Category Archive: Roundabout

Our Teacher’s a Troll: Reviews and Responses.

OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL, our fabulous show for children, is weaving it’s way across the country until 15th November. It’s left theatres full of giggling, excitable children (and adults!) in it’s wake – here’s a round-up of our favourite responses so far…


Tarvin Community Centre to host Our Teacher’s a Troll (Chester Chronicle)

Family show in Ellesmere Port by writer of West End hit  Matilda (Chester Chronicle)


You can catch the show at the the egg, Bath from today and tomorrow, and our final date is Sunday 15th November at The North Wall, Oxford.


See you there! – Team PP x

Roundabout Round-Up

We can hardly believe it, but Roundabout opened it’s doors for the final time this year earlier in the month. What a whirlwind it’s been as our portable, plug-in-and-play auditorium has undertaken a whistle stop tour, taking it all across our green and pleasant land.

Audiences of all ages have been delighted by our wide-ranging repertoire and now we’re looking back at all the moments that made us laugh and smile.



“A masterclass in storytelling that had every audience member lapping up every word…”★★★★★ The Reviews Hub

The Human Ear is a fine piece of drama” ★★★★ The Reviews Hub

“…gives us real food for thought.”★★★★ The Reviews Hub


Lungs is “clever, excellent, and powerful”” (The Linc)


“Portable dome will be home to cutting-edge theatre” (Cumbria Live)

“Students’ actors get an inside ‘view'” (West Morland Gazette)

“ARTS: cutting edge theatre in a Roundabout way” (West Morland Gazette)




“​Pop-up theatre ‘the Roundabout’ set to wow crowds in Hanley” (Stoke Sentinel)

And you can listen to Hanna on BBC Radio Stoke here, at around the 2hour 15 minute mark.

We’ve been thrilled and humbled by the responses from everyone who has visited and taken in a show and we want to say a massive THANK YOU for coming came along. We’ve loved every minute! Now we’re off to plan next year’s Roundabout programme and we’re determined to knocks your socks off – see you then!

Team PP x

Santiago tour diary

The British Council invited our Artistic Director James to the EDEC conference in Santiago to met Chilean playwrights and see LUNGS make its Latin American debut. Here’s his tour diary.

Santiago from the top of San Cristobal.

Santiago from the top of San Cristobal

Monday 28 September
This morning I watched the sunrise on Orkney at the end of EVERY BRILLIANT THING’s Highlands and Islands tour. Tonight I’m at Heathrow heading for Santiago as a guest of The British Council at Encuentro de Dramaturgia Europea Contemporánea – a conference bringing together European and Chilean theatremakers to discuss contemporary European theatre and showcase plays from across Europe. I’ve never been to Latin America so this is exciting.

Tuesday 29 September
The approach to Santiago over the snow-peaked Andes is sensational. Chile’s capital lives in a big bowl of a valley stretching 50 miles across with mountains all around it. The blanket of smog makes it look like the crater of a volcano until the plane ducks underneath to reveal the sprawling city. My host Alex – the British Council’s international projects manager here in Chile – meets me at my hotel and whisks me straight to Santiago staple Emporio La Rosa, voted one of the top 10 ice cream parlours in the world for a quick introduction to Chilean theatre and a delicious introduction to Lúcuma ice cream.

The opening event of the conference sees critic Jürgen Berger give a talk on current trends in German theatre, which is translated into Spanish and then very kindly by Alex into English for my benefit. Everyone repairs to a beautiful roof garden for wine, canapés and speeches to officially open EDEC 15. Cameras flash as the culture minister turns up to make an address.

Ana López Montaner who is directing the reading of LUNGS on Saturday invites me to join her at The Clinic, a bar famous for political debates. Ana’s excellent English makes up for my shameful lack of Spanish and we set to discussing Duncan’s wonderful play.

This way for my workshop, apparently...

This way for my workshop, apparently…

Wednesday 30 September
I’m running workshops at the beautiful Universidad Católica – a huge old monastery with trees and fountains adorning courtyards and cloisters surrounded by lecture halls and art studios and rehearsal rooms. Playwright collective Interdram has invited playwrights from across Chile to attend the conference and meet delegates. It is fascinating to hear experiences from top to bottom of this huge and varied country (Chile is 2,672 miles long), and to discover the obstacles and anxieties writers face here are largely the same as at home. We focus on politics. What makes a play political? How do the personal and political coexist in great plays? It’s a fascinating discussion here where the scars of the Pinochet dictatorship are still so clearly seen. And it’s a tough workout for my heroic translator George who simultaneously translates the discussion as everyone contributes.

Thursday 1 October
Today my workshop focus is on LUNGS, or rather PULMONES as it is in its Spanish translation. The group has read the play and really love it. It’s exhilarating to be part of a passionate debate about a play in a different language and culture, sensing how well it translates and how relevant and poignant its themes are even on the other side of the world.

Ana invites me to see a production of Camus’ LOS JUSTOS. I don’t understand a word but I’m struck by the very European aesthetic – big, bold, physical, colourful and expressionistic storytelling. It’s staged at the home of Theatrocinema who I’m excited to meet. Their productions of THE MAN WHO FED BUTTERFLIES and HISTORIA DE AMORE have wowed the Edinburgh International Festival with ground-breaking fusions of film and live performance, so I’m thrilled to get a peek behind the scenes of their super cool converted cinema home.


Friday 2 October
This morning I’m accompanying Alex at a meeting of the Arts Council and artistic directors of regional theatres. Once again I’m struck by the similarities in the discussions here and at home – a desire to see more work tour, a frustration at city hotspots attracting money and talent at the expense of the rest of the country.

Then we meet a group of playwrights who had been part of the Royal Court’s workshop programme in 2012, culminating with their plays being staged as readings in London in 2013. The experience had been transformative for them and it was great to get their take on the state of Chilean theatre. The common theme is the lack of producers, or producing infrastructure, which means writers often have to produce their own work. In fact, they quite often produce, direct and perform in their own work, and tear the tickets at the door.

This evening I’m at GAM, a magnificent modernist arts centre – Santiago’s answer to the Barbican – to see a dance piece EMOVERE which sees performers hooked up to sensors which trigger music to match their physical movement.


Saturday 3 October
I have some spare time today so I climb San Cristobal hill which looms over central Santiago and offers panoramic views of the city from the huge white statue of the Virgin Mary at its peak. I push through the crowds and marvel at the colours and aromas in the city’s two vast markets La Vega and Mercado Central before tucking into delicious ceviche and chowder.

Then it’s back to GAM for the reading of PULMONES which Ana has staged beautifully with the two actors reading the play from iPads and each scene assuming different relationships with two chairs on an otherwise empty stage. There are around 100 people listening and they love it. I know the play so well that I can follow it even though I don’t understand word-by-word and it is thrilling to hear big laughs come at exactly the points I hoped and a silence descend on the room as the play bewitches its audience just as it does back home. Proof that great art is truly universal.

We repair to an incredible wine bar called Bocanariz that serves tasting glasses from its vast menu and toast Ana’s production and Duncan’s wonderful play.


PULMONES on stage in Chile

Sunday 4 October
I spend my last morning in Santiago at the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, a museum dedicated to remembering the victims of the Pinochet regime. It’s a stark, powerful evocation of Chile’s dark recent history and a deeply moving memorial to the many who lost their lives.

It’s been an honour visiting this wonderful country and meeting so many talented, passionate playwrights. Muchos gracias particularly to Alex and Ana for being such generous hosts. Our hope is that this trip is just the beginning of an ongoing relationship between Paines Plough and theatremakers in Chile that will foster the exchange of ideas and see plays like LUNGS/PULMONES cross continents.

Now, I’ve got 48 hours to get to Bristol to see another Duncan Macmillan play. Here goes.

We’re off to… Stoke

Roundabout arrives at Appetite in Stoke-on-Trent today on the final stop of the year (sob!). Tonight’s performance of EVERY BRILLIANT THING is sold out, but fear not as we have a plethora of plays and specially programmed one-off events that you can still grab tickets for.


For those of you coming to join us, our friends at Appetite have compiled a compendium of what to see, do, eat, and drink while you’re in town.

Must see

Stoke-on-Trent (otherwise called The Potteries) is having something of a ceramics renaissance at the mo, so whilst you’re here check out the British Ceramics Biennial, in full swing over in the grand surroundings of the former Spode Factory. A 5 minute walk from the train station, you’ll find the latest in cutting edge ceramic art.

In the City Centre, check out Entrepreneurs, an artist led shop with a public exhibition space upstairs. And just down from Roundabout (opposite the beautiful Bethesda Chapel) you’ll also stumble upon a fauno-tastic new mural (below) by graffiti artist Faunographic, commissioned by Entrepreneurs for Appetite’s Big Feast.


Also in Piccadilly there’s contemporary art gallery Airspace currently featuring the exhibition ‘Icon’.

If you have time why not stroll along the canal to Burslem and have cup a tea in the recently renovated Middleport Pottery, the home of the world-famous Burleigh, soon to be seen on BBC’s The Great British Pottery Thrown Down, or take a factory tour at The Emma Bridgewater Factory.


If you’re feeling historical why not pop your head into the famous Staffordshire Hoard exhibition at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. If you’re with kids or fancy a splash around, on Festival Park just outside the City Centre, you’ll also find the epic Waterworld.

Where to stay

The Quality Hotel is in stumbling distance of the City Centre and there’s also the Great Western Moat House Hotel just a little further away.

Where to eat

In Hanley head to Cafe Zest, café by day and bistro by night or The Exchange, which does burgers and typical pub fare. There’s also Roberto’s for Italian, The Church Bar and Restaurant for upscale British food and Peter’s Tavern for authentic Czech food.A little outside the City Centre there’s also the fantastic Med Bar for authentic Italian.

While you’re here of course don’t miss the world famous Staffordshire oatcake! For the ultimate hot crispy oatcake head to the Oatie Mostons stand, 2 mins from Roundabout, and ask for a cheese and bacon. Warning: only get the large if you’re feeling ravenous!

Where to drink

Stoke’s home to some great pubs. Why not try The Holy Inadequate in Etruria or The Bulls Head in Burslem, the brewery tap of the local Titanic Brewery.

There’s also the reputedly haunted The Leopard in Burslem if you’re feeling spooky or the cosy surroundings of The Glebe in Stoke just 5 mins from the station.

In Hanley there’s the recently opened Bottle Craft which has a tasting room, The Exchange bar and the historic Coachmakers Arms. If you like your ale real, The Hop Inn in Newcastle is 2015 winner of Potteries CAMRA pub of the year.

Where to get coffee

Try tsp. for great coffee, cupcakes and nice surroundings down in Piccadilly in Hanley, also featuring murals by local artist Eight.bit. There’s also the Spitfire Café at the Mitchell Arts Centre a little further down the road and Blondies Twisted Tea Room, in the centre of Hanley. Hang out at The Bread in Common café at the British Ceramics Biennial, run by community arts company B-Arts, it’s a great place to chill and munch on some fantastic bread made in their unique bread oven.

We’re off to… Kendal

Today our ROUNDABOUT arrives in Kendal with THE HUMAN EAR, LUNGS, OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL and EVERY BRILLIANT THING in tow. The team are super excited to be visiting so we asked our friends at the Brewery Arts Centre for their list of brilliant things to see and do while we’re around…


The Castle Green Hotel, Castle Green Lane, Kendal, LA9 6RG.©

Kendal’s only 4 star hotel. The grounds are beautiful and it includes a separate real ale pub and fine dining restaurant so you can relax with a pint or do something a little special. There’s something for everyone.


The Brewery, Grainstore Restaurant, 122a Highgate, Kendal, LA9 4HE.Grainstore Restaurant

Serving a Mediterranean menu featuring tasty tapas menu with a quirky twist using local ingredients and pizzas. Situated in the Brewery complex, it’s a great spot to enjoy a bite before the show.


The Brewery, Vats Bar, 122a Highgate, Kendal, LA9 4HE.Vats Bar

Settle into one of the Brewery’s original brewing Vats and enjoy a fantastic selection of local real ales, beers and wines. Super cosy and casual it’s a great spot to relax and unwind.


The Brewery, Warehouse Cafe, 122a Highgate, Kendal, LA9 4HE.Warehouse CAfe

Shabby chic café featuring a homemade cakes, pies, crepes, snacks and local Farrer’s coffees and teas. Treat yourself! There’s also free WiFi available so you can Instagram your treats and make your friends jealous.


Abbot Hall Park.

Lucky for us, it’s just across the road from the Brewery. A lovely green open space by the River Kent surrounded by trees and historic buildings and with a nearby children’s playground. Ideal if you’re bringing the little ‘uns to see OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL.


You can’t miss Kendal Castle.

Standing atop a hill overlooking the town, it’s a spectacular ruined castle and the reputed home of Catherine Parr (one of Henry the VIII’s wives). The perfect place for panoramic views of Kendal and the surrounding fells.

If you’re coming to see a show, why don’t you check out some of these spots too?

Now to find some mint cake to take back to PPHQ…

ROUNDABOUT Reviews and Responses

ROUNDABOUT is currently weaving its way across the country and this week we’ve popped up in Lincoln where our partners and good friends LPAC have programmed a fantastic festival of local talent alongside performances of LUNGS, THE HUMAN EAR and OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL.

We’ve been absolutely bowled over by your responses to ROUNDABOUT and our shows so a big hearty thank you to everyone who has already joined us and come to see a show – we’ve loved meeting you and keeping an eye on our Twitter to see what you’ve been saying! Here’s a little snapshot of our favourite responses…


#RoundaboutPP is, in my opinion, exactly how theatre should be. A small space filled with nothing but great actors, acting their socks off.” (@SarahJCullum)

“I love that #roundaboutpp is able to go into communities without theatres. Vital work. @painesplough“(@shakespeareanLK)

And here’s just a selection of what Edinburgh’s critics and audiences have had to say about the shows…


“Fast paced and incredibly slick.” ★★★★★ (The Public Reviews)

“Thanks for a great hour of laughter and fun @painesplough #OurTeachersATroll fantastic venue #RoundaboutPP @edfringe” (@jcnewton90)

“Infectious from the off.” ★★★★ (BroadwayBaby)


 “Stunning to watch.”★★★★★ (BroadwayBaby)

#TheHumanEar at #RoundaboutPP was unsettling and complex, yet another @painesplough success. @Reese_Williams absolutely riveting as always” (@Lisa_Varty)

“Reverberates quietly long after it’s over.”★★★★ (The Guardian)

“Dazzling technical tour-de-force… astonishing.” ★★★★ (The Scotsman)  


“Simple yet profoundly moving… it is one of the best plays I have seen all year.”★★★★★ (West End Frame)

“Highlight from yesterday had to be #LungsPlay at #RoundaboutPP @painesplough Hilarious and heartbreaking in the same breath!” (@michaelwoodhall)

“What a beautiful creation @painesplough #lungsplay thank you. Think you just broke my heart @edfringe Wonderful performances x” (@AngharadLee)


“Powerfully, stunningly, joyfully uplifting – you’ll be rushing off to start your own list too.” ★★★★★ (The Skinny)


“the new @painesplough roundabout venue @Summerhallery is awesome and #everybrilliantthing defies description. MUST SEE!” (@markagorman)

You can catch ROUNDABOUT on the road until October 18th at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, Theatre Royal Margate and Appetite, Stoke.

For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

See you in ROUNDABOUT soon.

Roundabout Prototype FAQs

Hello everyone,

We’re thrilled our Prototype giveaway has fired so many imaginations and prompted so many expressions of interest. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response. So overwhelmed in fact that we’re going to struggle to respond to you all individually straight away, such is the volume of emails.

So for now we thought we’d direct you here so we could answer the most common questions in one go, we hope you don’t mind.

How much does it cost?

Nothing. We don’t want any money for it. We’re giving it away free to good homes. But there will be associated costs…

What are the associated costs?

All the following costs are estimates only, offered as a guide. You will need to cover the load from our store into a 40ft trailer (£400) and transport (£400 – £800 depending on where you are in the UK). You will need to hire a specialist crew of eight at £12-£15 pp p/h for the fit up at your venue plus our production manager (£500 + travel, accommodation and per diems) to include transport booking, organising truck load, assessing fit up site, updating relevant health & safety documentation, advising on crew and one day fit up. You will need a specialist carpenter present at the fit up (£250) and a hired skip (£200). Plus contingency.

Do I need a license?

The prototype is classified as seating so as long as it sits within a venue with an existing entertainment license there should be no further costs associated with licensing. If you do not have an entertainment license you will need to apply for one via your local council and there will be costs associated with that.

What are the dimensions of the structure?

12m diameter, 5m high. You will require a further 1.2m around the structure as a legal requirement for emergency exit routes. So you will need a minimum space of 14.2m² and clearance of 6m to the grid. The performance space is 4.6m diameter.

Do you have technical drawings?

Yes, you can download them here:

Use the ‘Roundabout Prototype Plans’ link from the ‘Links and Downloads’ section on the right of the page.

How much space does it take up when stored?

It fills a 40ft trailer to the rim.

How much does it cost to store?

It’s about £75 per week to store it on a 40ft trailer.

How much does it weigh?

Approximately three tonnes.

Is it waterproof?

No. So it will need to sit inside an existing structure or at very least a tent.

Why are we doing this?

We now have our state-of-the-art, fully portable, pop-up Roundabout out on the road. So we no longer have a use for the prototype which we built back in 2011 to test the concept and the architecture before building the real thing. But the prototype remains a beautifully designed, highly engineered auditorium. We want it to go to good homes so it can be enjoyed by audiences and artists. We were only able to build Roundabout thanks to the belief and generous financial support of many wonderful Trusts & Foundations and individuals so we want to pass on some of that goodwill by lending the prototype to people who can give it a future life to benefit more people.

What else will I need?

You’ll have to provide proof of public liability insurance for the period of time the prototype is in your custody. We’ll insure the installation and removal, either end.

How long can I have it for?

If you could use the auditorium for part of the year, perhaps others could use it the rest of the time, and you could share the costs between you. It’s also possible you could have the auditorium for a couple of years or take it off our hands altogether. Once we’ve been in touch with everyone individually, we’ll work out if there is obvious home or convenient pattern amongst many interested parties and go from there.

What happens next?

If you’re still interested having read all the above and you have a concrete plan for the prototype and the means to absorb the associated costs, please could you send us an expression of interest that includes the following information:

– Your name

– Your organisation

– Where you’re based

– What’s your plan for the prototype (a really brief outline, just the salient points, we don’t want to make this hard work)?

– Who will benefit?

– How long you want it for and when you want it.

– How you’re meeting the associated costs.

– Anything else important you might want to tell us.

Please send your expression of interest to with Prototype as the subject line by 4pm on Friday 2 October 2015.

How will we decide who gets it?

Oh gosh, we’re not sure yet, we’ve been rather taken aback by the level of interest. We’ll gather all the expressions of interest on Friday 2 October and we’ll try to make a decision by Friday 16 October. It’s not a competition – we’d love all of you to have it, you’d all make great use of it. But as there’s only one prototype we’ll just have to bite the bullet and choose its new home(s) on the basis of where we think it can make the biggest difference or benefit people the most. It will be a really hard decision, but we’ll try to make it a good decision.

Thanks for reading. And thanks so much for your interest. We’re so excited the prototype will have new life.

More questions? If there’s anything we haven’t answered here please email with ‘Prototype question’ as the subject line and we’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.

Arts Council backing for Roundabout

High fives at PPHQ with the news that Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme will invest £784,052 in the future of Roundabout.


This is really exciting news for us because it means that we’ll be able to deliver festivals of brand new work in Roundabout every year for the next three years and develop and expand our already exciting partnerships in Barnsley, Margate, Lincoln, Kendal, Cornwall, Stoke-on-Trent and Salford right through to 2018.

Our aim is for Roundabout to become a creative hub everywhere it visits showcasing top notch new plays from PP alongside locally produced and curated festivals tailored to each community – engaging audiences while giving a platform to local talent.

Here’s what our ADs James & George had to say:

“We are indebted to Arts Council England for the belief and support evidenced by this investment from the Strategic Touring Programme. This enables us to further realise the potential of Roundabout to offer people across the UK access to the best new theatre. We look forward to working with key partners including Margate Theatre Royal, Lincoln Performing Arts Centre and Brewery Arts Centre Kendal to invite local people to curate and take part in festivals of new work in Roundabout in their home towns.”

Roundabout launched as the centerpiece of our 40th anniversary programme in 2014 thanks to the generous support of principal funder Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation along with J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, John Ellerman Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation.  This funding from the Arts Council will help us pop-up all over England and ensures that the Roundabout will form an integral part of future Paines Plough’s programmes.


We love being out on the road, sharing our shows with audiences far and wide, and we’re super chuffed that we’ll be able to continue doing that in Roundabout. Thanks to everyone at Arts Council England for their belief and support, and thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm for Roundabout.

We’ll be popping up in a town near you soon…

Anyone want a theatre?


Remember this? It’s our prototype Roundabout auditorium which we built to test the concept before we built the real thing. You will have sat in the prototype if you came to see our Roundabout seasons at Sheffield Theatres in 2011 or Shoreditch Town Hall in 2012.

It’s just sitting there in our store and we wondered whether anyone out there might want to put it to good use?

The prototype is essentially a scale model of our Roundabout auditorium. It’s made of steel and wood and seats 138 people completely in the round. It was never intended to tour so it doesn’t do any of the clever flat pack stuff and of course there’s no roof so no inbuilt lighting or sound.

But even though we’ve upgraded to a newer model, the prototype remains a very cool structure and it seems a terrible shame not to use it.

If you think you could resurrect the prototype and put it to use, give us a shout, we’d love to hear from you.


We’re off to… Newbury

We’ve packed away our Irn Bru and migrated down south from Edinburgh to kick off the Autumn leg of Roundabout’s tour of the UK. First stop, Newbury!

Alongside EVERY BRILLIANT THING, OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL and LUNGS we’re super excited to be taking THE HUMAN EAR out and about having premiered at the Fringe. The show received glowing 4* star reviews from The British Theatre Guide, who said it ‘maintains high drama throughout’, and The Guardian who commented that the play ‘reverberates quietly long after it’s over’. It all kicks off TONIGHT, so what are you waiting for? Get involved!

For those of you joining us, here’s a little cheat sheet to make the most of your time in Newbury courtesy of our friends at the Corn Exhange…

Where to eat

Brebis (independent family run French restaurant – AMAZING food)

El Sabio (Spanish Tapas – independent family run)

Tiy Tea Bar (Asian snack – authentic!)

Chilis (Indian – the food is amazing and the staff are lovely!)

Where to drink

Kings Charles Tavern (nice atmosphere)

The Newbury (cocktails and good beers)

The Catherine Wheel (great selection of beers!)

Lock Stock and Barrel (nice outdoor seating on the canal)

Newbury Real Ale Festival on Saturday 12 September!

Mr Moo Juice (milkshakes and juices!)

The famous bridge in the town centre by the Lock, Stock & Barrel which a Troll might live under…

Where to get coffee

All independents…

If nice weather: The Teashop by the Canal – just a 3min walk from the theatre!

Quaint teashop just off the main high street: Weavers Walk Teashop

Top of the high street- Heatherton’s

Hang out at/Must see

101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space

Boat trip on the Kennet & Avon Canal – see Carolyn at the Tourist Information across the Market Place (the building with the big clock!)

Highclere Castle (open until 10 September)

Donnington Castle – great views of Newbury!

Shaw House – historical house

West Berkshire Museum – just 2mins walk from the theatre

Greenham Common

Our cinema! this week we’re showing Irrational Man