Monthly archives:

Roundabout @ Marine Gardens, Margate


Roundabout beside the seaside (cred. Francesca Moody) 

Last week we were in sunny Poole and this week we’re in sunny Margate. We are lucky. Theatre Royal Margate have programmed a fantastic four-day festival popping up on the seafront in Marine Gardens from Thursday 22 September to Sunday 25 September.

We’re on the seafront  close to the sea,  the beach and most importantly fish and chip vendors. See the full programme below with theatre, comedy, dance, life drawing, workshops and more.

Thursday 22 September – 2pm (relaxed performance)
A Paines Plough, Sherman Cymru and Theatre Clwyd production
Love, Lies and Taxidermy
By Alan Harris

Thursday 22 September – 7pm
Rachel Mars
Our Carnal Hearts

Friday 23 September – 10:30am
A Paines Plough and Half Moon production
I Got Superpowers For My Birthday
By Katie Douglas

Friday 23 September – 12 Noon
Roundabout Tour (No need to book, just come along and say hello.)

Friday 23 September – 1pm
Annie Sutton/Black Theatre Live
Rehearsal Room Workshop on HAMLET
by William Shakespeare

Friday 23 September – 4:30pm
b by the sea…

Friday 23 September – 6:30pm
A Paines Plough, Sherman Cymru and Theatre Clwyd production
Love, Lies and Taxidermy
By Alan Harris

Saturday 24 September – 10am
An Introduction to Drawing

Saturday 24 September – 12 Noon
Roundabout Tour (No need to book, just come along and say hello.)

Saturday 24 September – 1:30pm
A Paines Plough and Half Moon production
I Got Superpowers For My Birthday
By Katie Douglas

Saturday 24 September – 3pm
Workshop: Acting and Directing in the Round

Saturday 24 September – 5:30pm
The Invisible Man
inspired by Ralph Ellison

Saturday 24 September – 6:45pm
A Paines Plough production
By Luke Norris

Saturday 24 September – 9:30pm
A Paines Plough, Sherman Cymru and Theatre Clwyd production
Love, Lies and Taxidermy
By Alan Harris

Sunday 24 September – 10:45am
A Paines Plough and Half Moon production
I Got Superpowers For My Birthday
By Katie Douglas

Sunday 25 September – 1pm
A Paines Plough production
By Luke Norris

Sunday 25 September – 3pm
Rob Auton
The Sleep Show

Sunday 25 September – 5pm
Looping the Loop

Sunday 25 September – 8:30pm
Billy Bottle & The Multiple
The Other Place

You can book for all events through the Theatre Royal’s website here. Or call the Box Office on 01843 292795. Or just wander over to Roundabout – we’ve got a pop up Box Office right next to it!


The sun sets on Roundabout in Margate (cred. Francesca Moody)

Did you know?

We’ve got an exhibition in the Turner Contemporary foyer at the moment. It details the story of Roundabout. The ideas, the designs and the construction.

It’s free and you can pop in anytime.


The story of Roundabout (cred. Dan Thompson)

Huge thanks to Dan Thompson who helped us set it up. Check him out here.

We’re off to… Margate

WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK has been zipping across the country since the tour kicked off in Norwich, serving up syncopated beats and musical treats to audiences across the country. Today we land in Margate, a place ‘as cool as it gets’ according to our good pal Joe from Margate Retro.

Home to Tracey Emin and the Turner Contemporary, Margate was host to ROUNDABOUT last autumn and we had so much fun we came back for another dose of Dreamland (and some fish and chips…).

This isn’t our first time at the Margate rodeo, in fact we think we’re pretty much locals now. Here are our top picks if you’re heading on down to the show this evening – or you feel inspired and fancy a trip to the seaside.


The holiday apartments on King Street are a unique place to stay with jukebox, space invaders, the lot. Neighbouring Fort Road Yard is home to a collection of studios and galleries to whet your cultural appetite. And if its art you’re interested in Alex Chinneck’s instillation ‘to the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes’ is just 10 minutes up the road.




If you find yourself with a craving for some seafood fare, Hantverk & Found provides a fine selection courtesy of their chef, Kate quick on her feet from Shoreditch (somewhere in London…).



We may have been partial to the odd libation in the Lifeboat pub on a previous trip to Margate… And we must give special mention to Harbour Arms Sunday night – an addition to the weekend that we hear is often better than the two boozy nights before it.



Caffeinate yourself at Fort’s Cafe – enjoy proper, home cooked food, beer and wine in their relaxed, one-stop seafront shop.




There’s a lot appearing in the ‘Gate, with multiple exhibitions at the Turner Contemporary or the iconic Dreamland amusement park where you can check out their roller disco or have a wander round the Octopus’ Garden.


Get the lowdown on what else you can get up to in Margate over at

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

Margate… “a town as cool as it gets”

Roundabout has touched down in Margate and we thought, who better to give us the lowdown on what to see and do around town than the inimitable Joseph Brown of Margate Retro? Here, Joe takes us on a whimsical walk around town, painting a vivid picture of magical Margate that has us itching to go exploring.


I’ll take it away from here.

Here’s a few photo favourites above for your Margate imagination…


imageedit_13_2226222738 imageedit_11_5258456960 imageedit_15_8137854624 imageedit_17_6943507246

There’s a lot appearing in the ‘Gate, with the new show Risk about to appear at The Mothership (or Turner Gallery for the uninitiated…)

Leaving the Grayson Perry still present in the mind of gallery go-ers, the renaissance or that over used ‘regeneration’ word clearly in evidence, culture led regeneration proven across the world, clearly in Margate it’s happening on the double (see the commanding yard stick above).

Team Margate is hitting big with a wide number of heavyweight creative types having a go on the Platform Margate that they stand out loud on. Aspirations raised amongst the indigenous people who I count myself amongst.

I could have a rant about some of the more vacuous elements that appear, yet refuse to lower my standards to a few of the art world classes. It’s still a great adventure welcoming new arrivals of people from across the nation, Europe even.

Who can blame them, nationwide beard men and women taking the gateway into the South East and them London salaries grabbed by a less than two hour train ride.

Snapping up a drum of their own in a town as cool as it gets, for less than a price of capital rents (who cares about the 5% commuter ticket price rise in this situation?).

The smart traveller takes a coach to Margate for the day for £20 or £220 a month for regular riders .

What’s new at Hantverk & Found next door to me has proven the proposal, chef Kate quick on her feet from Shoreditch (somewhere in London…). Fine seafood available.

Clearly not being one to deal in boring London-centricity, the East Kent coast enjoys its fine beaches and Bruges or Ghent in less of a VW camper ride than Manchester. As much as I love Manchester, Ghent is nearer.

Enough spin, furthering the champions cause of Margate’s recovery, the Lifeboat pub you previously took a few libations in* is joined by at least four others doing a similar thing.

Harbour Arms Sunday night is an addition to the weekend and better than the two boozy nights before it .

Seeing a creative crowd mingling with a local pub crowd is fairly utopian, as is the old town still, swapping goat skins for labour and a quality chair for 70 cups of tea is still the practice.

Despite seeing 70 shops open and close, within the old town, in a four year period it seems sustainability is upon us.

The holiday apartments have gone from a Valium popping home of a crazy man named Jim Moody, to a unique place to stay with jukebox, space invaders, the lot. All on King Street, an atmospheric street with a pulse and vibrant operators and clearly a community that borders on an open air theatre.

Leaving train travellers in more of a spin if that’s possible after they’ve jumped off a train walked arm in arm along a golden beach into a gallery of mind bending art to be met by a man in a brown shop coat saying ‘Welcome to Margate’.

Welcome to Margate.

To King St and Dreamland.

I’m off to eat before the 9pm show at the Winter Gardens, return the radio contact for more Margate reflection.


Joseph Brown of Margate Retro, at your service.

* That’s Team PP he’s referring to, partial as we are both to a trip to Margate and the odd libation.

Thanks Joe, you legend. Make sure y’all check out the incredible MARGATE RETRO and follow Joe on Twitter @margateretro.

Arts Council backing for Roundabout

High fives at PPHQ with the news that Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme will invest £784,052 in the future of Roundabout.


This is really exciting news for us because it means that we’ll be able to deliver festivals of brand new work in Roundabout every year for the next three years and develop and expand our already exciting partnerships in Barnsley, Margate, Lincoln, Kendal, Cornwall, Stoke-on-Trent and Salford right through to 2018.

Our aim is for Roundabout to become a creative hub everywhere it visits showcasing top notch new plays from PP alongside locally produced and curated festivals tailored to each community – engaging audiences while giving a platform to local talent.

Here’s what our ADs James & George had to say:

“We are indebted to Arts Council England for the belief and support evidenced by this investment from the Strategic Touring Programme. This enables us to further realise the potential of Roundabout to offer people across the UK access to the best new theatre. We look forward to working with key partners including Margate Theatre Royal, Lincoln Performing Arts Centre and Brewery Arts Centre Kendal to invite local people to curate and take part in festivals of new work in Roundabout in their home towns.”

Roundabout launched as the centerpiece of our 40th anniversary programme in 2014 thanks to the generous support of principal funder Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation along with J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, John Ellerman Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation.  This funding from the Arts Council will help us pop-up all over England and ensures that the Roundabout will form an integral part of future Paines Plough’s programmes.


We love being out on the road, sharing our shows with audiences far and wide, and we’re super chuffed that we’ll be able to continue doing that in Roundabout. Thanks to everyone at Arts Council England for their belief and support, and thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm for Roundabout.

We’ll be popping up in a town near you soon…

Roundabout pops up in Edinburgh

Roundabout is our beautiful new pop-up in-the-round theatre.

It’s a completely self-contained 168-seat auditorium that flat packs into a single lorry and can pop up anywhere from theatres to school halls, sports centres to warehouses.

We throw open the doors for the first time on 2 August at Summerhall, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with plays by three of the UK’s most exciting playwrights, performed by an ensemble of actors:

Paines Plough presents
In a time of global anxiety, erratic weather and political unrest, a couple want a child but are running out of time. What will be the first to destruct – the planet or their relationship?

Paines Plough presents
A British couple are seized by Somali pirates. In East London, a Somali taxi-driver decides to rescue them. A thrilling tale of altruism, greed and the search for how to belong.

Paines Plough and Half Moon present
Two terrible twins rule their school until the arrival of a headmaster with scaly skin and a spiky tail. An outrageously entertaining comic caper from the writer of Matilda The Musical.

Plus, the return of…

Paines Plough and Pentabus present
You’re six-years-old. Mum’s in hospital. Dad says she’s ‘done something stupid’. You start a list of everything that’s brilliant in the world. Everything worth living for. 1. Ice Cream. 2. Me. 3. Burning Things

At the end of the Festival, Roundabout will head out on its inaugural tour to NewburyMargate, Hackney and Barnsley.

We’ve created Roundabout because we’re passionate about new plays and we want as many people as possible to be able to see them. In the coming years, Roundabout will travel the length and breadth of the UK bringing a the nations’s best playwrights and a thrilling theatrical experience to people’s doorsteps.

We’ve spent four years developing Roundabout, We are hugely grateful to the organisations and individuals whose belief and support have made it possible, including The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, The John Ellerman Foundation, Universal Consolidated Group and Avolites Ltd, and the many of you who have made donations and sent us messages of support. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Roundabout was designed by Lucy Osborne and Emma Chapman in collaboration with Charcoalblue and Howard Eaton.

We can’t wait for you to see it…