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Middle Child join PP as Associate Company

We’re thrilled to announce Middle Child as a new Associate Company at PP.

We’re big fans of the Hull based new writing collective, we think they’re one of the most exciting companies around. They are theatremakers after our own hearts with a passion for playwrights, touring, and making exciting shows in interesting spaces for non-traditional audiences. We love their spirit and brand of striking in-yer-ears gig theatre mixing contemporary stories with soundtracks that get your feet moving.

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We’re thrilled they’ve agreed to join Theatre Uncut and Forward Theatre Project as a Paines Plough Associate Company. It means we get to hang out with them, exchange ideas and provocations and hopefully help them out a bit.

Our AD James says: “Middle Child are provocateurs. They think theatre needs to change and they’re going about changing it. I love their work, their values and pledges, their punk attitude, their taste in writers and music, their passion for Hull. Theatre needs Middle Child. We’re proud to have such an important, boundary-pushing company as a PP Associate.”

Middle Child AD Paul says: “Everyone at Middle Child is buzzing at becoming associates of Paines Plough. We absolutely love their work and have been inspired by their dedication to new writing and new audiences for a long time. They make quality, modern, bold theatre that truly makes a difference. We can’t wait to work with them and learn from their vast experience as we continue creating gig theatre that sets fire to what a night at the theatre can be.”

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Middle Child’s WEEKEND ROCKSTARS

To celebrate, we’re announcing a very special Edinburgh LATER hosted by Middle Child in Roundabout @ Summerhall on Saturday 20 August at 10:30pm.

SOME TINY PLAYS ABOUT HOW FUCKED WE ALL ARE

The world is a strange place in 2016. We all know that, right?

Middle Child and Luke Barnes’ SOME TINY PLAYS ABOUT HOW FUCKED WE ALL ARE uses verbatim text from the internet to explore the world we live in. From arguments about how many days in a week to Donald Trump poetry and 1D Fan Fiction we explore whether modern life really is rubbish after all.

It’s part-Mock The Week, part-Buzzfeed and part-piss up. Come along for a few drinks, a few laughs and a game of The Great British Bingo Off (complete with terrible prizes).

Tickets here.

Middle Child's TEN STOREY LOVE SONG

Middle Child’s TEN STOREY LOVE SONG

We also highly recommend you check out Middle Child’s Edinburgh hit TEN STOREY LOVE SONG at Pleasance Dome 3-29 Aug, 5.20pm.

About Middle Child

We are Middle Child, theatre that makes a noise.

We are a Hull-based company creating gig theatre events that capture the electrifying moment when the beat drops, mixing original live music with bold new writing. Our events explore what it means to live in modern Britain while recognising the importance of theatre as a social event, giving audiences a reason to come early and stay late. We prioritise liveness in our work, acknowledging this audience in this space at this time. We will always have a strong northern voice and are committed to ensuring that theatre is affordable and accessible for all. At a Middle Child event you are as likely to meet the love of your life as you are to be told a great story. Attendance at one of our events prompts fear of a hangover as much as even the cheapest student night.

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Open Auditions for Broken Biscuits

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Hull Truck Theatre – Thursday 30 June, 10am – 5pm 

Following on from the success of our Open Auditions in April we’re excited to announce that we are holding another round of auditions to find the stars of Tom Wells’ amazing new play BROKEN BISCUITS.

As we announced back in March, we’re co-producing the world premiere of Tom’s hilarious and heart-warming play with Live Theatre in October before it embarks on a national tour, including a visit to Hull Truck, until December 2016.

We regularly hold Open Auditions across the country just to meet new actors but they are usually general meetings. This time we’re looking for some specific people…

16-year-olds Megan, Ben and Holly are definitely not the cool kids. Holly’s into graphic novels and computers, Ben enjoys crochet and cross-stitch and Megan likes biscuits maybe a bit too much. They’ve just done their GCSEs and with a long summer holiday stretching ahead of them, Megan decides they have to make themselves cool. And there’s nothing cooler than being in a band.

So we’re hosting more Open Auditions in Hull to meet some amazing Megans, Bens and Hollys. Is it you? Check the details below and get in touch.

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR

We’re auditioning for three specific roles, so please only apply if you genuinely believe you are right for the part. Here are the character breakdowns:

MEGAN: 16. A force of nature. It’s hard to get a word in edgeways with Megan. She’s a big personality and the leader of the three friends. She’s quick and smart with words, very funny with a dry sense of humour. Her bravado sometimes covers the fact she feels unsure of herself. She is bullied at school for being overweight.

HOLLY: 16. Holly is super smart and top of the class. She is painfully shy and feels most comfortable with Megan and Ben, or on her own with her much loved graphic novels or online. She is hoping to go on to study computing and learn code. Boys scare her.

BEN: 16. Ben is the only boy at school studying textiles. Sometimes he likes to wear a dress, which is mostly fine except his Mum’s new fella has two macho sons who might be moving in with them and Ben’s not sure how they will feel about it. He works part-time in the local old people’s home running arts and crafts sessions.

Sound like you? Great. Keep reading…

 

AGES

Please note you must be over the age of 16 to apply for an audition. There is no upper age limit but we are looking for actors who can play 16 so please only apply if your playing age is a fit for the characters.

HOW TO APPLY

Please email your CV to auditions@painesplough.com with ‘HULL’ and the name of the character you wish to audition for in the subject line. So if you want to audition for Megan your subject line should read HULL / MEGAN.

You must include your postal address in your email in order for us to allocate spaces fairly.

The closing date for applications is 10am on Friday 17 June.

HOW WE WILL ALLOCATE PLACES

If we receive more applications than we have spaces, we will give priority to those with Hull postcodes. If any spaces are available following that, we will draw names at random from the remaining submissions until the places are filled. We will then draw up a reserve list – again at random – and should more spaces become available we will fill them from the reserve list.

WHEN WILL WE LET YOU KNOW IF YOU’VE GOT AN AUDITION?

We will email you to let you know if you have an audition, or if you are on the reserve list by 6pm on Wednesday 22 June.

WHAT TO PREPARE

When we email you to confirm your audition we will send you some text from the play to prepare.

WHO WILL YOU MEET AT THE AUDITION?

You’ll be meeting the director James Grieve and Assistant Producer Sofia Stephanou.

HOW LONG IS EACH AUDITION?

We want to meet as many people as we possibly can so each audition will be just a few minutes.

HOW THE AUDITIONS WILL WORK

We’ll have a chat, find out a bit about you, and then we’ll ask you to read the text from the play we sent you in advance. That’s it. Easy.

AGENT APPLICATIONS

Sorry, we don’t accept applications from agents. If you have an agent, you must still apply yourself using your own email address.

That’s because we want to maintain a fair system for everyone, including those actors who are unrepresented.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

If we love what you do we’ll invite you back for another more in depth audition in the coming months. You will need to be available for the rehearsals and tour from September to December 2016.

Jumpers for Goalposts: Rehearsal Week One

It’s always the same isn’t it. You wait for rehearsals to start, then three lots arrive all at once. In the space of a month, Paines Plough has begun three separate rehearsal processes on three different shows. Today, we’re looking at JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS by Tom Wells.

The size of our Aldwych rehearsal room can best be described as modest. So then imagine all the entire cast and creative, team PP and then two co-producers packed into the space to hear the first reading of a script that had been sent, print previewed and copied all before 10am that Monday morning.

And Tom, of course, did not disappoint. Even at the read-through there was a palpable appreciation of a draft that will inevitably change and grow over the four week rehearsal period. Afterwards, Lucy Osborne presented her simple yet brilliantly playful design and then as everyone went their separate ways, our cast of Matt, Viv,  Jamie, Phil and Andy remained to begin the hard work of the next four weeks.

The first week was spent partly round the table breaking the scenes into units, partly on its feet. The exact logistics of uniting is particular to each rehearsal room, and in our one it was about finding moments in the script whereby an action happens that cannot be retracted. A moment that when it happens, changes the state of play. We labelled each one and personal preferences include: ‘Orinoco Flow’, ‘Can’t snog a book’ and ‘Hullywood Ending’.

The plan was then to spend Wednesday to Friday getting the thing on its feet. Which we did. Rather than agonise over whether it should be a break downstage left, or which hand to accept the can with, we went with what felt best and were brave with it. This meant that by Friday afternoon, we had already down a stagger through and had a feeling of the piece from beginning to end.

Tom then had the weekend to make any changes he felt necessary after hearing the words spoken from for the first time. The cast were not to learn anything, but to continue familiarising themselves with their part and the world of the play.

We’re now well into week two, so will update soon.

JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS cast announced

We are delighted to announce the cast for Tom Wells’ JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS, a new co-production with Hull Truck and Watford Palace. It’s an absolutely incredible cast we think you’ll agree.

Jamie Samuel (Danny)

Training: Arts Ed School Of Acting

Theatre Includes: The Kitchen Sink by Tom Wells (Hull Truck Theatre), 66 Books (Bush Theatre), Pushing Up Poppies by Kieran Lynn (Theatre 503), Blanded by Frazer Flintham (Bush Theatre), 2nd May 1997 by Jack Thorne (Bush Theatre/Royal Exchange Manchester), The English Game by Richard Bean (Headlong), The Conservatory by Mark Dooley (Old Red Lion Theatre).

Film Includes: Territory (50 West Productions)

TV Includes: The Promise (Channel 4/Daybreak Pictures), A Touch Of Frost (ITV), Doctors (BBC), The Bill (ITV)

Short Film Includes: Own Worst Enemy (Grosvenor Television), The Coward(Curzon,Soho).

Matt Sutton (Joe)

Theatre:  YPS King Lear (RSC),  Romeo and Juliet (Northern Broadsides),  Up On Roof by Richard Bean (Hull Truck Theatre),  The Magic Paintbrush (West Yorkshire Playhouse),  Steve And Then It Ended by Adam Usden (Theatre503),  Me & My Friend by Gillian Powman (King’s Head, Islington),  Night Cellar by  (BAC),  Macbeth (National Youth Theatre).

Television:  Emmerdale, Distant Shores, Shakespeare Stories: Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew, 55 Degrees North, FC Dave, Cocaine Nation, Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, The Bill: Beech is Back, Forest People, Kid’s Court.

Film:  Goal 2: Living the Dream, Peter, How to Film Your Neighbour, The Notebooks of Cornelius Crow, Mystery Play.

Radio:  Guardian Angel, Stories for Another Day, Abandoned Projects, The Land of Green Ginger, King of the Road (all BBC Radio 4), Writing the City (BBC Radio 3).

Vivienne Gibbs (Viv)

Training: LAMDA

Theatre: Blood Carmen (Moving Theatre and Théâtre Éphéméride), The Last Curiosity (Young Vic workshop), The Nature of Things (The Place), Long Tooth by Trudi Jackson/Vivienne Gibbs (Gilded Balloon), Splendour by Abi Morgan (Cobden Club), This Property Is Condemned, The Lady of Larkspur Lotion (Occam’s Razor), Elephant Man (Union Theatre, Sincera Brazil tour), Mud, La Entrevista (Arcola), Martine McCutcheon Needs Me (Soho Theatre Studio).

Vivienne also performs regularly with the Somerstown mentoring charity, Scene and Heard.

TV: Comedy Lab (Channel 4).

Film: Act of God (Giant Films), Atonement (Working Title), Rabbit Fever (Rabbit Reproductions).

Andy Rush (Geoff)

Training: Birmingham School of Acting.

Theatre: The Kitchen Sink by Tom Wells (Bush Theatre), Hello/Goodbye by Peter Souter (Hampstead Theatre), Love’s Labour’s Lost (The Lamb Players), Sense by Anja Hilling (Made by Brick), Anna Karenina (Arcola Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Cheltenham Everyman).

Film: Here and Now (Small But Tall Films Ltd).

Television: Holby City (BBC), Wizards vs Aliens (BBC), New Tricks (Wall To Wall Ltd),  Casualty (BBC).

Philip Duguid-McQuillan (Luke)

Training:  Birmingham School of Acting.

Theatre:  The History Boys (Theatre by the Lake, Keswick), Execution of Justice by Emily Mann (Southwark Playhouse), Punk Rock by Simon Stephens (Kaleidoscope).

Film:  Eliminate: Archie Cookson (Agent Pictures).

Theatre in training: The Runner Stumbles, The Clink, Beyond Therapy, Romeo and Juliet.

Like vampires in the dark

It’s tech day, which essentially means we’ve become like vampires, scared to step outside into the light. Tucked away in the darkness of the auditorium, with only the glow of the parcans and 2Ks from the stage, and the red neon glare of the control desk, it’s here that we will feel safe.

Sixty Five Miles, is a play that most theatre’s would put in their studio. It’s perceived as being delicate and intimate. Hull Truck’s main auditorium is colossal. 400 seats. It’s as far from a studio as possible. Amy has created a sweeping, multi level design, that embraces the opportunities the space provides and allows the action of the play to step out of the confines of being a traditional studio piece. The journey between Sheffield and Hull that is central to the play, and the multiple locations that the action unfolds in, are allowed to merge seamlessly into each other, the play now has an epic feel. Tim’s lighting, enhances and compliments this idea, using a palette of colors to stamp strong visual images on the action. Add to this Ed’s delicate yet bruising score, and the play, still retains the subtlety that I hoped for but also has found a bolder, tougher and searing quality.

It’s thrilling to see this. As a young writer I’ve often been convinced that the only plays I will ever have produced are in studios. So it’s great to see the play fighting against this notion. I hope that when we open tomorrow the audiences will feel the same! And I also hope that in years to come, I will get a chance to see plays like James Graham’s ‘Albert Boy’ or DC Moore’s ‘The Empire’ revived in spaces that go against the preconceived image of where such plays should be produced.

I spent three of the best years of my life in Hull. Between 1999 and 2002 I studied at the University, my time was spent living and drinking on Beverly Road, watching Hull City at the old Boothferry Park Stadium, learning and making my first mistakes as an independent adult, and regularly making the trip back along the M62 to my parents home just outside Sheffield. It’s a city that has defined me in many ways, in terms of the choices I’ve made and the people that now occupy my life. It fills me with joy that my first full scale production will be produced by Paines Plough and Hull Truck, it feels like a homecoming.

I started writing Sixty Five Miles in 2006. It wasn’t the first thing I’d written by any means but it was the first thing I was proud of.  I sent an early draft of the play to Paines Plough in order to try and win a place on their Future Perfect scheme. At the time I was doing a job in London, that bored me to tears and writing at night, so I was delighted when I was offered a place on the scheme.

It was whilst on attachment at Paines Plough that I met George Perrin, who was then the trainee director in residence. George, having been to University in Sheffield felt a connection with the play and we worked on developing it together. The play’s had a long and windy journey, hundreds of rewrites, several attempted productions, an award, some fantastic advice and guidance from brilliant friends and actors but it seems right that it has come back to the company and the director it began with.

I hope the journey, from starting this play to getting it staged, gives hope to other writers. Patience and perseverance can often be the most frustrating of qualities to possess, but when they pay off, my oh my they are worth it.

For those of you that make it up to Hull, thank you, and do please pull me aside and have a chat. I’m normally found at the bar with a pint of Guinness.

SIXTY FIVE MILES – Rehearsal Week 3

Typically, we spend four weeks rehearsing a new play before we take the work from the rehearsal room in to the theatre to begin technical rehearsals. Party because of the Christmas break, and partly because we’re performing SIXTY FIVE MILES in repertory with Hull Truck Theatre’s production of ONCE UPON A TIME IN WIGAN, we have rehearsed Matt’s play for three weeks – albeit three incredibly focussed and productive weeks.

As previously reported on this blog, we spent week one of rehearsals discovering the world, themes time-period and backstory of the play and week two working out what actually happens over the course of the action of the play. Week three has been about practicing capturing all of this information in the performing of the play so that it’s all made clear and believable to the audience. This is no mean feat given how much detailed psychological and emotional information needs accurately communicating in order for the performance to form a believable whole, and for the full weight and significance of Matt’s beautiful play to properly land with an audience.

Thankfully, I’m blessed with five incredibly intuitive, insightful and unrelentingly hard-working actors who have made the process one of constant discovery and continual improvement. We were joined mid-way through the third week by Matt himself, who has provided a well-timed confidence-boost and invaluable outside eye. Also joining us at the end of last week were the brilliant creative team of Amy Cook (Designer), Tim Deiling (Lighting Designer) and Ed Lewis (Sound Designer/Composer), as well as CEO of Hull Truck Andrew Smaje and the Production Management team of Fran Maskell and our very own Bernd Fauler. With everyone assembled on Saturday afternoon, we ran our rehearsed versions of all 9 of the play’s scenes in the correct order for the first time.

After one more day in the rehearsal room yesterday, we moved in to the theatre this morning to begin technical rehearsals, whereby we practice our rehearsal-room work on stage, on the set, under lights and with sound. This piecing together of the various production elements will take us all of this week as we learn exactly how the production functions in front of an audience for the first time on Wednesday evening. There will be changes, mistakes, excitement and a whole lot of waiting around – but that’s tech week for you. All will be reported later this week once we’ve opened the show.

You can read more about the play in this interview with Matt.

You can listen to actor Ian Bleasedale talking about the production on BBC Radio Humberside here.

And here is a slightly inarticulate interview I did about the process of rehearsing two plays simultaneously.

Whilst we hope to have the chance to take the production on tour at a later date, SIXTY FIVE MILES is currently scheduled for a limited run in Hull only. You can book tickets here.

Share your best tips

With LOVE, LOVE, LOVE going on tour next week to 13 different venues around the UK, we’re trying to compile our own Lonely Planet of UK cities.

So please share some useful tips for the company on how to spend their days (when not rehearsing their lines) in each of the places we’re visiting:

SalisburyWatfordLeicesterNewcastleScarboroughLeedsIpswichSouthamptonLiverpoolGlasgowHullNorthamptonOxford

We want to know the best…

– Places to eat
– Places to drink (responsibly)
– Things to do

If you have any suggestions for any of the places we’re going to, let us know by leaving a comment below.

We’ll be sure to try out any suggestions you have and report back!