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Roundabout @ Abbot Hall, Kendal


Roundabout at Abbot Hall, Kendal.

It’s week five of the Roundabout national tour and we’ve arrived in the gorgeous Lake District where we’re setting up outside Abbot Hall thanks to Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal. We’re on the bowling green outside Abbot Hall from Thursday 6 October to Sunday 9 October. You can find directions here.

We’ve got another fantastic programme including curtain raisers from the Brewery Young Actors who have been working on responses to the plays by Alan Harris and Luke Norris. Also joining us will be comedian Ed Gamble, spoken-word and musical improv ensemble Some Some Unicorn and The Hey Down Treaders, back after a raucous sell-out show in Roundabout 2015.

Thursday 6 October:

19:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
21:00 // STAMPEDE by Ed Gamble

Friday 7 October: 

10.30 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas (Schools)
13:30 // I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY by Katie Douglas (Schools)
19:30 // LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris

Saturday 8 October:

17:00 // LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
19:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris

Sunday 9 October:

17:00 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
19:30 // LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris

You can book for all events through Brewery Arts Centre’s website here. Or call the Box Office on 01539 725133. Or just wander over to Roundabout – there’s Box Office is right next to us!


The build

Did you know?

Roundabout is popping up next to Abbot Hall, a beautiful Georgian house situated on the banks of the river Kent, which houses Abbot Hall Art Gallery. Well worth a visit between shows.


Abbot Hall (cred. Visit Cumbria)

We Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday…

Team PP have been in Christmas mode since roughly 00:01 on December 1st, and an array of festive fashion and food has graced the offices of PPHQ. From sequins and snowflakes to mince pies and muffins with blueberry Christmas jam, we were 100% ready when our office party rolled around last Thursday.

We don’t know about you, but for us Christmas just simply wouldn’t be Christmas without everyone gathering round and playing a board game. Imagine our excitement when after our Christmas lunch George and Hanna unveiled their masterpiece – a handcrafted, special edition, PP party game!


We were divided into our teams, chose our game pieces, and from there the aim of the game was simple: make it from PPHQ to Margate. En route we took in places such as Kendal, Drumnadrochit, Dublin, Cardiff and a plethora of other locations that we’ve visited this year. Each team took turns rolling the dice, making our way across the country by answering General Knowledge questions, taking our chances with Pot Luck, and solving a series of entirely fictitious crises which have never occurred in real life (a surprising number of which could be solved by adding a Gregg’s sausage roll to the equation…).


The victors of the first annual PP Board Game were Hugo and Rachel, bringing it home for the Production office. With the odds ever in their favour, they were able to avoid the Pot Luck cards which sent fellow players back to the Isle of Eigg and Bristol, and  kept cool heads in crises to make it all the way to Margate. Their winners trophies are now proudly on display on their desks – and they’ve earned bragging rights for the foreseeable future.

Roundabout Round-Up

We can hardly believe it, but Roundabout opened it’s doors for the final time this year earlier in the month. What a whirlwind it’s been as our portable, plug-in-and-play auditorium has undertaken a whistle stop tour, taking it all across our green and pleasant land.

Audiences of all ages have been delighted by our wide-ranging repertoire and now we’re looking back at all the moments that made us laugh and smile.



“A masterclass in storytelling that had every audience member lapping up every word…”★★★★★ The Reviews Hub

The Human Ear is a fine piece of drama” ★★★★ The Reviews Hub

“…gives us real food for thought.”★★★★ The Reviews Hub


Lungs is “clever, excellent, and powerful”” (The Linc)


“Portable dome will be home to cutting-edge theatre” (Cumbria Live)

“Students’ actors get an inside ‘view'” (West Morland Gazette)

“ARTS: cutting edge theatre in a Roundabout way” (West Morland Gazette)




“​Pop-up theatre ‘the Roundabout’ set to wow crowds in Hanley” (Stoke Sentinel)

And you can listen to Hanna on BBC Radio Stoke here, at around the 2hour 15 minute mark.

We’ve been thrilled and humbled by the responses from everyone who has visited and taken in a show and we want to say a massive THANK YOU for coming came along. We’ve loved every minute! Now we’re off to plan next year’s Roundabout programme and we’re determined to knocks your socks off – see you then!

Team PP x

We’re off to… Kendal

Today our ROUNDABOUT arrives in Kendal with THE HUMAN EAR, LUNGS, OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL and EVERY BRILLIANT THING in tow. The team are super excited to be visiting so we asked our friends at the Brewery Arts Centre for their list of brilliant things to see and do while we’re around…


The Castle Green Hotel, Castle Green Lane, Kendal, LA9 6RG.©

Kendal’s only 4 star hotel. The grounds are beautiful and it includes a separate real ale pub and fine dining restaurant so you can relax with a pint or do something a little special. There’s something for everyone.


The Brewery, Grainstore Restaurant, 122a Highgate, Kendal, LA9 4HE.Grainstore Restaurant

Serving a Mediterranean menu featuring tasty tapas menu with a quirky twist using local ingredients and pizzas. Situated in the Brewery complex, it’s a great spot to enjoy a bite before the show.


The Brewery, Vats Bar, 122a Highgate, Kendal, LA9 4HE.Vats Bar

Settle into one of the Brewery’s original brewing Vats and enjoy a fantastic selection of local real ales, beers and wines. Super cosy and casual it’s a great spot to relax and unwind.


The Brewery, Warehouse Cafe, 122a Highgate, Kendal, LA9 4HE.Warehouse CAfe

Shabby chic café featuring a homemade cakes, pies, crepes, snacks and local Farrer’s coffees and teas. Treat yourself! There’s also free WiFi available so you can Instagram your treats and make your friends jealous.


Abbot Hall Park.

Lucky for us, it’s just across the road from the Brewery. A lovely green open space by the River Kent surrounded by trees and historic buildings and with a nearby children’s playground. Ideal if you’re bringing the little ‘uns to see OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL.


You can’t miss Kendal Castle.

Standing atop a hill overlooking the town, it’s a spectacular ruined castle and the reputed home of Catherine Parr (one of Henry the VIII’s wives). The perfect place for panoramic views of Kendal and the surrounding fells.

If you’re coming to see a show, why don’t you check out some of these spots too?

Now to find some mint cake to take back to PPHQ…

A playwright’s guide to Cumbria

It seems like only yesterday that we were in Kendal listening to plays, sampling their mint-based produce and checking out local hotspots (we’d recommend keeping all southern accents on the hush during last orders at Dickie Doodles) for Come to Where I’m From Cumbria.

The playwrights whom we had the pleasure of meeting were Lee Mattinson, Zosia Wand, Joe Harbot, Ann Wilson and Louise Gallagher.

Afterwards, we asked them to tell us about their favourite places in Cumbria so we could compile this for you. So, here is a playwright’s guide to Cumbria…

Ann Wilson

The first photo is outside Rydal Mount in Ambleside.  It’s also known as Wordsworth’s house.  One of my closest friends got married there this summer and it was a perfect venue for her, she’s a great poet and advocate of literature events. The house and gardens are stunning. I fell in love with this place and could imagine Wordsworth strolling around and writing there. This is my loved one Rana in the photo and really my home is wherever she is, she’s just perfect.

The next photo is at Roanhead, I think it’s the best beach in Barrow-in-Furness, it’s got great sand dunes, the rare natterjack toads and it’s a brilliant place to walk our dog Barbara.  There’s lots of gorgeous places around Barrow, sometimes people forget and it gets overshadowed by BAE systems and the poverty in the town. It means the beach doesn’t get overcrowded though.

The final photo is Ravenglass, on the West Coast of Cumbria famous for it’s minature steam railway.  I love this little town, it’s so peaceful and I always feel calm as soon as I get there.  I like imagining living in all the different houses.

Zosia Wand

Hoad Hill

Easily be seen from miles around by the beacon that stands at its peak.  It looks like a lighthouse, but is in fact a folly, built in memory of Sir John Barrow.   From this peak you can see the Lakeland hills and out across the magical sands of Morecambe Bay.  It really is amazing.

The Train from Lancaster.

The best way to reach Ulverston is by train across the sands of the bay and the best time is at sunset, when the sky is on fire and the colours reflect in the water and set the carriage alight.  It’s the most spectacular experience and never fails to silence everyone on the train.  Nothing else matters when you’re captured in the midst of that sort of beauty.

Gillam’s Tea Room

At the bottom of Market Street.  A traditional Victorian tea room complete with wood burning stove.  It serves excellent teas and vegetarian dishes but if you’re more of a meat eater and coffee lover then head for:

Ford Park Café and Bistro

This is a five minute walk from the centre of town, through Ford Park, at the bottom of Hoad Hill.  The café is situated in a Victorian Coach House adjacent to Ford Park House which is now a community centre.  There is a fantastic adventure playground and nature trail in the park to keep children occupied.

The Market Cross

This is at the top of Market Street, slap bang in the centre of town.  I love this spot because it’s where all the town’s wonderful festivals culminate.  This is where the Town Band plays, where various community groups perform, where the Christmas tree stands and is lit during the Dickensian Festival every year, where street entertainer and local legend, Garry Gifford, takes the mickey out of the invisible fireworks lost in the November fog, where George slays the ridiculous cartoon dragon every April, where the Morris Dancers keep us entertained, where the rivers of light that make up the September Lantern Festival meet, and where you can look down during the first two weeks of May and see a cascade of handmade, individual silk banners flapping in the breeze in front of every shop.

Lee Mattinson


Around the corner from the house I grew up in were some creepy woods and an expanse of grass known as ‘The Mansions.’  There were some swings, a slide and a big random rock which as a child I was convinced was Darth Vadar sent to systematically slay me.  A sixth form folklore project later, I discovered it was ‘The Devil’s Stone’ which, if you pranced round on Halloween would vomit forth into the world the actual and original devil.  Anyhow, the woods and surrounding fields were an exhilarating playground for me and my brother’s growing up, remain chocked full of happy memories and allowed us to spy on the posh kids who played tennis in the adjoining club.  It was well into my teens that my Grandma disclosed ‘The Mansions’ was the original site of a grand mansion house where she used to shine up silver for a few bob.


Ripped to shit and reinvented as a Dorothy Perkins, Superdrug and Evans, The Rendezvous was the kind of cinema Dawson Leery would cream his slack for; an old school and vintage architectural feat.  This place held/holds a special place in my heart for being the first cinema I ever went to catch a breath-taking screening of Teen Wolf which a quick Google of has just informed me was released in 1985 which means I was five.  Looking back, I’m not sure Teen Wolf is appropriate for a five year old, given its glamorisation of van-surfing and raping girls in cupboards, but I remember loving it all the same and scranning my entire bag of Jelly Tots before the trailers had even started.


A Saturday jaunt round town was never complete without a trip to Mark Taylor’s which must’ve been the precursor to the likes of Selfridges because they had absolutely everything you’d ever want, and more, at low low prices.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t full of shit, but rather an Aladdin’s cave filled floor to ceiling with top quality gear.  The basement housed enough toys to restock every Toys ‘R’ Us thrice over and had a wild array of them old school ‘trick’ things; bloody finger, fart gas, spider in an ice cube and the like.  The ground floor was mainly sweets (ten Irun Bru bars for £1), crafts and the Mark Taylor Rayleigh bike shop.  The stairs up to the first floor had a colourful box you could sit in and, for only 20p, watch a Tom and Jerry Cartoon.  And the top floor was half book shop where I purchased my first ever book – George’s Marvellous Medicine – and half The Penny Farthing Café where you could feed a family of fifteen for £2.75.  I might very well start a petition to bring it back…

Joe Harbot

Here are three things.

1.  Meaburn, the village I grew up in.

2.  Theatre by the Lake, where I went to Youth Theatre.

3. This is not really a place.  This is just a video of my teachers dancing.  I don’t know why this was made.

Louise Gallagher  

1-The view from Arnside Knott and the rock in the shape of a sofa part way up. Every time you see Morecambe Bay from this angle it’s different, and stunning.

2-The Sun Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale it’s for brillaint food, friendly service and staff who really care – Avanti comes a close second for atmosphere.

3-Kirkby Lonsdale churchyard on a snowy night – magical.

James & George unveil Programme 2011

11 PRODUCTIONS IN 33 PLACES (and counting…)

We’re thrilled to announce our Programme 2011 which sees 11 productions touring to 33 towns and cities across the UK and counting… with more tour dates soon to be announced.

Building on our inaugural year as Joint Artistic Directors – which saw us produce 9 productions in 33 places – our Programme 2011 sees even more shows touring to even more places as we aim to be a truly national theatre of new plays. Our 11 productions this year can be seen everywhere from Liverpool to Lyme Regis, Scarborough to Southampton, Bath to Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

These are tough times for theatre economically, but flourishing times for theatre artistically. Our programme celebrates the very best of British playwrighting in exceptional productions that traverse scales from 700 seat proscenium arch playhouses to arts centres, pubs, and outdoor festivals. The creation of our own portable in-the-round ROUNDABOUT auditorium offers us even greater scope to tour in the future as we strive to ensure everyone, everywhere has access to the very best new plays from the pens of our nation’s world class playwrights.

Programme 2011 kicks off with extended tours for two of last year’s productions. Mike Bartlett’s acclaimed LOVE, LOVE, LOVE visits 13 theatres between now and June on the biggest tour in Paines Plough’s history with 28,000 available seats from Glasgow to Ipswich to Salisbury. TINY VOLCANOES by Laurence Wilson is back on the road in April and May, touring to 15 different theatres nationwide from Folkestone in Kent to Kendal in the Lake District.

We’re very excited about our unique collaboration with Sheffield Theatres in the Autumn – The ROUNDABOUT SEASON. We’re building a portable 150-seat in-the-round auditorium which will host the world premières of three plays – by Nick Payne, Duncan Macmillan and Penelope Skinner – performed by an ensemble of four actors. All three plays will open at the Crucible Studio, Sheffield, before touring nationwide within the Roundabout auditorium, in rep, in Spring 2012.

Nick Payne’s beautiful portrait of a love that spans a century, ONE DAY WHEN WE WERE YOUNG, opens the season, followed by Duncan Macmillan’s extraordinary LUNGS, in which love and morality do ferocious battle. Penelope Skinner will write a new play specifically for the acting ensemble, which promises lashings of her incisive wit and theatrical ingenuity.

The ROUNDABOUT auditorium will enable us to tour new plays to any size space. The auditorium can sit in flexible studio spaces or arts centres, or on the stages of mid to large scale theatres behind the iron, so watch out for us on the road to all sorts of places next year.

In the summer we’ve got two very special productions for you. At the Latitude Festival we’re presenting the debut play from the extraordinary performance poet and rapper Kate Tempest, prior to a national tour of theatres and student unions in 2012 in collaboration with The Birmingham Repertory Theatre and NSDF. At the Manchester International Festival, we’re teaming up with former Housemartins and Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton and playwright Ché Walker to present a unique live show featuring a star cast of musicians – THE 8TH.

Following last year’s amazing tour, we’re thrilled to be producing three more world premieres under the A PLAY, A PIE AND A PINT banner this Autumn. All three will premiere at Òran Mór in Glasgow before touring nationwide, with shows playing lunchtimes and early evenings.

Katie Douglas and David Watson – two of the most distinctive voices in British theatre – will be joined by a third very special playwright soon to be announced. And of course every audience member gets a free pie and pint with every show.

We’ll be announcing new dates for COME TO WHERE I’M FROM throughout 2011, and don’t forget you can still listen to free podcasts of last year’s COME TO WHERE TO WHERE I’M FROM plays via our website.

We’ll continue to host open auditons across the country; we’ll be taking up residence in theatres nationwide; we continue to run our Associate Company scheme and we’re officially launching our bespoke playwright development resource centre The Big Room, supported by Channel Four and The Fenton Arts Trust.

We hope you like the look of our Programme 2011 and will have a chance to experience some of our work this year. Wherever you are in the UK, Paines Plough is coming to a town near you soon.

Let us know what you think by posting a comment.

James & George