Introducing the writers and the company behind COME TO WHERE I AM Series 2: Newcastle

Introducing the writers behind Series 2: Newcastle, presented by Paines Plough and Open Clasp Theatre Company, which will be available to watch on our YouTube Channel from 7pm on Wednesday 27 May:

Christina Berriman–Dawson

Christina is an actor and writer. She co-directed and dramaturged CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT , written by Lee Mattinson, which was due to open at Live Theatre this year. She has previously performed in Open Clasp’s productions of KEY CHANGE and RATTLE SNAKE.

Abigail Byron

Abigail is an actor and writer. She and her mum performed in Open Clasp’s production of DON’T FORGET THE BIRDS. You can read more about that production here.

Kay Greyson

Kay is is a 20-year old hip hop artist rapper from Tyneside in Newcastle. She is devoted to youth work in her local community. You can check her out here.

Charlotte Campbell

Charlotte is a new writer and recently returned to her home town after leaving home at a young age. She attended a Writing for Social Change Masterclass at Newcastle University with Open Clasp Artistic Director and Writer, Catrina McHugh MBE. Open Clasp knew she had a passionate voice and a story to tell. 

ABOUT OPEN CLASP:

Open Clasp’s aim is to Change the World, One Play at a Time by placing theatre at the heart of transforming the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. Open Clasp are an award-winning women’s theatre company and a leading force in the North of England with a national and international reach. They make truthful and risk-taking work informed by the lived experiences of women disenfranchised in theatre and society, those from minority communities and women affected by the criminal justice system.

Open Clasp are proud to support new and emerging female writers from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. For 22 years, they have been rooted in their community, creating the best theatre they can to make social and cultural change a reality. They are excited for audiences to hear female voices from the city they all love as they share their stories about the place they call home.

As theatres around the world were forced to close their doors in March, Open Clasp Theatre Company’s award-winning prison drama Key Change was made available to watch online for free. Devised with women in HMP Low Newton to tour to male prisons, critically-acclaimed Key Change carries their voices over the razor wire in a raw, illuminating and very funny portrayal of women in prison.

Open Clasp Theatre Company’s award-winning prison drama Key Change, available to watch online for free.

“In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever for us to find ways to connect – with our audiences, partners and the women we’ve worked with for more than 20 years. We’ve seen first-hand the power of theatre to bring people together and make change happen, so it’s more important than ever that we continue to reach out to those who need our support most in these unsettling times, even if it’s digitally rather than physically.” Catrina McHugh MBE, Artistic Director and Writer of Key Change

COME TO WHERE I AM – Series 2: OPEN CLASP, NEWCASTLE will be available on our YouTube channel from Wednesday 27 May 2020, 7:00pm.

COME TO WHERE I AM – SERIES 1: PITLOCHRY, SCOTLAND

Introducing the writers who will be performing their pieces about the place they call home in Series 1: Pitlochry.

All pieces wil be available to watch via our YouTube channel from 7pm Wednesday 20 June.

CORINNE SALISBURY

Corinne is an emerging playwright based in Edinburgh.

She is a previous winner of the Playwrights’ Studio Scotland New Playwrights Award, as part of which she was mentored by Zinnie Harris and Philip Howard to develop a new play about the world of old-fashioned travelling circus.

Other plays include THE DARKNESS OR ELSE THE LIGHT, commissioned by Strange Town youth theatre and performed on the main stage at the Traverse in June 2018; THE CHARGE, which was longlisted for the Tron’s Progressive Playwright Award; and A MOUNTAIN BIRTH, about the early life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which was developed with the support of an Athenaeum Award from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Corinne is also currently developing a new play, ELODIE, about AI devices being used to help raise our children, with support from Creative Scotland and the NTS Guest Room scheme. Her play GIRLBOSS is published in Routledge’s anthology ‘Short Plays with Great Roles for Women’. Her past work has appeared at venues including Hampstead Theatre, Theatre503, Old Red Lion, the Spiegeltent, Southwark Playhouse, Live Theatre Newcastle, Camden People’s Theatre, the Yard Theatre, the Old Vic, the Public Theater in New York, the Tron, the Traverse, Village Pub Theatre and the Hidden Door Festival. Corinne’s work is supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation and Creative Scotland.

KARINE POLWART

‘One of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain’ The Guardian ★★★★★

Seven-times winner at The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including three times for Best Original Song and Folk Singer Of The Year 2018, Karine Polwart is a songwriter, musician, theatre maker, storyteller, and author. She also performs traditional songs and writes to commission for theatre, film, animation, and international thematic collaborative projects. 

Recent projects include her SCOTTISH SONGBOOK re-imaginings of classic Scottish pop; THE LOST WORDS: SPELL SONGS, a multi-artist response to environmental loss and climate breakdown.

She has worked previously with the BBC SSO, Songs of Separation, author James Robertson, documentary film-maker Anthony Baxter, and indie composer RM Hubbert.

In 2016, in association with The Royal Lyceum Theatre and Edinburgh International Festival, Karine wrote, musically directed and performed her critically acclaimed debut work for theatre. A poetic meditation on midwifery, ecology, sanctuary, and solidarity, it combines elements of memoir, essay, myth, sound-art and song. WIND RESISTENCE won the Best Music And Sound Award at the CATS (Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland) 2017, and the accompanying album A POCKET OF WIND RESISTENCE written in collaboration with sound-designer Pippa Murphy, was selected as Best Album 2017 by both Songlines Magazine and BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction, and was nominated for SAY Scottish Album Of The Year.

In 2020, both the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra have commissioned new work, in collaboration with sound designer/composer Pippa Murphy.

STEF SMITH

Stef Smith is an multi award-winning writer working to international acclaim.

Work includes: ENOUGH, GIRL IN THE MACHINE, SWALLOW (Traverse Theatre); NORA: A DOLL’S HOUSE (Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre); THE SONG PROJECT (Royal Court); ACTS OF RESISTENCE (Headlong / Bristol Old Vic); LOVE LETTER TO EUROPE (Underbelly); HOW TO BUILD A NATION (Young Vic); HUMAN ANIMALS (Royal Court); REMOTE (National Theatre Connections Festival); TEA AND SYMMETRY (BBC Radio); SMOKE (And Mirrors) (Traverse Theatre & Dot Istanbul for Theatre Uncut); BACK TO BACK TO BACK (Cardboard Citizens); CURED (Glasgay! Festival); GREY MATTER (The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen); WOMAN OF THE YEAR (Oran Mor, Glasgow) And FALLING/FLYING (Tron, Glasgow).

Most recently Stef was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn prize, which is the largest prize for women writing in the English language. Stef has won three Scotsman Fringe First Awards for ROADKILL, SWALLOW and ENOUGH. ROADKILL also won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, a Herald Angel Award, the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award, a Fringe First Award, a Total Theatre Award for Innovation, and the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Prize. SWALLOW opened to widespread critical acclaim, and also won the Scottish Arts Club Theatre Award.

Stef took part in the BBC Drama Writers Room and her Digital Drama Short pilot FLOAT was released on BBC iPlayer in October 2019. A full series of FLOAT has been commissioned by BBC Scotland and is set to be released in 2020. Stef is currently under commission to Leeds Playhouse, National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Exchange Theatre. She is also an Associate Artist at the Traverse Theatre and Leeds Playhouse.

JO CLIFFORD

Jo is the author of a 100 works in every dramatic medium. Her work has been translated into many languages and has been performed all over the world.

 Recent plays include FAUST PARTS ONE AND WO (Lyceum); EVERY ONE (Lyceum, then Battersea Arts Centre); THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE (Traverse); THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS QUEEN OF HEAVEN, EVE (co-written with Chris Goode, National Theatre of Scotland, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, & Tron Theatre, Glasgow)

She first made her reputation in the mid eighties when she was still living as a man and writing under the name of ‘John Clifford’.

Her LOSING VENICE (1985) was the first of the plays she wrote for the Traverse and which re-established its reputation as an internationally important venue. She followed it with LUCY’S PLAY (1986) PLAYING WITH FIRE (1987), INES DE CASTRO (1989), and LIGHT IN THE VILLAGE (1992).

INES became an opera with music by James MacMillan, first performed by Scottish Opera in 1996 and revived several times. LIGHT IN THE VILLAGE  has been translated into Tagalog and Urdu and will shortly be performed in Karachi.

She has dramatised many classic novels, including GREAT EXPECTATIONS (TAG 1988, Traverse 1989 and, many other productions later the Vaudeville Theatre, London). Other adaptations include: LA VIE DE BOHEME (Pitlochry 1993), WUTHERING HEIGHTS (Pitlochry 1995), THE QUEEN OF SPADES (Pitlochry 2002), ANNA KARENINA (Lyceum 2005; Royal Exchange 2016).

For radio, Jo has written FIVE DAYS WHICH CHANGED EVERYTHING, SPAM FRITTERS, WRITING HOME TO MOTHER, MADELEINE, AIN’T IT GRAND TO BE BLOOMIN’ WELL DEAD, and ENDING TIME, and has adapted BALTASAR AND BLIMUNDA and THE LEOPARD among many others.

In the last ten yeas, she has re-discovered herself as a performer. Last year she performed EVE in Dundee Rep, the Nairn Festival, and the International Theatre Festival in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She has been performing her GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JESUS QUEEN OF HEAVEN for the last ten years, most recently in the Traverse, in the Tron, Glasgow, in Brussels, Belo Horizonte and Sao Paulo in Brazil. The Brazilian production has been touring Brazil for the past three years and is considered one of the most significant plays to have been performed there in recent history.

We launched COME TO WHERE I AM last week with this piece by Simon Stephens, performed by David Bradley. A reminder that all donations made to this project will go directly towards employing writers to deliver more excellent new writing during the current COVID-19 outbreak.

https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/CTWIA

COME TO WHERE I AM 2020

Our headline act – ‘She Left Home For A While’ by Simon Stephens, performed by David Bradley

COME TO WHERE I AM is a digital project conceived by Paines Plough in response to the closure of theatres during COVID-19.

It is, of course, a spin-off of our flagship project COME TO WHERE I’M FROM.

In partnership with theatres across the UK, we have already commissioned 30+ new short plays from writers about the places they call home and their relationship to home at this time. These will be shared with you as visual-audio pieces and then performed at our partner venues when they reopen.

The self-filmed pieces, from a different part of the country each week, will be available on our YouTube channel with a request for donations.

All donations made to this project will go directly towards employing writers to deliver more excellent new writing during COVID-19.

Please consider donating anything you can afford to this very important cause. We need to keep telling stories. 

Thank you!

The COME TO WHERE I AM 2020 series:

Wednesday 20 May – PITLOCHRY

Wednesday 27 May –  NEWCASTLE

Wednesday 03 June – SHEFFIELD 

Wednesday 10 June – PETERBOROUGH

Wednesday 17 June – READING 

Wednesday 24 June –  KESWICK

Wednesday 01 July – DERBY 

Sam Steiner on writing a ‘mid-apocalyptic play’ that finished its run at Southwark Playhouse months before lockdown.

We asked Sam Steiner some questions about what it’s like to have closed YOU STUPID DARKNESS! at Southwark Playhouse a couple of months prior to theatres being asked to shut their doors.

What have you been up to during lockdown?

I’ve been working on a play commission and a couple of film things. And bits of zoom teaching. But I’m also trying to use the time to slow down a bit. Nothing’s getting made for a while and that’s heart-breaking in so many ways but maybe, if there’s a tiny positive to come out of it, it’s that we’ve got some time to process and reflect. So I’m trying to do some reading and a bit of free writing for myself. Writing that is silly and indulgent and for no purpose other than my own enjoyment. 

What’s it like to be in lockdown after writing a play about the end of the world?

It’s so weird. The play closed on February 22nd and within a couple of weeks it had kind of changed genre. The play’s opening image is a woman walking into a run-down but fairly normal-looking office wearing a gas mask. It was designed to feel a bit jarring – to juxtapose normalcy with something more sinister, even sci-fi. Now we see similar sights on a daily basis. I’ve seen some of the exact lines and poster quotes we used in the show pasted on the insides of windows. But at the same time – and horribly, for a play that includes a description of mould growing on people’s faces – it seems almost quaint? “Look at these people who are totally unafraid of social contact; of cracking someone’s backs when they’re sore, of holding someone’s hand through a difficult call. How sweet.” 

What inspired you to write about a post-apocalyptic world?

Well, for me, the play is kind of mid-apocalyptic. Everything’s falling apart and it’s not looking great but life is still carrying on. I started writing the play in 2017. It was an attempt to make literal a particular feeling of despair that felt quite pervasive at the time. It felt like you couldn’t turn on the news or look at your phone without hearing about something world-endingly disturbing or worrying. But, as a natural optimist, I was interested in how you remain hopeful in a world that is constantly confronting you with reasons not to be. Whether optimism is even a remotely useful way of looking at the world. That was the little scab I wanted to pick away at. 

I also wanted, in some way, to redress the nihilist and individualistic world-view that dominates much of so-called Dystopian Fiction. I felt that kindness and compassion, in all their smallness, their profound and sticky difficulty, were underrepresented in those kind of stories. And maybe on our stages more generally. 

Will you write about COVID-19?

No. I think there are some writers who can fearlessly look a thing in the eye and conjure a kind of defining statement. But I’m not of one of them. My stuff is usually better when looking to the side of the thing. And personally, though I’m trying to stay open-minded, I’m also kind of dreading the swathe of pandemic plays, books and television we’re likely to see. My friend George wrote a great piece (https://medium.com/@georgeattwell/event-television-in-the-age-of-lockdown-eee883322409) on James Graham’s brilliant Quiz – itself an attempt to explore the present through an historical lens – in which he reminded me of a quote from The History Boys: “Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don’t see it, and because we don’t see it this means that there is no period so remote as the recent past.” 

When you write (or see) a play you hope, I think, to find in it some tiny truth about how it feels to be alive in the world right now. At the moment, that sensation of living is changing. But I think that if you follow the hunch or story or character that’s nagging at you, that for some weird, undefinable, illogical reason you find mysterious or funny or moving, something of your experience of being a person who exists in the present seeps into it. And that sounds a lot more meaningful to me than watching The Great Coronavirus Play. 

What are you most looking forward to in life after lockdown?

Oh, mainly going to the pub and getting embarrassingly drunk on cheap drinks.  

Watching the continuing agony and ecstasy of Manchester United’s progress under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Sitting in a dark, cramped room with a bunch of strangers and listening to a story. Deleting the Zoom app from my laptop.

YOU STUPID DARKNESS! was a co-production with Theatre Royal Plymouth, directed by former Paines Plough Joint Artistic Director James Grieve, which premiered in Plymouth in February 2019 and transferred to London’s Southwark Playhouse in January 2020.

Digital Projects and new appointments

Today we’re excited to announce new digital projects, connecting you with new work from national and international playwrights. 

With freedom of travel currently restricted, we hope you will join us in experiencing the different places people call home, across counties and countries in isolation.

COME TO WHERE I AM

In response to a rapidly changing world, where all touring and live performance is currently on hiatus, we are launching COME TO WHERE I AM – that’s right, a spin-off of our flagship project COME TO WHERE I’M FROM.

In partnership with theatres across the UK, we have commissioned 30 new short plays from writers about the places they call home and their relationship to home at this time will be shared with you as visual-audio pieces and then performed at our partner venues when they reopen.

Our brilliant partner theatres include Derby Theatre, Eastern Angles, Open Clasp Theatre Company Newcastle, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Reading Rep Theatre, Sheffield Theatres and Theatre by the Lake Keswick.

All of the new plays will be made available online and, for certain groups who may find it more difficult or even impossible to access digital content, we are offering a caller service – live readings of the plays over the phone, allowing people with little or no online access to experience these plays. We are working with some exciting TV celebs to provide this caller service including  David Bradley, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Lisa Hammond and Sally Dynevor – with more still to be announced. 

THE PLACE I CALL HOME

Our second digital initiative we’re launching today (and a further spin-off of COME TO WHERE I’M FROM) is THE PLACE I CALL HOME, a brand-new programme connecting international writers to create new work together, in isolation, across borders.

Presented in collaboration with theatres across Europe, two writers will be paired up to co-author a new bilingual play about the place they call home. These plays will then be realised with digital artist collaborators, performed by British Drama school students who have had projects postponed and shared across digital platforms.

Partnerships so far:

·        Theatre Dortmund (Germany), with German playwright Calle Fuhr (INTO THE STARS) and UK playwright Dipo Baruwa-Etti (AN UNFINISHED MAN)

·        Theatr Ludowy (Krakow) with Polish playwright Magda Węgrzyn and UK writer Travis Alabanza (BURGERZ)

·        Elsinor Theatre Milan (Italy) with Italian playwright Giuditta Mingucci (I WISH) from and UK playwright Rosie MacPherson (WHERE WE BEGAN), in partnership with Yorkshire-based company Stand and Be Counted (the UK’s first Theatre Company of Sanctuary)

NEW APPOINTMENTS

TRAINEE DIRECTOR: Kaleya Baxe

Kaleya Baxe is a writer, director and facilitator whose directorial debut play PATRICIA GETS READY (FOR A DATE WITH THE MAN THAT USED TO HIT HER) had a sold out run at The White Bear and won the VAULT Festival Show Of The Week Award. As well as working on outreach projects with the Young Vic, Kiln and Arcola Theatre, she has directed short pieces at leading fringe venues such as The Bunker, Theatre503 and the Roundhouse. Her most recent project was WRITTEN by Alex Cooke, a new play that toured to schools, pupil referral units and other youth settings.

BIG ROOM PLAYWRIGHT FELLOW: Vickie Donoghue

Vickie is a playwright and writer for TV and radio.

Her debut full-length play, MUDLARKS, was developed through High Tide’s Escalator Programme and produced by The Bush, following its premiere at the 2012 High Tide Festival. The play garnered wide spread critical acclaim. In Lyn Gardner’s words the play ‘sings with promise’ and Libby Purves described it as ‘stunning… unforgettable’.

Vickie has also collaborated with Theatre Royal Portsmouth, the Mercury Theatre, the Royal Court and Paines Plough as a writer-on-attachment. Her work is published by Methuen Drama.

Other work includes THE GIFT, for BBC Radio 4 and she is currently working on an original series with Natalie Mitchell, THE PIPER, for BBC Sounds.

Introducing a new PLAYWRIGHT BURSARY: Ric Renton

Ric Renton is an actor and writer. He recently finished his debut play, NOTHING IN A BUTTERFLY, which had been planned to premiere this summer. Ric will use the bursary to write a play about his time as a teenager in Durham Prison and an intimate friendship struck up with a prison guard over two years across the cell door. The bursary and support from Paines Plough will allow for development of the project, and for Ric to further his own writing by spending more time at the theatre.

Charlotte and Katie said:

‘We are delighted to share our new digital plans which expand on our existing app and project COME TO WHERE I’M FROM. We recognise that these are challenging times and we hope that this new programme which celebrates homes and places will enable audiences to be momentarily transported somewhere else – whether that be spending ten minutes in Derby or half an hour in Milan. Collaborating with our excellent national and international partners we are pleased to be providing employment for artists to still create thrilling new theatre for audiences.

We are also excited to announce our ongoing commitment to developing extraordinary artists through the appointment of our playwright fellow and trainee director and to also introduce our new playwrighting bursary. These three artists are incredibly gifted and we look forward to supporting them over the next year to develop and thrive.’


@painesplough

#CTWIA

#ThePlaceICallHome

From our Artistic Directors: Statement of Intent.

‘‘The voyage is new, it’s uncertain, unknown.
The waters are choppy as we sail from our shows.
We charter our course, open hearts, open minds
Ready to embrace the new paths we find’

Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett

We at Paines Plough are committed to being a national company for new writing in whatever capacity. We thrive on the strength of our audiences, artistic community and friends and see great solidarity in the times ahead.

We may be stopped from physically sharing shows with you but there are still stories to be experienced and artists’ voices to be heard. We have the power to ripple through borders and barriers to make and share work across the nation. Please know this is still a major priority for us and we are committed to using new and existing digital platforms through which to do so.

We send great strength and are here with love and support. We will be honouring existing relationships and looking at how we continue to create new opportunities and support as many as we can through this unpredictable time.

We’ve been told to ‘be the leaders you want to see’, and we are seeing so much incredible leadership out there. We may not always get it right but we pledge to be open, brave and try our best.

With love

Katie and Charlotte x

Recruitment: ROUNDABOUT Technical Stage Manager

We are recruiting a TECHNICAL STAGE MANAGER for ROUNDABOUT.

Responsible to: Technical Director

The Technical Stage Manager is a key member of the ROUNDABOUT team, working closely with the Technical Director, Company Stage Manager and the Producer to deliver on the tour. The Technical Stage Manager will liaise with the Visiting Companies on tour and play a crucial role in supporting all technical elements in the absence of the Technical Director.

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.

  • Minimum 4 years professional mid to large-scale touring experience, preferably with temporary, demountable structures.
  • Demonstrable experience of supervising crew during get ins and get outs.
  • Working knowledge of lighting controls, especially with regards to LED technology and pixel mapping.
  • Organised yet flexible approach and calm under pressure.
  • Dedicated and committed with excellent focus and organisational skills.
  • Ability to be creative and resourceful in problem solving.
  • Proven ability to work within allocated budgets.
  • A working knowledge of the ITC/Equity Subsidised Repertory Agreements.
  • Awareness and experience of health and safety legislation and practice.
  • Experience of and ability to operate QLab and Programme.
  • Good and proactive team player, with experience in delivering productions to the highest technical level.
  • Good working knowledge of industry Health & Safety regulations Experienced in monitoring and enforcing Health & Safety regulations and ideally Health & Safety trained (IOSH certified).
  • Rigging qualification.
  • Ability to demonstrate a recognisable level of credibility within the industry.
  • IT and AutoCAD literate.
  • Degree in technical theatre practice or equivalent qualification.
  • First Aid trained.

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.

This is a Fixed Term Contract from 19 June to 08 November (19 October – 08 November is tbc)

Sound like you? Someone you know? Great! Check out the Technical Stage Manager Application Pack and then head to our website for details on how to apply.

Deadline for applications is 12pm, Monday 23 March 2020.

Good luck!

Team PP

From the rehearsal room: Assistant Director Matilda Ibini

‘So I was asked to write a blog about my experience of being in the rehearsal room for RUN SISTER RUN by Chloë Moss and directed by Charlotte Bennett. It is an amazing co-production between Paines Plough, Sheffield Theatres and Soho Theatre.

Matilda Ibini in rehearsal for RUN SISTER RUN, photo by The Other Richard

This was a big first for me. I’d been in lots of rehearsal rooms but only ever as a writer, a dramaturg, or a devisor (and even as a performer many moons ago but we won’t talk about that).

This was the first time I was in a rehearsal room as an assistant director. I was really nervous, eager to learn but I also wanted to be useful to help realise Chloë and Charlotte’s vision.

I feel it’s important to mention that I am disabled and my current state of health doesn’t always make it possible for me to work or create in the more traditional sense. I shared this with Charlotte, who was open and supportive from day one. She asked what I would need to do this role. Charlotte was not just eager to better understand my needs – she also wanted me to feel empowered by the experience. So what did I need I hear you ask; well, I needed flexibility and so the role of assistant director was a job share with the wonderful Lucy McCann. I did a couple of half days and Lucy did a couple of full days, we would then send a brief summary at the end of each day of rehearsal to one another to catch the other up.

I needed access to wheelchair-accessible rehearsal spaces (and wheelchair accessible restrooms), the freedom to take a break when I needed and Charlotte also scheduled check-ins to ensure that I always felt included and able to contribute.

Chloë has written this incredible script (you know it’s great writing when you’re envious that you haven’t written it). And so before rehearsals began, we spent a week workshopping the script, if this is something that could be scheduled into future rehearsal processes I’d highly recommend it. Spending a week workshopping the script before rehearsals begin should be put into every production budget. It was such a rich experience to have the time and space to excavate the script with the cast before throwing ourselves into rehearsals for the production. There were so many interesting conversations had, it also gives the writer the opportunity to make big changes to the script, and can help aid actors in their journey to understanding their characters and helps to ensure everyone is on the same page (pun intended).

Chloë has written a rich, taut but tender play about sisters growing up in the care system in the 80s and how their experiences continue to impact them as adults. The play really tests familial bonds and its breaking points. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a sucker for stories about siblings (I’m the second oldest of four) and Chloë’s script does not disappoint.

Observing the way Charlotte worked with the actors, it was really refreshing to see how collaboratively and compassionately she works. At the beginning of the rehearsal process it’s okay to not have all the answers and that we’re all working together to find the most truthful solutions. What was also really great was observing the number of people behind the production, the people you don’t get to see on stage, and how important it is as a director to surround yourself with collaborators you can rely on (and it helps if they’re wickedly talented at what they do) but who also challenge you, have feelings and thoughts on the play that you’re working on and how beneficial it can be to find collaborators you haven’t worked with before.

Being in such a supportive and welcoming rehearsal room has been such a positive learning experience. There were so many useful techniques and practices that I will take forward into my own directing process.

Huge thank you to Charlotte and Chloë for inviting me on this journey. To my fellow A.D. Lucy who is a generous and fiercely intelligent collaborator.

To the brilliant cast: Lucy Ellinson, Helena Lymbery, Lucas Button and Silas Carson and crew (not forgetting you Patch the dog) watching you all work has been an honour and I can’t wait for audiences to see the magic you’ve all created.’

You can find out more about how to get involved with upcoming Paines Plough projects and find all the details for RUN SISTER RUN right here.

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.

Essential

  • 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.

Desirable:

  • 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

and

this equal opportunities form

to recruitment@painesplough.com.

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