grade will play Holly in BROKEN BISCUITS.

Andrew Reed

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© Matt Humphrey 2016

Andrew was born in South Tyneside. He trained with The Customs House, South Shields and the Theatre Royal Newcastle. Credits include: THE FIFTEEN STREETS, DRAMA, BABY, TAKEAWAY (The Customs House, South Shields), SCRAPBOOK (Live Theatre, Newcastle), THE MACHINES, 13 (Theatre Royal Newcastle and on tour).

Andrew will play Ben in BROKEN BISCUITS.

We’re also pleased to announce the creative team that will be taking BROKEN BISCUITS from page to stage:

Songs Matthew Robins
Direction
James Grieve
Design Lily Arnold
Lighting Joshua Pharo
Sound Dominic Kennedy

Our brilliant cast will be touring, with shed and musical instruments in tow, to the following venues in Autumn 2016:

Wednesday 5 to Saturday 22 October
Live Theatre, Newcastle
Tickets here.

Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 October
The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth

Tickets here.

Tuesday 1 to Saturday 5 November
Hull Truck Theatre
Tickets here.

Tuesday 8 to Saturday 12 November
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
Tickets here.

Tuesday 15 to Saturday 19 November
Crucible Studio, Sheffield
Tickets here.

Friday 25 to Saturday 26 November
Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol
Tickets here.

Tuesday 29 November to Saturday 3 December
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Tickets here.

We hope to see you on tour.

#FunFact Tom’s inspiration for writing BROKEN BISCUITS was listening to Pulp’s hit Mis-Shapes. Listen carefully for the biscuit reference.

#BrokenBiscuits

Introducing our new Playwright Fellowship & Trainee Director

Here at PPHQ we find nothing more exciting than supporting talented people to develop their craft. We are therefore pleased to announce that we have two exceptional young artists joining Team PP. Our second Paines Plough Playwright Fellowship is awarded to Sam Steiner and the new Paines Plough and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Trainee Director bursary goes to Anna Himali Howard.

Sam Steiner

Sam Steiner pic

Our Joint Artistic Directors James and George saw Sam’s debut play LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS last year: “From the hundreds of new plays we’ve seen and read in the past year, Lemons stood out for us as the work of a singular talent. We are thrilled to welcome Sam to Paines Plough as the recipient of our Playwright Fellowship 2016. With the generous support of Jon and NoraLee Sedmak and a Paines Plough alumnus playwright, we look forward to supporting Sam in the next stage of what promises to be a great career.” Sam’s debut won three awards at the National Student Drama Festival prior to an acclaimed, sold out run at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015. You can catch it this year in Edinburgh at Roundabout @ Summerhall.

Anna Himali Howard

Anna Himali Howard

We’re very excited to be joining forces with Birmingham REP to provide this bursary supported by another Paines Plough alumnus playwright. “Anna Himali Howard is a real talent with a brilliant and imaginative theatre brain. We are hugely excited to welcome her to our team. We [James and George] were both fortunate to receive training opportunities that made our careers possible – not least from Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director Roxana Silbert – and we are delighted to now be in a position to offer some support to the next generation of theatre directors and the artistic directors of the future.” Anna will be the Assistant Director for our three Roundabout shows this year: LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY, GROWTH and I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY.

We’ll have blogs from both Anna and Sam coming soon as Anna lets us know what’s going on in the rehearsal room and Sam checks in from Barcelona where he’ll be attending the annual l’Obrador d’estiu playwriting conference.

What we’re seeing at the theatre

We haven’t done one of these in while, so between everyone at PP we’ve made another list of what we’ve all been seeing in the past few weeks. With winter fast approaching, darker days and colder nights, what better place to spend your time than in the theatre.

What we’ve seen:

The Events at the Young Vic, The Same Deep Water As Me at the Donmar Warehouse, Chimerica at the Harold Pinter Theatre, Show 2 at Lyric Hammersmith, Grounded at Traverse Theatre, Fleabag at Soho Theatre, Once at Phoenix Theatre, The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas at the Royal Court, Edward II at the National Theatre, Virgin at Watford Palace Theatre, The Empty Quarter at Hampstead, As You Like It at The RSC, People at Birmingham Rep, Bryony Kimmings: Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model at Soho Theatre, Twelfth Night at Park Theatre, Perfect Match at Watford Palace Theatre, The Pride at Trafalgar Studios, The Legend Of Mike Smith by Soweto Kinch at Birmingham Rep, But I don’t like Girls at The Poor School, Othello at the National Theatre, The Herd at The Bush, Beats at Soho Theatre, Titus Andronicus at Arcola Theatre, Too Mortal by Shobana Jeyasingh at St. Pancras Church (Dance Umbrella), The World of Extreme Happiness at The ShedA Real Man’s Guide to Sainthood at Camden People’s Theatre, The Fu Manchu Complex at Oval House.

What will you be seeing in the coming weeks? Send us your suggestions by leaving a comment or tweeting us @painesplough.

Kate Tempest’s HOPELESSLY DEVOTED – Production Shots

Here’s some production shots from Kate Tempest‘s HOPELESSLY DEVOTED, featuring our incredible cast: Gbemisola Ikumelo, Martina Laird and Amanda Wilkin.

Check out the full set on our Flickr page.

HOPELESSLY DEVOTED runs at The Birmingham Rep until 5th October before heading on tour. Buy tickets here.

For full tour dates, click here.

INSIGHTS: Kate Tempest on HOPELESSLY DEVOTED

Here’s a video with Kate Tempest talking about her new play HOPELESSLY DEVOTED.

Catch HOPELESSLY DEVOTED at the Birmingham Rep until 5th October. Get tickets here.

For full 2013 tour dates, click here.

A hello from our new General Manager

Hello,

So it’s already the end of my fourth week at Paines Plough’s HQ as the new General Manager – how time flies in theatre company land.

The past four weeks have been jam packed with budgets, wages, IT conundrums, getting to know the superb Paines Plough team and their extended family, endless mint tea drinking and more importantly my first Paines Plough Press Night/initiation – watching the very wonderful Hopelessly Devoted at Birmingham Rep.

This may sound like a pitch for a sub-standard rom-com movie but after seeing  Paines Plough’s production of Dennis Kelly’s AFTER THE END at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre in 2005 I was smitten with the company and have been a huge fan ever since, so this job is very much a dream come true.

I’m particularly excited to be starting this role as we go into Paines Plough’s 40th year which is looking to be a very special one indeed (Keep an eye on our blog for more news on this soon!) – to have the chance to work and learn from such a talented team and be a pivotal part of the pioneering work Paines Plough produce .

As I am not an award winning playwright let’s finish with a Tim Vine joke:

“I rang my mother the other day and told her I’d spent my life savings on purchasing a small theatre on the outskirts of London.”

“Are you having me on?!” she cried

“Well I can give you an audition, but I can’t promise anything” I replied.

Let the good theatre times roll…

Aysha x

Insights with JFG cast

Leeds was brilliant.  The Courtyard Theatre is an intimate space and suits comedy, and this play in particular, perfectly.  The audience is very close in there and we could be more natural with our delivery than we’d been before; it made the funny bits funnier, and enabled us to bring out more nuance and texture in the duologues.  When the WYP was designed a quarter of a century ago, directors, actors and other people involved in making theatre were consulted in the process.  They built a great theatre.  We wish it was portable.

Offstage, food was a highlight.  Phil took us to Akbars for a superb curry on Wednesday night.  The naans were so big they could have doubled as duvets.  Thursday was Meatageddon: between shows we went to Reds – a barbecue restaurant next to the Corn Exchange where they do USA-sized portions of your flesh of choice.  Ribs were had; ribs the length of those old WHSmith pencil cases that you could fit your ruler in.  Better still were the Root Beers and shakes that we washed it all down with (the latter were served in a milk bottles).  My hair still smells of smoke.  To the janitorial staff working at the Playhouse on the Friday: we apologize – and salute you!

This week is a week off for us before we head up to Newcastle.  I’d rather have a week on, to be honest, as we’ve got a good momentum going, but it does give us chance to catch up with life, ‘admin’, and go and see friends’ shows which we might have missed otherwise.  The JFG cast is heading to Birmingham to the press night of Hopelessly Devoted, and we’re very excited to see what Kate, James and the team have come up with at the Rep. I’ve got mates in Kes at Derby so I’ll be there on TuesdayAndy is going back to his old college to give some workshops, and Viv is going to see Routes at the Royal Court.  It’s good to see what else is going on because, as well as supporting friends, being provoked and entertained, it gets you back on the other side of the fourth wall for a night or two so you can remind yourself what works for an audience, and what doesn’t.  I imagine that Phil and Jamie will continue to haunt the Tinder community.

Another thing we’ll be doing this week is booking accommodation for the rest of the tour.  Actors and crew usually have to find their own places to stay when working in the UK.  Unless you are a big star, even budget hotel prices will be beyond the reach of your modest subsistence allowance, so most theatres have a ‘digs list’ available to visiting theatre companies: a directory of local people with spare rooms or cupboards who ‘take in theatricals’.  Deciphering the digs list is an art, and identifying the choicest places to stay is something that every actor needs to master.  Features like: ‘5 min walk from theatre’, ‘Wifi’, ‘En suite power shower’, and ‘40” lcd tv with PS3’ will push a place right up your shortlist. ‘May on occasion be required to assist the owner with toilet’, should ring alarm bells, and so will enigmatic descriptions like: ‘Very relaxed household.’

Even once you’ve chosen what you think will be the most salubrious lodgings, you still have little idea what the place, and your landlord/lady, will actually be like until you roll up with your suitcase on the Sunday and ring the bell.  Digs stories have always been a popular green room topic; Harold Pinter’s experiences of the lodgings he took whilst he was a touring actor in the early ‘50s provided the inspiration for one of his earliest plays: The Birthday Party.  He once wrote this in a letter to a friend:

‘’I have filthy, insane digs, a great bulging scrap of a woman with breasts rolling at her belly, an obscene household, cats, dogs, filth, tea-mess, oh bullocks, talk, chat rubbish shit scratch dung poison, infantility, deficient order in the upper fretwork, fucking roll on.”

I have never stayed anywhere quite like that, but your heart does sink somewhat when you arrive at a place, are led into the kitchen, and notice that the only fruit in the house is the snout of a lemon lying next to an open bottle of Gordon’s on the chopping board.  And it’s not yet 2 o’clock.  And there is a hand in your pocket…and it’s not yours.

Right.  I’m done.  Pub?

#Jump4Goal

HOPELESSLY DEVOTED by Kate Tempest – Rehearsal Shots

We’re unbelievably hyped that Kate Tempest’s incendiary new play HOPELESSLY DEVOTED previews tonight at The DOOR at The Birmingham Rep.

To give you a sneak peek, here are some rehearsal shots featuring our incredible cast: Gbemisola Ikumelo, Martina Laird and Amanda Wilkin.

Check out the full set on our Flickr page, and stay tuned for full production shots coming soon.

HOPELESSLY DEVOTED runs at The Birmingham Rep until 5th October before heading on tour. Buy tickets here.

For full tour dates, click here.