This week on tour: BSL performer Rachael Merry

Emily Stott, Ragevan Vasan, Rachael Merry – photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

1. Tell us what I Wanna Be Yours is about.

The play explores the relationship between Ella and Haseeb, and the obstacles that come their way as they navigate societal reaction to their perceived differences. It is a powerful and hugely pertinent story. 

2. Why did you decide to work in theatre?

Theatre and performing arts is where I started, having grown up taking part in dance and musical theatre. It was therefore a natural progression to marry my work within the Deaf community with my skills as a performer. I feel incredibly lucky to be working within such a niche area of the industry. 

3. What attracted you to this role?

From my first reading of the script, I was overwhelmed by the poetic beauty and richness of the language. The story itself is incredibly powerful and one that needs to be told. I am thrilled to be one of the people involved in making this piece accessible to the Deaf community. I was very aware of the challenge it posed, however was really excited by the visual possibilities within the imagery and how they could be shown through BSL.

I Wanna Be Yours by Zia Ahmed Directed by Anna Himali Howard Cast Ragevan Vasan Emily Stott Rachel Merry ©The Other Richard

4. Talk us through the creative decision to name your character Rachael – do you feel like you are playing yourself on stage?

In my role as the interpreter within this story; I am myself. It seemed fitting for me to keep my own name as I am just another person receiving this story from Ella and Haseeb along with the audience. I think this decision has allowed my character to be integral to the piece without interrupting their journey. 

5. What was the rehearsal process like?

Incredibly challenging, but also a lot of fun! As a company we have been learning together how the integration may work so in the early stages this involved a lot of play and exploration. Too often, BSL interpretation and access is a last minute thought, added on to an excising piece. It was great to be part of the story from the very beginning and explore how my character and the addition of BSL integration becomes part of the narrative. I worked with two Deaf BSL consultants for both the rehearsal and tech periods which was vital for playing with the language and achieving the correct translation. The play is heavily metaphorical and very dialogue heavy so it was extremely important to have Deaf artists involved at every stage. 

6. Do you have a favourite moment in the play?

I don’t want to give too much away! But for me my favourite moments occur when I can hand over the visual storytelling to Ella and Haseeb and my role takes a back seat as their connection is beautiful to watch. There’s also physical movement and some snippets of dance which are a lot of fun!

7. Is there anything particularly special about the way BSL is integrated into I WANNA BE YOURS? 

For me, Anna’s vision, patience and determination for this piece to be a 3-hander has made a huge difference to the connection between the three of us on stage, and I really hope this translates for the Deaf community. Both Em and Ragevan (Ella and Haseeb) have been absolutely incredible to work with and it definitely makes a difference to the final piece. The BSL access is integral to the narrative and is rooted in the telling of the story. I’m really exited to see how it is received and hope we can get as many Deaf audience members as possible to witness this story. 

8. Can you tell us about the work you do outside of theatre? 

I am incredibly lucky in that most of my work is connected in some way to theatre and access. As an actor and interpreter I work within a few different areas including workshop facilitation, education and different areas of performance.

9. What do you think Theatres should be doing in order to reach more D/deaf audiences / BSL users? 

The climate is definitely changing and it is wonderful to see more and more Deaf actors and professionals working within on and offstage roles. The more the industry continues to open up to this the better; ensuring access and equality is considered from the start and no longer an afterthought. 

I Wanna Be Yours by Zia Ahmed Directed by Anna Himali Howard Cast Ragevan Vasan Emily Stott Rachel Merry ©The Other Richard

I WANNA BE YOURS is touring nationwide until December. Are we touring near you?


Meet the four playwrights who will be performing their own short plays on the 09 November at The Watermill Theatre, Newbury

Since 2010 writers from across the UK have returned to their home towns to pen plays about the places that shaped them. At theatres from Bristol to Belfast, Cardiff to Coventry and Nottingham to Newcastle, these plays have been performed by the playwrights themselves, coming home to tell their tale.

Now COME TO WHERE I’M FROM visits Newbury to invite four of the town’s finest playwrights to join this celebrated nationwide project by performing their own short plays about their home.

Beth Flintoff


Beth is a freelance playwright and theatre director whose writing has been longlisted for The Papatango Prize, The Bruntwood Prize, and nominated for Most Promising New Playwright 2017 at the Off West End Awards. Her play THE GLOVE THIEF, commissioned by Tonic, is published by Nick Hern Books and regularly performed by young companies around the world.

She is an Associate Artist at Reading Between Lines Theatre Company in Reading, for whom she has written OSCAR WILDE ON TRIAL; HENRY I OF ENGLAND; MATILDA THE EMPRESS; and HENRY II. Other writing includes THE BALLAD OF MARIA MARTENfor Eastern Angles (touring again in 2020); THE REBELLIOUS WOMEN OF WIMBLEDON for Attic Theatre Company; ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF WAR AND PEACE on Greenham Common (2017).

Beth has collaborated twice as writer/director with physical theatre ensemble Rhum and Clay, on JEKYLL AND HYDE (The Watermill)and HARDBOILED (The Watermill/New Diorama Theatre – Off West End Award Nominee for Best Director 2016). As the former Outreach Director at The Watermill, she worked on many productions as writer, director or both, including THE RIVALS;HAMLET;MACBETH; ROMEO AND JULIET; OTHELLO; and DOCTOR FAUSTUS. For the Watermill Senior Youth Theatre: DAVID COPPERFIELD; LIFE LESSONS; WRITERS’ BLOCK; THE GIRL WHO NEVER FORGOT; and THE THREE MUSKETEERS.

Beth is currently working on THE WORLD WE MADE (Change Festival at Warwick Arts Centre), GENOMESand THE LAST ABBOT OF READINGfor Reading Between the Lines, and a new commission for Write the Girl Project, working with St Albans High School for Girls. She is also the Co-Director of THE INCIDENT ROOM, which will run at New Diorama Theatre before transferring to Off Broadway in New York, April 2020.

Danielle Pearson


Danielle Pearson is the playwright in residence at the Watermill Theatre. Her work there has included the site-specific actor-musician piece NEWBURY YARNS, several original plays for the Senior Youth Theatre and outreach groups, and a new adaptation of JANE EYRE touring to schools this autumn.

In London, recent projects include THIS RESTLESS STATE, produced by Fuel at Ovalhouse, and the R&D of children’s musical THE WITCHES AND THE SINGING MICE at the Unicorn Theatre. She has had short plays featured in venues including Southwark Playhouse, the Old Red Lion and Camden People’s Theatre.

As the winner of the EU Collective Plays! Competition, Danielle also works internationally in Italy and Turkey, with a recent collaborative piece, AND SO MY FACE BECAME MY SCAR, performed at last summer’s Quartieri Del’ Arte festival in Viterbo.

In 2017 she graduated from the Royal Court Writing Group.

Sophie Stone


Theatre includes: AS YOU LIKE IT (Shakespeare’s Globe); EMILIA (Shakespeare’s Globe/West End); MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Watermill Theatre); JUBILEE (Lyric, Hammersmith/Manchester Royal Exchange); THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR (Birmingham Rep/ UK tour); HERONS (Lyric Hammersmith); MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN (National Theatre); MINE (Shared Experience); FROZEN (Birmingham Rep); TWO (Southwark Playhouse); THE BLOODY GREAT BORDER BALLAD PROJECT (Northern Stage); IN WATER I’M WEIGHTLESS (National Theatre of Wales); PANDORA (Arcola); WOMAN OF FLOWERS (Forest Forge/UK tour); MULTIPLEX, FEN, YOU MAKE ME HAPPY (WHEN SKIES ARE GREY) (Watermill Theatre).


Film includes: RETREAT(Sophie was awarded the Best Actress Award, Clin d’Oeil Festival); MY CHRISTMAS ANGEL; CONFESSIONS; COMING HOME.

Sophie Stone is Co-Founder of Deaf & Hearing Ensemble Theatre Company.

Talitha Wing


Talitha Wing graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2018. Talitha is a professional actor, writer and poet. Paines Plough; COME TO WHERE I’M FROM, is Talitha’s first commissioned play. Acting credits since graduation include: ALEX RIDER directed by Andreas Prochaska (Eleventh Hour Films / Sony TV); THE FEED directed by Jill Robertson (Amazon Studios) and the feature film; MILITARY WIVES directed by Peter Cattaneo (42).


The Watermill Theatre has developed a reputation as one of Britain’s leading regional theatres. From its beautiful home in a small Berkshire village, work has been created that is admired around the world. Last year 67,740 people attended shows or one-off events at The Watermill, where new productions are staged annually, ranging from Shakespeare and musicals to classics, new plays and youth theatre productions. The Watermill tours regularly across the UK as well as rural touring productions, which play in village halls and small arts centres in the South. Recent and upcoming tours and London transfers have included A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth (National Tour), One Million Tiny Plays About Britain (Jermyn Street Theatre), Amélie (National Tour), Twelfth Night (Wilton’s Music Hall), Burke and Hare (Jermyn Street Theatre), Trial By Laughter (National Tour), Teddy (National Tour and The Vaults), Crazy For You (National Tour), The Wipers Times (West End and Tour), Loot (Park Theatre), Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet (International Tours), Murder For Two (The Other Palace) and Frankenstein (Wilton’s Music Hall).

The Watermill Theatre aims to be a focal point for the local community and is proud to play a leading part in helping the careers of the theatre-makers of tomorrow. The Watermill’s unique environment encourages a real sense of ensemble, and its intimate 200-seat auditorium also means that there is a particularly strong connection between the actors and audience. This combination makes The Watermill a very special place to visit.

Workshops in ROUNDABOUT @ Stratford East

On Thursday 17 October we will be hosting a series of workshops in ROUNDABOUT @ Stratford East.

10am – 12pm

Casting Workshop with Annelie Powell CDG

Annelie Powell will lead a workshop on the audition process, including practical work and Q and A session. Take part in practical work with Annelie, or observe and apply skills to your own predatory work.

Annelie Powell CDG is a London based  Freelance Casting Director working in all forms of media and is also Head of Casting for Nuffield Southampton Theatres.  Annelie has worked with various companies over the years in Adverts and TV in including ROSEROCK FILMS,  WARNER BROS, APPLE TV,  SC FILMS INTERNATIONAL, BBC, DOITY amongst others. This year she has completed the UK casting on DEEP BLUE SEA 3,  Principal and ensemble casting on animated film DRAGONKEEPER, starring BILL NIGHY, BILL BAILEY AND BRENDAN COYLE,  the animated documentary ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE,  and Children’s Casting on an Apple TV series. Recent Theatre work includes VASSA directed by Tinuke Craig for the ALMEIDA, CINDERELLA  for NST,  THE POPE for Northampton Theatres, PAVILLION for THEATRE CLYWD, THE AUDIENCE for NST, HAMLET, for THE RSC,  LEAR for THE RSC, DON QUIXOTE for GARRICK/RSC. A full cv spanning over 50 productions including productions cast over 5 years at THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY is available from Kim Donovan at The Artists Partnership.

12.15pm – 1pm


Hosted by PP Producer/Technical Stage Manager, explaining the history of Roundabout and showing the Sound & Light Show – each of these tours will last approx 15 minutes

1.15pm – 2.45pm

Captioning Workshop with Paines Plough

Members of Team PP will talk you through how we caption shows in ROUNDABOUT.

3.30pm – 5.30pm

Acting in the Round with Stef O’Driscoll

Join Stef O’Driscoll in a workshop on working in-the-round. A snapshot look at playing the most exposing, exhilarating and energising of all configurations – the round. Come on down to Paines Plough’s pop-up amphitheatre ROUNDABOUT for a quick guide to 360° theatre.

Stef is the Artistic Director of nabokov and previously the Associate Director at Paines Plough and at the Lyric Hammersmith.

As director, theatre includes: Island Town, Sticks & Stones, How to Spot an Alien, With a Little Bit of Luck, Hopelessly Devoted, Blister, On The Other Hand We’re Happy, Daughterhood, Dexter and Winter’s Detective Agency (Paines Plough); Last Night (nabokov/Roundhouse); Storytelling Army (nabokov/Brighton Festival); Slug (nabokov/Latitude); Box Clever (Bunker); Yard Gal (Ovalhouse); The Unmaster, A Tale from the Bedsit (& Bestival), Finding Home (Roundhouse); A Guide to Second Date Sex, When Women Wee (Underbelly/Soho); A Midsummer Night’s Dream [co-director] (Lyric, Hammersmith).

Admission to any workshop comes free when you buy a ticket to any of the Paines Plough plays:

DAUGHTERHOOD by Charley Miles


by Nathan Bryon

IMPORTANT: Once you have booked your ticket to a PP show, call 020 8534 0310 or email to book your place on a workshop.

Theatre Royal Stratford East are also hosting a chock-full OPEN DAY this Saturday 12 October, with Q&A sessions as follows:

11am – Being a Director with Jenny Sealey (Graeae) & Nadia Fall (Artistic Director, Stratford East)

12pm – Technical Theatre with Jess Harwood (Head of Production, Stratford East)

1pm – Being an Actor with Charlotte O’Leary, Charlotte Bate and Toyin Omari-Kinch

2pm – Being a Playwright with Roy Williams (Sucker Punch)

3pm – Being a Producer with Sofia Stephanou (Paines Plough)

4pm – Being a Movement Director with Diane Alison-Mitchell (Our Lady of Kibeho) and Laura Dredger (MoveSpace)

Read more here:

See you there!

Team PP



We are delighted to annouce Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner‘s inaugural programme for Paines Plough…

Programme 2020: LIVE OUT LOUD. Video by TEA Films.

The Live Out Loud Season celebrates some of the most exciting, distinctive, observant and entertaining voices in British theatre.

This season focuses on platforming ground-breaking playwrights and empowering them to take up space with the stories they want to tell. It’s about embracing and celebrating a plethora of voices from around the country, giving playwrights the space to develop their big ideas and tell bold stories that encourage people to live out loud.

Charlotte and Katie said: “We are honoured to be working with such a wealth of talent and experience in our first season. We are also delighted to be working with partners across the country including Sheffield Theatres, Oldham Coliseum, York Theatre Royal, Soho Theatre, Ellie Keel Productions and LAMDA and also celebrating an existing partnership with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. These are stories that celebrate what it is to live life out loud, own who you are and speak your truth. And they are ready to be heard.”  


In February 2020 Paines Plough will co-produce a new play by Chloë Moss with Soho Theatre and Sheffield Theatres. RUN SISTER RUN will run at Sheffield Theatres studio 27 February – 21 March, and then at Soho Theatre from 25 March – 2 May.

Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

RUN SISTER RUN explores the lives of two sisters and the different directions life takes them in as they desperately hold onto their unbreakable bond.

From award-winning playwright Chloë Moss, this story of family, love and dependence asks who gets it right?

Chloë is an accomplished playwright and screenwriter. Her celebrated play THIS WIDE NIGHT 2008/2009 (Clean Break, Soho) won the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn prize and was subsequently produced off Broadway. Chloe has written numerous other shows including THE GATEKEEPER 2012 (Royal Exchange Theatre), FATAL LIGHT 2010/2011 (Soho Theatre), CHRISTMAS IS MILES AWAY 2005/2006 (Bush theatre and off Broadway), and HOW LOVE IS SPELT 2002 (Bush Theatre & New York’s Summer Play Festival).

She is currently under commission to the Royal Court and Headlong Theatre.

Chloë has also written extensively for television. She is currently working on an original teen drama for CBBC. She is also under commission to BBC Radio 4.


Once again PP will partner with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to showcase the world premiere of Charlotte Josephine’s new play. MOON LICKS will open at in Cardiff on 17 March, followed by a run in London at the start of April.

Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

‘She looked at me and said, I want you to remember you came from the sky. Said you’re made of stardust. Said you deserve to be here.

Then the rains came, and all fucking hell broke loose.’

Stuck to shiny slick screens, pretending to be people, our animal instincts spill out sideways with catastrophic consequences. Animal humans or human animals, did we forget mother nature’s in charge? A generation let down by those who should have known better, have one chance to put things right, tonight.

Charlotte Josephine is an award-winning playwright and actor. In 2012 BITCH BOXER won the Soho Theatre Young Writers Award, the Old Vic New Voices Edinburgh Season 2012, the Clonmel Junction Best Theatre Award 2013, the Holden Street Theatre’s Award 2013 and the Adelaide Fringe Award 2014.  In 2017 Charlotte won the inaugural BBC Screenplay First Award, and was named on the BBC New Talent Hotlist. BLUSH is currently being adapted into a television drama and BITCH BOXER into a feature film. Charlotte is one of this year’s Old Vic 12 writers and is currently under commission at Boundless Theatre, Audible and Theatre Centre. Their new play POPS premiered at this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


For the first time ROUNDABOUT will host a musical, with Chinonyerem Odimba’s new work exploring  love and relationships with musuc by Ben and Max Ringham, will play in rep with Chris Bush’s new play investigating food and our dysfunctional relationships with our bodies and Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s new family show about a girl who loses her voice and has a madcap adventure to find it again – AND, in another first, a brand new trailblazer short commission from Charlotte Keatley!

The season will be co-produced with Oldham Coliseum and in association with York Theatre Royal. 

ROUNDABOUT will once again return to Summerhall, Edinburgh and bring mini-festivals to each stop on its nationwide tour.


Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

“Show me your fridge and I’ll show you what you’re worth.”

We are what we eat, and Bex eats shit. It’s not like she has any choice though – when times are tough the last thing you think about is your five-a-day. Today is different though. Today the table groans, and the best china is out. Today things will change.

HUNGRY is a new play about food, class and grief in a world where there’s little left to savour.

CHRIS BUSH is an award-winning playwright, lyricist and theatre-maker. Her past work includes PERICLES (National Theatre), THE ASSASSINATION OF KATIE HOPKINS (Theatr Clwyd), STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE, STEEL (both Sheffield Theatres) and THE CHANGING ROOM (NT Connections). Upcoming work includes FAUSTUS: THAT DAMNED WOMAN (Headlong/Lyric Hammersmith/Birmingham Rep), THE LAST NOEL (Attic Theatre) and a new musical adaptation of THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE (National Theatre).


With Music by Ben and Max Ringham

Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

BLACK LOVE is brand new musical about love. Chinonyerem’s latest work explores romantic relationships between black people, and in particular of how this is portrayed, or more often than not, isn’t portrayed in theatre and on stage.

Chinonyerem is a Nigeria-born, Bristol based playwright, director and poet. Her work for theatre includes JOANNE and AMOMNGST THE REEDS for Clean Break, London /The Yard, a modern retelling of TWIST for Theatre Centre, MEDEA at Bristol Old Vic, and WE TOO, ARE GIANTS for Kiln Theatre. More recently, a new play PRINCESS AND THE HUSTLER toured across the UK for Eclipse Theatre/Bristol Old Vic/HullTruck. She was the Writer-in-Residence at Live Theatre/Northumbria University and is now an Associate Artist at Live. Her work has been shortlisted for several awards including the Adrienne Benham Award, Alfred Fagon Award, and the Bruntwood Playwriting Award. She is the joint winner for the 2018 Sonia Friedman Award for a new play HOW TO WALK ON THE MOON written for C4/Talawa Theatre. Currently Chinonyerem has the world premiere of a community play THE SEVEN AGES OF PATIENCE opening at Kiln Theatre, a new play UNKNOW RIVERS at Hampstead Theatre this October, and an adaptation of THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER for Watermill Theatre Christmas season. She also writes for radio and TV, with a new 30-minute drama for Channel 4 scheduled to be broadcast in 2020.


Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

Phoebe’s new play for families is about living loudly

Ten year old Charli is always being told to sit down and be quiet, so much so that one morning she wakes up and – nothing – her voice is gone. Her Mum is worried, her older brother thinks it’s hilarious, everyone keeps offering her a lozenge. But Charli knows this is big – she needs to find it before it’s too late.

Phoebe is a writer from South East London. In 2015 her debut play WINK received rave reviews and four Off West End Nominations including ‘Most Promising New Playwright’. Her play FURY was runner up for the Verity Bargate Award 2015, and subsequently won the Soho Young Writer’s Award and received an Offie nomination for ‘Best New Play’. For 2016-17 Phoebe was the resident playwright at Soho Theatre through the Channel 4 Playwright scheme. In 2018 Phoebe’s play THESE BRIDGES was part of the National Theatre Connections Festival. Prior to this Phoebe completed the Channel 4 Screenwriting course. She was also on the Soho Writers’ Lab for 2014/15. Phoebe was a previous member of the RCYW and the Royal Court invited group under Alice Birch. Phoebe has completed the BBC writersroom drama programme with Sid Gentle Films, and took part in Nick Frost and Simon Pegg’s YA incubator at their company Stolen Picture. Phoebe has written for award winning Channel 4 Continuing Drama Hollyoaks. She is also under commission from Fremantle Australia, and Newcastle Live theatre, and adapting a graphic novel with Twelve Town.


Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

How many versions of yourself are you wearing today? Just those three? Do they really fit you? Bee doesn’t fit hers. So she’s opened a shop, where the changing room actually does change you. The Inconvenience Store offers what is needed by those who aren’t Mr Normal- whoever he is. 

Charlotte’s MY MOTHER SAID I NEVER SHOULD is the most widely produced play ever written by a woman, now translated into 31 languages, named as one of the National Theatre Significant Plays of the 20th Century, and a GCSE text. Other plays include: OUR FATHER  AND ALL THE DAUGHTERS OF WAR for the RSC. Charlotte has written for film, television, radio and won an EMMY for filming in children’s prisons for a C4 documentary. Charlotte also teaches creative writing anywhere in the world on request.


In 2019 Paines Plough co-commissioned a new play by Ifeyinwa Frederick, one of the 2019 Soho Six, in a year-long attachment programme for artists run by Soho Theatre.  As part of their 2020 season Paines Plough together with Soho Theatre present the result! The production will open at Soho Theatre in Autumn 2020 as part of a 30-date small-scale tour. This will be the final production in a three-year partnership with Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

Exploring the complexity of depression and therapy, SESSIONS asks what happens when your last resort doesn’t work. The play follows the life of Tunde – a 30-year-old loveable rogue – as we try to understand how such a seemingly happy young man has ended up here and how does he get out?

Ifeyinwa is a fervent believer in the power of storytelling and human connection, which fuels her work as a writer and entrepreneur. She began writing in 2016, joining Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab. Supported by the programme, she wrote her debut play THE HOES which received a full production at Hampstead Theatre in 2018. The play was shortlisted for the 2017 Tony Craze Award and Character 7 Award and longlisted for the 2017 Verity Bargate Award. Writing alongside her full-time job as co-founder of Chuku’s – the world’s first Nigerian tapas restaurant – she’s a Young British Foodie award winner and has been featured in Forbes’ list of 100 Female Founders in Europe.


Live Lab is a new partnership with LAMDA exploring new ways of working in ROUNDABOUT by experimenting with early-career playwrights, actors and technicians alongside some of the most exciting, pioneering female playwrights from the last 30 years.

Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

For 2020 the first co-commission built in Live Lab will be a brand new play by Jade Anouka.

Jade Anouka most recently appeared on our screens in ITV’s CLEANING UP alongside Sheridan Smith, Idris Elba’s Netflix comedy TURN UP CHARLIE and feel good feature film FISHERMAN’S FRIEND’S. 

In theatre Jade most recently played the title roles in Hampstead’s Olivier nominated THE PHLEBOTOMIST and QUEEN MARGARET at The Royal Exchange. A seasoned Shakespeare performer, she starred in the Donmar Warehouse all-female Shakespeare Trilogy hit directed by Phyllida Lloyd where she played ‘Mark Antony’ in JULIUS CAESAR, ‘Hotspur’ in HENRY IV and ‘Ariel’ in THE TEMPEST. Other cherry-picked theatre credits include, Old Vic two-hander COVER MY TRACKS opposite musician Charlie Fink, Ophelia and Juliet in the Globe Theatre’s production of HAMLET and ROMEO AND JULIET respectfully and MOON ON A RAINBOW SHAWL at the National.

As a poet Jade has performed regularly around London including The Southbank Centre, Richmix and The Roundhouse. Her first collection of poems was published by Poetry Space and titled EGGS ON TOAST.

Her first play, HEART combined her love of writing and acting when she performed it at the Vault festival in the spring. Last year Jade did a TED talk: ‘Being Black, Being a Woman, Being ‘Other’.


Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

We have teamed up with the brilliant EKP to launch The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, which will support exceptional UK and Ireland-based playwrights. The winning playwright will receive £12,000 in respect of an exclusive option for EKP and Paines Plough to co-produce the winning play. The founding sponsor of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is PER. 

The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is designed to celebrate and raise the profile of these playwrights by providing them with a national platform. Any person of 16 years or older who is resident in the UK or Ireland and who identifies as female can enter. The prize is for a full-length play (defined as over 60 minutes in length), written in English. Musicals and pantomimes are not eligible. Submissions will open on Monday 11 November and close on Monday 2nd March.

The judging panel for The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020 is chaired by senior literary agent Mel Kenyon, and further comprises: playwright Tanika Gupta, Sarah Frankcom, playwright Ella Hickson; theatre producer and former Executive Director of the Donmar Warehouse, Kate Pakenham. actress and writer Monica Dolan, actress Maxine Peake and Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre, Indhu Rubasingham.

Full details of the Prize, including full eligibility criteria and details of second and third prizes, will be available on Monday 11 November, from which date submissions will also be open. Please visit for further details.

Thank you to our brilliant season launch creative team:

And that’s Programme 2020. Let us know what you think.

@painesplough on Twitter or comment below.



I WANNA BE YOURS 2019: Meet the Team

Martha Godfrey, Anna Clock, Mydd Pharo, Jennifer Jackson, Zia Ahmed, Ragevan Vasan, Rachael Merry, Janise Sadik, Anna Himali Howard, Alice Longson, Emily Stott. Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear.

We are delighted to announce the full cast and creative team for the nation-wide tour of Zia Ahmed’s I WANNA BE YOURS 2019.

Check out the trailer for I WANNA BE YOURS!


Zia Ahmed
Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

Zia Ahmed is from north-west London. He is part of the London Laureates, having been shortlisted for London’s Young Poet Laureate 2015/16. He is a former Roundhouse Poetry Slam winner and writer in residence at Paines Plough as part of Channel 4’s Playwright Scheme. He is one of the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers’ Group 2018/19.

His writing and performance credits include C11 (Bush Theatre) and FRAGMENTS (Roundhouse). His poetry has featured on BBC Radio 4, DAZED and notable gigs include performing at Kate Tempest’s collection launches at the Old Vic, Hackney Arts Centre, Boiler Room x V&A, Latitude Festival and the ICA.

Twitter/Instagram – @ziaahmedx


Anna Himali Howard
Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

Anna Himali Howard is a director and theatremaker. She was Paines Plough’s Trainee Director in 2016 and is an alumnus of the Birmingham REP Foundry. She was recently the Staff Director on SMALL ISLAND at the National Theatre. Her work as a Director includes: A SMALL PLACE by Jamaica Kincaid (Gate Theatre); I WANNA BE YOURS by Zia Ahmed (Paines Plough/Tamasha/Rural Arts), ALBATROSS by Isley Lynn for NEW (Paines Plough/ RWCMD/Gate Theatre). As a theatremaker, work includes:

JANE ANGER (Yard Theatre Live Drafts), MAHABHARAT/A by Anna Himali Howard and Zarina Muhammad (Camden People’s Theatre), THE BEANFIELD by Breach Theatre (New Diorama/national tour 2016).   Anna was Associate Director on FLEABAG by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Drywrite/Soho Theatre international tour) and Assistant Director on OTHELLO, directed by Ellen McDougall (Shakespeare’s Globe) and IN THE NIGHT TIME (BEFORE THE SUN RISES) by Nina Segal, directed by Ben Kidd (Gate Theatre


Emily Stott
Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

Emily trained at The Oxford School of Drama and is a founding member of the award-winning theatre company Wildcard (ELECTROLYTE, 17, AFTER PARTY)

Theatre credits include: IF NOT NOW, WHEN? (Dorfman, National Theatre); THE COMEDY ABOUT A BANK ROBBERY (Mischief Theatre/Criterion Theatre); GIFTED (Pleasance); THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (Watermill Theatre); GLITTER PUNCH (VAULT Festival); THE KITCHEN SINK (Oldham Coliseum); INSIDE PUSSY RIOT (Les Enfants Terribles/Saatchi Gallery); PANCAKE DAY (The Bunker); EARLY DOORS (Not Too Tame/UK tour); THE SELFISH GIANT (Arcola).TV credits include: VERA (ITV).


Ragevan Vasan
Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

Television credits include: SAVE ME, FORTITUDE (Sky Atlantic); THE STATE (Channel 4); CUFFS, DOCTORS (BBC).

Film credits include: DUMBO (Disney); DAPHNE (The Bureau Film Company); WALK LIKE A PANTHER (FOX Searchlight); THE LAST WITNESS (Film Polska Productions).

Stage credits include: THE VILLAGE (Theatre Royal Stratford East); HURLING RUBBLE AT THE SUN/MOON (Park Theatre); LOVE FOR LOVE, QUEEN ANNE (Royal Shakespeare Company).


Rachael Merry
Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

Rachael is an actor and BSL/English interpreter who is delighted to be working with Paines Plough this autumn for I WANNA BE YOURS 

A member and associate artist of the DH Ensemble, she is a previous resident artist with GLYPT (Donut Worry R&D) and most recently can be seen as Ellie in DeafFest UK award winning short film AVA(Grint & Ash Collaboration).

Other credits include: Librarian in ALMOST(BSLBT/Flashing Lights Media); Evil Queen in MIRROR MIRROR (Red Earth Theatre UK Tours); Shiny in SMALL WORLD (BSLBT/Mutt & Jeff Pictures); Mrs Yellow in MR RED AND MRS YELLOW (Handprint Theatre). Rachael holds a first class degree in Theatre Arts, Education & Deaf Studies from The University of Reading and recently completed her role coordinating the youth programme for Deafinitely Theatre Company.


Martha Godfrey, Anna Clock, Mydd Pharo, Jennifer Jackson, Zia Ahmed, Alice Longson, Anna Himali Howard, Janise Sadik. Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear


Studying at Salford University, Alice gained a degree in Media Performance but was always drawn to the theatre.  Post university she headed into the Manchester Fringe scene working in various stage management roles on shows including THE TRIAL (People Zoo Productions); MOTH (Ransack Productions) and HAIR THE MUSICAL (Aria Entertainment).  With a passion for driving vans Alice went on to touring, working with Theatre Hullabaloo sharing THE BEAR AND BUTTERFLY with the UK in 2016/17.  During her time working the Manchester fringe Alice grew close connections with Hope Mill Theatre and following her tour went on to become the Technical Manager of the venue. She also supported their in-house musicals and Production Manager. She found a new passion for set building and power tools. Onto ventures new, Alice is super excited to be hitting the road with I WANNA BE YOURS and is very proud to be part of the Paines Plough team on this project. 


Mydd is an award-winning set and costume designer, director and visual dramaturg working in theatre, live art and installation. He trained in Theatre Design at Wimbledon School of Art and Fine Art (Installation) at Falmouth College of Art.Selected work includes:WOLF’S CHILD (WildWorks/NNF); THE BODY (Barbican); THE PASSION (WildWorks/NTW); PARTY SKILLS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD (NNF); DREAM CITY – The Tunis Biennale of Art in Public Spaces, NABLUS: CITY OF STORIES, ONCE UPON A CASTLE – Kasteel Van Gaasbeek, THE ENCHANTED PALACE (WildWorks); ARK-IVE (National Theatre).He is founding member, production designer and visual dramaturg for NPO company WildWorks an international site-specific theatre company specialising in large-scale outdoor promenade performances in unusual locations. He has also designed works for Kneehigh Theatre, Punchdrunk, 14-18NOW, Royal College of Music, NYT, BAC, The Eden Project and The British Council.


Martha Godfrey is a lighting designer based in London.Recent work includes: WHITEand GREY by Koko Brown (Ovalhouse Theatre/UK tour); PINKLEMONADEand SINCE U BEEN GONE(Queer House Productions); FUCK YOU PAY ME(The Bunker); BURY THE DEAD (Finborough Theatre); HEAR ME HOWL (Old Red Lion Theatre); PECS: THE 80S SHOW (Soho Theatre).


Anna Clock is a composer, sound designer and cellist working across theatre, film, radio and installation. Recent projects include: PLAYING UP and EPIC STAGES (National Youth Theatre); ARMADILLO (The Yard Theatre); FIGHTER(Stratford Circus Arts Centre); LOOKING FORWARD (Battersea Arts Centre); SOFT ANIMALS (Soho); THE BUTTERFLY LION (Barn Theatre); FATTY FAT FAT (Roundhouse/Edinburgh Festival) WORK BITCH, MISS FORTUNATE, ADMIN (VAULT Festival); TWELFTH NIGHT (Southwark Playhouse); POMONA; PUNK ROCK (New Diorama); BURY THE DEAD (Finborough Theatre); FABRIC (Soho/community spaces tour); KATIE JOHNSTONE, IN THE NIGHT TIME, [BLANK] (Orange Tree Theatre); OVEREXPOSED (V&A Museum); UNCENSORED (Theatre Royal Haymarket); SONGLINES (Edinburgh Festival/HighTide Festival/regional tour); FINDING FASSBENDER (VAULT Festival/Edinburgh Festival/HighTide Festival).In 2018 Anna was artist in residence at SPINE Festival Borough of Harrow and Sirius Arts Centre. Anna studied Music Composition and English Literature at Trinity College Dublin, Cello performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and holds an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice from Central School of Speech and Drama. They also have extensive experience as a workshop facilitator and educator, and have run workshops in schools, youth centres and community centres. They have also worked as guest lecturer and guest sound designer for third level institutions including University of Manchester, Mountview Academy, Arts Ed and Fourth Monkey.


Janisè Sadik is an emerging theatremaker and director. She is Paines Plough’s Trainee Director for 2019, was a part of the Young Vic Directors program, and completed the Boris Karloff Trainee Assistant Director Program in 2017. She has been a co-workshop leader at Park Theatre leading the Creative Learning Programme since 2015 directing the end of term showcase.  She has facilitated in various creative buildings such as Hoxton Hall, Lyric Hammersmith, Ovalhouse and Wimbledon College of Arts. In 2018, she set up a Youth Theatre company at We Are Spotlight working with young actors that don’t have access to training. She has worked internationally in rural parts of South India to run creative theatre projects with young children to empower and build their confidence.  She enjoys work that is experimental, devised and brings new writing to life. Theatre credits as director include: MILK & OREOS, winner of the Pandora Award 2015, co-written by Janisè Sadik & Seraphina Beh (Melanin Box Festival); BREAKING THE INTERNET (Ovalhouse Summer School 2017); BLURRED LINES (Etcetera Theatre); US by Priscilla Lafayette Kwabi (Camden People’s Theatre); HYDRAULIC by Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu (Wimbledon College of Arts).

Assistant director credits include: ROUNDABOUT Season 2019: DAUGHTERHOOD by Charley Miles, ON THE OTHER HAND, WE’RE HAPPY by Daf James and DEXTER AND WINTER’S DETECTIVE AGENCY by Nathan Bryon (Paines Plough/Theatr Clwyd).

Film credits as director include: SHE by Andrè James.


Jennifer trained at East 15 and is a movement director and actor. Movement Direction credits include: AMSTERDAM (ATC/Orange Tree/ Theatre Royal Plymouth); POPS (Jake Orr Productions); THE STRANGE UNDOING OF PRUDENCIA HART (New Vic Theatre); BE MY BABY, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (Leeds Playhouse); THE TRICK (Loose Tongue/Bush/High Tide); PHILOXENIA (Bush); MOUNTAINTOP UK TOUR (Desara Productions Ltd); DEATH OF A SALESMAN, QUEENS OF THE COAL AGE, OUR TOWN (Royal Exchange); PARLIAMENT SQUARE (Bush/Royal Exchange); MAYFLY, OUT OF WATER (Orange Tree Theatre); BRIGHTON ROCK (Pilot Theatre/The Lowry); ROUNDABOUT Season 2017: BLACK MOUNTAIN, HOW TO BE A KID, OUT OF LOVE (Paines Plough/Theatr Clwyd/Orange Tree Theatre); ROUNDABOUT Season 2018: ISLAND TOWN, STICKS AND STONES, HOW TO SPOT AN ALIEN (Paines Plough/Theatr Clwyd); THE MOUNTAINTOP (Young Vic); DEATH OF A SALESMAN (Royal & Derngate); THE UGLY ONE (The Park); WHY THE WHALES CAME (Southbank Centre); STONE FACE (Finborough); DEBRIS (Southwark Playhouse/Openworks Theatre); MACBETH (Passion in Practice/Sam Wanamaker Playhouse); SILENT PLANET (Finborough); PERICLES (Berwaldhallen); THE FUTURE (The Yard/Company Three); OTHER-PLEASE SPECIFY, ATOMS (Company Three); TAKEOVER 2017 (Kiln Theatre).Assistant Movement Director credits include: ROUNDABOUT Season 2014: LUNGS, THE INITIATE, MY TEACHER’S A TROLL (Paines Plough/Sheffield Theatres).

I WANNA BE YOURS will tour as follows:

16 – 19 October: The Albany Canada Water Hub, Canada Water

21 October: Studio 3 Arts, Barking

22 October: Luton Culture, Luton

24 October: Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven

25 October: Unity Theatre, Liverpool

28 October: Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis

29 October: Ventnor Exchange, Ventnor

30 October – The Old Market, Brighton

31 October – South Hill Park, Bracknell

01 November: Trestle Arts Centre, St Albans

02 November: The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre, Havant

04 November: The Key Theatre, Peterborough

05 November: The Marlowe, Canterbury

06 November: Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre, Bordon

07 November: Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells

08 November: Electric Theatre, Guildford

11 November: Octagon Theatre, Bolton

12 November: Middlesbrough Theatre, Middlesbrough

13 November: The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury

14 November: Artrix, Bromsgrove

15 November: Derby Theatre, Derby

16 November: East Riding Theatre, Beverley

19 November: CAST, Doncaster

20 November: Norden Farm, Maidenhead

21 November: The Garage, Norwich

22 November: Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, Lincoln

23 November: The Edge, Manchester

26 November: Preston Continental

27 November: Arts Centre Washington

28 November: Selby Town Hall, Selby

29 November: Square Chapel, Halifax

30 November: The Maltings, Berwick-upon-Tweed

04 December – 18 January Bush Theatre, London

Are we touring near you?

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM 10th Anniversary Gala

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM is 10 years old – so we’re having a party!

PP and The Criterion are hosting a special one-off event to celebrate 10 years of Paines Plough’s flagship nationwide project, COME TO WHERE I’M FROM, starring some of the nation’s leading playwrights performing their own short plays about the places they call home.

Join us at the Criterion Theatre on 18 November for an evening of short plays, and help raise funds to support the next generation of exceptional playwrights. You will see new work written and performed by long-established, award-winning playwrights including Simon Stephens, April De Angelis and Dennis Kelly, along with work from exciting new voices like Zia Ahmed, in a celebration of Paines Plough’s history of discovering and developing talented writers from across the country.

The full programme of writers performing on the night includes: James Graham, Dennis Kelly, Roy Williams, April De Angelis, Simon Stephens, Zia Ahmed and Chloë Moss.

Tickets will range from just £10 to £250 – you can book your tickets here.

Along with celebrating the success of COME TO WHERE I’M FROM, Paines Plough is aiming to raise £25,000 to help playwrights of the future flourish. So join us for an evening of performances, food and drink, and that humble staple of fundraising – a raffle. You can also support the project by donating to the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM campaign.

A little bit about the writers performing at the Come to Where I’m From 10th Anniversary Gala:

James Graham is from Mansfield and is an Olivier and Tony Award nominated writer. Credits include THIS HOUSE, INK and THE ANGRY BRIGADE, as well as the book of the Broadway musical FINDING NEVERLAND and numerous film and TV projects including BREXIT: THE UNCIVIL WAR starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Dennis Kelly grew up in Barnet and is an internationally celebrated playwright. He is the author of MATILDA THE MUSICAL, ORPHANS, UTOPIA and most recently GIRLS & BOYS starring Carey Mulligan at the Royal Court Theatre.

Roy Williams OBE grew up in Notting Hill, London, and is an Olivier and BAFTA award-winning playwright. His most decorated plays include LIFT OFF, CLUBLAND, OFFSIDE and most recently SUCKER PUNCH. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2008 and sits on the board of trustees for Theatre Centre. In 2018, he was a made a fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.

April De Angelis is a West London writer of Sicilian descent whose 30-year career highlights include JUMPY, WILD EAST and PLAYHOUSE CREATURES as well as an upcoming adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s MY BRILLIANT FRIEND at the National Theatre.

Simon Stephens hails from Stockport and is the renowned author of over 15 major plays, including THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT TIME, HEISENBERG and SEA WALL, most recently performed at the Old Vic Theatre starring Andrew Scott.

Zia Ahmed is a poet from North West London and is a London Laureate and former Roundhouse Poetry Slam champion. His debut play I WANNA BE YOURS was first produced by Paines Plough in 2018, and will be going on a national tour in autumn 2019, finishing with a five-week run at the Bush Theatre.

Chloë Moss is a Liverpudlian playwright whose work includes HOW LOVE IS SPELT, THE GATEKEEPER and THIS WIDE NIGHT which transferred to New York with actress Edie Falco and for which she was awarded the Susan Smith Blackburn Playwriting Prize.

Immerse yourself in over 160 short plays on our COME TO WHERE I’M FROM mobile app.

The COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app is a digital version of the project. In 2010 we asked a group of writers to return to their home towns to pen short plays about the placed that shaped them. Since then we’ve commissioned over 160 writers from Olivier Award winners to first time writers. We’ve recorded each playwright performing their own play and created a smartphone app to house all the recordings.

To download:

  • For iOS users click here.
  • For Android users click here.