George Perrin and James Grieve announce that they are stepping down as Artistic Directors of Paines Plough

James Grieve and George Perrin

Ahead of announcing their 10th annual programme of new plays on tour, George Perrin and James Grieve have announced that they are stepping down as Artistic Directors of Paines Plough.

George and James took over from Roxana Silbert in 2010, and have since produced 45 World Premieres by writers such as Mike Bartlett, Penelope Skinner, James Graham, Sabrina Mahfouz and Vinay Patel, touring them to hundreds of villages, towns and cities across the UK and around the world.

James Grieve and George Perrin, 2010 . Credit Geraint Lewis

Their playwright development initiative THE BIG ROOM has launched the careers of a whole new generation of playwrights over the last decade.

They have revitalised small-scale touring whilst at PP, and have launched celebrated initiatives such as Open Auditions, ensuring that we meet actors from all backgrounds across the whole of the UK.

They also launched COME TO WHERE I’M FROM, a national project that invites playwrights to write and perform mini plays about their home towns. Since 2010 more than 160 playwrights from across the UK have written plays about the places that shaped them, making up a theatrical tapestry of the nation – a playwrights’ guide to Great Britain. All of the audio plays are available to listen to on our free app.

In 2014, Perrin and Grieve built their own pop-up theatre ROUNDABOUT for Paines Plough to reach those communities least engaged with the arts. ROUNDABOUT is now recognised as a fixture of touring theatre across the country and a deliverable and radical touring model for British theatre.

Designing ROUNDABOUT
Inside ROUNDABOUT 2016

George and James said:

 “We are honoured to have been the custodians of this essential organisation for nearly a decade of our lives. We were lucky enough to inherit from Roxana Silbert a company in rude health and are proud to now pass it on to a new generation of artists and producers in an even better place that we found it. It’s been a joy to travel the country and traverse the globe bringing the best new British plays to the doorsteps of our audiences. We’ve only been able to achieve what we have with Paines Plough because of the committed partners with whom we have co-produced every production; the hunger and bravery of the venues that have programmed our work; the trust of all our funders; the belief of our board and Chairs; the dedication of our team; and the faith of the playwrights and audiences we’ve been so inspired to serve – our deepest thanks to you all. We’ll leave as we arrived: die-hard fans of the best new writing touring company in the world.”

Kim Grant, Chair of the Paines Plough Board of Trustees, said:

George and James have led Paines Plough through nine years of outstanding achievement, unrelenting progress and unforgettable theatre experiences for audiences across the UK. Throughout their stewardship the company has remained true to its roots as the leading national touring theatre company for new plays and with ROUNDABOUT now firmly established as a unique and sophisticated flexible  pop-up theatre space, they leave us and their successors a wonderful legacy.”

Our Programme 2019 will be announced later this week. James and George will leave PP in the summer to pursue new projects, and our board will begin their search for new artistic leadership in February.

Here is the full list of productions that were produced during James and George’s leadership of PP…

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