Category Archive: Roundabout

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.

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

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.

Backstage at The Stage Awards

Here’s an interview with our AD James, Roundabout designers Lucy Osborne and Emma Chapman, and Gavin Green from consultants Charcoalblue. They were speaking to The Stage after picking up Theatre Building Of The Year for Roundabout at The Stage Awards 2015.

Watch  the video below or head over to The Stage for the full feature.

Roundabout in Brighton

Roundabout is back, and heading for Brighton.

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We’re thrilled to be part of a top class line-up at The Brighton Festival this May. Roundabout will pop-up in the beautiful Regency Square over-looking the sea, and host three weeks of unmissable theatre.

Fresh from its hugely acclaimed Off-Broadway run, EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe is back on home soil for seven performances in Brighton. It’s joined by Duncan Macmillan’s award-winning, much loved LUNGS which returns to the Roundabout Rep alongside Alexandra Wood’s Scotsman Fringe First Award winning THE INITIATE and Dennis Kelly’s wickedly funny OUR TEACHER’S A TROLL for children 7+ and their accompanying trolls.

Four in a row

The Festival runs from 2 – 24 May, and full details of the line-up curated by guest director Ali Smith can be found on the festival website.

We’ll be announcing more tour dates for Roundabout very soon, so stay tuned. Wherever you are we’ll be popping up near you soon.

Meantime… fish and chips, penny arcades and a world class arts festival line-up by the beach? Yes please.

Roundbout wins Stage Award

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The prosecco corks were popping at PPHQ last week as Roundabout was crowned Theatre Building Of The Year at The Stage Awards.

The judges described Roundabout as “one of the most exciting new spaces in the country” and praised the portability of our pop-up beauty.

We were thrilled to share the award with The Everyman in Liverpool, which won The Stirling Prize this year, and to share the shortlist with The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Exalted company indeed.

Our AD James and designers Lucy Osborne and Emma Chapman were on hand to pick up the award from the legendary Richard Pilbrow at the awards ceremony at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Here’s the judges’ full citation:

The pop-up Roundabout Theatre is the work of Paines Plough, who wanted to be able to take the companyʼs work to as many different locations and communities as possible. An in-the-round space with 168 seats that can be set up indoors or outdoors, the theatreʼs lighting runs off mains electricity, and when taken apart the entire structure fits in a single lorry. The judges described the “IKEA theatre” as one of the most exciting new spaces in the country, and were impressed with its potential to open up theatre to new locations and new audiences.

Naturally, we’re thrilled. Building Roundabout was a huge undertaking which was only made possible by the brilliance of our designers, collaborators and consultants, and by the generosity and belief of our many donors and supporters. THANK YOU. We share the award with you all.

Here’s a photo of Emma, Lucy, Gavin Green from theatre consultants Charcoalblue and James picking up the award…

Stage Awards

And here’s the TV highlights package from the awards ceremony…

Congrats to all the winners and nominees. And thanks to The Stage. The newly crowned Theatre Building Of The Year will be back out on tour around the UK in 2015. Stay tuned for all the details…

Open Auditions in the Roundabout Auditorium

Paines Plough Open Auditions
Thursday 25 September 2014
Roundabout @ Hackney Downs Studios, 17 Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT
10am – 6pm


We’re really excited to be holding our next round of open auditions in the Roundabout Auditorium, in London. The Roundabout will be at Hackney Downs Studios from 22 – 27 September as part of its inaugural tour this autumn.

We are looking to meet actors previously unknown to Paines Plough and our next meeting will be held on Thursday 25 September 2014 in London. We will see 50 actors (25 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 @ ROUNDABOUT HACKNEY 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 25 emails, we will email you back by Monday 15 September with an audition time.
– If you weren’t in the first 25 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.

We are also offering an ACTING IN THE ROUND workshop for actors, on Wednesday 24 September, 3-5pm which is free to anyone who has a ticket to one of our shows over that week. Places are limited and will be offered on a first come first served basis. For further information click here and if you would like to book your place please email Francesca Moody at francesca@painesplough.com.

Best wishes,
George, James and all at Paines Plough

Roundabout: Name a seat


Following its launch at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Roundabout has embarked on its inaugural tour.

The response so far has been overwhelming, leaving us truly invigorated and inspired for the future. Thank you to everyone who has supported us.

We still need your help to keep Roundabout on the road for many years to come.

If you enjoyed your Roundabout experience, you can leave your own mark by naming a seat in the auditorium. Simply make a donation at: justgiving.com/roundaboutauditorium, and our designers will create a bespoke, lasting thank you for your support, which will travel around the country on your seat in the Roundabout.

“The @painesplough Roundabout is a beautiful, magical space.” – @evenicol

“Wins most beautiful interior venue by far.” – @chaotickirstyy

“Something strange and delightful has landed… It’s Paines Plough’s new portable Roundabout auditorium.” – Evening Standard

“The loveliest venue at the Fringe.” - The List

“A perfect setting.” – WhatsOnStage.com

Roundabout is on tour this Autumn from 27 August – 4 October 2014. It will be popping up at Corn Exchange Newbury (27 – 30 August),  Margate Winter Gardens (3 – 7 September),  Hackney Downs Studios (22 – 27 September) and Barnsley Civic (2 – 4 October).

We hope to see you there.

If you would like more information on the Roundabout, please click here. For further information on each show in the Roundabout, please visit our website.

#RoundaboutPP @painesplough

Roundabout Autumn Tour

Following an incredibly warm reception in Edinburgh, Roundabout will embark on its inaugural tour this Autumn.

We’ll be popping up at Newbury Corn ExchangeMargate Winter GardensHackney Downs Studios and Barnsley Civic.

Tour dates:
Newbury Corn Exchange: 27 – 30 August 2014
Margate Winter Gardens: 3 – 7 September 2014
Hackney Downs Studios: 22 – 27 September 2014
Barnsley Civic: 2 – 4 October 2014

We hope to see you there.

Find more information about the Roundabout here.
View the Roundabout trailers.
Find out about naming a seat in the Roundabout.
For enquiries and general information, visit our website

#RoundaboutPP @painesplough