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NEW: 2017

We’re very pleased to announce that once again we will be working with the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. As part of NEW: 2017 we’ve jointly commissioned writer Alison Carr to write a play for their graduating actors in 2017. The plays will run alongside commissions from the Royal Court and Sherman Theatre. They’ll open in Cardiff and then transfer to The Gate in London.

Dates:

Tues 28 – Fri 31 March
Richard Burton Theatre & Bute Theatre, Cardiff

Tues 4 – Sat 8 April
Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, London

We’re also very excited that Alison’s new play will be directed by Hannah Banister who was the Assistant Director on our production of James Graham’s THE ANGRY BRIGADE in 2015.

Our past productions with RWCMD have been:

TEN WEEKS by Elinor Cook (2016)
GROWTH by Luke Norris (2015)
BLISTER by Laura Lomas (2014)

Alison Carr, Writer

Alison Carr

Alison’s theatre credits include: CLOTHES SWAP THEATRE PARTY (Forward Theatre Project); FAT ALICE (Traverse Theatre); A WONDROUS PLACE (Northern Spirit, tour); NEVER RAINS BUT IT POURS (Theatre503); THE GIRLS FROM POPPYFIELD CLOSE, CLINT (Live Theatre) and CAN CAUSE DEATH starring Olivier Award-winning actor David Bradley (Forward Theatre Project at the National Theatre, Northern Stage & Latitude Festival).

Alison has also worked with theatres and companies including Paines Plough, nabokov, Old Vic New Voices, New Writing North and 5065 Lift.

Radio credits include Afternoon Drama DOLLY WOULD (BBC Radio 4) and YACKETY YAK (The Verb, BBC Radio 3).

In 2013, Alison was awarded the Live Theatre/Empty Space Bursary Award to develop her play THE SOAKING OF VERA SHRIMP. The play opened at Live Theatre in September 2014 and was subsequently produced by Live Theatre in association with Rosie & Me at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015.

Alison is a member of The Traverse Fifty and last year completed a 6-month attachment with Monkeywood Theatre.

Alison’s first full-length play commission IRIS opened at Live Theatre, Newcastle in April 2016 (directed by Max Roberts). Most recently, Alison was shortlisted for the Theatre503 Playwriting Award for her play CATERPILLAR.

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Hannah Banister

Hannah is a freelance theatre director who is most excited about working on ambitious projects which have at the heart of them an extraordinary story. She loves new writing, re-imagined classics, comedy, sketch comedy, verbatim, non-fiction, adventure, fantasy. Anything you might consider to be a bit rock and roll in theatre.

She has directed THIS IS ART by Charlene James at Proud Archivist in Haggerston and was a finalist for the JMK young Directors’ award 2014.

Her other work as a Director includes STRINGS (in development), I KILLED RASPUTIN by Richard Herring (Assembly), GARDENING FOR THE UNFULFILLED AND ALIENATED (Pleasance, Fringe First Award Winner), CRIMBLE (Old Red Lion), TRAPP (Old Vic) and BEST MEN (Southwark Playhouse). As Associate Director, her credits include PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), THE ABSENCE OF WAR (Headlong), TIGER COUNTRY (Hampstead Theatre), ANOTHER COUNTRY (Trafalgar Studios). As assistant director her credits include THE ANGRY BRIGADE (Paines Plough, The Bush, Theatre Royal Plymouth), THE TEMPEST (The Globe Theatre), LONGING (Hampstead Theatre) and JUMPY (Royal Court Theatre and West End).

#RWCMDNEW17

Playing For Britain

In 2014 we celebrated our 40th birthday and to mark the occasion we released a book packed full of images, insights and interesting articles. Over the coming months we’ll be sharing some of our favourite features from the book and what better way to kick us off, than with Matt Trueman on the history of new writing in British theatre.

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New writing is at the heart of British theatre. Every so called theatrical revolution this country has seen has centred on new plays, from the Angry Young Men in the 1950’s to the In-Yer-Face generation of the 1990’s. Back in 2009. when theatre critics were last trumpeting a golden age, it was motored by dazzling and ambitious new plays, including Jez Butterworth’s JERUSALEM and Lucy Prebble’s ENRON. Even 2014, a sudden flutter of springtime excitement was down to British playwrights firing on all cylinders: Simon Stephens with BIRDLAND, Mike Bartlett with KING CHARLES III, James Graham with PRIVACY.

As an art form, theatre is uniquely placed. It’s a communal art that exists — can only exist- in a public space and it’s an ephemeral art that can only exist in the present moment. Bearing all that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that,more so than visual art or film, theatre should set out to address the world that we all share, the here and now.

The stage is where we see the state of the nation – increasingly, even, the state of the world – reflected and retracted. Sometimes that means that classic plays, most notably Shakespeare’s, are used very deliberately to rub up against the moment in which they are staged. Mostly, though, it means a healthy culture of new plays that do exactly that- and it’s this that we term new writing.

The theatre critic Aleks Sierz has defined new writing [or ‘new writing proper’ as he sometimes calls it] as a genre in its own right. To qualify as new writing, a play must somehow address the present moment – even if only obliquely, perhaps through metaphor or analogy. Not all new plays do that: think of THE HISTORY BOYS or ONE MAN, TWO GUV’NORS, for example. But a great many do and, even if there’s a circularity at play in Sierz’s conviction that we can understand the present through new writing that seeks to understand the present, there is some truth in it.

Britain is unique in the import it bestows upon its playwrights. Think about the sorts of plays you see reviewed in the front end of newspapers, the news sections: big name actors in big name classics, yes, where casting can be a news story in its own right. but also big new plays with something newsworthy to say. Britain’s playwrights are allowed to be public intellectuals and political commentators.

That doesn’t happen so much in America, for all the strength of its playwriting culture. Musicals make the news pages there, other big Broadway shows too, but rarely new plays and almost never present-tense political work. The same goes for European countries, where directors rule the roost, smashing classic lays into contemporary sensibilities and resonance, not playwrights. Britain still places the playwright centre stage. Directors talk about- quote unouote— serving the text, usually through fidelity to it.

What’s more, British theatres insistence on novelty, be that in new writing or new work, is only increasing. The figures bear that out. In the 1980’s and 1990’s new work made up between 15 and 20 per cent of British theatre programming. In the last decade, that figure had swelled to 42 per cent. Nor was that work confined to small studio theatres in the same way. The majority took place in 200-seat plus venues.

By 2003, new writing in Britain was achieving an average of 63.6% at box office – up from 62% per cent only five years earlier or 57% in 1997. In the late eighties, new plays regularly played to half empty theatre and the Royal Court was responsible for about 10% of new writing across the entire country.

Today, the picture is vastly different, almost unrecognisable. Britain has built an established nationwide network for new writing. There are theatres dedicated entirely to new writing all over the country — the Traverse in Edinburgh, Live Theatre in Newcastle— and many more that ensure that it remains central to programming. London’s new writing scene, from the Royal Court to the Bush to Theatre503 with many in between, is thriving. And even organisations like Shakespeare’s Globe and the Royal Shakespeare Company have got new writing policies with a view to developing new work.

All of which is an ideal context tor Paines Plough – the national theatre of new writing, remember — to do what it’s done best for 40 years: develop and stage the best new plays across the nation.

Santiago tour diary

The British Council invited our Artistic Director James to the EDEC conference in Santiago to met Chilean playwrights and see LUNGS make its Latin American debut. Here’s his tour diary.

Santiago from the top of San Cristobal.

Santiago from the top of San Cristobal

Monday 28 September
This morning I watched the sunrise on Orkney at the end of EVERY BRILLIANT THING’s Highlands and Islands tour. Tonight I’m at Heathrow heading for Santiago as a guest of The British Council at Encuentro de Dramaturgia Europea Contemporánea – a conference bringing together European and Chilean theatremakers to discuss contemporary European theatre and showcase plays from across Europe. I’ve never been to Latin America so this is exciting.

Tuesday 29 September
The approach to Santiago over the snow-peaked Andes is sensational. Chile’s capital lives in a big bowl of a valley stretching 50 miles across with mountains all around it. The blanket of smog makes it look like the crater of a volcano until the plane ducks underneath to reveal the sprawling city. My host Alex – the British Council’s international projects manager here in Chile – meets me at my hotel and whisks me straight to Santiago staple Emporio La Rosa, voted one of the top 10 ice cream parlours in the world for a quick introduction to Chilean theatre and a delicious introduction to Lúcuma ice cream.

The opening event of the conference sees critic Jürgen Berger give a talk on current trends in German theatre, which is translated into Spanish and then very kindly by Alex into English for my benefit. Everyone repairs to a beautiful roof garden for wine, canapés and speeches to officially open EDEC 15. Cameras flash as the culture minister turns up to make an address.

Ana López Montaner who is directing the reading of LUNGS on Saturday invites me to join her at The Clinic, a bar famous for political debates. Ana’s excellent English makes up for my shameful lack of Spanish and we set to discussing Duncan’s wonderful play.

This way for my workshop, apparently...

This way for my workshop, apparently…

Wednesday 30 September
I’m running workshops at the beautiful Universidad Católica – a huge old monastery with trees and fountains adorning courtyards and cloisters surrounded by lecture halls and art studios and rehearsal rooms. Playwright collective Interdram has invited playwrights from across Chile to attend the conference and meet delegates. It is fascinating to hear experiences from top to bottom of this huge and varied country (Chile is 2,672 miles long), and to discover the obstacles and anxieties writers face here are largely the same as at home. We focus on politics. What makes a play political? How do the personal and political coexist in great plays? It’s a fascinating discussion here where the scars of the Pinochet dictatorship are still so clearly seen. And it’s a tough workout for my heroic translator George who simultaneously translates the discussion as everyone contributes.

Thursday 1 October
Today my workshop focus is on LUNGS, or rather PULMONES as it is in its Spanish translation. The group has read the play and really love it. It’s exhilarating to be part of a passionate debate about a play in a different language and culture, sensing how well it translates and how relevant and poignant its themes are even on the other side of the world.

Ana invites me to see a production of Camus’ LOS JUSTOS. I don’t understand a word but I’m struck by the very European aesthetic – big, bold, physical, colourful and expressionistic storytelling. It’s staged at the home of Theatrocinema who I’m excited to meet. Their productions of THE MAN WHO FED BUTTERFLIES and HISTORIA DE AMORE have wowed the Edinburgh International Festival with ground-breaking fusions of film and live performance, so I’m thrilled to get a peek behind the scenes of their super cool converted cinema home.

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Friday 2 October
This morning I’m accompanying Alex at a meeting of the Arts Council and artistic directors of regional theatres. Once again I’m struck by the similarities in the discussions here and at home – a desire to see more work tour, a frustration at city hotspots attracting money and talent at the expense of the rest of the country.

Then we meet a group of playwrights who had been part of the Royal Court’s workshop programme in 2012, culminating with their plays being staged as readings in London in 2013. The experience had been transformative for them and it was great to get their take on the state of Chilean theatre. The common theme is the lack of producers, or producing infrastructure, which means writers often have to produce their own work. In fact, they quite often produce, direct and perform in their own work, and tear the tickets at the door.

This evening I’m at GAM, a magnificent modernist arts centre – Santiago’s answer to the Barbican – to see a dance piece EMOVERE which sees performers hooked up to sensors which trigger music to match their physical movement.

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Saturday 3 October
I have some spare time today so I climb San Cristobal hill which looms over central Santiago and offers panoramic views of the city from the huge white statue of the Virgin Mary at its peak. I push through the crowds and marvel at the colours and aromas in the city’s two vast markets La Vega and Mercado Central before tucking into delicious ceviche and chowder.

Then it’s back to GAM for the reading of PULMONES which Ana has staged beautifully with the two actors reading the play from iPads and each scene assuming different relationships with two chairs on an otherwise empty stage. There are around 100 people listening and they love it. I know the play so well that I can follow it even though I don’t understand word-by-word and it is thrilling to hear big laughs come at exactly the points I hoped and a silence descend on the room as the play bewitches its audience just as it does back home. Proof that great art is truly universal.

We repair to an incredible wine bar called Bocanariz that serves tasting glasses from its vast menu and toast Ana’s production and Duncan’s wonderful play.

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PULMONES on stage in Chile

Sunday 4 October
I spend my last morning in Santiago at the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, a museum dedicated to remembering the victims of the Pinochet regime. It’s a stark, powerful evocation of Chile’s dark recent history and a deeply moving memorial to the many who lost their lives.

It’s been an honour visiting this wonderful country and meeting so many talented, passionate playwrights. Muchos gracias particularly to Alex and Ana for being such generous hosts. Our hope is that this trip is just the beginning of an ongoing relationship between Paines Plough and theatremakers in Chile that will foster the exchange of ideas and see plays like LUNGS/PULMONES cross continents.

Now, I’ve got 48 hours to get to Bristol to see another Duncan Macmillan play. Here goes.

Stellar line-up for EARLIER/LATER

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Ten years ago Mark Ravenhill launched PP’s hugely influential late-night playwright’s salon LATER. We’re reviving its renegade spirit in Edinburgh this year with EARLIER / LATER – a series of early morning and late night one-off events in  ROUNDABOUT @ SUMMERHALL 2015.

We’ve put together a smashing line-up including an unmissable show from the Royal Court, performances from Roundhouse Resident Artists and alumni Sophie Rose, Cecilia Knapp, Yolanda Mercy and Caleb Femi, a poetry battle of epic proportions presented by Luke Wright, SAVE THE MALE – headlined by pop-punk poet Brigitte Aphrodite, comedians Jack Rooke and Lynn Ruth Miller (she’s 81 by the way – expect swearing), new-writing champions Poleroid Theatre, the final leg of Josie Long‘s side splitting Alternative Reality Tour and a dangerously dark physical comedy from Encounter Productions.

Music, poetry, theatre and comedy – we’ve got it all, so if you’re looking for us at 10am or 10:30pm just head to ROUNDABOUT, we’ll be hanging out there. Bring croissants or beer. Here’s the programme in full:

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM – EDINBURGH
12 August, 10:00

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COME TO WHERE I’M FROM is a theatrical tapestry of the UK, woven by writers asking if home is really where the heart is. Since 2010, more than 100 playwrights from across the UK have written plays about the places that shaped them.

Now we’ve invited Edinburgh’s finest to pen plays about Auld Reekie. At this very special one-off show they will perform those plays themselves.

For the line-up of writers, keep an eye on @painesplough and #PPEarlier


 

Royal Court
MANWATCHING
Written by an anonymous woman
Performed by an unprepared man
14, 21 August, 10:00
10, 15, 19 August, 22:30

Manwatching Image

So I think it’s fair to say that most women almost definitely do masturbate. We just wait to discuss it until we’re in an oddly anonymous but public situation like this one.”

A funny, frank, and occasionally explicit insight into heterosexual female desire, read out loud by a man.

Each show begins with a male comedian being given a script they have never seen before. They will read the script for the first time, out-loud live in front of an audience; all about what one woman thinks about when she thinks about sex and men.

Performers will include comedians James Acaster, Marcus Brigstocke and Nick Helm. More to be announced.

This piece is a work-in-progress being piloted at the Edinburgh Festival. It is being developed in collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre.

With direction and dramaturgy by Lucy Morrison, and dramaturgical input from Ryan Nobel, Lisa Heledd Jones, and Christopher Brett Bailey.
Special thanks to previous performers Tim Key, Mike Wozniak and Nathaniel Martello-White.


 

Roundhouse Young Artist
ON THE EDGE OF ME by Yolanda Mercy
13 August, 10:00

on the edge of me - picture

ON THE EDGE OF ME is a relatable dark comedy, exploring themes of graduate blues, love, anxiety, JSA and mental health. Follow Remi (a recent university graduate), as she confronts life as she knows it, through the medium of Live literature, theatre and storytelling with YOU the audience as the centre piece!


 

The Good Grief Project
SAVE THE MALE
14 August, 22:30

Save The Male

Save The Male is a comedy, poetry and music showcase raising awareness of male suicide prevention charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), who exist to tackle the statistic of suicide being the single biggest killer of young men in the UK & Scotland.

Curated by comedian Jack Rooke and poet Cecilia Knapp, Save The Male’s aim is to encourage more of us to engage in creative expression as an outlet when times get tough. Whether it’s writing lyrics, performing poems or even doodling (Jack likes to draw moustaches on the attractive cast of Hollyoaks in the TV Guide.)

This Roundabout performance features Brigitte Aphrodite, Jack Rooke and some very special guests.

For info on Save The Male visit www.thegoodgriefproject.com and for info on CALM visit www.thecalmzone.net


 

LUKE WRIGHT PRESENTS A POETRY BATTLE
17 August, 22:30

Luke Wright

A spoken word quick-fire starring Elvis McGonagall, Rob Auton, Jemima Foxtrot, John Osborne, Luke Wright and more. Each poet has to respond to the piece performed by the previous performer. Expect linguistic gymnastics, breath-taking salvos and a fair bit of crow-barring. Laughs and tears and all the rest, in a never-to-be-repeated show.


 

SXWKS / Roundhouse Resident Artist
STILL DREAMING
19 August, 10:00

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SXWKS present, Still Dreaming, a submersion into the intangible substance of dreams through words and music. An amalgamation of the various artistic disciplines within SXWKS creating one unique experience that will stay with you long after the show. See features from Roundhouse Poetry Slam Winner 2015, Caleb Femi and Shortlisted Young Poet Laureate Jolade. A show not to be missed.


 

The Good Grief Project
JACK ROOKE AND LYNN RUTH MILLER LAUGH ABOUT DEATH
20 August, 10:00

Jack Rooke & Lynn Ruth Miller Image 2

Jack Rooke is a 21-year-old comedian who writes about grief. Lynn Ruth Miller is an acclaimed 81-year-old comedian who talks about death. Together the two of them are gonna sit down, laugh and have an open chat about all the things we’re too scared to talk about, whilst performing extracts from Jack’s debut comedy-theatre show ‘Good Grief’ and Lynn’s new comedy hour ‘Get A Grip’.

For more information visit www.thegoodgriefproject.com


 

Poleroid Theatre
WRITE IT: MIC IT
20 August, 22:30

Write it Mic It Image

Poleroid Theatre are back in Edinburgh this Summer with WRITE IT : MIC IT, their legendary Open ‘Write’ Platform. After two years of sold out nights in Hackney and Manchester, Poleroid head to the Roundabout for one night only with an eclectic mix of new material from some of the UK’s most exciting emerging playwrights, comedians & performance poets. Fresh from debuting their new play Plastic by Kenneth Emson at Latitude Festival 2015 and nominated for three Off-West End Theatre Awards in 2014, Poleroid Theatre is working to discover and develop the contemporary image of emerging artists in the UK and give this talent a platform through eclectic, fast-paced and immediate theatre.

www.poleroidtheatre.co.uk
@poleroidtheatre


 

Roundhouse / Sophie Rose
QUIET VIOLENCE by Sophie Rose
21 August, 22:30

1. Happy jenga smash QV_CN LARGE

A show about blue plastic bags and wearing shoes that don’t fit.

Squeezed between tight jeans, jenga block flats and clip-on earrings, a young woman is making bad decisions and an old man is eating too much cheese.

They’re sharing biscuits on an inflatable sofa; something has to pop.

Fast, physical and full of anarchic poetry, shards of life collide in this powerful story of punishment and rescue.

Free hobnobs.

An exciting new voice in spoken word theatre, co-produced by Roundhouse.

‘Bold, brave and very special’ (Polarbear, spoken word artist)


 

Josie Long with Show and Tell
ALTERNATIVE REALITY TOUR WITH JOSIE LONG
22 August, 22:30

Alternative Reality Tour Imag

Where is the fucking joy? It’s summer. It’s supposed to be like in films. It’s supposed to be magical. Beautiful sunsets and whirlwind romances; the promise of friendship, adventure, discovery, love and fun. The days last forever because school’s out forever.

So why isn’t it here? What do we get instead? Every day we are reminded that this country is miserable, skint and exhausted. That this is just the way it is and that we deserve it. That there’s no other way and we can’t change it. We’re all in it together. It’s the plan. We are tired, we are angry and we are bored.

We are all better than this.

We are coming to your town in August. We are going to bring something strange, fun and unexpected. Led by the multi award-winning comedian Josie Long, we are a group of performers, musicians and people who make things happen and we want to make something unforgettable.

We want another type of life. We want it to be better. We want a summer that doesn’t end.

The summer 2015 Alternative Reality Tour finishes up in Edinburgh on August 22nd.

www.alternativerealitytour.com


 

FINDING HOME by Cecilia Knapp
23 August, 10:00

Finding Home

Along the cycle paths, alleyways and canals of London comes a spoken word theatre coming¬-of-age story that maps the journey of a young girl from Brighton to the tenements of East London as a 20 ¬something.

Writer and performer Cecilia Knapp’s debut piece is a journey through flashbacks to her father singing, her mum’s cassette tapes in the car and the sound of the sea. Cecilia explores loss and circumstance in an attempt to reconcile her past, telling stories and reflecting on the characters she meets along the way who help her make sense of the world, and realise that things can be ok in the wake of it all.

Supported by Arts Council England and Roundhouse, London, with an original soundtrack from world champion beatboxer and double bass musician Bellatrix and sound design by Chris Redmond (Tongue Fu) and direction by Stef O’Driscoll (Kate Tempest’s Hopelessly Devoted).


 

Encounter Productions
I HEART CATHERINE PISTACHIO
23 August, 22:30

IHCP Image

“I Heart Catherine Pistachio is outrageous and it is deplorable but it is also a fucking sickening tragedy performed as if a sinkhole is about to bury us all…fucking great.” (Megan Vaughan)

Following sold-out runs at Soho Theatre, London and the Sophiensaele, Berlin, Dance and Theatre combine in the latest show from Encounter.

Directed by Jen Malarkey, with writer Lee Mattinson and movement director Simone Coxall,I Heart Catherine Pistachio is a dangerously dark physical comedy about a square-eyed young girl stuck in a suburban swamp of abuse.

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EARLIER/LATER shows will be listed daily outside ROUNDABOUT and announced at 11am and 5pm on Twitter so keep your beady eyes on @painesplough because you never know, we might just have a few extra events up our sleeves…

#RoundaboutPP #PPEarlier / #PPLater

What we’re seeing at the theatre

We haven’t done one of these in while, so between everyone at PP we’ve made another list of what we’ve all been seeing in the past few weeks. With winter fast approaching, darker days and colder nights, what better place to spend your time than in the theatre.

What we’ve seen:

The Events at the Young Vic, The Same Deep Water As Me at the Donmar Warehouse, Chimerica at the Harold Pinter Theatre, Show 2 at Lyric Hammersmith, Grounded at Traverse Theatre, Fleabag at Soho Theatre, Once at Phoenix Theatre, The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas at the Royal Court, Edward II at the National Theatre, Virgin at Watford Palace Theatre, The Empty Quarter at Hampstead, As You Like It at The RSC, People at Birmingham Rep, Bryony Kimmings: Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model at Soho Theatre, Twelfth Night at Park Theatre, Perfect Match at Watford Palace Theatre, The Pride at Trafalgar Studios, The Legend Of Mike Smith by Soweto Kinch at Birmingham Rep, But I don’t like Girls at The Poor School, Othello at the National Theatre, The Herd at The Bush, Beats at Soho Theatre, Titus Andronicus at Arcola Theatre, Too Mortal by Shobana Jeyasingh at St. Pancras Church (Dance Umbrella), The World of Extreme Happiness at The ShedA Real Man’s Guide to Sainthood at Camden People’s Theatre, The Fu Manchu Complex at Oval House.

What will you be seeing in the coming weeks? Send us your suggestions by leaving a comment or tweeting us @painesplough.

Elinor Cook wins George Devine Award

Winner! Photo: David Ryle

Much whooping and cheering at PPHQ at the announcement that Elinor Cook is the winner of this year’s George Devine Award for most promising playwright.

Elinor is one of the five writers on attachment to PP and Channel 4 as part of The Big Room, and we think she’s great.

We’re not the only ones. Playwrights Lucy Caldwell, Laura Wade and Donald Howarth, and former Royal Court Literary Manager Graham Whybrow made up the judging panel who praised Elinor’s “distinctive subject, style and dialogue”, which is “vivid, precise, wry and sparely written”.

Elinor receives a cheque for £15,000 (ours is a pint of lager please Elinor), and joins a roll call of seriously starry past winners of one of the nation’s most prestigious prizes for new plays.

We’re rather proud (bashfully, you understand) to point out PP writers have a rather good track record. Last year’s winner was JUMPERS FOR GOALPOSTS writer Tom Wells. The 2011 award went to THE SOUND OF HEAVY RAIN‘s Penelope Skinner. Nick Payne, who wrote ONE DAY WHEN WE WERE YOUNG, was crowned in 2009. Tom, Penelope and Nick – like Elinor – are all past writers on attachment to PP and Channel 4. Our current Big Room Writer-In-Residence Alexandra Wood won in 2007, and past winners include PP alumni Che Walker, Gary Owen and Enda Walsh. What great taste the judges have.

Huge congrats Elinor, from all of us here. We’re made-up for you!

30 seconds with…Richard Wilson

With The Roundabout Season London only 7 weeks away, we’re all getting very excited. If like us you can’t wait that long, we have a treat for you.

Theatrical legend Richard Wilson, who is directing LUNGS by Duncan Macmillan for the Roundabout Season, shares his thoughts about directing in the round…

Q:  Have you worked in the round before?

A: Yes I have directed in the round before at the Royal Exchange  and the Royal Court Theatres.

Q: What surprised you the most about working in and creating work for the ROUNDABOUT auditorium?

A: ROUNDABOUT is a very special space once you see it it creates its own boundaries, and once you start to apply them the process becomes very exciting. Having decided on a “ no set, no props” format also added to the production’s style and feeling.

Q: What do you think makes ROUNDABOUT auditorium a different audience experience?

A: What makes the ROUNDABOUT auditorium unique is the way the audience embraces it and enters in to the very marrow of the play with the actors.

 

If you would like to find out more about The Roundabout Season London or book tickets click here

Final Thoughts – Stephanie Königer

I remember clearly the day of my interview when Claire and Sean were sitting opposite me in the meeting room (which, since then, always gave me the feeling of serious events happening in there) – and the phone call with the acceptance a few hours later while I was attending rehearsals in the Jerwood Space. I can remember standing in the staircase looking over to the trains running between London Bridge and Waterloo and was excited and delighted by this offer and knew I had finally found my way.

At the end of March the twelve weeks ahead of me seemed endless but now the time is over and it went by so quickly. However during my time there I was able to achieve so much. Using my few days of holidays wisely I was able to run to Bristol for a Press Night, shot a short film at a beautiful Scottish beach near Edinburgh and jetted off to Munich for some German drama. All this time I was mainly occupied with leading the “literary department”, polishing my English on the phone while calling numerous writers regarding their unsolicited scripts, cultivating the office calendar with plenty of invitations to theatrical events, getting involved in financial management, announcing the full programme for 2012, writing an uncountable number of cards  for the opening of Love, Love, Love at the Royal Court, the welcoming of WASTED to the Roundhouse and the first public night of talented young creatives in SMITHEREENS at Rose Bruford College. And of course eating enough (to quote Sean) “cake/sweets/chocolate/doughnuts/cookies to sink a battleship“ – thankfully the four flights of stairs to the office kind of compensated for these sugary debaucheries. And of course I was as guilty as everyone else in supplying these sweet sins.

It has been an amazing time at Paines Plough during which I gained a lot of experience and insight into how a theatre company of this scale is run in this country, while meeting incredible, warm-hearted and driven people in a field where I am finding my occupation. Thank you very much to everyone.

And if I ever fancy a piece of cake I know where to go.

Administrator – Sabbatical Covered

Three and a half months ago, on a rainy Thursday morning I stepped back into 43 Aldwych, climbed the four flights of stairs, reached the top, caught my breath (trust me, if you’ve ever done those four flights, you’ll know they’re a killer!) and hey presto I’m back in the Paines Plough offices and ready to go.

Earlier this year Paines Plough received some funding from Esmee Fairbairn to do some audience development work on a small scale tour to discover more audiences, in more venues, in more places than ever before. In comes producer extraordinaire Hanna who took up this mantle and headed out on the road with the WASTED team to Aberdeen, Birmingham, Cardiff, Folkstone and everywhere in between to compile some serious research that will help Paines Plough tour for years to come. Bonza!

This meant however that I was left to look after Hanna’s job as PP’s Administrator…well I promise nothing too serious went wrong; I excelled at spreadsheets (geddit…?!…sorry…), financed my way through Thursdays, booked that rehearsal room to within an inch of its life and yes, of course, ate enough cake/sweets/chocolate/doughnuts/cookies to sink a battleship.

It’s been a cracking few months at PP Towers with WASTED out on the road and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE at the Royal Court and after they were both up and running we announced the full programme for 2012 which has got some absolute corkers in it heading all over the country so be sure to check it out and book yourself a cheeky ticket or two.

I’ve had a cracking few months back with the brilliant PP Team and so I’ll leave you with some very wise and very apt words when working in the PP office courtesy of Sandra in Love, Love, Love:

‘Now, does everybody have a piece of cake?’

LX, ready and GO!

After a long day and 2 Gin and tonic’s I agreed to do a blog, describing what I do during a typical show.  But this blog would be far too long if I included every detail of what I do so here is a brief insight….

I’m the Deputy Stage Manager on Love, Love, Love, which means I predominantly, Call/Cue the show. During rehearsals I’m in the room taking down the actors blocking, prop notes, costume notes etc.  In also make any sound effects so can often be heard making the sound of a doorbell!  Then moving into Tech week I put all the cues for Lighting, Sound, Actors, and so on into the ‘book’ or ‘prompt copy’.

The first time we run the show with all guns blazing is very exciting but nerve racking at the same time.  The DSM waits for ‘Clearance’ from the Front of House Manager and then puts everyone on standby.  Once everyone is braced I take a note of the time take a breath and then say LXQ1, SQ 1 GO and we’re off on the 2 hour 35 minute rollercoaster.

I’m sat right at the back of the auditorium in a soundproof box with a very big glass window which has the feel of a goldfish bowl, as the last row of audience are sat right in front of me.  Sometimes people will give me smile or a wave, which is nice!  I get a great view of everyone’s reactions though, which is thrilling to watch.  People’s heads often blocks my view of the stage so I have two monitors one, which is colour, and one, which is zoomed in so that I can see when the TV and record player are switched on and off.

Then comes the interval, while the audience goes for a 20 minute relax and wonder what’s coming next, Stage Management and the amazing Crew zoom from Act 1 into Act 2.  The SM team quickly strike all the Act 1 props from the set and jump onto the Act 3 truck out of the way of the Act 1 truck which is being pushed off into the wings, and the carpet for Act 2 is laid.  Then it’s all hands on deck to get all the Act 2 furniture and dressing on and set in the right place.  The Sound & Lighting departments have speakers and lights to strike and then set in place while all this is going on.  No one ever stops, the time flies by suddenly it is time for Act 2 Beginners and time to Call the Audience back to their seats.   The DSM is chief timekeeper and so I’m always checking my trusty Casio Digital watch for how long we’ve had.

Then we’re off into Act 2 and the countdown until the next interval begins.  The minute the house lights come up Paul, the Sound Op, and I are up and running down to the stage (avoiding bumping into Ushers) to start the second Interval Change.  It’s the mad dash to get everything off and into ‘magic props corner’ where all the act 2 furniture and props are stored.  And then it’s a bit like a dance knowing where to go and where to stand so you don’t get squished or get in the way, then you know when it’s the right time to move.  Our SM team consists of 3; Ali the Stage Manager, Shannon the Assistant Stage Manager and me!  And we all have our own little jobs in the interval changes and we weave in and out around each other getting everything done.  Then it’s that time again and I’m calling the audience back to their seats and the Actors to the stage.  Act 3 is a bit like the home straight because the intervals are behind us, but it’s not over yet.

Act 3 is the quietest for me Cue wise and so I just keep an eye on everything to check all is as it should be.  But I also sneak a peak at the audience to see how they’re reacting.

Once the curtain comes down for the final time, it’s time for me to make a note of all the running times.  I then tell the Company how long each Act and the Show as a whole have been and then let them know their call for the next show. Then it’s off to the computer to write the Show Report.  The Show Report give details of anything that has gone wrong, broken, been amazing or just needs mentioning.   Also the Running Times, who was working on the show and how many tickets were sold, are all noted down.  Mike Bartlett has also given me the challenge of writing a pun on each show report, which I’m failing miserably at!  Any suggestions?

I think it’s time for a Gin & Tonic….

Sarah Caselton-Smith