We’re on the lookout for brilliant Stage Managers

It’s a new year, and here at PP HQ we thought: what better way to kick off than by meeting some new people who might want to work with us.  So, we’re putting an OPEN CALL OUT to excellent Stage Managers this January, whether you’re an ASM, CSM, DSM or TSM we want to hear from you.

Much like our open auditions this is an opportunity for us to broaden our horizons, say hello and have a cup of tea with some people we haven’t met before.

We’re planning to hold some informal meetings on the 3rd and 4th of February so if you’d like to meet and maybe work with us in the future then send your CV to  francesca@painesplough.com by Thursday January 29th, with the subject  line STAGE MANAGER CALL OUT.

We can’t wait to hear from you.


*This is one of our stage managers Alicia – look how much fun she’s having.*

Jonny on Broadway.TV

Here’s Jonny being interviewed by Broadway.TV after Opening Night of EVERY BRILLIANT THING at Barrow Street Theatre in NYC…


Luke Norris premiere kicks off 2015

Drum roll and crashing cymbals, here’s our first new show for Programme 2015…

We’re once again joining forces with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to premiere a brand new play especially commissioned for their company of graduating actors. And we’ve snared an outstanding  scribe to write it.

GROWTH by Luke Norris will premiere in the beautiful Richard Burton Theatre at RWCMD in Cardiff on 31 March 2015 before transferring to The Gate in London’s Notting Hill.

The show will be directed by our Trainee Artistic Director Sean Linnen, and will star the faces of the future in their final show in training.

We’re thrilled to be working with Luke, whose play GOODBYE TO ALL THAT we loved at The Royal Court in 2012. Luke is also an actor. He’s in A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE, which is just about the best thing we’ve seen since, well, time.

We’re once again teaming up with RWCMD following the success of last year’s premiere of Laura Lomas’ BLISTER, directed by Stef O’Driscoll. We’ve worked with loads of Royal Welsh graduates over the last few years including Lizzy Watts, Scott Arthur and Rosie Wyatt, so we’re big fans.

What a cracking way to kick off the New Year. There’s lots more to come in Programme 2015, stay tuned.

Taste Tuesday: Tapenade

New year and the introduction of a new excuse for eating at PPHQ – Taste Tuesday.

Apart from new plays, the thing we like most at PPHQ is food. Cake, mostly. But also cheese. And burgers. Actually most kinds of food.

So to titilate our tastebuds, we’ve introduced Taste Tuesday. Every week, one person cooks something for everyone else to have a taste. It can be anything from cup cakes to sausage rolls to ice cream to lassi. The only rule is that it has to be homemade. We’re not allowed palm off Waitrose luxury microwave mac&cheese as our own. That would be cheating.

Today was the inaugural Taste Tuesday, and the our AD James was first up at the galley. Here’s what we got…

James' Tapenade on salt & pepper crostini. Yum.

James’ Tapenade on salt & pepper crostini. Yum.


1 jar of green olives
1 jar of black olives
3 teaspoons of capers
A handful of cherry tomatoes
4 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
A handful of parsley
A glug of olive oil
A splash of dry sherry – fino or manzanilla
A splash of tabasco
Juice of half a lemon

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and smush with a pestle or hand blender. Keep it rustic. Squeeze the lemon juice over last. Serve with crostini or crudites.

The first Taste Tuesday treats unveiled at Company Meeting.

The first Taste Tuesday treats unveiled at Company Meeting.

We’ll be posting Taste Tuesday pics and recipes here each week. It’s George’s turn to be chef next. We can’t wait.

Meantime, if you want to send us recipes or invite us round for dinner or take us for a slap up feast at some fancy restaurant then please do give us a shout.

Production Placement: Over and Out

Wowza!  Four months have whizzed by since I arrived to finish off my MA in Creative Producing for Theatre and Live Performance at Birkbeck by doing a placement in the production office at Paines Plough.

As a long time PP fan girl, seeing PP plays move from selection stage to sitting in on the read-throughs and first runs and press nights to going to see them out on tour has been massively exciting.  I have loved being swept up in the fast-paced whirlwind of the production office and getting to know all the lovely people on Team PP.

The time since August has gone past in a blur of sorting out travel and accommodation and expenses, drafting contracts, preparing press packs, reading a whole lot of new and exciting plays, working on play texts for publication, commissioning a model box, putting in availability check calls to agents and arranging auditions, collecting copy for a new app and getting stuck in to making the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM project a success.  I have learned an enormous amount about the everyday management and decision making that goes into touring work and developing new plays and have squirreled tonnes of useful tit-bits and advice away for future use.

Paines Plough Installation at The Southbank. Come to Where I'm From

It’s been a pleasure to witness the genuine enthusiasm everyone at PPHQ has for the PP mission, for getting hot new plays to all the far reaches of the UK (and beyond) and proactively nurturing all the writers, actors and creative who make them.

I can honestly say that apart from one stressful bad dream about Trainline (you know you spend too much time on Trainline when you start having nightmares about it) the only thing I will not miss is trundling up and down the numerous flights of stairs to the fourth floor multiple times a day. Although this has doubtlessly been helpful in getting rid of the unwanted effects of the well-stocked Paines Plough treat box!

It’s been a blast Paines Plough – thank you!



We recruit for placements to join us throughout the year working with either our Production or Administration team. If you’re in full-time education and are looking to complete a work placement as part of your University course, get in touch by emailing Natalie@painesplough.com with ‘UNIVERSITY PLACEMENT’ in the subject line.

The One Time That Jonny…

Last January, the playwright Duncan MacMillan asked if I’d work with him for a few days on a little project, “making something funny about depression.” Two years later, we’re still doing it, now in New York for a four-month run in Greenwich Village.

EVERY BRILLIANT THING  is about a boy who creates a list of everything he can think of that’s special about the world, as a present for his depressed mother. During the show, I get the audience to read out entries from the list, for example, “Sunlight,” “Wearing a cape,” “Peeling off a sheet of wallpaper in one intact piece.” It’s essentially a one-man show, although I get audience members to play my dad and other characters as it progresses.

This is my first time performing in New York, and I arrived as nervous and excited as I did on the first day of high school. I’ve promised to keep a diary while here, as chances like this don’t often come around twice. And while the show has me meeting many downtown theatregoers, I wasn’t quite prepared for the famous faces.

Nov. 29 America is the land of exceptional service, where you can get anything, at any time, served with a smile. Except airport immigration, of course. But George Perrin, the director, and I are adept at dealing with the two-and-a-half-hour queue; we are, after all, British. Long queues and people barking orders just feel like normal service in Britain. For a brief second, I genuinely think they’ll turn us away when we show our passports and visas, but we’re in. It’s really happening.

Nov. 30 I wake up in the hotel where I’ll be staying until an apartment is ready. The room has two king-size beds and a bathtub large enough for two people to lie comfortably side by side. What kind of a relationship would you have to be in to require separate beds but still want to bathe together? Is this a New York thing? I include a photo here. For a sense of scale, I have placed two pairs of mens size ten shoes at the end of the bath.


Dec. 1 Before I arrived, my sister warned me, “I really don’t think Americans will find you funny.” We’re very close: The English just aren’t great at paying a compliment. This comment is on my mind as we spend the first few hours of rehearsal trying to work out what Britishisms just won’t cut it with a New York audience. “Crumpet” is replaced by “waffle.” My dog in the British version was named Ronnie Barker; no one here will get that pun, so he is now Sherlock Bones.

Dec. 4 Open dress rehearsal. These are performances where friends of the theatre the show to give us a dry run before the previews. I invite everyone I know in New York. They’re both busy. Still, everyone laughs a lot, and there are even a few sniffs and wet eyes during the sad bits. People like Sherlock Bones.

I’ve been told New Yorkers will hate the interaction, but they seem keen to be involved. The show is a bit rough-and-ready tonight, but they give us a standing ovation at the end. I’m reminded of the famous Hollywood actor I saw starring in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in Edinburgh. During the curtain call, he would open his arms and literally gesture everyone upward until they stood. Incredibly blatant, of course, but you’ve got to admire someone who always gets what they want.

Dec. 7 Jackie Hoffman! The Jackie Hoffman — the comic and actress, improv star and a real hero of mine — played my teacher in the show tonight. More accurately, she stole the show with her dry wit and timing. Afterward, I got my photo taken with her, which means whatever happens now, I’m happy with this trip.


Tonight was also a party for Paines Plough. The team from London flew in, and after a ridiculous number of photos and speeches we all went to a little French bar and drank until very late. American cocktails seem to be pure alcohol, and everyone keeps buying me drinks. To slow down the inebriation, I order a gin and tonic. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the barman pouring a highball glass full of gin, then garnishing it with a shot of tonic. Tomorrow will be horrible.

Dec. 14 After six shows open to critics, it’s opening night. Lots of notable names have been invited. I ended up with John Patrick Shanley, the playwright, as my dad and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (from the movie “Belle”) as my partner. Everyone afterward thinks I was trying to be “starry” by picking them out of the audience to participate, but at the time I hadn’t realized who either of them were. I can be a bit of an idiot like that.

I’m eating a mini-burrito at the party when someone taps me on the shoulder and tells me the reviews are out. They are brilliant. My friends back home are going to hate us. Later on the phone, my sister tells she was upset that one of them called me a “spunky, balding fellow” and another referred to me as “pudgy,” but I’m delighted. I am pudgy, balding and spunky. Why try to hide it?

Dec. 19 I’m shooting an excerpt from the show for The New York Times’s “In Performance” series. In the green room, a beautiful blond lady who looks strikingly like Courtney Love walks in. “Hello, I’m Courtney,” she says to me. How hard it must be, I think, to be a performer who looks so much like Courtney Love and has the same first name. We chat about what we’re working on, and she leaves.

My press guy, Michael, walks in. “Did you see Courtney Love?” he asks me. It’s only then that I realize the reason she looked so much like Courtney Love and talked so much like Courtney Love was because she actually was Courtney Love.

The reviews have been out a week, I’m settled in New York, but thankfully I’m still as much of an idiot as ever before.

This blog is taken from an article written by Jonny for the New York Times: That’s Sherlock Bones to You, Mate

Check out Jonny’s website to read more blogs.

EVERY BRILLIANT THING runs at Barrow Street Theatre until March 29. Tickets are available here.


Two more weeks to catch HD online

This is how excited Frances Ashman is about HOPELESSLY DEVOTED being available online.

This is how excited Frances Ashman is about HOPELESSLY DEVOTED being available online.

It’s two whole weeks since Kate Tempest’s HOPELESSLY DEVOTED ended its autumn tour at London’s Roundhouse, and we’re missing Chess, Serena and Silver.

If you missed them too, don’t worry, the live stream is still available to watch on demand until 2 January 2015. So the sounds of Lock ‘em up and Kids can still be heard floating down the corridors at PPHQ.

Two more weeks to watch, so catch it whilst you can.

Then let us know what you thought of the show using the hashtag #KTHopelesslyDevoted.

Paines Plough at 40 on BBC Radio 3

Rosyln Hill and Clare Corbett perform HAPPINESS by Nick Payne.

Rosyln Hill and Clare Corbett perform HAPPINESS by Nick Payne.

Tune in to BBC Radio 3 this Sunday 21 December at 10pm to hear the live recording of three brand new plays to celebrate our 40th Anniversary.

You’ll hear James & George introduce affairs as we premiere new short plays by three of our favourite writers – Katie Douglas, Robin French and Nick Payne.

The plays were recorded live in front of a studio audience and star a stellar cast including Susan Brown, Clare Corbett, Monty d’Inverno, Bryan Dick, Roslyn Hill and Karl Johnson.

BBC Radio 3 have created a microsite where you can see photos of the live recording and watch videos of interviews with James & George, Katie, Robin and Nick.

So this Sunday night at 10pm get yourself settled on the sofa with a bottle of port and a plate of mince pies and celebrate 40 years of Paines Plough with us.

(If by any chance you can’t tune in, you can always listen again on iPlayer…)

New York reviews round-up

EVERY BRILLIANT THING opened Off-Broadway at Barrow Street Theatre in New York on Sunday, and we’re thrilled with the response. The critics have fallen head-over-heels for our co-pro with Pentabus, written by Duncan Macmillan with star Jonny Donahoe, and directed by our very own Joint AD George.


Here’s a round-up of the reviews so far:

“Captivating…guaranteed to keep your eyes brimming… often very funny… takes the chill off the depths of a light-starved winter.”
New York Times

“A life-affirming gem… as profound a work as you are ever likely to experience on a New York stage.”

“Duncan Macmillan’s affecting, memorable new play…heartbreaking…ultimately life-affirming…Every Brilliant Thing sparkles.”

“Every Brilliant Thing may be the funniest show about depression you’ve ever seen… about finding reasons to live rather than reasons to die. And those reasons can be as minute as wearing a cape and as big as falling in love.”
NY Post

“Works a gentle magic, thanks to Donahoe’s skill as a host… even the audience gets a little chance to shine.”
Time Out New York

“Funny and observant little heart-tugger… another “Brilliant Thing” to add to the list.”
NY Daily News

“[A] heart-tugging tale… Donahoe is a warm and personable performer… shrewdly staged in the round by helmer George Perrin.”

“George Perrin’s seamless direction and Donahoe’s impeccably natural delivery… MacMillan has discovered joy to be just as contagious as despair.”
Theatre Mania

“Beautiful… a specific and deep response to the work of staying alive.”

“Bewitching…about as brilliant as theatre can get.”

“Heartbreaking and joyous…there’s probably no better way to beat the holiday blues than seeing Every Brilliant Thing.”
Holywood Reporter

“Guaranteed to melt all but the hardest hearts… If I see a performance piece any time soon that gives me as much pleasure and raises my spirits as high as Jonny Donahoe’s has, I’ll be grateful. And if I ever start my own list, he’ll be on it prominently.”
Huffington Post

“This sweetly sentimental, wise, and often very funny one-hour piece… humorous and moving…many may consider it yet another of life’s many brilliant things.”
Theatre’s Leiter Side

“Surprisingly rich… ingenious work by playwright Duncan Macmillan… by the end of the sixty minute production we’ve all become a chorus of celebration.”
TDF Stages

“A funny, fun and moving show.”
New York Theater

“A funny and touching work that may not change your life but will certainly remind you to appreciate a bit more the pleasures, great or small, that go with living it.”
New Jersey Newsroom

“It’s not quite magic, but it’s something close to it, one of those incredible, transformative phenomena of collective imagination.”
Slant Magazine

“Wonderful, touching…hilarious. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience, one that will make you laugh and maybe bring you to tears, Every Brilliant Thing is an absolute must see.”

“Every Brilliant Thing is a theater lover’s perfect stocking stuffer.”

“One of the most humane and touching theatrical experiences of 2014.”
British Theatre Guide

“Every Brilliant thing is evidence, which we may need, that life matters, and that theatre matters.”


One year on…

A year ago, Georgia Laws was an intern here at PPHQ. Now she’s assistant producer on an acclaimed new play. We asked her for an update…

It’s great to be back up on the PP blog one year on from my internship with Party Plough! What a year and what a lot I owe to the amazing little new writing company. I fully realise now what a brilliant, well-rounded introduction to the professional theatre world I was given at Paines Plough. My role as production assistant had a suitably broad title and thankfully I was able to assist with an edifying range of theatre processes and practices from drawing up contracts to organising press nights; experience which has proven invaluable now that I’m taking my first solo steps into the theatre world.

Georgia in her interning days at PPHQ

Georgia in her interning days at PPHQ

A month or so ago I went for coffee with the director of Lonesome Schoolboy Productions, Niall Phillips, as he was looking for someone to help him get his new show off the ground- a heartfelt piece of new writing by Steven Lally – a quick read of the script and I was hooked. It was the work I had done with Paines Plough, specifically on Kate Tempest’s WASTED, that had first attracted Niall to my CV and now I find myself in the exciting role of Assistant Producer for this beautiful and thought provoking play at The Drayton Arms. Lally’s play LETTERS FROM EVERYONE was up and running and on its way to perfect in no time whilst my past few weeks have been devoted to giving the play the reach it deserves without a team of new writing experts behind me!

LETTERS FROM EVERYONE’s first week has been a massive success with glowing reviews coming out every day as well as an OFFIE nomination for ‘Most Promising New Playwright’! I am so incredibly proud of the cast and crew who have all worked together to produce theatre that is minimal yet visceral, emotive and witty for a play that captures the everyday disaster and exhilaration in the banality of London life. The perceptive look at London offered in LETTERS FROM EVERYONE is not far from the picture of the city painted in Kate Tempest’s WASTED. The two writers have used very different tools to conceive a similar city. As is noted in A Younger Theatre’s review of LETTERS FROM EVERYONE, ‘the insights offered into these four very different people paint a picture of London as a whole: big, colourful, anonymous and brutal all at the same time.’

LETTERS FROM EVERYONE runs until the 20th December at The Drayton Arms theatre in South Kensington so plenty of time to catch this award nominated new play!