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Broken Biscuits: #nowplaying Scarborough


This week BROKEN BISCUITS by Tom Wells is on the East coast at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough so we’ll be listening to bands who started life along the beautiful Yorkshire coastline.

Little Angels – Scarborough 

Prolific 80s rock band Little Angels formed in Scarborough back in 1984 (previously named both Zeus and Mr Thrud). They started life with their brilliantly titled debut album Too Posh To Mosh. During their prime they supported Van Halen and Bon Jovi.

Arthur Brown – Whitby

I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE AND I BRING YOU… Arthur Brown of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Who remembers ‘Fire’ which reached Number 1 back in 1968 (both here and in Canada)? The eccentric frontman was famed for his operatic singing style which he has sustained through a long career, continuing to record to this day. His followers refer to him as The God of Hellfire in reference to the opening lyrics to Fire.

Ben Parcell – Bridlington

Ben Parcell couldn’t be further from Arthur Brown in terms of style but only comes from down the road in Bridlington. Parcell describes his sound as Pop Folk – which is a similar sound to the BROKEN BISCUITS gang. Although we don’t think Ben has any songs about working on the checkout at Sainbury’s.

We’re at the Stephen Joseph from Tuesday until Saturday – come and rock out with us (in a gentle geeky way). Tickets here.



This week our General Manager Claire, Producer Tara and Assistant Producer Hanna headed up to Scarborough for NSDF 2013. As well as watching the final show of the WASTED tour at the Grand Spa Hall, and seeing some of the selected shows at Stephen Joseph Theatre, the team was also delivering workshops on Producing, Fundraising and Budgeting. We were really inspired by all of the young producers and arts managers who took part in the workshops, thanks so much for coming.

Check out the summaries of the workshops below and click on the handy links for the PowerPoints from the workshop. If you would like copies of any of the handouts please do get in touch.

The Scarborough seaside providing the backdrop for NSDF 2013

1. Run by Tara Wilkinson, Hanna Streeter and Claire Simpson

Workshop title: Getting big on budgets

Workshop summary: Practical guidance on how to draft a production budget, primarily for touring co-productions, focusing on all of the details you might need to consider.  This workshop will include group-based exercises.

Maximum number of attendees: 20

Skill level (if applicable): Some understanding or experience of drafting a budget or producing a show would be advantageous, but not essential.

Genre:  Producing, Finance, Administration

Items needed for workshop: Tables and chairs for practical activity and note taking, projector for power point, flip chart, board pens for flip chart

For the GETTING BIG ON BUDGETS powerpoint click here


2. Run by Tara Wilkinson, Hanna Streeter and Claire Simpson

Workshop title: Treasure Hunt – funding your way to success

Workshop summary: A summary of the current funding landscape and where the opportunities and challenges lie, with practical guidance on drafting a funding application.  This workshop will include group-based exercises.

Maximum number of attendees: 20

Skill level (if applicable): Some understanding or experience of applying for funding or producing a show would be advantageous, but not essential.

Genre:  Producing, Fundraising, Administration

Items needed for workshop: Tables and chairs for practical activity and note taking, projector for power point, flip chart, board pens for flip chart

Click here for the TREASURE HUNT- Funding your way to success Powerpoint


One of PP's NSDF workshops

3. Run by Tara Wilkinson, Hanna Streeter and Claire Simpson

Workshop title: Just the two of us – a guide to the very important co-producing relationship

Workshop summary: Sharing experiences of the different forms of co-producing relationships, how the relationship works in delivering a show and how that is reflected in the co-production contract.  This workshop will include group-based exercises.

Maximum number of attendees: 20

Skill level (if applicable): Some understanding or experience of producing a show would be advantageous, but not essential.

Genre:  Producing, Co-Productions, Administration

Items needed for workshop: Tables and chairs for practical activity and note taking, projector for power point, flip chart, board pens for flip chart

Click here for the JUST THE TWO OF US – a guide to the very important co-producing relationship Powerpoint

For any other information on the workshops email and we’ll see what we can do!

Happy Producing!

PP heads to NSDF

We’re really excited to announce that PP will be heading to this years’ National Student Drama Festival. Headlining Sunday night of the festival on March 24th, Kate Tempest’s WASTED will end its 2013 spring tour at the Spa Grand Hall in Scarborough at 11.15pm.

We’ll be around before and after the show, so please do come and chat to us about how to get WASTED on your university campus.

Then on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th, our General Manager, Claire, Producer Tara, and Administrator (soon to be Assistant Producer) Hanna, will be running three workshops on producing and management of a touring theatre company. Any emerging companies wanting an insight into the behind-the-scenes world of budgets, contracts and co-productions, do come along. Information about the workshops and how to register will be published on the NSDF website soon.

While we’re there, we’ll also be fitting in as many of this year’s selected shows as we can. Thrilled to see that some of these include plays by past PP writers Simon StephensPhilip Ridley.

This year’s NSDF runs from 23-29 March 2013 in Scarborough. You can buy tickets for the festival here.

WASTED Scene Three: A party in a warehouse in Peckham.

Auditions, Auditions, Auditions…

This week has been a busy one for Forward Theatre Project as we have been casting our latest play Scarberia by Evan Placey which is being performed between 24th May – 2nd June at York Theatre Royal as part of the TakeOver ’12 Festival. The play was commissioned by the TakeOver team who are a group of young people between 11-26 years old and has been created by working directly with young people in York and Scarborough England and North York and Scarborough Toronto. We also set up an international pen pal system between the 4 groups of young people – which is all done on email nowadays apparently (losing the fun factor of receiving a letter in the post I think –  but definitely more time effective!) We wanted to create a play which was about youth and which engaged with young people at every level. We didn’t want to guess at what young people want to see on stage about their generation but to actually get them to commission the idea they want to see and be involved in its creation to ensure we were creating an authentic voice on stage.

The play looks at the areas of Scarborough in the two different countries. Both wildly different in reputation, we were interested in creating a play which looked at how these two different places with the same name can be connected by one event… a killing. The play has been created by working with FTP’s collective approach to making theatre; the writer came with the beginnings of an idea and then with the director Gemma Kerr and the designer Lydia Denno, the team have worked together at every level to develop the play by working with young people to inform its development. They undertook an intensive 5 week research and development period which involved going across to Toronto to work in their Scarborough – an exciting step for FTP as we start to create work internationally and as we are live streaming the show to our group of Canadian young people as part of the run.

So we begin rehearsals in 2 weeks…actually a week and a half now…eek, where did time go?! So castings are fairly late in the day because of the way the piece has been created but we are really excited about finally bringing the full team together. We have been in the Paines Plough rehearsal room all this week seeing lots of brilliant Yorkshire and Canadian accents come in and out and have just set down to make final decisions. The play is a total cast of 3; two boys that play the English and Canadian roles and a Canadian girl who has gone missing. All the roles are 15 years old so it is a big ask to play both this age and with two very different accents. Luckily as I am from Yorkshire I can cover that side, and Evan is from Toronto so we also have a Canadian voice in the room – definitely useful tools! Auditions are always exciting as it is finding the final piece of the puzzle for your team and we are certainly excited about finding the pieces left for this production. And at being part of TakeOver- a brilliant initiative set up by York Theatre Royal in which every role at the theatre is taken over by artists under 26 years old who then are mentored by their equivalent staff member to programme and run a three week arts festival across the Mainhouse, Studio and other found performance spaces. This year the TakeOver team are hugely exciting to work with and have programmed some brilliant companies including Paines Plough of course for their production of Wasted as well as getting companies such as Frantic Assembly to offer workshops on their work. It is going to be a fun start to the summer, once it stops raining…

Charlotte Bennett
Artistic Director
Forward Theatre Project

Our trip to NSDF ’11

NSDF '11

NSDF '11

Tara, Jack and I have just returned from a working weekend at the National Student Drama Festival in sunny Scarborough, where we were a few weeks ago with Love, Love, Love.

Each year, student companies from all over the UK enter productions for consideration, from which around ten are selected to feature as part of the week-long festival. In addition to the shows, NSDF Director Holly Kendrick curates an array of workshops, talks, master-classes, discussions and events hosted by professional practitioners.

Alongside theatre luminaries such as Joe Penhall, Donna Munday and Tamara Harvey, Holly asked us to come and talk about how Paines Plough strives to put the playwright at the heart of the creative process, the practicalities of running a touring company and the principles of the director/playwright relationship we espouse.

Scarborough sparkling in the sun

Scarborough sparkling in the sun

In our short time at the festival we saw some great work and met some fantastic young practitioners. Discussion was rife and constructive, with much talk of new developments in devised work, site-specific performance, the belief or otherwise in staying true to a writers’ vision and the increased need for collaboration within the industry. A blog James and I wrote for the Guardian on the latter of these topics has fired up some interesting debate this week (see the comments section).

Playwright, theatre-maker and NSDF selector Chris Thorpe hosting said 'rife' discussion

Playwright, theatre-maker and NSDF selector Chris Thorpe hosting said 'rife' discussion

As well as featuring student productions of PP commissions past – Orphans and After The End (both by Dennis Kelly) – our visit enabled us to talk about our future work; in particular our upcoming collaboration with NSDF and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company on Kate Tempest‘s first play.

After premiering the show at this year’s Latitude Festival, we’re going to take it on the road. As well as touring to theatres, arts centres and festivals, we want to take the show to the heart of student unions and schools. So we spent some time talking to theatre society reps, teachers and student producers about how and where the production might find a home on student campuses in spring 2012.

Next year’s NSDF will reportedly have an international focus but will continue to place the very best student productions from across the UK at the heart of its programme. For information about how to enter or attend the festival, visit their website. Hopefully, this time next year, we’ll see you there.


Our Trainee Director Jack with "award winning" Scarborough donkey, Simon

Our Trainee Director Jack with "award winning" Scarborough donkey, Simon

If you’re involved in student drama either at school, college or university and you’d be interesting in working with us to bring our World Premiere production of Kate Tempest’s new play to you and your fellow students, Tara would love to hear from you –

We’re off to the NSDF

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather stays glorious this weekend as we’re heading up to Scarborough for this year’s National Student Drama Festival. We hope to see some great work from a number of drama societies and young companies, and as well as this, we’ll also be running a series of workshops:

1.Producing Plays, Developing Writers
Genre: Writing
Ability: Beginner and/or Intermediate and/or experienced

2. If It Didn’t Exist, You’d Have To Invent It
Genre: Producing/Directing/Setting up a theatre company
Ability: Beginner and/or Intermediate and/or experienced

3. The Writer and Director Relationship
Genre: Writing/Directing
Ability: Beginner and/or Intermediate and/or experienced

4. Student Drama Society/Course Paines Plough Speed-dating
Genre: Programming
Ability: Any

For more information about how to get a place on one of our workshops, visit the NSDF website at Hope to see some of you there, stay tuned for updates.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Podcast 4

The LOVE, LOVE, LOVE tour continued this week at the magical Live Theatre, Newcastle, before heading to The Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, where it opens tonight.

Here’s the fourth in our weekly series of LLL PODCASTS featuring a chat behind the scenes for all you budding Stage Mangers. Introducing the AMAZING Sarah Castleton-Smith…


We’ll be bringing you interviews, discussions and audience feedback from across the UK as we bring LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to you, with a new podcast every week.

At each venue we’ll be taking a bit of the 60s out into the towns and cities we’re visiting. See if you can spot the LLL-LP on its journey through the UK – here it is with a Mr.James Barrett and a certain Tyne Bridge hiding behind it!

We’d love some suggestions for where LLL-LP should visit on our other tour dates.

See you in a town near you soon.

James & George unveil Programme 2011

11 PRODUCTIONS IN 33 PLACES (and counting…)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us know what you think by posting a comment.

James & George

Do all roads lead to London?

The bright lights of London

We’ve had a bit of stick from Londoners in the last week for our perceived “anti-London” touring policy, so I wanted to set the record straight, and see what you all think.

When George and I took over Paines Plough just over a year ago we did so with an ambition to reaffirm the company’s historic commitment to touring far and wide. We both grew up outside London and our lack of access to theatre – and new plays particularly – is a big reason why we’re so passionate about getting our work out and about.

Our Programme 2010 saw us tour nine productions to 33 towns and cities across the country, including 14 places Paines Plough had never toured to before. It just so happened that London wasn’t one of those places, and since London doesn’t feature in our forthcoming Programme 2011 either, we’ve raised a few heckles.

In a blog review of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE last week it was reported that we “have a thing for not doing plays in London” which the blogger described as “snobby”.

This popped up on Facebook (though admittedly it might be tongue in cheek):

Donald Ideh
Is this not coming to London? A bit regionalist if you ask me!

And then a debate started on Twitter, an extract from which is below:

Loved @painesplough Love, love, love but hate their anti-London touring policy


I second this.

A rather narrow view! I think it’s good that @painesplough are reminding London-folk there’s a whole country out there.

Sometimes it’s just about making sure Other People get to see good arts nearby!


Am totally with you there. And lets face it, travelling to Watford is no real hardship ;-)

Well given the clusters of poor in London it guarantees our own poor theater lovers are excluded.


Oh come on, are you seriously suggesting Londoners have no other options to see shows?!


as a non londoner I can confirm there is life outside of the M25!

@painesplough is deliberately ignoring the UK’s biggest population center.Bad for plays

So by that logic, all touring to rural places should be scrapped?!

I’m with the OK to avoid London camp. Their raison d’être is to tour

I think touring is fine but xing out London poor. Blog post anyone?

So I wanted to clear a few things up. Firstly, we’re absolutely not anti-London and we don’t have an anti-London touring policy. We will produce work in London in the future and we very much look forward to doing so.

But it is true to say that, particularly in our first year as Artistic Directors, our efforts have been focussed outside the capital.

We’re conscious that huge swathes of the country are underserved by new plays, and Paines Plough is perfectly placed to take work to those places. Our ambition is to bring the best new plays to everyone everywhere, and so we feel the same compulsion to produce in Lyme Regis and Kendal and Aberdour as we do in London. Over time, we’ll produce work in all of those places in pursuit of our ambition to be the national theatre of new plays, it just so happens that we’re visiting Lyme Regis now and London later.

Londoners can always travel to other places to see our shows, as people from all over the UK regularly travel to London to access the plays they want to see.

Last week LOVE, LOVE, LOVE was just 16 minutes from Euston at Watford Palace Theatre. In June it will be at Oxford Playhouse – 40 minutes from Central London on the Oxford tube. It often takes me longer than that to get to accross town to a London theatre. TINY VOLCANOES also plays Watford Palace in April, as well as Folkestone which is 45 minutes from St Pancras by train.

I understand that travel can be cost prohibitive for some people, but it has been ever thus for people outside London, and if Londoners can’t afford to travel to see our shows they at least have the opportunity to see one of the 50 or so plays on every night in their home city.

London audiences have been treated to five Mike Bartlett plays – MY CHILD, CONTRACTIONS and COCK at The Royal Court, ARTEFACTS at The Bush and EARTHQUAKES IN LONDON at the National Theatre. Only one of those plays toured (Artefacts), so most people around the UK have never had a chance to see the work of one of our nation’s leading playwrights. We’re hugely proud that our tour of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE has 28,000 available seats from Glasgow to Scarborough to Southampton, giving audiences in those places their first chance to see Mike’s work.

This coming year will see us produce and tour work in somewhere between 40 and 50 towns and cities across the UK. There is one notable absentee – London. But we think that’s ok.

What do you think? Are we right to focus our efforts out of town, or should we head for the bright lights of the city. Leave a comment and join the debate.

Share your best tips

With LOVE, LOVE, LOVE going on tour next week to 13 different venues around the UK, we’re trying to compile our own Lonely Planet of UK cities.

So please share some useful tips for the company on how to spend their days (when not rehearsing their lines) in each of the places we’re visiting:


We want to know the best…

– Places to eat
– Places to drink (responsibly)
– Things to do

If you have any suggestions for any of the places we’re going to, let us know by leaving a comment below.

We’ll be sure to try out any suggestions you have and report back!