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Announcing Programme 2017

PP2016 Web Banner 2

Welcome to Programme 2017. Theatre. Everywhere.

Our Artistic Directors, James and George, unveiled #PP2017 today:

“We’re thrilled to present some of the UK’s most exciting playwrights on tour to more than 60 places across the UK and around the world in Paines Plough’s Programme 2017.

Our pop-up Roundabout will again tour the UK with three world premieres in partnership with Theatr Clwyd and the Orange Tree. Elinor Cook’s OUT OF LOVE is a very funny, topical, heart-tugging exploration of female friendship spanning 30 years. We’re honoured to be premiering another of Elinor’s plays following TEN WEEKS in Programme 2016. Elinor was on attachment to Paines Plough through The Big Room in 2011 and has since won the George Devine Award and become one of the most vital, distinctive new voices in theatre. Roundabout will also host the World Premiere of Brad Birch’s new play BLACK MOUNTAIN, a nerve-jangling psychological thriller showcasing the style and comic brio that marks Brad out in the vanguard of Welsh playwrights. HOW TO BE A KID is a vivid new play for young people by Manchester’s Sarah McDonald-Hughes which tackles some big subjects with extraordinary lightness of touch and a lot of joyous dancing to Taylor Swift.

We are renewing our partnership with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to again showcase new talent with the world premiere of Newcastle playwright Alison Carr’s HUSH, directed by Hannah Banister who was previously at Paines Plough as assistant director on THE ANGRY BRIGADE in 2014.

Nathan Bryon was awarded our inaugural Playwright Fellowship in 2015 and we’re delighted to be partnering with tiata fahodzi to present the world premiere of his debut play MIXED BRAIN. Future Paines Plough programmes will feature the work of this year’s Fellowship writer Sam Steiner, and Zia Ahmed who joins us supported by the Channel Four Playwrights Scheme.  

We are ceaselessly overwhelmed by the reaction to EVERY BRILLIANT THING as it tours the globe. In Programme 2017 we welcome our new brilliant thing James Rowland to perform the show on a second tour to Australia and New Zealand before returning home to the UK, while Jonny Donahoe continues in the role in North America. Sabrina Mahfouz’s euphoric UK Garage musical WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK returns for one very special night in the Roundhouse main space and Luke Norris’ Fringe First winner GROWTH takes off on a UK Tour. COME TO WHERE I’M FROM continues to celebrate locality with playwrights performing plays about their home towns in Middlesbrough, Glasgow and Gloucester. We’ll also be taking COME TO WHERE I’M FROM to Hull and we’re really excited to hear the stories from the city whilst in its inspiring year as City of Culture. You can continue to listen to plays from across the UK on the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app. 

It’s our mission to take the best new theatre everywhere and with our productions appearing in all four corners of the UK, across the Atlantic, down under and on your smartphone there is something for everyone, everywhere in Programme 2017.”

A Paines Plough and Pentabus Theatre Company production
EVERY BRILLIANT THING
By Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe

Every Brilliant Thing Web Treated

The worldwide smash hit is back. After touring USA and Canada in January and February, EVERY BRILLIANT THING continues to Australia and New Zealand with James Rowland at the helm. Then we’re off on a 30-date UK and Ireland tour throughout May, June and July. Stay tuned for more international announcements throughout the year.

 

A Paines Plough production
GROWTH
By Luke Norris

Growth Web Treated

“It’s a lump in a bag of lumps. It’s fine.”

Tobes is young, free and having a ball. Off.

He’s successfully ignored his lump for two years but it’s starting to get in the way – cramping his style and, worse, affecting his sex life. So now there are pants to be dropped, and decisions to be made… It’s a real ball ache.

A comedy about growing up and manning up from critically acclaimed writer Luke Norris (So Here We Are, Royal Exchange; Goodbye To All That, Royal Court).

Winner of a Fringe First Award at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, GROWTH embarks on its second national tour through September and October.

“Achingly funny and tender… Of the hundreds of shows at the Fringe, few feel as necessary as this.”  ★★★★★ Financial Times

 

A Paines Plough, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and Gate Theatre production
HUSH
By Alison Carr

Hush Web Treated

A 999 call sets the wheels in motion. Nothing stays a secret forever. Especially in this town.

Sadie returns to the place she hates. Natalie tries to do the right thing. Josh can only hope. Three stories linked by guilt, secrets and a missing boy.

A dark, funny and often tender new play by rising star Alison Carr, writer of “bruising yet touching” (The Stage) Iris at Live Theatre.

HUSH will premiere at The Bute Theatre, Cardiff and Gate Theatre in London.

 

A Paines Plough and tiata fahodzi production
MIXED BRAIN
By Nathan Bryon

Mixed Brain Web Treated

“One day we were playing football. One kid shouts ‘let’s do black v white’. My heart starts beating hoping someone dusts this dumb idea off. All the white kids go to one side, all the black kids go to the other, I try slip off. Another kid yells: ‘Nathan what team will you be on? You’re mixed…”

Star of Benidorm, writer for Rastamouse, 50% Jamaican, 50% British, 100% reppin’ Shepherd’s Bush. Nathan Bryon is many things. Mixed.

Welcome to his world. Part story, part stand-up, a show fusing Afro-Caribbean flair and British awkwardness in a searing, searching exploration of what it means to be mixed-race and mixed-experience today.

If you live in the middle does anywhere feel like home? Get in the mix. Learn a little, live a little, laugh a lot.

You’ll be able to catch MIXED BRAIN at festivals this summer. Stay tuned for details.

 

A Paines Plough and Latitude Festival production
WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK
By Sabrina Mahfouz

With A Little Bit Of Luck Web Treated

It’s 2001. Garage is the anthem. Nadia feels like it’s her time to shine.

A hot summer’s night of love promises endless possibilities. Swept up in drinking, dancing, hope, ambition, lust, greed… Nadia will make decisions that will determine the rest of her life.

Underscored by your favourite UK Garage bangers. This is theatre you can rave to.

Award-winning writer and poet Sabrina Mahfouz explores the legacy of a cultural movement that defined the hopes of a generation in a “generous, joyous and lyrical collision of gig and theatre” (★★★★ The Stage).

WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK returns to Roundhouse for one night only. Headlining the Last Word Festival you’ll also be able to see DJ Luck & MC Neat and Mighty Moe in an old school UK Garage night on Friday 9 June.

 

A Paines Plough, Theatr Clwyd and Orange Tree Theatre production
BLACK MOUNTAIN
By Brad Birch

Black Mountain Web Treated

Rebecca and Paul are running away. Away from memories and mistakes.

They’re trying to save their relationship. They need time and space. An isolated house in the country is the perfect place to work things out. They set themselves rules: they have to be honest, they have to listen and they have to be fair.

But you can’t run forever. Especially when you’re being followed.

BLACK MOUNTAIN is a tense psychological thriller about betrayal and forgiveness by winner of the Harold Pinter Commission Brad Birch.

BLACK MOUNTAIN will tour in Roundabout in September and October.

 

A Paines Plough, Theatr Clwyd and Orange Tree Theatre production
OUT OF LOVE

By Elinor Cook

Better Than She Should Be Web Treated

Lorna and Grace do everything together. They share crisps, cigarettes and crushes. That’s what happens when you’re best friends forever.

But when Lorna gets a place at University, and Grace gets pregnant, they suddenly find themselves in starkly different worlds. Can anything bridge the gap between them?

A tale of friendship, love and rivalry over thirty years from award-winning playwright Elinor Cook.

‘Intelligent and savagely funny’ The Times on Elinor Cook

OUT OF LOVE will tour in Roundabout in September and October.

 

A Paines Plough, Theatr Clwyd and Orange Tree Theatre production
HOW TO BE A KID
By Sarah McDonald-Hughes

How To Be A Kid Web Treated

Molly cooks. Molly does the dishes. Molly gets her little brother Joe ready for school. Molly is only 12, but she doesn’t feel much like a kid anymore.

Now Molly’s Mum is feeling better, maybe things will get back to normal. Can you help Molly learn how to be a kid again?

Join Molly, Joe and her Nan for a larger than life story of family, friends and fitting in.

Warning: Contains dancing, chocolate cake and an epic car chase.

For ages 7+.

HOW TO BE A KID will tour in Roundabout in September and October.

 

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM

Come To Where I'm From Web Treated

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM is a collection of mini plays written by playwrights about the places they call home.

Since 2010, 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 are performed by the playwrights themselves, coming home to tell their tale.

Now you can listen to this amazing collection of over 130 short plays through the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app. Available for free here. Search the map for plays near you or find your favourite playwright in the plays index.

You’ll find a huge range of playwrights from Olivier Award winners to first timers reading their own plays about 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.

In 2017 we will be hosting CTWIF events in the following places:

Middlesbrough Theatre on 16 March
Hull Truck Theatre on 24 May
Tron Theatre, Glasgow on 25 May
Fountain Inn, Gloucester on on 6 July

“A reminder of the enormous tug that place has on us all.” The Guardian

“Conjures an intimacy between us that burns as bright and as potent as striking a match” Exeunt

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So there you have it. Programme 2017. Theatre. Everywhere.

Let us know what you think on #PP2017

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Go Bush – Reflections on LONDON

There’s an old Australian saying ‘to go bush’ which means to leave the city and all your cares behind.

What made me think of that wasn’t a trip to the outback but a train ride through the rolling landscape of Northern England. During the past few weeks Paines Plough have been travelling round the country with our newest show LONDON by Simon Stephens and although all the theatres we have visited have been city based, it has meant some wonderful journeys through the British countryside. And LONDON has got me thinking – the city is such a busy place that it can be difficult to pause and reflect or find the time to deal with your problems.

Don’t get me wrong here, I love living and working in the city – I grew up in the countryside but have always been more of a London-girl at heart. Everything you need is only a short walk from your house and you can go from the bustling Southbank, to Borough market, to a club on Bricklane in less than 40 minutes (allowing for no problems with TFL of course).  But as Alex (one of the characters in the play) remarks “the noise of the place and the dirt and the colour and the roar of it” can be so constant it’s stifling.

What I find fascinating about LONDON is that it is a play about London but not set there, indeed there is no specific location indicated by the script. Instead the play’s setting is within the stories and lives of its two characters. London isn’t the over-riding theme of the play, but rather a backdrop and stimulus to its narratives. And it is the people who live in a city that give it its character.

LONDON tells two different stories of city life – one of escape and the other return. A woman finds herself on a train to Heathrow in a desperate attempt to leave all her problems behind. Alex comes back to his home in London and is unable to find the peace and quiet to heal.  Sitting on the early morning train back from Glasgow one of the lines from the play popped into my head: “I can see the world with a clarity I’ve never even dreamed of before”.  It is very true that living in a city it can be hard to find the time to think. Maybe we all need to escape to the country every now and again, even if only for a few hours, to keep us sane.

LONDON isn’t actually coming to London but is touring to other major UK cities, and you can still catch it in Glasgow this week at the Tron Theatre and next week at the Royal Exchange in Manchester.

And let us know what you love most about living in the city…

 

In praise of . . . Glasgow

‘There’s been a wee boo-boo’ . . .

. . . is the phrase that will be remembered from Paines Plough’s rehearsal period in Glasgow this summer gone. Not a reference to our production of Good with People, it is instead the reaction of a pensioner in the local press talking about the North Korean Olympic flag debacle.  But rather than being a cause for continued embarrassment, we think it encapsulates our opinion of the city perfectly.

Because there has been a wee boo-boo if anyone south of the border thinks that Edinburgh is the only Scottish city worth visiting. Glasgow is the veritable arts capital of the country. It has a proud past, striking architecture and is the jumping off point for some of the most breath-taking scenery that the United Kingdom has to offer.

We’re off to the The Tron Theatre next week with London (have you booked yet?), so it’s just the right time to update our Glasgow hit list.

Oran Mor

Paines Plough knows this part of town well. We have worked on numerous of the Play, Pie and a Pint productions at Oran Mor. It’s a lunchtime thing where the main course is a hearty portion of new writing, with a side order of pie and ale all at an extremely reasonable price. We think the clue is in the name. The setting is a gutted church, and the atmosphere inside is what brings us back each time. Safe to say it is less about worship and more about revelry as the additional comedy nights, live music and unbeatable whisky selection retain the parish’s congregation. Worth mentioning also is the surrounding West End area. Set in the backdrop of Kelvingrove Park, it is home to Glasgow University and some impressive Victorian architecture.

Citizens’ Theatre

We promise to stop talking about theatre in a second (sort of). The third venue in town that is always worth a visit is the Citizens’ Theatre. They’ve recently done a co-production with Mike Bartlett on his re-write of Medea and they also hosted us on the Love, Love, Love tour. Its trademark black and bright pink interiors are all part of the fun. National Theatre of Scotland often use the space for their productions and under Dominic Hill’s artistic direction, we are always looking forward to what they come up with next.

Trongate 103

This is somewhere we are yet to visit but which comes highly recommended. Billed as an arts resource space, it is home to trendy creative organisations and has a year round gallery space. The people in charge also programme talks and readings to bring together the creative folk of Glasgow and whilst PP are there, composer Nigel Clark will be hosting one of his regular gigs with actress Judith Williams.

Arisaig restaurant

Bringing food to share with another Paines Plough staff member is a bit of a double-edged sword. Sure, you’ll be greeted with smiles and warm wishes, but you’d be fooled to think that your colleague is demonstrating a particularly spirited reaction to your presence in the office. They’re really just wondering what’s in your Tesco bag and woe-betide if it’s not at least 60% glucose based. Although not sugar, Arisaig does venison sausages and some of the snappiest seafood going. If you’re in town to watch London, try this place in Merchant City for pre or post-show dining. Just don’t go with one of us lot – blink and you’ll only have those especially bloody chunk of haggis left on your plate.

FOUNDATION Glasgow

Ok, so we’re sort of back to theatre with this one. But seeing as Sarah had reputedly never gone further north than the Watford Gap before starting at Paines Plough, we’ve already booked her into this Glasgow museum. It’s theatre because the centrepiece is a black box sound and light show. Over fifteen minutes the entire history of Glasgow is projected onto the floor from an impressive looking rig to educate those new to the city, or just unaware. It also shows how the Commonwealth Games in 2014 are going to look.

The Botanic Gardens

By night, the glass domes of Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens look like giant glowing spinning tops – and if you were lucky enough to catch Three Sisters at the Young Vic you’ll know how mesmerising those can be. With walks next to the River Kelvin, the gardens are immaculate and provide a welcome break from the rumble of the city. Although not quite the Highlands, it’ll do for a few hours for script reading and switching the iphone onto flight mode.

The Tron

Last but not least is our home for the week, The Tron. It is home to the majority of Glasgow’s new writing and is one of the leading players is Scottish theatre. The week before we are there, friend of the family Blythe Duff will be giving another stalwart performance in Rona Munro’s thriller Iron, and just after us there is a Macbeth partly in Gaelic. Michael Boyd was at the helm once upon a time, and it is real pleasure to be playing the space on our London tour. We cannot wait.

Have we missed anything out? Let us know.

And have you booked your tickets yet? Do it here.

London UK Tour – Audience reviews

As LONDON comes to the end of its run at Live Theatre in Newcastle we have been inundated with feedback from audiences there about the show.

Here are just some of the lovely comments and thank you to everyone for their feedback:

“Gripping. Intense. Memorable. Good atmosphere in theatre. Will look to come to more plays.”

“Fantastic concept, very enjoyable and I don’t usually like monologues,”

“Beautifully acted and engrossing. Completely mesmerising, despite its minimalistic approach. The actor’s subtle approach to heartbreaking emotion heightened the tension. I especially loved the script.”

“Never have I felt so much empathy for two characters.”

“Intense, transfixing, fascinating – a real talking point and unique experience.”

“Refreshing, very different from anything I’ve seen before. Very moving. Excellent”

“Silence at the end spoke volumes. Utterly captivating, suprising and will have us talking for hours now.”

“Both parts of the performance were riveting and thought provoking; both excellently performed. First part gave insight into unravelling of a person’s mind due to an unfortunate incident and the repercussions. Second part: thought provoking, almost disturbing look at tragic incident and its divesting consequences.”

“An astonishing event. Superb writing, outstanding performances. Though-provoking, moving, entertaining, haunting.

“I was captivated. I am moved. Thank you”

If you’ve seen the show in Salisbury, Brighton or Newcastle let us know what you thought by commenting below or tweeting @painesplough #LondonPlay.

There are only a few days more to catch the show at the brilliant Live Theatre in Newcastle before it moves on Saturday, when it then goes to the Tron Theatre in Glasgow from Tue 13th – Sat 17th and finishing at the Royal Exchange in Manchester from Tue 20th – Sat 24th.

Good with People rehearsal diary – Day 8, 9, 10 and tech

As you might have read, the (theatre) Festival d’Avignon came to its conclusion this weekend gone. And what was on their menu looked pretty delicious. New writing from around the world, lit by southern French sunshine, with Brit Simon McBurney at the helm as artistic associate.

But rather than road trip down to the Med, in just under four days the creative team behind Good with People covered exactly the same distance travelling across England and Scotland, during its penultimate week of rehearsals.

Catching the East Coast train up to Edinburgh on Wednesday evening, the team spent the remainder of last week in accommodation over in Glasgow, whilst rehearsing in the capital. 750 miles and some early starts later, the week culminated in an early tech rehearsal all day Saturday at our home for the summer – Traverse 1.

Between Wednesday and Saturday a great deal of work took place. Starting with the initial tracings of blocking on the Wednesday, Blythe and Richard then had to incorporate the songs, sounds and set of Good with People into their performances. Scott, Ben, Oli and Berndt, our composer, designer, lighting designer and production manager respectively, also made themselves known during rehearsals, and incorporated their own expertise into the final piece.

When we got to Edinburgh, we also met up with Gemma and Sarah again, our beaming stage managers. Not to give the game away, but they both have a great deal of responsibility during the show, so it was great to start rehearsing in earnest with them both present.

Although numerous, layering all these different aspects of the production over the three days before the technical rehearsal was not something that could be timed to precision. The over-riding focus was on the running the piece on its feet. That way Good with People began to form a coherent whole. Playing scenes and sections in isolation flagged up technical requirements for those who needed them, and similarly helped us make the artistic decisions we had been discussing over the past few weeks.

Our technical rehearsal was scheduled for the Saturday a week before our first preview. Though unusual this was due to the demand on space at The Traverse during the fringe period. This meant that blocking choices and the illusions that we are creating on stage had to be accelerated. Although we have another shorter slot on the Friday before the previews, the majority of the work had to be done before then.

Which we managed. We hope. Kicking back in the bar on Saturday evening, the cast and crew looked forward to two days off before the final stretch of rehearsals. A lot had been achieved over four days and the break was well deserved by everyone.

Phew.

The final week is now reserved for honing in on the details and teasing out the subtleties of the text, whilst running the entire piece several times over.

Only one week to do – we cannot wait.

Good with People rehearsal diary – Day 5

Final day in Glasgow before we break and regroup again mid-July. It was our opportunity to try and bring together all the work that had been done over the week. A conscious effort had been made to pry even further into David’s text than last time, to unravel it once again. So now was the time to make some decisions, and to let others make themselves, to be clarified in July.

The morning was spent playing with the roles that we had listed, in the last scenes of the play. We found that there were a lot of layers to such an activity. Striking a balance between imposing a role onto a scene, and reacting to that of another was not a simple business. Often the best results were unexpected, when two dynamics clashed and created something new.

The more factual, domestic aspects of the play had to be dealt with too. We revisited all the timelines that had been drawn up over the past four days and discussed the potentially humdrum, possibly revealing details of the play. Table work like this can sometimes feel a bit forensic when dealt with badly, but having a clear picture of the years, days and minutes preceding each scene gave a sense of clarity that all four of us appreciated.

We went to the extent of setting out the space with chairs and tables, to map the geography of the downstairs part of the hotel. An impromptu improvisation told us a lot about the confined atmosphere and how Evan and Helen move in it.

Finally, we had a run through of the play. Without any specific direction in mind both Richard and Blythe experimented with whatever aspects of the week that they saw fit at any one point. And though they both spoke about feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices they could make at certain moments, it made us realise that the decisions are endless when playing with such a rich, compact text. With time the decisions will become clear, and final choices made when we reconvene in July.

Homework set, Richard and Blythe agreed to meet before July to read together and continue the conversation. The English quota caught the delayed train back to London, with a day’s rest before The 8th rehearsals on the Sunday.

Good with People rehearsal diary – Day 2

We jinxed it. Although day two of rehearsals for Good with People looked to be as much of a scorcher as day one was, by lunch time it was another story. The rain poured down on Glasgow.

It’s just as well, then, that we had enough timelines, pictures, print-outs and articles in the rehearsal room to distract us. Today was about knowing exactly what had happened when in the story, as well as scrutinising every reference made in the script.

Discussions about why the characters speak about these things moved us onto another reading of each scene. This time, we focused on what was a statement and what was a question, to begin placing where Evan and Helen’s minds are at any one point.

In a play with such strong contradictions, it was really useful to begin looking at the moments that are open for interpretation. And there are lots of them! We realised that the number of ‘facts’ in Good with People are very few, and that often we cannot even take what a character says at their word.

And in a script full of ellipsis and overlapping thoughts, it was also really helpful to consider when Helen is being interrupted by Evan, or vice verse, or when a character lets a thought, well, just, drift  . . .

More musings from Trades House of Glasgow tomorrow.

Good with People rehearsal diary – Day 1

We’re not quite sure what’s going on, but something looking a lot like summer came out to greet the Paines Plough team this morning, as we made our way to Scotland’s culture capital for the first day of Good with People rehearsals.  Whether we’re actually being teased and are due a healthy lashing of Scottish rain tomorrow we’ll soon find out, but it provided a happy welcome to our current residence at The Trades House of Glasgow.

If you, like us, aren’t sure what a Trade House is, think along the lines of the guilds that used to run cities in times gone by. Tailors, blacksmiths, skinners, haberdashers – to name but a few – would gather in wood panelled halls to decide who took home what and who did business with whom. And they didn’t do this in any old room – the four of us gawped upwards at the size of the main meeting place and its crest laden walls.

Enough about the setting though – as theatre people, we know that the characters that fill it are what counts. Today we had our two actors Blythe Duff and Richard Rankin in the room together for the first time. Blythe played Helen in the first production that Paines Plough did with Oran Mór, and Richard is our new Evan.

We spent the day reading through the script as it is, then pulling it apart page by page to try and form a timeline for both characters. David Harrower’s lean, exact word choice is meant to titillate and it has already become obvious that our version of events will develop as we investigate each scene over the coming weeks.

Tomorrow we’re meeting with David himself and as well as asking him some of the questions that came up today, we’ll be looking at the place of the piece and how that changes what we do on stage.

Until then!

What we’re seeing at the theatre…

It’s been a busy Autumn for Paines Plough, with shows on in Sheffield, Glasgow, Manchester and Coventry simultaneously but despite our team being split all over the country we’ve still managed to catch plenty of theatre all over the shop and the festive period is looking pretty good for our culture calendar too…

James and I caught Tom Wells’ brilliant new play The Kitchen Sink at the Bush on press night.  It’s selling out but the run has been extended til 23rd Dec, so there’s still chance to catch this extraordinary new play.

Claire and Hanna loved April de AngelisJUMPY at the Royal Court, Tara caught Polar Bear’s OLD ME at the Roundhouse and we all went on a PP office social to see OFFICE PARTY at the Pleasance which was an absolute hoot!

We were big fans of Michael Sheen’s HAMLET at the Young Vic, Jez Butterworth’s JERUSALEM (it just gets better…) at the Apollo, BLACKBERRY TROUT FACE by the superb Laurence Wilson (who wrote TINY VOLCANOES which we toured earlier this year), and ONE MAN TWO GUVNORS by Richard Bean at the Adelphi.

We’re very excited about seeing COMEDY OF ERRORS with Lenny Henry and directed by Dominic Cooke at the National, I’m off to see Michael Grandage’s last show at the helm of the Donmar- RICHARD II with Eddie Redmayne at the weekend and James saw Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s hit adaptation of MATILDA at the Cambridge Theatre and can still be found humming the songs around the office…

Last week Claire and Tara headed up to Sheffield (quickly becoming our second home) to see the Crucible’s revival of Sondheim’s COMPANY with Daniel Evans and Samantha Spiro which was brilliantly entertaining! And speaking of Sheffield we had a great time there two weeks ago when the whole team got together to see our ROUNDABOUT season; Nick Payne’s ONE DAY WHEN WE WERE YOUNG, Duncan Macmillan’s LUNGS and THE SOUND OF HEAVY RAIN by Penelope Skinner.

So what are we seeing over Christmas? Our panto withdrawal from last year will be soothed by trips to ALADDIN at the Lyric Hammersmith and SLEEPING BEAUTY at Sheffield’s Lyceum. We’ll be at the National next week for Daniel Kitson’s IT’S ALWAYS RIGHT NOW, UNTIL IT’S LATER which I’ve been dying to see since it debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe back in 2010. Claire’s off to see Matthew Bourne’s NUTCRACKER at Sadler’s Wells on Tuesday and Tara will be going to Kurt Weill’s MAGICAL NIGHT at the Royal Opera House later this week. Other treats in store are Reuben Johnson’s THE PROPOSAL produced by exciting young company Fiddy West Productions at Theatre 503, Joe Penhall’s HAUNTED CHILD at the Royal Court and Dawn King’s FOXFINDER at The Finborough.

Wowzer, there’s a whole lot of theatre for you.

What have you been seeing? Any top tips for theatre trips over Christmas?

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.