Samuel French: 5 brilliant plays by female playwrights…

Samuel French, our partners on the Women’s Prize for Playwriting, have put together a list of plays by female playwrights whose work they’re proud to publish

Samuel French, a Concord Theatricals company is proud to be partnering with the Women’s Prize for Playwriting. We publish and license plays on a global scale with the aim of increasing the longevity and reach of the plays we represent, bringing our writers’ work to new audiences all around the world.

We’ve put together a list of 5 brilliant plays by female playwrights whose work we’re proud to publish, as inspiration to help you get to the submissions deadline!

The B*easts by Monica Dolan

WPP Panel Judge, Monica Dolan’s wry and punchy monologue explores growing up with the pressures of today’s hyper-sexualised beauty standards. This story leaves you questioning whether the events described actually happened!

The Stepmother by Githa Sowerby

A family drama from a playwright whose observations on women’s position in society and independence were well ahead of their time. The Stepmother is a great example of a classically-structured play whose resonance is still felt today.

Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu

A lyrical and visceral exploration of the experience of young black men in America today. This is an urgent, political play that showcases Nwandu’s thrilling use of language.

Top Girls by Caryl Churchill

Caryl Churchill’s seminal 1982 play that examines what it takes for a woman to succeed in society. A remarkable example of Churchill’s ability to shift tone and structure within a play.

White Pearl by Anchuli Felicia King

A caustic satire on the contemporary beauty industry that premiered at the Royal Court in 2019. King uses comedy to explore taboo subjects to great effect.

We hope these 5 plays help you with the final push for the 2 March! For further inspiration, here’s a link to more fantastic plays by female playwrights.

Read more about the Women’s Prize for Playwriting here.

Read an article from Ellie Keel, founder of the women’s Prize for Playwriting, here.

Check out Paines Plough’s upcoming shows here.

Recruitment: Producer

We are looking for a Producer to form a key part of the Paines Plough team as we embark on an exciting new phase for the organisation under new leadership. You will lead on and support in delivering Paines Plough’s annual programme of work; specifically lead producing ROUNDABOUT, line-producing the mid-scale production and additional projects as required. The Producer is key to supporting the creation of exceptional theatre that reaches as wide an audience as possible.

We’re looking for someone who will encapsulate the company’s ethos – being open to
opportunity, collaborative and inclusive – and who can support the delivery of our
ambitions. You will be willing to travel across the country to represent Paines Plough and ensure we support our intention to be ‘local’, getting to know the communities we’re
collaborating with.

Person Specification

Below is a list of the experience, skills and attributes we’re looking for but we know that not everyone can meet all of them. If you don’t think you have everything on the list but believe you could make a real difference to Paines Plough then we encourage you to make an application.


  • Extensive knowledge and experience of producing, in a variety of settings, and on a variety of scales;
  • Experience of developing partnerships across the theatre ecology;
  • Excellent budgetary and financial management skills and ability to deliver on financial targets;
  • Experience of fundraising and delivering on funding requirements;
  • An enthusiasm for theatre and, in particular, new writing.


  • An understanding and experience of the national touring ecosystem;
  • Experience of marketing and audience development;
  • Experience of supporting the generation of income, particularly through fundraising;
  • Experience of delivering to Arts Council England’s funding agreements;
  • A knowledge of and enthusiasm for Paines Plough and its work.

Person attributes and skills

  • A demonstrable commitment to equality and inclusivity;
  • Excellent people management with the ability to inspire and motivate;
  • Warm, friendly and approachable in order to effectively build collaborations;
  • The ability to take initiative and recommend ways to develop Paines Plough;
  • The confidence to work independently but also as part of a team.

Paines Plough strives to be an equal opportunities employer and we are committed to
working towards a more diverse and inclusive theatre industry.

We welcome and encourage applications from people from all backgrounds and walks of life, particularly disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates, as these groups are currently under-represented within our team.

How to apply:

Once you have read the Producer Application pack, please complete and send

this application form


this equal opportunities form


The deadline for applications is 12pm on Friday 20 March 2020. *

** Now pushed back to Sunday 22 March, given the extreme circumstances.

The first round of interviews will take place on Monday 30 March 2020. Please notify us of any availability issues in your email.

Good luck!

Team PP x

Farewell Sofia!

Producer Sofia Stephanou will be leaving us in April to pursue her new role as Line Producer at The Boulevard Theatre. We are sad to see her go, but we are very proud of everything she has achieved at Paines Plough, and excited to see what the future holds for her at The Boulevard and beyond. Thank you Sofia, you’re a PP legend x

Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

Sofia said:

‘The past four years at Paines Plough have been some of the best experiences of my life. I have been inspired every day by the incredible people who form this company and have the deepest gratitude that I was able to be part of such a special organisation for such a long time. I am eternally grateful to James Grieve, George Perrin and Hanna Streeter for giving me a phenomenal opportunity to work on some of the most inspiring plays and projects and although I will miss PP greatly, I am extremley excited to be joining the Boulevard theatre as their Line Producer in April. I will forever be a fan of Paines Plough and look forward to catching a show in ROUNDABOUT very soon.’


Chloë Moss, Charlotte Bennett, Lucy Ellinson, Silas Carson, Lucas Button, Helena Lymbery and Patch the dog.
Photo be Rebecca Need-Menear
Arun Ghosh, Charlotte Bennett, Sarah Dickenson, Silas Carson, Rachel Head, Jackie Orton, Zoe Spurr, Laura Cubitt, Lucy McCann, Lucy Ellinson, Helena Lymbery and Patch, Lucas Button, Chloë Moss. Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

‘You can’t pick your family but if you could I’d still pick you.’

Sisters Connie and Ursula were once everything to each other. Years on they’re almost strangers. When a family bombshell is dropped, Connie is forced to retrace forty years of sisterhood and confront a web of painful secrets and conflicting loyalties.  Spanning four decades, nurture competes with nature as the pair navigate their unbreakable bond, united by the same beginning but headed in different directions.

Award-winning playwright Chloë Moss’ new play  is a witty and heartfelt story of family, class and dependence, asking what does it really mean to belong to someone?  Directed by Charlotte Bennett, Joint Artistic Director of Paines Plough.

Video by Unbrella Rooms


Chloë Moss is an accomplished playwright and screenwriter. Her celebrated play THIS WIDE NIGHT (Clean Break, Soho Theatre, 2008) won the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn prize and was subsequently produced off-Broadway, starring Edie Falco. She has written numerous other plays including THE GATEKEEPER (Royal Exchange Theatre, 2012), FATAL LIGHT (for Clean Break at Soho Theatre, 2010 and 2011), CATCH (Royal Court Theatre, 2006), and HOW LOVE IS SPELT (Bush Theatre, 2004, and New York’s Summer Play Festival, 2005). She has also written extensively for television, including SIX WIVES (BBC One) and DICKENSIAN (Red Planet Pictures), and written episodes for NEW TRICKS (BBC One), THE SMOKE (Kudos), and PRISONER’S WIVES and THE SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL (Tiger Aspect). She has also written CARE, a single drama for Warp Films and Sky Arts, and an original series SWITCH, co-written with Tim Price, for Touchpaper / ITV2.


Charlotte Bennett will direct RUN SISTER RUN, which is the first play of the PP 2020 season. She is Joint Artistic Director of Paines Plough. Previously she was Associate Director at Soho Theatre where she led the new writing department, developing artists and commissions and programming the upstairs studio. For Soho she has directed WHITEWASH by Gabriel Bisset-Smith, HAPPY HOUR by Jack Rooke, curated a six-month off-site arts festival in Waltham Forest and led playwriting competition the Verity Bargate Award. Prior to this she was Artistic Director of Forward Theatre Project; an artists’ collective she founded. For Forward Theatre Project she made and directed new plays which toured nationally inspired by working in partnership with different communities around the UK and at venues including National Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Northern Stage, Derby Theatre, Live Theatre and The Lowry. As a freelance director she has worked extensively for Open Clasp Theatre Company, creating new plays inspired by marginalised women in the North-East. She also held the role of Creative Producer for theatre company RashDash where she toured experimental new theatre around the UK.


CONNIE: Lucy Ellinson

Lucy Ellinson’s theatre credits include: MACBETH (Royal Exchange Theatre); TOP GIRLS (National Theatre); JUBILEE (Lyric Hammersmith/Royal Exchange Theatre); KINGDOM COME, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: PLAY FOR THE NATION (RSC); THE RESISTABLE RISE OF ARTURO UI (Donmar Warehouse); GROUNDED, THE CHRISTIANS, TROJAN WOMEN, TENET (The Gate); WORLD FACTORY (Metis Arts/Young Vic/New Wolsey); MAD MAN (Chris Goode/Theatre Royal Plymouth); Television includes: BRITANNIA; NEW TRICKS.

URSULA: Helena Lymbery


ADRIAN: Silas Carson

Silas Carson’s recent theatre credits include: THE CAPTIVE QUEEN (Shakespeare’s Globe); OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD; DRAWING THE LINE (Hampstead Theatre); HALF LIFE (Theatre Royal Bath); A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Royal & Derngate Northampton); THE PROPHET (Gate Theatre); THE COMEDY OF ERRORS (National Theatre); RUINED; MACBETH (Almeida Theatre); ARABIAN NIGHTS (RSC) MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). Recent film credits include: THE CORRUPTED; POSTCARDS FROM LONDON; MISS YOU ALREADY. Recent television includes: THE ACCIDENT; SICK OF IT; SILENT WITNESS; TRUST; EASTENDERS; UNFORGOTTEN; INDIAN SUMMERS; THE CASUAL VACANCY; THE ‘C’ WORD; GLUE

JACK: Lucas Button

Lucas Button’s stage credits include WAR HORSE(UK Tour & National Theatre), THE BUTTERFLY LION (Chichester Festival Theatre), KES(Leeds Playhouse), ALAN, WE THINK YOU SHOULD GET A DOG (New Diorama Theatre), THE WINTERS TALE (English National Opera), PINOCCHIO and A TENDER THING(The Dukes Theatre), THE LOST PALACE (Fuel Theatre and Uninvited Guests) His short film credits include BILLY AND JAKE (Andrew Jonathan Smith). 


DESIGN : Rosie Elnie

Theatre includes: [BLANK] Donmar (Warehouse); OUR TOWN (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) THE RIDICULOUS DARKNESS; UNKNOWN ISLAND; THE CONVERT (Gate); THE AMERICAN CLOCK (Old Vic); THE WOLVES (Theatre Royal Stratford East); THE MYSTERIES; THREE SISTERS (Royal Exchange, Manchester); ABANDON (Lyric Hammersmith); RETURNING TO HAIFA (Finborough Theatre); GOATS (Royal Court); PRIME TIME (Royal Court Schools Tour); BIG GUNS (Yard)


Zoe trained at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Recent theatre includes: WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Royal Exchange); AN EDINBURGH CHRISTMAS CAROL (Lyceum Edinburgh); A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (National Youth Theatre, Criterion Theatre); THE SEVEN AGES OF PATIENCE (Kiln Theatre); HEDDA TESMAN (Headlong & Chichester Festival Theatre); ONEGIN, GEORGIANA, and LUCIO PAPIRIO DITTATORE for Buxton International Festival (Buxton Opera House); A MAN WITHOUT A PAST (New Perspectives/UK tour); EMILIA (Vaudeville Theatre); THE PHLEBOTOMIST (Hampstead Theatre); THE MAIDS (HOME, Manchester); CAT IN THE HAT (Leicester Curve/UK tour); THE UNRETURNING (Frantic Assembly/UK tour); SILENCE (Mercury Theatre/UK tour); TOAST (The Other Palace/ Traverse 1); MEEK (Headlong/UK tour); ABIGAIL’S PARTY; ABI (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch/UK tour); POLSTEAD (Eastern Angles/UK tour); STICKY; INFINITE JOY; CONFIDENCE; NATIVES; COLLECTIVE RAGE (Southwark Playhouse); TINY DYNAMITE (Old Red Lion); NOT TALKING (Arcola); GROTTY (Bunker); PHOENIX RISING; LOOSE LIPS (Big House Theatre Company, Site Specific); THE BEGINNERS (Unicorn Theatre); ELEPHANT (Birmingham REP), THE MAGIC FLUTE (Soho Theatre/UK tour). For portfolio, please see


Twice awarded ‘Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year’ at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, Ghosh leads his own ensembles, touring nationally and internationally. He has released four albums on camoci records: Northern Namaste, Primal Odyssey, A South Asian Suite, and but where are you really from? As a composer for theatre, Ghosh has contributed scores and sound design to a wide array of productions since his debut in 2002; Storm by Lemn Sissay at contact, Manchester. Recent theatre composition includes: THE WOLF, THE DUCK AND THE MOUSE (Unicorn/New Perspectives); A DOLL’S HOUSE (Lyric Hammersmith); BYSTANDERS (Cardboard Citizens); HOBSON’S CHOICE (Royal Exchange, Manchester); NOUGHTS & CROSSES (Pilot Theatre/Derby Theatre); APPROACHING EMPTY (Tamasha/Kiln Theatre); MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Watford Palace Theatre); LIONS AND TIGERS (Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre). Arun Ghosh is a Creative Associate at Watford Palace Theatre, and an Associate Artist of Z-arts, Manchester.

MOVEMENT: Laura Cubitt

Laura is a Movement & Puppetry Director and Performer. Theatre includes:  As Movement Director: ANNA (National Theatre, Associate Movement Director); OPPENHEIMER (RSC/West End); War Horse (National Theatre, Associate Movement Director); 2012 Olympics Opening (Associate Movement Director). As Puppetry Director: THE BOY IN THE DRESS (RSC); DON QUIXOTE (RSC, Puppetry Co-director); A MONSTER CALLS (The Old Vic & Bristol Old Vic); SMALL ISLAN; COMMON (National Theatre); DINOSAUR WORLD LIVE (UK & US tour); RUDOLPH (Birmingham Mac); THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT TIME (National Theatre/West End, Puppetry Consultant); BRILLIANT ( Fevered Sleep, Puppetry Consultant); RUNNING WILD (Chichester Festival Theatre/UK tour, Associate Puppetry Director); GOODNIGHT MR TOM (West End/UK tour, Associate Puppetry Director). As a Performer: PETER PAN; ELEPHANTOM; WOMEN BEWARE WOMEN (National Theatre), War Horse (National Theatre/West End); THE LORAX (The Old Vic); RUNNING WILD (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); GOODNIGHT MR TOM (Chichester Festival Theatre); FAERIES (Royal Opera House).

DRAMATURGY: Sarah Dickenson

Sarah is a freelance dramaturg and associate dramaturg for LAMDA and Paines Plough.  Her roles have included: Associate Dramaturg for the RSC, Production Dramaturg for the Globe, Senior Reader at Soho Theatre, Literary Manager for Theatre503, New Writing Associate at The Red Room and founder of the South West New Writing Network. She has worked on performance projects and artist development nationally and internationally for a wide range of organisations and theatre makers including: Nuffield Theatre Southampton, Theatre Centre, National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Bristol, Old Vic New Voices, Liverpool Everyman, Champloo, Theatre Royal Bath, Plymouth Theatre Royal, Tamasha, Apples and Snakes, Almeida Theatre, Hall for Cornwall, The Fence and Churchill Theatre.


Matilda Ibini

Matilda Ibini is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter (and occasional dramaturg) from London. She was awarded a scholarship from BAFTA and Warner Brothers to study a Masters in Playwriting & Screenwriting. She was part of the Royal Court Writers Program and was a member of Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Alumni Group.  She has had residencies at Soho Theatre, BBC Writersroom, Graeae Theatre and the National Theatre Studio. Her play MUSCOVADO was produced by BurntOut Theatre and toured the UK in 2015. MUSCOVADO subsequently co-won the Alfred Fagon Audience Award. Her radio play THE GRAPE THAT ROLLED UNDER THE FRIDGE was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Her Offie-nominated play LITTLE MISS BURDEN premiered at the Bunker Theatre in 2019. Her work has been staged at the Old Vic Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, Bush Theatre, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, National Theatre Shed, St. James Theatre, Royal Exchange Manchester, Birmingham REP, Soho Theatre, Arcola Theatre, Bunker Theatre, Hackney Showroom and VAULT Festival.

Lucy McCann

Lucy Grace McCann is a theatre director from London. She is currently part of the Resident Director pool at the Almeida Theatre. Directing Credits include Karaoke Play by Annie Jenkins (Bunker Theatre, 2019) and A Tinder Trilogy by Annie Jenkins (Theatre503, 2019, and Hens and Chickens Theatre, 2018). Lucy was previously Director in Residence at the Oxford Playhouse, Magdalen College School and Surbiton High School. Lucy holds an MA (Distinction) in Shakespeare and the British Tradition and a First Class BA (Hons) in English and Theatre Studies from the University of Warwick.


Rachael is a Stage Manager with a background in Production. She first became interested in Theatre during her Literature degree and started her own theatre company in 2015. After two years Rachael moved into Stage Management and her SM credits include: Taming of the Shrew (The Globe Theatre) Whitewash (Soho Theatre), Square Go and cover on Baby Reindeer & Do Our Best (Francesca Moody Productions), and The Artist (Circo Aereo).

Lucy Ellinson, Silas Carson, Lucas Button, Helena Lymery and Patch the dog.
Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear

Introducing our incoming Executive Producer Holly Gladwell

Holly Gladwell. Photo by Rebecca Need-Menear.

We are delighted to announce today that we have appointed Holly Gladwell as our new Executive Producer. Holly joins Paines Plough from Rifco Theatre Company where she was General Manager, and will form an integral part of the company, newly led by our Joint Artistic Directors Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner.

Holly has worked in theatre for over 15 years, recently focussed in arts management as General Manager for Rifco Theatre Company, producing Mushy: Lyrically Speaking and Laila The Musical and managing its Artist Development Scheme for unheard British Asian voices. Before Rifco, Holly was Administrator at the Royal Court Theatre where she worked on some of its most celebrated productions including JerusalemClybourne ParkPosh and Constellations

She trained as a Stage Manager at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and subsequently stage managed productions in London, on tour in the UK and internationally for a whole variety of companies including The Young Vic, Royal Court Theatre, Nabokov, Propellor, The Old Vic and the BBC.

Holly said:

“I am both thrilled and humbled to be joining Charlotte and Katie at Paines Plough at the start of their first season packed full of new stories and exciting voices. I am passionate about new writing and hugely inspired by their collaborative vision that champions and empowers writers to create truthful plays. I bring with me a commitment to contributing to this vision to build a truly inclusive theatre that celebrates unheard voices and invites audiences from every corner to experience the best in new British theatre.”

Charlotte and Katie said:

“We are so delighted to be welcoming Holly to the Paines Plough team at the start of our tenure. We believe that with her dedication to new work, particularly with a focus on inclusivity, she will be an invaluable asset to the company. She is clearly passionate and motivated, with a wealth of experience, and with her support we are excited to drive the organisation forward into a new phase.”

Ellie Keel: ‘I wanted to inspire and empower as many women as possible to write plays.’

Ellie Keel at the launch of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting

Unsurprisingly, one of the questions I’m most often asked about founding The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is ‘what did you hope to achieve by setting it up?’

The simple answer to this question is that I wanted to inspire and empower as many women as possible to write plays. I wanted to bring these plays to the public’s attention by creating an organisation dedicated to promoting women’s writing for the stage. I wanted to do this because I had seen big, impressive plays by women on national stages – Red Velvet, Chimerica, The Writer, The Effect, Home, I’m Darling – but I hadn’t seen enough of them. I knew I hadn’t because when I came to tell people about these plays, I would run out of examples too quickly. And yet on any given night I could walk out into the West End and take my pick of Frayn, Stoppard, Greig, Hare, Ravenhill, and all the rest – and I could see a different play by a man every night of the week. Furthermore, my own research and that of Victoria Sadler showed the true bleakness of the full picture: only 26% of new main-stage productions in 2018 were written by women.

The inequality of this situation struck me as both unfair and unnecessary. I knew that lots of women were writing good plays, because as an independent producer I was receiving them all the time. I’d also produced a new writing competition called Heretic Voices which was entered by almost as many women as men (47%), but what was striking were the different ways that they talked about their work. Men’s covering emails would read along the lines of ‘I’ve written a deeply interesting and hilarious monologue that you’re going to love’, but women’s covering emails were frequently more tentative. They sometimes spoke about their work apologetically: ‘I’m sorry, it might be a bit long/weird/need more work’. Often (but not always), the more ambitious the play, the more apologetic the covering email. I felt that the reason for these apologetic overtones was the fact that women’s writing had, for too long, been relegated to second place in many national theatre organisations.

So the purpose of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is to end the apologies and start the celebration. We know that women can write big, impressive, epic plays, and we know that we have big, impressive, epic stages in our major theatre organisations to put them on. Our job is now to unite the two, and achieve proper parity between the number of plays by women and men on our major stages. Huge numbers of plays are being written by women already but so many of them are not being produced – and so we are setting up the prize to give theatres no excuse but to stage them. The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is a joint contribution from me and Paines Plough (and our publishing partner Samuel French) towards making this happen: to celebrate and promote the great plays already being written by women in the UK and Ireland, and inspire more of the same.

Ellie Keel, Founder and Executive Producer of the Women’s Prize for Playwriting.

Submissions for the Women’s Prize for Plawriting close at 5pm on Monday 2 March 2020. More info here: