Open Casting Call

Featured

We’re casting for a new touring production that we’re taking out on the road in 2021 and are looking to meet brilliant deaf and hearing actors for two roles.

ABOUT THE PLAY

A Paines Plough, Soho Theatre and Deafinitely Theatre production
SESSIONS by Ifeyinwa Frederick

‘I like sex. Think I love football more. Sometimes I cry during it, as we know. The sex, not the football.’ Tunde’s 30th birthday is fast approaching. He’s not where he thought he’d be. And he’s not who he’s supposed to be, at least according to his dad. You see, the Adeyemi men don’t cry. But Tunde does. Interrogating the challenge of accepting our own vulnerabilities, SESSIONS by Ifeyinwa Frederick is a raw, funny, bittersweet deep-dive into the complexities of masculinity, depression and therapy.

SESSIONS will be performed in spoken English and British Sign Language.


DATES

London Rehearsals:                      18 January – 13 February 2021         

London Tech and Previews:          w/c 15 February 2021                        

London run:                                   22 February – 20 March 2021            

Small-scale regional tour:              22 March – 08 May 2021

Due to changing circumstance regarding COVID-19 restrictions, these dates may be subject to change to the following:

London Rehearsals:                      22 February – 20 March 2021         

London Tech and Previews:          w/c 22 March 2021                        

Small-scale regional tour:              29 March – 08 May 2021
London run:                                   10 May – 05 June 2021

Please only apply if you are currently available for both sets of dates. Final production dates will be confirmed at audition stage.

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

Actors are invited to audition via self-tape for one of the two roles outlined below:

Role A
Playing age:
 30
Gender: Male
Language: English (native/fluent). We are interested in casting someone in this role who has British Sign Language skills, but this is not essential.
Ethnicity: Black British-Nigerian/West African
Description: Warm and charismatic, a joker. Active, popular and quick-witted. Seemingly very self-confident with a roguish charm, but hiding a sensitivity he has been conditioned not to show.

Role B
Please note that we will be offering this role to a black deaf actor only.
Playing age: 30
Gender: Male
Language: British Sign Language (native/fluent)
Ethnicity: Black British-Nigerian/West African
Description: Warm and charismatic, a joker. Active, popular and quick-witted. Seemingly very self-confident with a roguish charm, but hiding a sensitivity he has been conditioned not to show.

HOW TO APPLY

You can find the full application pack, including the extract for self-tapes, here.

All applications must be submitted via this form no later than 5pm on Tuesday 17 November. All submissions will be considered, with a final selection to be invited to audition online.

Role A
To apply please send a Spotlight, ProFile link OR headshot together with a CV and a self-tape of this extract in spoken English. Please highlight what level of British Sign Language you can use (if any).

Role B
To apply please send a Spotlight, ProFile link OR headshot together with a CV and a self-tape of this extract in British Sign Language.

Self-tapes should be uploaded to an online platform such as Vimeo / YouTube, with link and password provided.

GUIDANCE NOTES

Self-taping
Should you require any help with the self-taping, you can find helpful tips here. The footage does not need to be very high quality, using your phone is fine!

Informal Conversation
If you would like an informal conversation ahead of submitting then please contact Christabel Holmes, Associate Producer, on christabel@painesplough.com

Paines Plough believes in including artists from diverse backgrounds and cultures (on the basis of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, class and whether they are drama school trained or not) in all our work and all are welcome to apply for any roles advertised.

Where we are casting for a role where a protected characteristic is an occupational requirement we do so in accordance with the Schedule 9, Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010.

If a specific skill, language or accent (spoken/ BSL) is required for the specific role, we will indicate this in the breakdown.

On lockdown in Krakow, Poland with Magdalena Zarębska-Wegrzyn, co-writer of IN TANDEM

We caught up with co-writer of IN TANDEM, Magdalena Zarębska-Wegrzyn, and asked her some questions about what it was like to write for this international collaboration across boarders during lockdown.

What was it like to write a play during lockdown?

Writing in lockdown seemed to be very easy. Finally, enough time to develop your ideas, make some creative exercises, try new narrative structures. But it’s not possible when you are not allowed to go out, meet the people, travel, go to the gym or walk in the park. So your reservoir of inspiration is becoming smaller, smaller. Finally, you have only your domestic experience, your every-day life and all these small things like cleaning, watching tv, reading books, home workout, feeding cat, cooking – your ordinary life similar to all ordinary lives.

What inspired you to write IN TANDEM?

When I heard about THE PLACE I CALL HOME Festival, I decided to make my ordinary, everyday life an epic inspiration; to write this text without searching for any spectacular plot or interesting characters. I wanted my characters to be as ordinary as it was possible. It was struggling every day and tried to make this story as simple as it could be. This process turned out very creative and I really found fun in it. Fortunately, I had strong support from Travis, Katie and Charlotte.

What helped you to write during lockdown despite all the challenges and restrictions to everyday life?

All these things helped me to spend lockdown in good mental health.

  • Yoga – I tried to pratice every day and I did some online classes as well
  • My cat Lidia – Best support in the world, calming and fluffy
  • Nature – It’s was so weird to observe how the seasons was changing. Communication with nature was the best treatment and therapy
  • Family – During lockdown we celebrated Easter, Polish Mother’s Day (26 May), 1st of June Polish Children’s Day (1 June)
  • Cooking – We didn’t hold back because we are foodies and we had enough food
  • Allotment life – When we were allowed to travel we visited our parents and did some allotment activites like planting and pulling the weeds
  • Coffee! Sometimes too much but it really helped to straighten the pose day after day

Below you can find a kind of ‘behind-the-scenes’ diary. Here are pictures from my Instagram that I uploaded during lockdown.

IN TANDEM is part of the THE PLACE I CALL HOME Festival.

Experience Lockdown in London and Krakow.

From online Drag Queen Zumba lessons, to keeping plants alive,  to a drastic lack of PPE – a mother and daughter try to maintain their relationship via regular Zoom calls from their separate London homes.

Meanwhile, a Polish couple stuck in the same home navigate their way through lockdown. He sees it as something to be endured or passed. She sees it as an opportunity for positive thinking, learning, and bettering herself. Will they ever be able to meet in the middle?

Delivered to you via email twice daily over three days – keep an eye on your inbox for an introduction from the writers themselves.

A Paines Plough and Theater Ludowy production.

Directed by Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner, Joint Artistic Directors, Paines Plough.

Cast: Sharon D. Clarke, Patrycja Durska, Leanne Henlon (LAMDA), Paweł Kumięga

Age Guidance: 12+

All digital performances are captioned.

Tickets are on sale till 6pm on Monday 26 October for £3.00.

Book tickets for IN TANDEM here.

‘You can approach and invent organisational strategies like you do new shows’. Charlotte Bennett on the ideas behind our new programme for companies, Re:Build.

This week we launched applications for Re:Build; a support package for theatre companies who are currently without producer support and who want to spend some time developing their strategic planning and ‘behind the scenes’ structures to build back better. This project has existed in my head for many years, and here’s why…

Before joining Paines Plough I ran my own theatre company – Forward Theatre Project – and I also worked as a Producer for the ever-brilliant RashDash. Over 8 years’ experience of touring new work without core funding gave me insight into the joys and challenges of working in this way.

My main takeaway was the realisation that if you only ever focus on growing artistically then very soon your artistic ambition starts to outweigh your organisational capacity, and that ambition works best when it is simultaneously grown artistically and organisationally.

(DISCLAIMER – I say all this whilst appreciating this doesn’t come easy. I have personally always worn two hats, as a director/producer, and so my brain naturally splits this way. I appreciate that not everyone can or wants to work in this way.)

I do believe however that it is vital to find a way to get the right people around you or (if you want to) teach yourself the skills to grow in a way that works for you, to enable your artistic ambitions to thrive. And from my most recent few years working as a salaried employee at core funded theatre venues and companies, I think that those with greater organisational capacity and experience can be doing more to actively support this.

This is the principle behind Re:Build; a package of support including bespoke strategic vision, planning sessions and hands-on regular producing support to look at the organisational development of two companies, ultimately giving them the best chance of thriving and surviving in what we all know is an incredibly saturated and competitive industry.

Re:Build is also specifically targeting companies who have a focus on working with and/or serving under-represented voices in their work. Since Katie and I took over as Joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough in August 2019, championing the unheard and reaching the overlooked has become central to our mission. This is because we know that not only will theatre and stories be weaker if they continue to exclude but as a national new writing company, who are we if we don’t truly reflect and serve our incredible and different communities? As we hurtle towards a recession led by a government who suggest we are not viable and should retrain, we also know it is more vital than ever that we support those too often at the back to be heard and most importantly, to be sustainable and not leave the industry.

In terms of how we do this, I am a strong advocate that the process of organisational development can be a creative journey in itself. Yes it might involve more spreadsheets, budgets, finance skills, fundraising skills and strategic thinking; but finding the right organisational structure for you also involves using your creative brain to problem solve and think in new ways.

Many years ago I developed a new consortium of four theatre companies to create a funding bid which would see us share a General Manager between us; recognising that each of our companies didn’t need a full-time GM but that it was also hard to retain consistent support when we could only ever offer one day a week each. Over the next two years we continued to creatively collaborate to look at where this model of shared resources could take us next; it was an organisational creative journey which we trailed together.

At the end of our time together all four organisations had at least tripled our turnovers, doubled our output of work and taken our companies to a more sustainable place both individually and collectively. I do love a geek-out banging on about this but I do really believe you can approach and invent organisational strategies like you do new shows.

Here are a bunch of other things I reflected upon which I want us to challenge and find better ways of doing through this programme:

There is a dire lack of understanding that many small companies are either self-producing or working with one producer who effectively acts as all departments

At RashDash I would always get letters addressed to ‘The Finance Department’ or ‘The Marketing Department’ and would want to shout back ‘IT IS ALL JUST ME!’ More established organisations can forget that so many companies are one or two-person bands doing it all. And failure to recognise that this also means we aren’t experts in everything (I mean my accounting skills are definitely questionable but I gave it a go…).

This also applies to funders; I was once told I was going to lose a grant because a core staff member was no longer working with us and so there were concerns about our ability to continue. I had to delicately articulate that all small companies work in this way- we adapt and we pick up where we need to because these are the foundations we are built on. The money was restored. But there was a point to be made; it is okay for that not to be ideal but it definitely wasn’t sustainable; so how can we make sure that we don’t build our companies on sand?

We need to talk more about money

If I costed up the meetings with programmers I had when not on a salary (including sometimes a 2-3 hour train journey plus the cost of the ticket), only to realise whilst in that meeting that the programmer hadn’t read the pitch or prepared… I would be a millionaire. It is frustrating enough when you are being paid for your time and on salary, but we need to do more to ensure people recognise the physical cost of this to the company and the individual – and empower companies to be able to articulate that. How can we ensure the end result of meetings on unpaid time (or let’s face it, regardless) is not just to book in another meeting to discuss what we should have been talking about in this one?! Nobody has the time or money to endlessly attend the same conversation. How can we ensure all your time is valued- financially and otherwise?

The stop/start nature of working is exhausting

It can feel really difficult to build any momentum as a company without core support. Working project to project can sometimes feel like you have to build up the energy again each time which takes a heap of energy you never get back. How can we look at these moments in between and how to make them work for you and ensure you are your most resilient selves?

Finally, running your own company is fucking brilliant, liberating and terrifying.

It is a mixed bag but the good bits are GOOD. Making your own work, knowing that whole process came from your company and an idea you probably had sat on your bed (which doubles up as your office) is one of the best feelings in the world.

We want companies to have that feeling – in a way that is more secure.

Apply here by 28 October.

– Charlotte Bennett, Joint Artistic Director of Paines Plough.

#FestivalAtHome

Joint Artistic Director Katie Posner on leading a company through 2020 and creating digital stories that explore life in lockdown across the world.

Once upon a time, Charlotte Bennett and I stood outside the Paines Plough office in Aldwych in the rain and said ‘can you imagine if we ever got the chance to be the new Artistic Directors of this incredible company?’ So we took this picture and joked ‘yeh and this could be our press picture!’ Both of us hoping, praying and wishing that one day this would come true. As we travelled home on the bus that night we cooked up what our first season would be, promised we would laugh every day, use the rage we felt about our industry to make radical change, and went to be bed dreaming of all the artists we would be able to work with.

Then it happened! Months later we both sat waiting for the call to find out whether we had got the job. I was directing a show for Guildford Drama School and had tucked myself into a corner in a stairwell, right next to a group of trumpet players who were rehearsing very loudly. Charlotte was standing on super-busy Dean Street outside Soho Theatre. The WhatsApp conversation between us as we waited was literally ALL the reasons why it would never be us – (why do we always do that to ourselves?) –

– but the call came and it was us and for those few seconds I held my breath in disbelief, with relief and excitement. We were going to be partners, collaborators and leaders together. And so we began!

Six months later, COVID-19 hit. Our job very quickly became about navigating a global pandemic crisis (like everyone in our industry) and working out how we were going to survive as a company. For us it was about being resilient and fundamentally about finding the positives in times of adversity. It was now more than ever that we needed to step up as new leaders, work out how we could continue to tell stories, commission as many writers as we could and connect with audiences at a time when they needed us most. We knew that things needed to change and we wanted to work out how we could be nimble, adapt and continue to make work – in a digital landscape.

I distinctly remember an early conversation we had about creating online work with lots of amazing artists, including the super wonderful Travis Alabanza, whose ability to be deeply insightful about being human in 2020, and their perceptive exploration of new digital forms, was wonderfully inspiring. We had been playing with ideas about how people could receive new plays. We all felt that short, sharp, cleverly crafted stories that were broken down into bite-size moments could feel more active and exciting. We wanted to share stories without asking people to stare at their screens for too long. 

We had always talked about making work internationally and suddenly this felt like an opportunity to make those collaborative connections. With an idea to create bilingual, experimental, digital plays that would explore life in lockdown across the world, we started by finding writers in other countries and connecting them with UK-based writers. Our first meeting with Calle Fuhr and Dipo Baruwa Etti was so deeply exciting, Travis Alabanza and Magdalena Zarębska-Węgrzyn’s wit and style felt intertwined and Guiditta Mingucci and Rosie MacPherson became instant penpals after their first conversation. What was clear amongst all these artists was their openness. We were going to make work that crossed barriers and transcended borders all from the comfort of our homes. The digital festival, The Place I Call Home, was born, and is headlined with these three international plays which will be delivered to you via WhatsApp, email and in the post.

It’s a festival about connection and hope, just at the moment that so many of us around the UK are being asked to stop connecting, and finding it harder to hope. As the nights draw in and the rain starts to come down, we want to be with you, sit and talk with you, and find the next steps.

Some of our events are about finding a new future for our industry – whether through our Re:Assemble and Re:Build programmes, which aim to support change in the industry for dramaturgy and emerging companies, or Deafinitely’s panel on using making bilingual BSL/spoken English work for the stage. Some of our workshops are about you discovering a new future for yourself – perhaps through self-producing your own work, or looking for jobs in the industry. And some of the time, we just want to connect with you, and to be together – through meeting new actors at the Open Auditions, or sharing time at our Instagram Live events with Chinonyerem Odimba, James Graham and Vinay Patel.

Most importantly, we have stories – stories that have given us hope. Stories that arrive on your phone. Stories that pop into your letterbox. Stories that are guided by the writer, giving you a beautiful insight in to their worlds. Stories that have been created for you to enjoy. They are about feeling connected to people when we don’t know when the next chance will be to meet them in person. 

None of us would ever have predicted the enormity of what has happened to us as a nation over the past six months. Everything feels uncertain and that can feel worrying. I do however believe that artists and audiences need to be at the forefront of every conversation. Stories need to be truly valued whether they are online, in a car park, on someone’s doorstep or shared over the phone.

Above all, that’s what we want The Place I Call Home to be about: stories and hope. Hope means knowing that today is hard, but that we can make tomorrow better if we are together. Hope means knowing that there’s hard work ahead, but that we are strong enough to do it. It’s found in the moments that we sit together, and share a look, even if it’s over Zoom, and know that we are with each other.

We’ll find ways to enjoy this moment together, not just to endure it; we’ll share joy, and creativity, and ideas about the future. And above all, we will share hope.

We would love you to join us – and we’ll see you at home!

Katie Posner, Joint Artistic Director of Paines Plough.

You can book tickets for THE PLACE I CALL HOME Festival here.

German writer Calle Fuhr on co-writing A BRIEF HISTORY OF STRUGGLE

What connects us in a time where we are more disconnected than ever?

That is the question that Dipo Baruwa-Etti and myself, Calle Fuhr, asked ourselves in the writing process for the collaborative digital theater project ‘A brief history of struggle’ that we’ve worked on over last six months.

I think it was in April when I got a call from ‘Theater Dortmund’ where they asked me if I was interested in participating in a project from England where I had to write something. I just said yes since I had – like most freelancer artists in Germany – no job at that time. But I actually had no idea what I just agreed to do.

In a first Zoom call with Paines Plough I realized that this was a huge project with authors from all over Europe and I was so thrilled to be the author from Germany. Then suddenly someone said something like: And now you will meet your co-author.

Co-author? What?!

Before, I only wrote two non-published pieces with a friend. Just for fun. That already was a huge challenge because you basically have to discuss everything and that did not always go too well. But since we were friends, we got along and finished the pieces after quite a long time.


And now the plan was to write a 30-minute piece with a person I’d never met before over some video calls in this short period of time?! And the best part: I can’t even write in my own language? How should this possibly work?


I was so nervous when I met Dipo because what if we had completely different approaches, different styles and different writing processes?
We have very different approaches, very different styles and also our writing process was not quite the same. But that didn’t cause conflict. We saw everything as an addition to our own personal work and the writing process of ‘A brief history of struggle’ was one of the most inspiring processes I ever went through.


I’m asking myself if this would have been different, if we hadn’t been in this situation that is called: pandemic. Or did this crisis let the curtains of our pupils rise and let us see something in ourselves that we let slip into the darkness of our everyday-life? Maybe, I don’t know. I like to think that this is true. But one way or the other, this project helped me cope with the last months and to me already had some sort of resonance. So maybe, if you, dear reader, watch the six episodes of our little play on your phone, it also triggers something in your life. I would love that.

You can book tickets for A BRIEF HISTORY OF STRUGGLE here – book before 5pm Monday!

Recruitment: Company Stage Manager for SESSIONS

Everyone knows that Stage Managers make the world go round. They are the all-knowing, indefatigable, unflappable superheroes without a cape that make everything feel alright. We’re on the lookout for a friendly and dedicated Company Stage Manager on the book to go on tour with a new production – SESSIONS by Ifeyinwa Frederick – that we’re taking out on the road in 2021. Could it be you?

JOB PURPOSE:

To support the Director and manage the SESSIONS company during rehearsals and on tour ensuring the efficient running of the rehearsal room and production in tech and performance, and the well-being of the company. To manage and carry out the fit up and strike at each venue and to call and operate all performances on the SESSIONS tour. You must be able to drive a van.


DATES:

London Rehearsals: 18 January – 13 February 2021
London Tech and Previews: w/c 15 February 2021
London run: 22 February – 20 March 2021
Small-scale regional tour: 22 March – 08 May 2021

Due to changing circumstance regarding COVID-19 restrictions, these dates may be subject to change to the following:

London Rehearsals: 22 February – 20 March 2021
London Tech and Previews: w/c 22 March 2021
Small-scale regional tour: 29 March – 08 May 2021
London run: 10 May – 05 June 2021


Please apply only apply if you are currently available for both sets of dates. Final production dates will be confirmed at interview stage.


FEE:

Paines Plough is an ITC Member and the Company Stage Manager will be engaged in line with ITC Ethical Manager standards and rates of pay. This opportunity is offered on a freelance basis. The successful candidate will be responsible for their own income tax and national insurance contributions. Pension contributions to the Equity Pension Scheme are offered on an opt-in basis.


HOW TO APPLY:

You can read the full application pack here.

Or head to the Get Involved page on our website for further instructions on how to apply.

Deadline for applications is 10am on Monday 02 November.

Good luck!

Team PP

Dipo Baruwa-Etti on the process Co-Writing A BRIEF HISTORY OF STRUGGLE with Calle Fuhr

This year has been insane, as we all know. It’s been a nightmare for some, revitalising for others. I fall firmly in the latter category, thankfully. Despite lockdown leading to the postponement of a couple of projects, it’s given me many opportunities too, including making ‘A Brief History of Struggle’ co-written with Calle Fuhr, co-directed by Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett. It was my first lockdown project and helped set creative wheels spinning.

First came a call from Katie. She described the project to me and asked if I’d want to be involved. I immediately said yes because, while it was still in its early stages, it felt radically different to the digital projects that were being released and announced during the early days of lockdown. After she’d hung up, however, I started to question what I might’ve gotten myself into as I’m so used to writing alone – even when it comes to the more collaborative mediums of television and film. I don’t speak to people while I’m in the middle of writing, but with this I’d have to not only do that but also co-write the entire thing. I’m quite good at not worrying and covid helped with the idea of adapting to the unexpected, so I locked Anxiety in a box and felt ready to dive into this exciting prospect.

Next came Zoom. I met Charlotte and Calle for the first time, and the four of us discussed the brief. Essentially: write a 30-minute piece in English and German, set where you’re from (London for me, Dortmund for Calle), no rules except whatever governments impose in terms of being outdoors. Simple, right? Well, Anxiety bit its way out of the box and bounced onto my shoulder. What had I got myself into?! Charlotte and Katie hopped off the Zoom, Calle and I continued the conversation, and I brushed Anxiety off my shoulder soon after. It felt like a natural pairing. We’d never met and our writing styles are quite different, yet we were on the EXACT same page about what we did and didn’t want to do. Our ideas echoed each other’s and Calle wrote just as quickly as I do, a huge bonus since the deadlines were tight!

We landed on our idea. This came a couple of drafts into writing. We decided to explore significant years in history, but not centre those moments – instead focusing on how various events change the shape of small conversations amongst people. On my part, I think my interest in doing that came from being in isolation and not overhearing those random conversations that you often do. I make notes on my phone, writing down things I hear: the mum who told her daughter about her brother’s accident as the lights dimmed in the Lyttelton; the woman in the cinema who told her husband that she didn’t know Nick and Isabelle’s relationship was that serious, so was it any surprise they’d broken up again; the person who said ‘you were emotional today. You let your emotions control you,’ seemingly apropos of nothing. I craved hearing these conversations, so decided to write them. Calle and I then gave feedback to one another, wrote some chorus elements together, and got notes from Katie and Charlotte – who presented the WhatsApp format to us, based on what we’d written. It felt like six episodes, so why not present them as such? This was exciting and made it feel more distinct, making up for the fact that none of this was done in person.

Our piece required lots of actors. I knew very early on that we’d have Guildhall third-year students on board, which was nice, as they didn’t get to have their usual showcases this summer. However, it did cause Anxiety to pick itself off the ground, crawl up my body until it was on my shoulders again, and let out a stentorian shout into my ear. Why? Drama schools are very white (we won’t go into that right now…) and I pretty much always write Black characters. I had to try and write for anyone, not knowing who would play what part. That said, I knew they must have at least ONE Black student, so wrote a monologue that is part 5 of 6. It was inspired by feelings I was having, after listening to a podcast called ‘Somebody’ and reading about Ahmaud Arbery’s death. I basically rambled on a page, but this project felt like the perfect opportunity to experiment without feeling pressure about being perfect. That was something that came up in our very first chat with Katie and Charlotte, and the reminder allowed Anxiety to have a heart attack and die a very slow death… Then ‘A Brief History of Struggle’ was born. We rehearsed on Zoom, filmed the UK scenes in the first week of June, everyone in their own part of the country with equipment being shipped around. It was a great team effort and a lovely way to connect in those first few months, but it also feels like a lifetime ago, so I’m not entirely sure how I want people to feel or respond.

I’m re-watching Mad Men at the moment, so am inspired to attempt a Draper-lite sales pitch: If you’re interested in exploring theatre in a new way from the comfort of your own home – six mini-conversations delivered through daily WhatsApp – get a ticket! If you miss overhearing conversations between random strangers, your ears perking up at things you’re unsure should ever be said in public – get a ticket! If you want to think about moments in history and how they might have affected lives, in large ways, smalls ways, and all the in between – get a ticket!

DIPO BARUWA-ETTI

The making of… A Brief History Of Struggle

We asked the lovely Sophie Doyle, one of the Guildhall School graduates that we cast in Dipo Baruwa-Etti and Calle Fuhr’s lockdown collaboration, to tell us a bit about her experience of rehearsing via Zoom and filming on her own. She didn’t disappoint!

Hiya, my name is Sophie Doyle and I graduated this year from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. I play ‘Woman’ in the London 1966 section of ‘A Brief History of Struggle’.

It all started a few months ago on a Zoom call (what else?) with the Paines Plough team – Guildhall had only informed myself and the rest of the cast a couple of days before that we were going to be working with an AWESOME and GROUNDBREAKING theatre company and to put it bluntly – it was my first time working with practitioners outside my safe Drama School training bubble. Gulp.

But everyone was lovely! Really lovely. And straight away I felt this feeling go through my bloodstream – something that had been lying dormant for quite some time – excitement. Excitement at the thought that we were collaborating and making something that would actually have an end product. This was a good three months into lockdown and the closest I had felt to that had been when I had tried making a banana bread (which ended up being a complete disaster and now I refuse to attempt one again – I just can’t get my head around loaf tins, they NEVER work for me. Maybe it’s my oven?)

We read through the play and got to ask the writers Dipo Baruwa-Etti and Calle Fuhr all the questions we had in terms of characters, meanings and motivations – all the actory questions that felt great to ask after such a long time feeling stuck in our own homes not quite sure what was happening in the world. It was like dusting off your winter coat for the first time in months and feeling all the places it had worn in to fit you and it felt so good.

We were then informed that the idea was to each find a bench in our local area and film there. Yes we said that’s totally fine! Such a cool idea. I mean it would be fine right? Not that many people would stare would they? Cue to me sat in my local park dressed to the nines in a 60s style outfit and realising that being outside was one of life’s true luxuries at this point and that many people were out – but I digress…

Martyn (my scene partner) and I then had a rehearsal session with Katie Posner. We threw around ideas, talked about making some music to go along with our scene, looked at costume ideas. It was all pretty gung-ho after that. Matt the Producer was going to send us microphones and tripods and SD cards. We had a meeting with Ben Pugh the Digital Consultant about how to set up frame, what type of look we were going for – it was all very sexy and grown up.

That evening my Mum and I went round our local park searching for the perfect bench. It is amazing how many benches you walk past without realising they’re there. Short backed ones, high-backed ones, ones with handles, wooden ones, metal ones, ones with heart-breaking dedications, ones next to bins, lopsided ones. My camera roll is filled with random pictures of me sat on random benches. It was hilarious.

Going away, filming it, coming back, getting notes, having to go out and film it again. It was strange and different, but what isn’t at the moment? That’s the beautiful thing that has come out of this time I suppose. Nothing’s shocking. We adapt, we work it out. And checking back in with Katie and Martyn, laughing about the random bloke who shouted “This is a bit different, what you up to then?”  in the middle of one of my takes, or the kids who decided to run past Martyn screaming bloody murder in the middle of one of his, made it feel like we actually were back in a rehearsal room. I don’t know how Katie and Paines Plough did it, but they did. I felt we were back.

Reading this script for the first time, I thought it was like nothing I’d ever read before (no but seriously – half of the script was in German!) And making it was like nothing I’d ever done before. The piece is funny, heartbreaking, poignant and shares unexplored voices in history – as well as featuring actors from two different countries! Tickets can be bought from the Paines Plough website for just £1 (!) or found through the link in the Paines Plough Instagram bio. The show will be delivered through WhatsApp, straight to your pocket (how awesome is that?) with a daily link to scenes set in different moments of history.

I’m so excited to see what the future holds for Dipo and Calle, and feel honoured to have been part of this project. I was moved working on it and hopefully it will move you too. 

And another little shout out to Paines Plough – you rock.

You can buy tickets for A BRIEF HISTORY OF STRUGGLE right here.

We’re holding Open Auditions as part of THE PLACE I CALL HOME Festival

Featured

As part of THE PLACE I CALL HOME digital festival, we are holding Open Auditions on Zoom to meet actors previously unknown to Paines Plough. 

We are specifically looking for actors who are unrepresented by agents. As ever, the auditions are not for a particular production. 

Please apply via the Paines Plough website before midnight on Tuesday 13 October 2020. Applicants will be randomly selected.

OPEN AUDITION FAQS

  1. What are you casting for?

We’re not casting for anything specific. These open auditions are a way for us to meet actors previously unknown to the company, and to give you the chance to introduce yourself to us and us to you so we can start to build a conversation for potential future productions.

2. How do I apply?

We would love to meet actors who want to work with Paines Plough. We’re excited when actors have seen the company’s work with a clear idea of why they are drawn to working with the company. If you feel you have a particular affinity with our work, please fill out the application form and we will be in touch if we are able to meet you on this occasion. Please note that if you are unable to audition this time, we will be holding future open audition days throughout the year

3. Do I have to audition with a partner?

Not this time. We usually see auditionees in pairs, however due to these auditions being held online we will be seeing one person at a time this year.

4. How long should the monologue be?

Up to 3 minutes please.

5. What kind of audition piece should I choose?

Your monologue should be from a play written in the last 15 years. As we are a new writing company we would love to hear you perform contemporary plays. If you don’t know if your monologue was written in the last 15 years, or you can’t find one from that time period, please don’t worry – this is just a guide.

6. How long is each audition?

Each auditionee will have up to ten minutes for their slot in which you will meet a friendly panel, have a chat and then perform your monologue.

7. Who will I be meeting at my audition?

You will be meeting members of the Paines Plough core artistic team – either one of our Directors or Producers. Please know everyone in the online audition room will want you to be your best self so try not to put too much pressure on yourself. After your audition we will email you to remind you who you met.

  1. How will the audition run digitally?

If we are able to meet you on this occasion, you will be emailed a Zoom link ahead of your audition, confirming what day and time your audition is. Please download the Zoom application ahead of your audition (this is free to do here). You do not need to have a Zoom account to use the application, you just need to have it downloaded on your device.

  1. How should I prepare for the digital audition?

We suggest that you aim to be ready 10 minutes before your timeslot, with the Zoom application downloaded and the link ready to launch. If possible, please perform your monologue in a quiet space. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible and to enable you to do so we would suggest that you either perform directly to the camera or as if you are speaking to us or with your focus slightly off the camera, as if speaking to someone else in your room. As long as we can see you clearly, you can perform either sitting or standing, whatever works best for you.

10. I auditioned at your last open day, can I audition again?

Sadly not as there has been such an overwhelming amount of interest in the auditions and we would like to maintain a fair system and meet as many new people as we can each year. Unfortunately we won’t meet actors who we’ve seen at an open audition before, we hope that you understand.

11. Should I send you my CV and headshot?

There is no need to send us anything in advance, just bring yourself! We will be in touch with what we need from you ahead of your audition.

12. When will I hear back from you after the audition?

After the auditions, we would love to keep in touch with you and we will also keep your name on file about any potential future roles.


Let us know if you have any further questions by emailing office@painesplough.com with the subject line: Paines Plough Open Auditions.

We hope to see you soon!

Introducing our two new board members – Corey Campbell and Asma Hussain

We are honoured to welcome two dynamic and visionary new members to our Board of Trustees.

COREY CAMPBELL

Corey Campbell is the Artistic Director of Strictly Arts Theatre Company, Co-Artistic Director of the Belgrade Theatre and Honorary Member of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Corey is an international performer, director and practioner, and is currently working on the digital TV series SeaView.


ASMA HUSSAIN

Asma Hussain (she/her) is a fundraising professional with over 10 years of experience of securing major gifts for the arts and charity sectors. Her skills cut across trusts and foundations, individual giving, events and corporate fundraising. Her previous roles in the arts include Trusts & Foundations Manager at the Royal Opera House, and Development Manager at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Most recently, she was Head of Fundraising at a national social change charity, Campaign Bootcamp. She is currently studying an MA in Postcolonial Studies at SOAS, London. Asma is also Trustee of Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Chair of its first Fundraising Board, and also Chair of AWA DANCE.