Monthly archives:

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
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
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
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
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
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
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

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
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 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


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

Let us know what you think on #PP2017





Roundabout @ Futures House, Marsh Farm (Luton)


It’s week eight of the Roundabout national tour and, sadly, our final week, but we’re determined to go out with a bang. This week we’re in Luton working with Revoluton (we love that name) to bring a festival of theatre, art, spoken-word, DJ-ing and more to Futures House on the Marsh Farm Estate. If you need to find us we’ve dropped a pin on this map for you. We’ll be popping up from Thursday 27 October to Sunday 30 October and we can’t wait.

All the events in the programme are PWYD (Pay What You Decide) so just reserve your ticket online and then Pay What You Decide on the day. Easy!

Thursday 27 October:

16:30 // MARSH DAYS
19:30 // GROWTH by Luke Norris

Friday 28 October:

09:30 // Baby Sensory Session
12:30 // Acting For TV Taster Workshop
15:30 // Revoluton Drop In
18:30 // LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
20:30 // Soul Food Poetry

Saturday 29 October:

09:30 // Baby Sensory Session
12:45 // DJ Workshop
16:15 // GROWTH by Luke Norris
20:00 // Post Show Discussion
21:00 // Music and Chill

Sunday 30 October:

10:00 // Exercise and Relaxation by Ghar Se Ghar
16:00 // Post Show Discussion
19:00 // LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris
21:00 // Wisdm & Small Green Shoots Spoken Word

You can book for all events through Revoluton’s website here. Or just wander over to Futures House – tickets will be available for all Roundabout events from the pop-up Box Office up until the performances open.


Did you know?

Riots to Revoluton is a brand new play created for Roundabout. It tells the story of the Marsh Farm Estate and is inspired by residents. Here’s more about the show:

Marsh Farm Estate, Luton. 1995. Where youth unemployment seeped like a poisonous chemical through its foundations. Where petrol got poured on a spark and reason turned to riot.

Using real life testimonies of those who experienced it, Revoluton Arts offers an alternative prospective behind Luton’s notorious riots. Revealing a story of massive but passive defiance and a demonstration of what power music and art can have in uniting people and changing the course of events.


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)

A postcard from Eccles

Roundabout Assistant Director Anna sent us this postcard from Eccles. We had such a lovely four days working with The Lowry to pop up as part of Love Eccles Festival.

eccles-postcard-back eccles-postcard-front

This week we’re in Margate. Next week we’re in Lincoln. And after that we just keep touring. See full tour dates here.

Roundabout @ Poole Park, Dorset


Roundabout being built in Poole Park (cred. Callum Thomson)

It’s week two of the Roundabout tour and we’re heading south to Poole! Thanks to our brilliant partners Lighthouse, Poole with a little help from Activate we’re popping in the gorgeous Poole Park from Thursday 15 September to Sunday 18 September. Roundabout is right next to The Kitchen – our favourite place to be.

The programme includes Katie Douglas’ epic adventure I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY for superheros 7+ (co-produced with Half Moon Theatre), LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by award winning Welsh writer Alan Harris (co-produced by Sherman Theatre and Theatr Clwyd) and the Scotsman Fringe First winning GROWTH by Luke Norris.

Praise for GROWTH:

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

Genuinely hilarious from start to finish… consistently witty, packed with vivid characters and hook-filled dialogue.”
★★★★ The Stage

Genuinely laugh-out-loud funny… heart-stoppingly human.”
★★★★ The Scotsman


A stupidly lovely fantasy… very funny… make[s] you believe that sometimes real life can actually be better than the movies.”
★★★★ The Guardian

“Raucously funny… a joyful, surprising tribute to love, hope, community and big ideas.”
★★★★ WhatsOnStage

Perrin and his cast delight.”
★★★★★ British Theatre Guide


“This is fast-moving, energetic and exciting storytelling at it’s very, very finest.
★★★★★ Edinburgh Festival for Kids

“Watch the kids’ drop-jaw, knee-hugging body language…they are hook, line and sinkered with this utterly captivating show.”
★★★ The Edinburgh Reporter

If only all children’s theatre could be performed in the Paines Plough Roundabout…endlessly dynamic and frequently funny.”
★★★ The List


Roundabout in Poole Park (cred. Callum Thomson)

Here’s the full schedule for our four-day festival in Poole Park:


19.30 // GROWTH




19:30 // GROWTH


18:00 // GROWTH

You can book for any of these events on Lighthouse’s website here. Or call the Box Office on 01202 280000.

Did you know?

Lighthouse’s building has been closed for redevelopment but will be re-opening on Wednesday 12 October. While the building has been getting a make-over Lighthouse have been programming pop-up events all over the city including Roundabout.

Roundabout audience Rich Lakos

Inside Roundabout (cred. The Other Richard)


#RoundaboutPP Social Media Call

Roundabout audience Rich Lakos

Calling all bloggers, tweeters, instagrammers, snapchatters, vine stars, social media conversation starters and digital trendsetters…

#RoundaboutPP Social Media Call
Friday 5 August 2016/ 10:00am
Roundabout @ Summerhall
Edinburgh EH9 1PL

If you write or talk about theatre online, this is for you. It’s a chance to have a nose around our groundbreaking, award-winning pop-up theatre, hear about our new programme of shows and events and meet Team PP and the people behind the shows at #RoundaboutPP this Fringe.

Bring your camera, phone, tablet and thumbs to blog, take photos and video. Live tweet or fire questions at anyone from producers to stage management to artistic directors. Anything goes – it’s a chance for you to see behind the scenes and get some exclusive content.

Here’s the schedule:

10:00/     Team PP welcome you to #RoundaboutPP with a swag bag.

10:05/     Joint Artistic Directors James & George introduce the Roundabout programme 2016.

10:10/     A sneak peek at our brand new shows: LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY, GROWTH and I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY.

10:15/     Our Visiting Companies and Earlier/Later gang introduce their shows.

10:20/    A chance to explore Roundabout and take photos and video.

10:30/     Team PP, Visiting Companies and Earlier/Later artists will be hanging out in the Summerhall courtyard and will be on hand for interviews or to answer any questions you may have.

If you would like to come along please contact with your name and a link to your website, blog or wherever you cover theatre online. Please include your Twitter and/or Instagram handle so we can follow you. We’ll be back in touch to confirm your place. Spaces are limited so get in quick – we hope to accommodate as many of you as possible.

Any questions, hit us up @painesplough.

If you know anyone who would be interested in coming along please pass this on them, the more the merrier!

We very much hope you can join us.

Roundabout trailers are go!

It’s not long until we’re heading off to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (how has this come round so quickly?!). We’ll be opening our three news plays in Roundabout which pops up in the Summerhall courtyard – we’ve got 10 shows a day and you can see them all here. Then Roundabout traverses the country on an eight-week tour this autumn. Find out when we’re coming to you here.

There’s GROWTH, Luke Norris’ comedy about growing up and manning up, offbeat love story LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY by Alan Harris, and a magical quest following three super almost-teens from Katie Douglas, I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY. We can’t wait.

We teamed up with film maker extrodinaire Rory Gibson to create three cinematic trailers for this year’s Roundabout season. You can check out Rory’s work here.

And now our #RoundaboutPP trailers have landed, feast your eyes on them here:

A Paines Plough Production
GROWTH by Luke Norris

Book here.

A Paines Plough, Sherman Theatre & Theatr Clwyd production

Book here.

A Paines Plough and Half Moon production

Book here.

Roundabout Rehersal Room: An extensive range of dungarees

As we gear up for previews (TONIGHT, AH!) we thought we’d take a look back on our last day in the rehearsal room before our tech rehearsals.

Growth by Luke Norris rehearsals, Paines Plough- -®HelenMurray-299

Thinking, planning, rehearsing (cred. Helen Murray)

It’s getting more populous in here as we get closer to putting the plays in the Roundabout itself. As well as having the writers working with us in the room, we’ve had movement workshops with Kate Sagovsky (I couldn’t resist joining in), Elspeth, our dialect coach, helping the actors with their Merthyr accent and also their Ron-Burgundy-from-Anchorman, and an extensive range of dungarees on offer from Kat, the costume designer. We’ve also been working with a film crew to create trailers for the three shows which I’m really excited about, so look out for those.

Growth by Luke Norris rehearsals, Paines Plough- -®HelenMurray-266

Caitlin thinks about tech week… (cred. Helen Murray)

Dom, our Sound Designer, comes bearing gifts of a beautiful indie soundtrack for LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY and high-octane sound effects for I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY which range from gross to hilarious, some of which make the PP team in the office next door to the rehearsal room jump a bit (sorry guys). Prema, our Lighting Designer, gave me a sneak peak at the visual simulation of Roundabout that she’s been using to create the lighting design, because we are living in the future.

Basically, if you picture the Avengers assembling, walking in slow motion with big explosions in the background, that’s the creative team behind these shows right now. Boom.

Growth by Luke Norris rehearsals, Paines Plough- -®HelenMurray-208

“So no one wants to be Hawk-Eye?” (cred. Helen Murray)

See you next time, when we’ll be in the Roundabout itself in Hackney!


Roundabout Rehearsal Room: 3 actors, 55 characters

Hello! Welcome to the latest update from the Roundabout rehearsal room. The plays are up on their feet now and it’s all kicking off. The circular stage has been marked out in tape on the floor by Caitlin, our Stage Manager, with the yellow, blue and pink of the seats around the edges. The colour codes, arrows and crosses all help, because rehearsing three plays at once in the round can be figuratively and literally dizzying.

Growth by Luke Norris rehearsals, Paines Plough- -®HelenMurray-151

Colourful rehearsals = black and white photos (cred. Helen Murray)

The circle comes to life as we explore the huge amount of possibilities for playing in it – it can feel like an intimate little stage or a huge space depending on the dynamics in the scene we’re doing. Altogether, we’ve counted 55 different characters across all the plays, and that makes for a lot of different accents and shapes. We aren’t using any set or props, which means all the focus is on the actors, and they’re conjuring everything from a bedroom to an entire Welsh town to a giant slug in our imaginations.

Growth by Luke Norris rehearsals, Paines Plough- -®HelenMurray-260

Richard Corgan counts how many characters he’s playing… (cred. Helen Murray)

At the end of the week, we went to the beautiful space at Half Moon Theatre to show I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY to a young audience. We got some lovely and useful feedback, including “when’s the sequel?” (top secret, sorry guys), and someone compared it to the amazing Avatar: The Last Airbender, which reminds me – I need to watch the last series.

This week’s top tip comes not from me but from one of the actors, and it’s about wearing loose clothing when playing mythical creatures.

Growth by Luke Norris rehearsals, Paines Plough- -®HelenMurray-286

Director George reacts to Andy’s wardrobe malfunction (cred. Helen Murray)

See you next time!


Roundabout Rehearsal Room Blog: The beginning

Hi, I’m Anna! I’m the new Trainee Director at Paines Plough and I’ll be assistant directing the Roundabout plays this year – GROWTH, I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY and LOVE, LIES AND TAXIDERMY. I’ve just moved to London to work at PPHQ and in between rehearsals you can find me skipping delightedly across Waterloo Bridge like I’m Andrea Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada and I’ve just arrived in New York.

Growth by Luke Norris rehearsals, Paines Plough- -®HelenMurray-138

Rehearsal room walls (cred. Helen Murray)

Back to the rehearsal room – the first thing you would notice if you came in would be the walls. They started off blank and inviting, and quickly began to fill up. Detailed maps of Merthyr Tydfil, pictures of Captain Planet and The Incredibles, and medical information about orchidectomies cover every surface, along with timelines of each play. As the days go by, all the work we’re doing on the texts manifests itself on the walls, and it begins to look like the office of a particularly eclectic and obsessive private investigator *sips scotch*.

Growth by Luke Norris rehearsals, Paines Plough- -®HelenMurray-99

Hilarious moments with Remy Beasley (cred. Helen Murray)

Incidentally, investigating is exactly what we’re doing at the table in rehearsals (stunning segue Anna) – lots of going through the plays, hearing them out loud, playing and finding information about the characters and stories. Beautiful and hilarious moments emerge, and already I’ve learned a lot about the initial rehearsal process for new writing, about day-to-day life at PPHQ, and NEVER to Google ‘hybrid taxidermy’ (I’m serious, don’t do it guys).

Growth by Luke Norris rehearsals, Paines Plough- -®HelenMurray-172

Anna accidentally googles ‘hybrid taxidermy’ (cred. Helen Murray)

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back soon with more rehearsal updates,