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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.

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: Name a seat

Following its launch at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Roundabout has embarked on its inaugural tour.

The response so far has been overwhelming, leaving us truly invigorated and inspired for the future. Thank you to everyone who has supported us.

We still need your help to keep Roundabout on the road for many years to come.

If you enjoyed your Roundabout experience, you can leave your own mark by naming a seat in the auditorium. Simply make a donation at:, and our designers will create a bespoke, lasting thank you for your support, which will travel around the country on your seat in the Roundabout.

“The @painesplough Roundabout is a beautiful, magical space.” – @evenicol

“Wins most beautiful interior venue by far.” – @chaotickirstyy

“Something strange and delightful has landed… It’s Paines Plough’s new portable Roundabout auditorium.” – Evening Standard

“The loveliest venue at the Fringe.” - The List

“A perfect setting.” –

Roundabout is on tour this Autumn from 27 August – 4 October 2014. It will be popping up at Corn Exchange Newbury (27 – 30 August),  Margate Winter Gardens (3 – 7 September),  Hackney Downs Studios (22 – 27 September) and Barnsley Civic (2 – 4 October).

We hope to see you there.

If you would like more information on the Roundabout, please click here. For further information on each show in the Roundabout, please visit our website.

#RoundaboutPP @painesplough

Roundabout Autumn Tour

Following an incredibly warm reception in Edinburgh, Roundabout will embark on its inaugural tour this Autumn.

We’ll be popping up at Newbury Corn ExchangeMargate Winter GardensHackney Downs Studios and Barnsley Civic.

Tour dates:
Newbury Corn Exchange: 27 – 30 August 2014
Margate Winter Gardens: 3 – 7 September 2014
Hackney Downs Studios: 22 – 27 September 2014
Barnsley Civic: 2 – 4 October 2014

We hope to see you there.

Find more information about the Roundabout here.
View the Roundabout trailers.
Find out about naming a seat in the Roundabout.
For enquiries and general information, visit our website

#RoundaboutPP @painesplough

Fringe review round-up

We can’t believe we’re now two-thirds of the way through the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Having officially launched our Roundabout auditorium at the start of this month, cheese comas, kebab slumbers and burger babies aside, it’s been weeks of non-stop shows three times a day as we present this year’s Roundabout season of plays.  We couldn’t be prouder of our incredibly dedicated team, who’ve trooped on each day come rain or shine to deliver their best to Fringe audiences.

So here’s the skinny on what critics are saying:


★★★★ The Guardian – “Heart-wrenching, hilarious…possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop.”

★★★★ The Telegraph – “Funny, clever, and surprisingly uplifting.”

★★★★ The Sunday Times – “Absurdly cherishable…fantastically likeable.”

★★★★ Evening Standard – “Immensely likeable…with great sensitivity behind the abundant laughs.”

★★★★ The Independent – “Dual interest in joy and sorrow… a perfect balance.”

★★★★ The Stage – “Extraordinary piece of inclusive, participative theatre.”

★★★★ Time Out London – “Filled to the brim with joy…beautiful, heart wrenching and very funny.”

★★★★ WhatsOnStage – “Beautifully directed…perfectly cast…deeply personal.  I defy anyone not to laugh and cry.”

★★★★ Exeunt Magazine – “Infectiously warm… Somehow manages to overlay utter despair with life-affirming joy.”

★★★★★ BroadwayBaby – “Both devastatingly sad and incredibly uplifting…one of the most engaging, warm and funny performers you are likely to see at the Fringe this year.”

★★★★ A Younger Theatre – “Genuinely wonderful and life affirming. It is impossible not to love.”

★★★★ The Scotsman – ” A piece that demonstrates why life is worth living… you’ll leave feeling elated.”

★★★★ Fest Magazine – “Beautiful…a sweet, comic performance assisted by the audience.”

★★★★ Fringe Review – “One of the simplest, sweetest and most life-affirming hours you’ll experience

★★★★ PostScript – “The spontaneity of it all generates electricity… Funny, sweet, sad and uplifting.”

★★★★ TheatreguideLondon – “Impeccably directed…tears and laughter combine in one of the most uplifting shows on the Fringe in 2014.”


LUNGS by Duncan Macmillan

★★★★★  British Theatre Guide – “Rapid-fire…precise…seamless. The script fits like a glove.”

★★★★★ Official Theatre – “Brutal, honest and moving… A must see.”

★★★★ Exeunt Magazine – “Assured, grab-you-by-the-heart theatre that will live on in your mind long after the actors have taken their bows.”

★★★★ TheatreguideLondon – “George Perrin’s outstanding revival… is like a thrilling rollercoaster ride, bringing every emotion in equal measure.”

★★★★ Edinburgh Guide – “Delivered with raw honesty and machine gun speed… powerful, thought provoking stripped back theatre.”

★★★★ Fest Magazine – “Pin-sharp…deliciously quotable…pulses and races.”

★★★★ BroadwayBaby – “Full of comic brilliance…superb acting…ceaselessly captivating.”

★★★★ Fringe Guru – “Poignant, funny and relevant. A brilliant choice.”



★★★★ The Times – “Fun, funny…comic perfection.”

★★★★ The List – “Clever wordplay…equally clever staging. If there’s something to be said, a new and interesting way has been unearthed to deliver it.”

★★★★ British Theatre Guide –  “A lovely, simple production…an enthusiastic ensemble of actors ensure that their guests have a great time.”

★★★★ Scots Gay Magazine – “A joy and delight. Don’t miss it.”

★★★★ WhatsOnStage – “Dennis Kelly has done it again… Has all of the wit, grotesque humour and naughtiness of Dahl’s best.”


THE INITIATE by Alexandra Wood

WINNER of Scotsman Fringe First Award 2014 – “An intense, original and memorable play for today, with outstanding performances.”

★★★★ TVBomb – “A complex show that finds power in its simple execution… quality storytelling.”

The Guardian – “A wonderfully slippery and always intelligent play… Beautifully performed.”

Time Out London – “An unsettling, forthright piece of writing that will leave you thinking.”


Join in the conversation online with #RoundaboutPP @painesplough.

Catch our shows in the Roundabout @ Summerhall until 23 August 2014.

ROUNDABOUT Rehearsal Photos

With half our team already in Scotland’s capital, building and tech-ing and line-learning and generally perfecting Roundabout Season 2014 to an inch of its life in the lead-up to next Sunday’s launch, here are a few snaps of our talented team hard at work.


All images by Richard Davenport

For the full set, visit our Flickr page.

Catch Paines Plough’s Roundabout @ Summerhall, Edinburgh, from 2 – 23 August 2014. 

Join the online conversation with: #RoundaboutPP @painesplough 

Roundabout: Dispatches from the rehearsal room #1

So, if you haven’t already heard, PP HQ is upping sticks and moving north of the border for the whole of August this year as we launch our Roundabout auditorium at the Edinburgh Fringe in partnership with Northern Stage and Summerhall.

We’re producing four plays by three of the country’s hottest writers – LUNGS and EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan, OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL by Dennis Kelly and THE INITIATE by Alexandra Wood.

This week, we started an epic eight week rehearsal period at PP’s London home on Aldwych with our top flight company comprising of Andrew French, Sian Reese-Williams and Abdul Salis. (Don’t panic, Jonny Donahoe will be reprising his role in the one man show Every Brilliant Thing).

After long discussions about how to plan our eight weeks rehearsing three plays we decided that we’d split the weeks across the three plays rather than rehearsing each individual show in two and a half week blocks. The benefit to this is that every time we come back to the play is that it will be fresh after a break and in the meantime, even though we haven’t been directly working on it, all the ideas and thoughts we’ve been forming has had some space to breathe which we decided could only be a good thing.

This week, following the obligatory meet and greet/read through, we’ve been taking it pretty leisurely- reading over all of the plays and breaking them down into sections. Sian has been an absolute hero – rehearsing with us in the morning and then hopping on a train and heading up to Leeds each day to perform in West Yorkshire Playhouse’s production of Alan Bennett’s ENJOY. Keep your eyes peeled on the blog for updates and insights into how we’ve been getting on.

– Sean.

#RoundaboutPP @painesplough


Following last week’s announcement of our Roundabout launch at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe followed closely by an Autumn tour, here’s a little more on the stellar cast of our Roundabout Season.

Andrew French

His recent theatre credits include: The Flesh Is Mine (Border Crossings), The Jungle Book, Refugee Boy (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Julius Caesar (RSC), Six Characters In Search Of An Author, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Aquila Theatre USA), Measure For Measure (Almeida Theatre), Our Friends In The North (Northern Stage), Monster (Royal Exchange Manchester), I Like Mine With A Kiss (Bush Theatre), and As You Like It (Wyndham’s Theatre London).

For television, his work includes: Perfect Parents, Primeval, Trust, In Deep and Tough Love; and for film, Artificial Horizon, Breaking The Bank, Song for Marion, Exorcist: The Beginning, Exorcist: Dominion and The Tailor of Panama.


Sian Reese-Williams

Her theatre credits include: Enjoy (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Children Of Fate (Bussey Building), Be My Baby (New Vic Theatre), As You Like It (Derby Playhouse), The Future Perfect Season (Paines Plough/Rose Bruford), Coltan (Paines Plough), and Sixty Five Miles (Paines Plough/Hull Truck). 

For television, her work includes Emmerdale (series regular), and Cowbois Ac Injians.


Abdul Salis

For television, his work includes: Hacks, Strike Back, Outnumbered, Victoria Wood Christmas Special, M.I. High, Doctor Who, Gifted, Roger Roger, and The Hidden City; and for film, Fly Boys, Animal, Welcome Home, and Love, Actually.

For a full list of dates and further information on our Roundabout season, click here.

ROUNDABOUT launches this summer

We’re beside ourselves with excitement as we gear up to launch Roundabout this summer at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

After three years of designing and prototyping and problem-solving, we are ready to unveil our beautiful travelling theatre with a repertory of new plays from the nation’s hottest playwrights.

Roundabout means we can tour outstanding new plays further and wider than ever before. Our state-of-the-art pop-up amphitheatre seats 168 people completely in the round. It flat packs into a single lorry and can pop up anywhere from the stage of a proscenium arch playhouse to a school hall, sports centre or warehouse.With a bear pit atmosphere, Roundabout is the most dynamic, most innovative, most essential new theatre in the country.

Designed by Lucy Osborne and Emma Chapman, the Roundabout Auditorium was piloted in 2011 in partnership with Sheffield Theatres and showcased at Shoreditch Town Hall in 2012. It has since been developed with Charcoalblue, Howard Eaton and Factory Settings and made possible by the generous support of principal funder The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, along with The J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, The John Ellerman Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation and a host of you lovely people who have made invaluable donations through our Justgiving page… thank you all.

The Roundabout auditorium will be presented at Summerhall in collaboration with Northern Stage and will play host to our 2014 Roundabout Season, made possible with the support of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation: THE INITIATE by Alexandra Wood, OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL by Dennis Kelly and LUNGS by Duncan Macmillan.

Also playing in the auditorium this summer will be Duncan Macmillan’s EVERY BRILLIANT THING as well as a host of guest productions including productions from Northern Stage.

Follow the links to see the full list of cast and creatives, check out dates or buy tickets.



spacer First up in our Roundabout Season 2014 is the world premiere of THE INITIATE, a thrilling new play by our former Playwright-in-Residence and George Devine Award winner Alexandra Wood.

A British couple are seized by Somali pirates. In East London, a taxi-driver decides to rescue them. Meeting disbelief with determination, he dismisses his wife’s fears and flies out to negotiate their release.

Speeding from the banks of the Thames to the now unfamiliar world of his homeland, he confronts the family he left behind and the bravado of the men he once called brothers.

A thrilling tale of altruism, greed, and the search for how to belong.

Cast: Andrew French, Sian Reese-Williams and Abdul Salis.


spacer Dennis Kelly, the multi award winning writer of MATILDA THE MUSICAL, returns to Paines Plough with a deliciously funny play for young people, which we are co-producing with Half Moon.

Two terrible twins with a talent for turmoil rule their school with terror and tyranny. That is, until the arrival of a new head teacher with green scaly skin, sharp gnarly fangs, and a long spiky tail…

Can the twins save the school from the child-eating Troll? Can they get Brussels sprouts in peanut butter taken off the lunch menu? And most importantly, can naughtiness prevail?

OUR TEACHER’S A TROLLis a hilarious play about mischief and mayhem for ages 7+ and their accompanying trolls (or parents).

Cast: Andrew French, Sian Reese-Williams and Abdul Salis.

#OurTeachersATroll #OTAT

spacer LUNGS
spacer Duncan Macmillan’s award-winning, internationally acclaimed LUNGS is back by popular demand.

I could fly to New York and back every day for seven years and still not leave a carbon footprint as big as if I have a child. Ten thousand tonnes of CO2. That’s the weight of the Eiffel Tower. I’d be giving birth to the Eiffel Tower.

A couple are deciding their future. Thirty-something, educated and thoughtful, they want to have a child for the right reasons. But in a time of overpopulation, erratic weather and political unrest, what exactly are the right reasons?

A play about the different types of love we feel in a lifetime.

‘The most beautiful, shattering play of the year.’ ★★★★★ Sunday Express

Cast: Sian Reese-Williams and Abdul Salis.


spacer Following its successful rural tour with co-producers Pentabus Theatre Company, Duncan Macmillan’s EVERY BRILLIANT THING will also play at the Edinburgh Festival as part of our Roundabout Season.

You’re six years old. Mum’s in hospital. Dad says she’s ‘done something stupid’. She finds it hard to be happy.

You start to make a list of everything that’s brilliant about the world. Everything that’s worth living for.

1. Ice Cream
2. Kung Fu Movies
3. Burning Things
4. Laughing so hard you shoot milk out your nose
5. Construction cranes
6. Me

You leave it on her pillow. You know she’s read it because she’s corrected your spelling.

Soon, the list will take on a life of its own.

A new play about depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love.

Each performance of Every Brilliant Thing involves members of the audience, making every night unique.

Cast: Jonny Donahoe.



Claire’s farewell for now…

Well, this is even harder than I thought…my official ‘farewell Paines Plough’ blog.

Summing up how brilliant and varied my time here has been, in just a few words is hard to do.  After first hearing about Paines Plough at University I’ve always wanted to work for the company and fulfilling this ambition has been far more enjoyable and educational than I could have hoped.  Since arriving bright eyed and bushy tailed in November 2010 I’ve had the pleasure to do all of this and much more:

19 productions
1 mega Arts Council NPO application
11 sets of management accounts
3 Christmas parties

1 Latitude Festival
countless miles on trains all over the UK
2 Roundabout seasons
…and eaten 5 times my body weight in cake (sometimes those 4 flights of stairs are a blessing!)

I’ve been genuinely privileged to have worked with a host of wonderfully talented and brilliant people from the Board to designers, actors and stage managers to producers and administrators.  At the helm of all this brilliance are the two most passionate, inspiring and visionary people that I have had the pleasure of working with: James Grieve and George Perrin.  You can’t help but want to do your absolute best and work as hard as possible when you’re playing a part in bringing to life the innovative work that they strive to produce.

Of course I’ve also been lucky enough to spend my working days with other such awesome people as Tara, Hanna, Natalie and Sean.  It’s a total cliché but also very true that it’s like a family; and that’s why it’s so much harder to leave.  There have been lots of tears in the last couple of weeks!

Now it’s time for new pastures though and I’m very excited to be working with the Community and Education Company at the Belgrade Theatre, continuing to create exciting and relevant new work with and for the communities of Coventry.  I’ll be keeping a keen eye on what Paines Plough gets up to next, from up in the Midlands.

Thank you to everyone who has made my time with Paines Plough so memorable and enjoyable. It’s a small world and I hope to see or work with you again very soon.