Alexandra Wood on The Initiate

With just a week until ROUNDABOUT pops up at Brighton Festival we caught playwright Alexandra Wood to talk all things THE INITIATE, modern day pirates and  find out just what it’s like to have your play staged in ROUNDABOUT.

Abdul Salis and Sian Reese-Williams in THE INITIATE - photo by Richard Davenport

Abdul Salis and Sian Reese-Williams in THE INITIATE – photo by Richard Davenport

So, what inspired you to write THE INITIATE?

Honestly? I wanted to write a play about pirates! It was as simple as that. When I started to research modern day piracy I came across this article about a British Somali man who’d gone back to Somalia to help negotiate the release of British hostages, and I knew I’d found my story. The play didn’t really end up being about pirates of course, although there is still a pirate in it!

And where did you write it?

While I was on attachment at the National Theatre Studio in 2011.

How do you think it compares to your previous plays?

I’m sure there are common themes, identity and belonging are certainly things I seem to come back to. The British characters in The Empty Quarter, for example, find themselves on the edge of a vast desert in Dubai, and try to work out what’s brought them there and why they stay. I’m interested in character: how it’s defined, constructed, portrayed. In The Eleventh Capital we never meet the man about whom the play revolves, a nameless civil servant forced to leave his family and live in the new capital city. We only catch snippets of who he is and things he’s done from other people. In The Initiate, how other people see Dalmar comes as a shock to him, forcing him to question his place and his very idea of himself.

This is the second time PP are producing THE INITIATE, what’s going to be different this time?

Well the obvious answer to that is that there’s a new cast member, Sidney Cole. Not only will he bring something different to the role, but it’ll also change the dynamic with Sian and Abdul. Staging plays in the ROUNDABOUT really does put the actor at the heart of everything, there’s no real set, costume or gimmicks, it’s just actors in a space, so a change of actor will have quite an impact I think.

Speaking of actors – you’ve been sat in on rehearsals over the last few weeks, what’s it been like to watch the ROUNDABOUT company working?

It’s incredibly satisfying to see the commitment with which the whole company’s embracing the play.  It’s my first experience having one of my plays being produced for a second time, but any worries about things feeling stale have been dispelled, everyone’s coming to it with more confidence and a renewed energy.

What’s it like to work in ROUNDABOUT?

It’s a brilliant space. The actors, the play and most importantly the audience’s imagination are at the centre of things. It’s intimate and epic at the same time. It’s inherently theatrical as well – it feels like you really do have to embrace the performance element.

One final question – which part of the play are you most excited to see come to life?

I think I’m most excited to see the play as a whole, which might sound like a cop out, but in rehearsals we spend a long time working line by line, scene by scene, and that’s all great, detailed work which needs to be done, but ultimately, the power will hopefully come from seeing it all together.

THE INITIATE is a part of our Roundabout season 2015. Roundabout pops up at Brighton Festival from 2 May and at Southbank Centre from 7 June.

For more info and tickets for THE INITIATE at Brighton Festival click here and at Southbank Centre click here.

WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK: A New Play by Sabrina Mahfouz

We’re absolutely thrilled to announce the next show to be added to PP’s programme for 2015 is a new play by award winning playwright and performance poet Sabrina Mahfouz. Directed by our Associate Director Stef O’Driscoll in a co-production with our firm favourites and great friends Latitude Festival, WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK will première in the theatre tent at Latitude, July 2015. See you there.

I want to be iconic. I want to be beautiful, reckless, feared, hated, ahead of the times. I want to be different, I want to be dangerous…

London, 2001. Raves. Revision. Re-election.

Nadia is swept up in one hot summer’s night of love that promises endless possibilities. Drinking, dancing, hope, ambition, lust, greed… and decisions that will determine the rest of her life.

Rhythmically underscored by a live mix of old school UK Garage, award-winning writer Sabrina Mahfouz explores the legacy of a cultural movement that defined the hopes of a generation.

London, 2015. Re-wind.

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Open Auditions at the Bush Theatre

Paines Plough Open Auditions
Tuesday 12th May 2015
Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, London, W12 8LJ
10am – 6pm

We’re really excited to be holding our next round of open auditions at the Bush Theatre, London, where James Graham’s explosive new play THE ANGRY BRIGADE will be showing from 30 April – 13 June.

We are looking to meet actors previously unknown to Paines Plough and our next meeting will be held on Tuesday 12th of May. We will see 60 actors (30 pairs), and these slots will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you would like to be seen, please do the following:

– Find yourself a partner – we are auditioning people in pairs.
– Apply by sending ONE email with BOTH of your names to auditions@painesplough.com.
– Please put OPEN AUDITIONS @ BUSH THEATRE in the Subject line.
– Do not send CVs, biogs or headshots as you can bring these with you on the day.
– If you are within the first 30 emails, we will email you back by Monday 27th April with an audition time.
– If you weren’t in the first 30 people to apply we will keep you on a waiting list and may offer you an audition if a slot becomes available.
– Once we have confirmed your time, please prepare a 3 minute piece of dialogue in your pair from a play written in the last 15 years.

Please note:

– If you have auditioned at our previous Open Auditions, we will not be able to see you this time round.
– We do not accept applications from agents. If you have an agent, you must still apply yourself using your own email address.
– Places are all allocated in advance. You will not be able to request a different time, and we will be unable to see people on a walk-up basis.
– We will retain a waiting list and will notify you if you are on this waiting list.
– If you are allotted a time but for any reason cannot make the appointment please let us know ASAP by emailing office@painesplough.com. If you fail to turn up to your allotted slot without letting us know in advance, you will not be able to audition at future Paines Plough Open Auditions.
– We will not accept any emails sent to any email address other than auditions@painesplough.com.
– Due to the large volume of people we are seeing, we will not be able to offer feedback.
– We are not casting for a particular show at the moment – we just want to meet some new actors so that we can have you in mind for future productions.

For more information, please download our FAQs.

Best wishes,

George, James and all at Paines Plough

THE ANGRY BRIGADE in Rehearsals

Things are really heating up Dalston where THE ANGRY BRIGADE company are heading into their final week of rehearsals for James Graham’s explosive, heart-stopping play. Here are some shots of them right in the thick of it.

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For the full set of photos visit our flickr page.

THE ANGRY BRIGADE opens at The Bush Theatre April 30 and runs until June 13. Grab your tickets here.

Photo credit: Helen Murray

 

 

Whats on THE ANGRY BRIGADE stereo

In a break with tradition we thought we better let you all in on THE ANGRY BRIGADE playlist. Re-wind to the 1970’s and prepare yourself for anarchy…

Is there anything missing? Something we’ve just got to add? Keep the conversation going @painesplough #TheAngryBrigade

THE ANGRY BRIGADE opens at The Bush Theatre on 30 April and runs until 13 June. Tickets here

THE INITIATE in Rehearsals

Here at PPHQ we’re getting mighty excited about heading down to the seaside for ice-cream, sunshine and ROUNDABOUT which pops up in Brighton in just over 2 weeks.  Things in the office have been very busy and our brilliant cast are working super hard on THE INITIATE, OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL and LUNGS. Just to prove it, here are some shots of Sidney Cole, Abdul Salis and Sian Reese-Williams rehearsing Alexandra Wood’s thrilling play THE INITIATE.

For the full album visit out flickr page.

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Roundabout pops up in Regency Square at Brighton Festival from 2 – 24 May. For more information and tickets click here.

Photo credit Richard Lakos

What’s on the PP stereo

This has been the soundtrack to our week at PPHQ…

Plus Natalie’s been listening to Bjork, but as usual with Natalie’s music selection, it’s not on Spotify. Too cool for school.

Music tips? Send them our way. And have happy weekends.

GROWTH: What’s it been like in rehearsals?

With one final performance of  GROWTH at The Gate to go we caught up with Jonny and Ellie from the cast to hear what it’s been like rehearsing Luke Norris’ brilliant new play.

Growth Cast edit

“Rehearsals for Growth have been a treat. A good balanced mix of competitive, nail biting 6 Square, complete with a friendly leader board and blood, sweat and tears rehearsing, it’s all been a joy. Sean lays out such a relaxed and comfortable environment to work in that the platform for taking risks and experimenting with the text and character has been such an easy process. Every single cast member is amazing to work with. Nina Shenkman, a bundle of joy, high spirits and sheer oddness. Mel Stevens, energy packed, idea driven and an exciting actress to watch. Oliver Morgan-Thomas, genuinely one the nicest guys I know and I honestly think this is one of his best performances. Sam Ward, whose laugh makes anyone laugh based on its volume and sheer brilliance is warm and keen both as two fabulous characters. Ellie Heydon brings so much to rehearsals its infectious and gives such a beautiful performance. Above all, 6 Square will forever been a game I always come second in. Frustrating I know but Hey you win some you lose some.” Jonny

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“The biggest challenge with a play like Growth that is so topically essential is finding a way to express the subject matter sensitively, accurately, and most important in a way that is going to reach out to our audience. It seems bizarre to me that in our 21st century world discussing genital health is still seen as some sort of taboo. So here we are giving it a voice on stage, through the wonderful words of Luke Norris.

For most of us here at RWCMD this is the first time we’ve worked with new writing so to have the writer in the room, still making changes as the words come out our mouths, is electric. There is something so exciting about the collaborative journey and to have Luke in the room gives such an integral perspective.

Our rehearsals began with a week around the table uniting the play, fuelled by a never ending pile of oranges provided by Sean. Here we worked out the changes in gear throughout the scenes in order to help us navigate our way through with clarity and focus in week 2. And so when we jumped up on our feet we were already able to feel the peaks and troughs of the journey of the scene, with nudges in the right(er) direction by Sean.

With the play on its feet and the foundations in place we’ve just been hunting for detail the last few weeks. Every single run seems to reveal something new and I find myself cracking up at moments I hadn’t noticed before, and still giggling at lines I know like the back of my hand. Most of us are playing two characters throughout the play so watching the shift between each scene has also been super cool.

But now the hardest part of rehearsal: keeping on top of the 6-square leader board. We bookend every day squatting over metre squares defending them from the dreaded ball. The tournament has become pretty intense in the last few days. Not sure everyone is going to survive but if that helps cut out the competition you’ve got to make sacrifices sometimes. No clear indication of champion yet but watch this space…” Ellie

6 square leader board

 

Roundabout and The Angry Brigade cast

We’ve got a spring in our step this morning at PPHQ as we start a double first day of rehearsals for two plays from Programme 2015 – THE INITIATE by Alexandra Wood which forms part of our Roundabout Rep Season along with OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL by Dennis Kelly and LUNGS by Duncan Macmillan; and THE ANGRY BRIGADE by James Graham which is co-produced with Theatre Royal Plymouth and opens at The Bush Theatre on 30 April.

Introducing the cast of Roundabout…

We are delighted to be welcoming back Sian Reese Williams and Abdul Salis who will be reprising their roles in OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL, THE INITIATE and LUNGS, and are super excited have Sidney Cole joining us for THE INITIATE.

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SIDNEY COLE

Stage credits include OUR TOWN (Almeida Theatre), THE MAN IN THE GREEN JACKET (Jermyn Street Theatre), THE FULL MONTY (Sheffield Theatre/David Pugh LTD, West End)(Sheffield Lyceum/David Pugh LTD, UK & Ireland Tour), MACBETH (Out of Joint)(UK and World Tour), JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (Theatre Royal Norwich), THE QUEEN AND I (Out of Joint), RIPPED (Soho Theatre), THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Manchester Library Theatre), A JAMAICAN AIRMAN FORSEES HIS DEATH (Royal Court), MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS (Manchester Contact Theatre), THE SNOW QUEEN (Edinburgh Lyceum), TRICKLEDOWN TOWN (Calypso), COLOURS (Leeds Playhouse), THE CANAL GHOST (Birmingham Rep), BLACK POPPIES.

His television credits include BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE (BBC), SILENT WITNESS (BBC), PRIMEVAL (ITV), THE AMAZING MRS PRITCHARD (BBC), JONATHAN CREEK (BBC) CASUALTY (BBC), BROOKSIDE (Dominic Keavsey), INSIDERS (BBC), CLASS ACT II (Cinema Verity), 99-1 (Zenith/Carlton), FINNEY (David Hayman), THE BILL (Thames Television), FRENCH & SAUNDERS (BBC).

His film credits include COMMON PEOPLE (Stewart Alexander), THE GREAT GHOST RESCUE (Yann Samuell), BOOGIE WOOGIE (Duncan Ward), FELICIA’S JOURNEY (Initial Films) THE LEGEND OF 1900 (Giuseppe Tornatore), SHOPPING (Channel 4 Films), THE HAWK (Initial/BBC), THREE KINDS OF HEAT (Canon Films).

SIAN REESE WILLIAMS

Theatre credits include: LUNGS, THE INITIATE, OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL (Paines Plough Roundabout Season), ENJOY (West Yorkshire Playhouse), CHILDREN OF FATE (Bussey Building), BE MY BABY (New Vic Theatre), AS YOU LIKE IT (Derby Playhouse), COLTAN (Paines Plough), SIXTY FIVE MILES (Paines Plough/Hull Truck), DIAMOND (King’s Head Theatre), THE DREAMING (National Youth Music Theatre), INTO THE WOODS (National Youth Music Theatre).

TV credits include: EMMERDALE (ITV) and COWBOIS AC INJIANS (Opus TF).

ABDUL SALIS

Theatre credits include: THE RISE AND SHINE OF COMRADE FIASCO (Gate Theatre), THE INITIATE, OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL (Paines Plough Roundabout Season), JOE GUY (Tiata Fahodzi), EXONNERATED, WAR HORSE (National Theatre), DON JUAN IN SOHO (Donmar Warehouse) and HENRY V (Unicorn).

TV credits include: DOCTORS (Blunt Pictures), HACKS (Hat Trick Productions), STRIKE BACK (Left Bank Pictures), OUTNUMBERED (Hat Trick Productions), VICTORIA WOOD CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Phil McIntyre Productions), CASUALTY (BBC). M.I. HIGH (Kudos for BBC ), THE BILL (Talkback Thames), DOCTOR WHO (BBC/DW Productions ), GIFTED (Red Productions), TREVOR’S WORLD OF SPORT (Hat Trick Productions ), ROGER ROGER (BBC), THE HIDDEN CITY (Hallmark Entertainment).

Film credits include: FLY BOYS (Electric Entertainments), ANIMAL (Animal Productions), SAHARA (Sahara Productions), WELCOME HOME (Wega-Film), LOVE, ACTUALLY (DNA/Working Title).

ROUNDABOUT pops up at Brighton Festival from 3-22 May and at Southbank Centre from 7 June – 18 July.

#RoundaboutPP

And introducing the cast of THE ANGRY BRIGADE…

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Mark Arends

Theatre credits include TWO GENTLEMAN OF VERONA (Royal Shakespeare Company), 1984 (Almeida Theatre)(Headlong/Nottingham Playhouse), AT THE END OF EVERYTHING ELSE (Unicorn Theatre), LOVE’S COMEDY (Orange Tree Theatre), SOMETHING VERY FAR AWAY (Unicorn Theatre), CAT IN THE HAT (Theatre de la Ville)(National Theatre/Young Vic), MACBETH (Liverpool Everyman), BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (National Theatre), ALISON’S HOUSE (Orange Tree Theatre), HALLELUJAH (Theatre 503), THE GLASS MENAGERIE (Royal Exchange), MARIANNE DREAMS (Almeida Theatre), HENRY V (Royal Exchange).

His television credits include NEW TRICKS (Wall to Wall/BBC), DOCTORS (BBC), SKINS SERIES 4 (Company Television Productions), THE INNOCENCE PROJECT (Tightrope North/BBC), THE BILL (Talkback Thames), SILENT WITNESS (BBC), CASUALTY AT HOLBY (BBC).

His film credits include DRAW ON SWEET NIGHT (Capriol Films), SEX & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL (Lipsync Productions), PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Working Title).

Pearl Chanda 

Theatre credits include CRAVE (Sheffield Crucible Theatre), TWO GENTLEMAN OF VERONA (Royal Shakespeare Company), GODCHILD (Hampstead Theatre), THE SEAGULL (Headlong Theatre), THE ACID TEST (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), THE GRACE OF MARY TRAVERSE (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), AS YOU LIKE IT (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), THE RELAPSE (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), JEDDERMANN (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), HOBSON’S CHOICE (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), HEDDA GABLER (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art).

Television credits include ARTHUR AND GEORGE (Buffalo Pictures/ITV), HOLBY CITY (BBC). Film credits include THE FINAL HAUNTING (Fierce Cat Media), MR TURNER (Thin Man Films).

Harry Melling

Theatre credits include PEDDLING (HighTide Theatre/Arcola Theatre, 59E59 New York), THE ANGRY BRIGADE (Paines Plough), KING LEAR (Chinchester Festival Theatre/BAM New York, THE HOTHOUSE (Trafalgar Studios), SMACK FAMILY ROBINSON (Rose Kingston Theatre) I AM A CAMERA (Southwark Playhouse), WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE MY MOTHER? (Trafalgar Studios), SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL (Barbican), WOMEN BEWARE WOMEN (National Theatre), MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN (National Theatre). For television JOE MISTRY (Hartswood Films), GARROW’S LAW (BBC), MERLIN (BBC), JUST WILLIAM (BBC), FRIENDS AND CROCODILES (BBC).

For film, his credits include HARRY POTTER FILMS (Warner Brothers).

Lizzy Watts

Theatre credits include MERIT (Plymouth Theatre Royal), A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Shakespeare’s Globe International Tour), BLINK UK/NEW YORK TRANSFER (Soho Theatre/Nabokov), TWELFTH NIGHT (Filter Theatre), WASTED (Paines Plough), THE STOPS BY NICK PAYNE (The Arcola Miniaturists), THE MAN The Man (Finborough Theatre/Tour), ONE MILLION TINY PLAY ABOUT BRITAIN (Latitude Festival), MY BALLOON BEATS YOUR ASTRONAUT (Papatango), DR FAUSTUS (Watford Palace Theatre), EIGHT (Ringling Festival Sarasota/Tantrum Productions), ARTEFACTS (Bush Theatre/Tour Brits Off Broadway), THE GRIZZLED SKIPPER (Nuffield Theatre) and BIANCO (Elan Productions).

For television and film, her credits include MIDSOMMER MURDERS (Bentley Productions for ITV1), ONE IN THE DARK (Waring Films), WILL SAMP’S SELF-PERPETUATING CYCLE OF UNINTENDED ABSTINENCE (Papa, Matt Roberts), SPRAWLERS (Firesnake Films), FOOTSTEPS (Random Films).

THE ANGRY BRIGADE opens at The Bush Theatre on 30 April and runs until 13 June. You can get tickets here.

#TheAngryBrigade

Roundabout pops up on the South Bank

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The Southbank Centre on a summer’s eve.

Summer on the South Bank here we come… Roundabout will be popping-up at The Southbank Centre this June and July with a sizzling line-up of top notch new plays.

Following its run at The Brighton Festival in May, Roundabout moves to The Southbank Centre where it will nestle between Waterloo Bridge, The Hayward Gallery and The Queen Elizabeth Hall from 7 June – 18 July 2015.

Our programme includes LUNGS by Duncan Macmillan, THE INITIATE by Alexandra Wood and OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL by Dennis Kelly, with more to be announced anon.

There’s nowhere better than the Southbank in the sunshine, so see you there yeah? And check back for lots more Roundabout dates around the UK. We’ll be announcing more travels very soon.