Monthly archives:

Fastest finger first: Open Auditions

We’re about to put out the call for our next round of Open Auditions in London.

If you want to get involved, simply send us an email to auditions@painesplough.com with ‘AUDITION MAILING LIST’ in the subject header. We email details to everyone on the list each time we announce new dates.

We’re one of the only companies who hold Open Auditions, and demand for places is really high. We had 1,350 actors apply for just 50 slots last time out, and the slots were snapped up within 10 minutes.

This inevitably means lots of disappointed people. We know some of you have applied multiple times and still not managed to get a slot. We’re really sorry about that; we wish we could see more people, but obviously time and space is finite.

We work it on a first-come-first-served basis. Next time out we have 90 slots available, so the first 90 emails we receive will get them. We keep the next 90 emails we receive on a waiting list in case of cancellations.

We think that’s a fair way of adminstering it, but if you’ve got a better idea that keep it fair and doesn’t make lots more work for our team here, we’d love to hear from you. We’re always up for hearing new ideas for making things better.

Open Auditions are our way of broadening our horizons when it comes to casting, and getting to meet actors we might not otherwise get to know. We split the PP team across three rooms and meet actors in pairs for a quick chat, and ask you to prepare a duologue from a play written in the last 15 years. At the end of the day we repair to the pub and talk about the actors who really caught our eye.

We’re not casting for anything specific, it’s just a chance for us to meet you, and for you to meet us. We employ around 50 actors per year, so of course we’ve got an eye on the productions we have coming up in the next year, and hoping to meet people who might be the right fit for one of our shows.

Three actors we met in Open Auditions have been cast in a PP productions: Ben Winger in JUICY FRUITS, Vivienne Gibbs in JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS and Rhys Isaac-Jones in NOT THE WORST PLACE. Many more have come in and met us for formal castings for shows off the back of a great Open Audition. We keep everyone’s details on file, and we look back on our notes on Open Auditions every time we cast a new show.

Vivienne Gibbs in rehearsal for JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS

It’s one of our favourite ways to spend a day, meeting lots of great people and watching extracts of brilliant new plays.

If you want to come along to the next one, sign up to the mailing list, keep an eye on our Twitter feed. Godpseed on the buzzer. And if you don’t get a place this time, please keep trying, we’d love to meet you at some stage.

Check out our top tips for Open Auditions

And here’s our Open Auditions FAQs.

You Cannot Go Forward From Where You Are Right Now impresses in Edinburgh

It’s been a busy week for A Play, A Pie and A Pint. On Monday we introduced Leo Butler’s JUICY FRUITS to the audience at Oran Mor in Glasgow, Tuesday saw YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW‘s first performance at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and on Wednesday, DIG rolled into the Manchester Royal Exchange.

Katie Douglas’s DIG goes from strength to strength, with each city it visits falling for it. It’s been particularly great today to see people tweeting comments to the Royal Exchange, saying how much they loved the show and encouraging others to go and experience the laughter and tears that the play provokes too. Brenda, Tommy and Dean will be at the Belgrade Theatre next week – Coventry, you’re in for a treat.

With the traffic so bad she was worried she wouldn't get to the Traverse in time to get her Scotch pie...

Meanwhile, YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD FROM WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW has also made rather a good impression on its Edinburgh audiences. Here’s what they’re saying:

‘a clever and imaginative piece of short theatre…well worth setting the satnav for the Traverse Theatre and catching it’ Edinburgh Spotlight

‘funny, intelligent and observant’ Edinburgh Guide

‘You might expect the writers of the successful A Play A Pie and A Pint lunchtime offerings to have rather modest ambitions… Not so David Watson…Watson’s handling of the fragmentary structure is sure and confident, and his writing is remarkably idiomatic.’ Edinburgh Reporter

We were also delighted to see another 2 minute youtube review, as blogger Eve Nicol filed her report on YOU CANNOT GO FORWARD. We can’t wait to see what she makes of JUICY FRUITS!

If you’ve seen one of the plays, we’d love to know what you thought. You can leave a comment here, tweet us @painesplough or drop us a line on our facebook page.

And if you haven’t seen any of them yet – what are you waiting for?!

Leo Butler’s brand new play

As we’ve previously revealed, we believe the playwright should be the lead creative artist in the process of making new plays.

So we commission slightly differently to other companies in that we commission playwrights not plays. We identify the writers we love the most, and we commit to putting their play on before they’ve written a word.

This is an extremely exciting and rewarding way of collaborating – always moving towards a concrete production with a date in the diary for the first day of rehearsals, previews and for press night.

But it also poses some challenges, not least because marketing schedules mean brochures with images and copy for plays often have to go to print before the play’s been written. And as we all know, plays develop and morph and sometimes completely transform draft by draft.

Which is what Leo Butler found when he was writing his play for our A Play, A Pie And A Pint season. Initially called ETERNAL SOURCE OF LIGHT, Leo found as he was writing the play that a new and very different play was emerging.

Here’s what Leo has to say about the change of direction and his thrilling new work:

“Working on a new play for Paines Plough has been a highlight of my career so far. For a leading new writing company to commit to producing a play that hasn’t been written yet, demonstrates a level of trust in the playwright that is practically unheard of elsewhere in this country.

There are, of course, challenges to this kind of collaboration, one of which is that the playwright’s first concept of the play develops through the writing process, and that initial idea turns into something very different by the end.  This happens to me always every time I sit down and write a new play, and it has been liberating to have the support of George Perrin and the Paines Plough company, who have encouraged my new discoveries and changes in direction along the way.

Most importantly, I am thrilled to we are offering Juicy Fruits to the A Play, A Pie & A Pint audiences, as it is one that I am particularly proud of.”

And so we’re excited to announce that the brilliant, darkly comic play that Leo has arrived at is actually called JUICY FRUITS and is a very different beast from the one Leo initially imagined. Here’s the lowdown:

JUICY FRUITS
by Leo Butler


Lorna and Nina haven’t seen each other since a drunken wedding reception six years ago.

Whilst Lorna’s been journeying through the urban jungle and reached destination housewife, Nina’s been running wild in the jungles of Borneo.

Reunited over lattes and pastries, their friendship is tested to the limit and the question is asked: does civil exist in civilisation?

JUICY FRUITS is in rehearsals now in Glasgow, directed by George, and starring Denise Hoey, Clare Waugh and Ben Winger. It opens at Òran Mór on Monday 17 October and will subsequently tour to Edinburgh, Manchester and Coventry.

You’re going to love it.