Theatr Clwyd announces 2017 Summer and Autumn seasons

Tamara Harvey
Tamara Harvey

Tamara Harvey

As she completes her first year as Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd, Tamara Harvey today announced the 2017 Summer and Autumn seasons for the company. These include four world premières; BoHo, a co-production with Hijinx Theatre which features both learning disabled and non-disabled actors, and, after a successful collaboration on the production of Love Lies and Taxidermy, Theatr Clwyd reunites with Paines Plough to open the 2017 Roundabout Season with co-productions of Black Mountain, Out Of Love and How To Be A Kid in collaboration with the Orange Tree Theatre. The Theatr Clwyd and Sheffield Theatres co-production of a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, by Welsh Playwright Peter Gill, will be directed by Harvey and will open at Clwyd from the 21 September ahead of transferring to Sheffield Theatres as part of Robert Hastie’s inaugural season.

This summer will see the second annual Family Arts Weekend take place as Theatr Clwyd gives access to all areas of the building with performances, workshops and adventures for children of all ages and their families. Following on from this, the Summer Schools for children aged 6-18 will run from 31 July – 18 August and from October 5 Kate Wasserberg returns to Clwyd to direct a new production of The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright.

Highlights of the visiting programme include Theatr Clwyd hosting the National Theatre’s My Country; a work in progress by Artistic Director Rufus Norris and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Welsh pianist Llyr Williams and international renowned clarinettist Emma Johnson and the Castalian String Quartet present a programme including Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets. In June, Kneehigh’s acclaimed Tristan & Yseult will be at the theatre and tells a great celtic love story in an show which blends comedy and live music for an irresistible night of love.

Tamara Harvey said today “Celebrating homegrown talent is at the forefront of what we do at Theatr Clwyd and we are privileged, in this forthcoming season, to be working with world renowned and emerging Welsh and Wales-based artists, including playwrights Peter Gill and Brad Birch and director Kate Wasserberg. And I’m very proud to be welcoming back Hannah Noone to direct the world premiere of ‘BoHo’ in our co-production with Hijinx, featuring actors with and without learning disabilities. As I begin my second year in the role of Artistic Director, I’m looking forward to building on the inspiring relationships we’ve formed with some of the UK’s most creative individuals and companies. We’re particularly honoured to be co-producing Paines Plough’s 2017 Roundabout season and opening all three new plays on Theatr Clwyd’s beautiful hillside. Already this spring we’ve co-produced three premières – Scarlett, Junkyard and Sinners Club, the latter created by our first Writer in Residence, Lucy Rivers, whilst she was with us at Theatr Clwyd. As the Writers in Residence scheme begins its second year, my hope is that the relationships we build will further establish us as a home from home for emerging writers as they take centre stage at the heart of our work.”


Roundabout is the world’s first pop-up, plug-and-play theatre. It flat packs into a lorry and pops up all over the country in theatres, school halls, warehouses, sports centres, car parks and fields. Theatr Clwyd are proud to hold the press night for How To Be A Kid on Thursday 29 June and Out Of Love and Black Mountain press nights will be held in Edinburgh. Artistic Director of Paines Plough, James Grieve, will direct three world première productions that will appear in rep on Theatr Clwyd’s hilltop throughout July.



By Elinor Cook

 A Theatr Clwyd, Paines Plough and Orange Tree Theatre co-production

 Director: James Grieve

 Monday 10 – Saturday 22 July

 From the award-winning writer of Pilgrims, which was co-produced with Theatr Clwyd, HighTide and Vicky Graham Productions and directed by Tamara Harvey, Out Of Love is a tale of friendship, love and rivalry over thirty years.

 Lorna and Grace do everything together and share everything. But when Lorna gets a place at university and Grace gets pregnant they suddenly find themselves in starkly different worlds. Can anything bridge the gap between them?

 Elinor Cook won the 2013 George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright for Pilgrims, directed by Tamara Harvey, and her play The Girl’s Guide to Saving the World was produced by HighTide as part of their festival in April 2014, directed by Amelia Sears. Her other plays include Ten Weeks (Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama at Gate Theatre), Microwave (short-listed for the Old Vic/Theatre 503 Award for new writing),The Boy Preference (National Theatre Connections), The Circle Game (Old Vic New Voices Time Warner Ignite 3 recipient and performed at Latitude Festival) and This is Where We Got to When You Came In (co-written with non zero one and Bush Theatre). She wrote an episode of The Secrets, which was directed by Dominic Savage on BBC One. 

James Grieve directs all three Roundabout productions and is Joint Artistic Director of Paines Plough. For Paines Plough his credits include Broken Biscuits, Jumpers For Goalposts, The Angry Brigade, An Intervention, Love, Love, Love, Hopelessly Devoted, Wasted, The Sound Of Heavy Rain, You Cannot Go Forward From Where You Are Right Now, Tiny Volcanoes and Fly Me To The Moon. Other directing credits include a new production of Les Miserables (Wermland Opera in Karlstad) Translations (Sheffield Theatres/ETT/Rose Theatre Kingston), A NOBODY (66 BOOKS) by Laura Dockrill, The Whisky Taster and Psychogeography (Bush Theatre), and The List (Arcola Theatre). Grieve has also directed comedians and poets including Isy Suttie, Simon Brodkin (Lee Nelson), Luke Wright, Martin Figura and Aisle16.



By Sarah McDonald-Hughes

 A Theatr Clwyd, Paines Plough and Orange Tree Theatre co-production

 Director: James Grieve

 Saturday 24 June – Saturday 22 July

Press Night: Thursday 29 June 7pm

From Manchester playwright Sarah McDonald-Hughes, How To Be a Kid is for children 7 or over and is alarger than life story of friends, family and fitting in and tackles some big subjects with extraordinary lightness of touch and a lot of joyous dancing.

 Molly cooks and does the dishes. She gets her little brother Joe ready for school. Molly is only 12, but she doesn’t feel much like a kid anymore. Now her mum is feeling better, maybe things will get back to normal. Can Molly learn to be a kid again?

Sarah McDonald Hughes is an award-winning playwright. Her work includes Multi Story (Octagon Bolton),Wondrous Place (Northern Spirit/Liverpool Unity/Sheffield Crucible/Northern Stage/Royal Exchange), Flesh(Manchester Royal Exchange), By Far The Greatest Team, Once In A House On Fire, Maine Road(Monkeywood Theatre), Salisbury Street (Liverpool Everyman), The Tower (Paines Plough/Royal Exchange Studio), The Tree, Night Train (Action Transport Theatre), and Our Pals and The North (Royal Exchange Studio).



By Brad Birch

A Theatr Clwyd, Paines Plough and Orange Tree Theatre co-production

Director: James Grieve

Saturday 8 – Friday 21 July

 Black Mountain from Welsh playwright Brad Birch is a tense psychological thriller about betrayal and forgiveness.

 Rebecca and Paul are running away. They’re trying to save their relationship. An isolated house in the country is the perfect place to work things out. But you can’t run forever. Especially when you’re being followed.

Brad Birch is an award-winning writer. His plays include This Must Be The Place (Poleroid Theatre/ VAULT Festival), The Brink (Orange Tree Theatre), The Protest (The Old Vic), Selfie: The Modern Day Dorian Gray(Ambassador’s Theatre), Tender Bolus (Manchester Royal Exchange/Schauspielhaus), Gardening For The Unfulfilled and Alienated (winner Fringe First Award 2013) (Undeb Theatre/Edinburgh Festival), Soap Opera, Where The Shot Rabbits Lay, Permafrost (Royal Court Theatre), Even Stillness Breathes Softly Against A Brick Wall (Soho Theatre Upstairs), Want For Nothing-For Waifs And Strays (Lyric Hammersmith), Light Arrested Between The Curtain And The Glass (Sherman Cymru) and Sunflowers, The Snow Queen (Theatr Prowys).

Roundabout is part of Paines Plough’s Programme 2017. Following Theatr Clwyd, Roundabout will tour to Salford, Kendal, Margate, Lincoln, Darlington, Poole, Stoke and Luton in Autumn 2017. Orange Tree Theatre dates, Edinburgh dates and casting for Roundabout 2017 will be announced in due course.



Devised by Hijinx Theatre Company

 A Theatr Clwyd and Hijinx Theatre co-production

 Director and Composer: Hannah Noone

 Thursday 22 – Saturday 24 June

Press Night: Thursday 22 June
Devised by the company with a score by Hannah Noone, the world première production of BoHo is a dystopian musical misadventure.

Hannah Noone has previously worked at Theatr Clwyd as Assistant Director on Tamara Harvey’s first two productions, Much Ado About Nothing and Pilgrims. She is a member of the JMK Sherman Cymru’s Directors Group, Resident Director for Opera’r Ddraig and Artistic Director of Welsh Youth Performance Academy. Directing credits include Die Fledermaus, The Beggar’s Opera, Carmen, Hansel & Gretel (Opera’r Ddraig), Cinderella (Bute Park Opera) and Venus & Adonis (Opera Mint).



By Anton Chekhov; Adapted by Peter Gill

Director: Tamara Harvey

Thursday 21 September – Saturday 14 October

Press Night: Tuesday 26 September 7.45pm

Chekhov’s comic tragedy about polite people going crazy in the middle of nowhere, drinking too much and not having enough sex. Can people ever take a leap and change their own lives?

 Tamara Harvey directs this poignant comedy in a heartbreaking new version by Peter Gill, which was commissioned by Theatr Clwyd. The production will be performed in the round.

 Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was a Russian playwright and short story writer. His principal works for the stage include Ivanov, Platonov, The Seagull, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

 Peter Gill (b.1939) is a Welsh playwright, theatre director and actor. As a playwright, his works include, The Sleeper’s Den, Over Gardens Out, Small Change, Kick for Touch, Cardiff East, Certain Young Men, The York Realist, Original Sin, Another Door Closed, Versailles and As Good a Time as Any. His adaptations for the stage include A Provincial Life, The Merry-Go-Round, The Cherry Orchard, Touch and Go, As I Lay Dyingand The Seagull.

 Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd, Tamara Harvey directs – which sees her return to Sheffield Theatres following her recent production of Pride and Prejudice. She has directed in the West End, throughout the UK and abroad, working on classic plays, new writing, musical theatre and in film. Her inaugural production for Theatr Clwyd was Much Ado About Nothing, followed by the première of Elinor Cook’s award-winning new play, Pilgrims and Skylight by David Hare. Her previous credits include the world premières of From Here To Eternity (Shaftesbury Theatre), Breeders (St James Theatre), The Kitchen Sink, The Contingency Plan,Sixty-Six Books and tHe dYsFUnCKshOnalZ! (Bush Theatre), In the Vale of Health (a cycle of four plays by Simon Gray), Elephants, Blue Heart Afternoon and Hello/Goodbye (Hampstead Theatre), and Plague Over England (Finborough Theatre & West End). Other theatre includes Kreutzer vs Kreutzer (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse/Royal Festival Hall), Bash (Trafalgar Studios), Whipping It Up (New Ambassadors), One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Gielgud & Garrick Theatres), Educating Rita and Smash (Menier Chocolate Factory & Theatre Royal Bath), Romeo and Juliet (Theatre of Memory at Middle Temple Hall), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe), Dancing at Lughnasa (Birmingham Rep), Bedroom Farce (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Importance of Being Earnest (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Closer(Theatre Royal Northampton), Tell Me On A Sunday (UK Tour) and the UK première of Tennessee Williams’Something Cloudy, Something Clear (Finborough Theatre). Harvey directed the Shakespeare scenes that form an integral part of Anonymous, the feature film by Roland Emmerich; has twice been on the panel of the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright, and is a Trustee of the Peggy Ramsay Foundation and of the National Student Drama Festival.  She was Associate Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre in 2010-11, overseeing the move to the Bush’s new home and directing the first three productions in the new theatre.



By Jim Cartwright

Director: Kate Wasserberg

 Thursday 5 – Saturday 28 October

Press Night: Tuesday 10 October

 In a northern town in the 1980s Little Voice hides in her room with her favourite records, away from the chaos of the world outside, with a secret that could change her life – a voice that could make millions. But will she sing? Little Voice is an award-winning comedy about mothers, daughters and finding a voice of your own.

 Jim Cartwright is an award-winning writer and his plays have been translated into over 35 languages. His plays include Bed (National Theatre), Two (Octagon Theatre/The Young Vic), Eight Miles High (Octagon Theatre) and Rise and Fall of Little Voice (National Theatre/The Aldwych Theatre). He made his directorial debut with Road at The Royal Exchange Theatre and as a director his credits include I licked a Slag’s Deodorant, Hard Fruit (Royal Court Theatre), Prize Night (Royal Exchange Theatre), A Christmas Fair(Milton Rooms), Mobile Phone Show (National Theatre), The Ancient Secret of Youth and The Five Tibetans, Two2 (The Octagon). His television work includes Road, Vroom, Wedded and June.

 Kate Wasserberg is the Artistic Director of The Other Room in Cardiff, where her directing credits for the company include Blasted, The Dying of Today, Play/Silence, Sand and Seanmhair. She returns to Theatr Clwyd where as an Associate Director her credits include Aristocrats, Salt, Root and Roe, Glengarry Glen Ross, Roots, Gaslight, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Glass Menagerie and A History of Falling Things and other credits for the company include All My Sons and Insignificance. Other credits include The Barnbow Canaries (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Ten Weeks (Paines Plough), The Knowledge (Dirty Protest at the Royal Court) and Last Christmas (Edinburgh Festival). As Associate Director of the Finborough Theatre, her credits include Mirror Teeth, The Man (National Tour), Sons of York, Little Madam, The Representative, I Wish to Die Singing and The New Morality.


Behold: Paines Plough 

Paines Plough are one of theatre’s secret weapons. The touring new writing company has  and are continuing their extremely brilliant partnership with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Gate Theatre in fostering talent by staging Hush by Alison Carr.

For the past three years, they have supported emerging writers has penned a short play for the graduating class of the college which is then staged in Cardiff and London for a short run. Previous playwrights who have taken part in the partnership with Paines Plough, RWCMD and Gate Theatre are Elinor Cook and Brad Birch who are both debuting full length new plays at Paines Plough Roundabout later this year.

I caught up with Hush writer Alison Carr and Paines Plough’s Artistic Director James Grieve to chat about new writing, the amazing new season, mainstream criticism and more.

Basically, it’s a really good chat.

Alison Carr

Alison Carr

Hi Alison, Paines Plough have a solid reputation for nurturing young theatre talent – how does it feel to be part of that?
It’s great. I first worked with Paines Plough about seven years ago when I took part in Come To Where I’m From at Live Theatre in Newcastle. I met James and George; I really liked the company and what they were doing. I wanted to be part of it. We’ve kept in touch and when I got the call to write their co-commission with RWCMD I was thrilled. And a bit daunted. A cast of eight, you say?! But they’ve been really supportive and encouraging throughout the process and I’m really proud of the play and excited for people to see it.

Last year you completed The Traverse Fifty – a 6-month attachment with Monkeywood Theatre. How helpful was that experience?
They’re actually two separate things. The Traverse Fifty was a year-long attachment with the Traverse that I was part of in 2013. It was incredible; I’d definitely say one of the most important experiences of my writing career so far. I was actually on the verge of packing-in writing when I entered to be part of it – it was a real make or break moment. The attachment with Manchester’s Monkeywood Theatre a couple of years ago was an opportunity to be supported over a 6-month draft process, culminating in a development day and a reading. It’s always good to have structure and support when you’re writing – I need deadlines and pressure – and then the chance to hear the play read by actors, work with a director, it’s all invaluable with a new work.

What is your play ‘Hush’ about?
There’s a question. There are three strands to the story – a young woman who comes back to the town she grew up in and left under a cloud, her former best friend who has stayed in the town and tried to live a good life, and a young man who waits in limbo for the return of his missing brother. So, broadly speaking, it’s about coming home, leaving vs staying, guilt, identity and loss. There are some jokes in there too, though.


Are there any writing tips that you live by?
It’s not exactly a pithy quote, but ‘just get on with it’ would be the main one. The amount of time I waste on worrying and procrastination, whereas when I just sit down and do something I feel so much better. Also, small achievable goals are key and time off is allowed.


James Grieve

James Grieve

Congratulations on the wonderful Paines Plough season. What are you most excited about?
All of it. But particularly our Roundabout tour because I get to direct three outstanding new plays by Brad Birch, Elinor Cook and Sarah McDonald-Hughes with an ensemble of actors and go on tour in our beautiful pop-up theatre to lots of great places around the UK. We built Roundabout to give people amazing theatre experiences in places where there isn’t usually any theatre and it’s one of the things I’m most passionate about doing.


Paines Plough doesn’t just develop exciting new writing but also cultivate directors and mentor them in producing bigger work. Why is that important to the company?
Great new plays need directors who understand and genuinely love playwrights and possess the particular skills and sensitivity needed to deliver a world premiere production of a new play. Developing directors with those skills and forging relationships between directors and playwrights is very important to us. John Tiffany first worked with Gregory Burke, Enda Walsh and Jack Thorne at PP and those lasting relationships went on to make BLACK WATCH, ONCE and HARRY POTTER. Our former Artistic Directors now run The Royal Court and Birmingham Rep. Our Associate Companies are run by the leading Artistic Directors of the future. New talent is following in the footsteps of Ian Rickson and Katie Mitchell as PP assistant directors. Developing great new writing directors is essential to PP now and vital to the entire theatre industry in the future.

You are continuing your partnership with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Gate Theatre in nurturing young talent. What makes this partnership so special?
The NEW season is the visionary brainchild of RWCMD’s head of acting Dave Bond. With the college we co-commission and co-produce a new play written for and performed by the graduating actors as the final show of their training. It’s a fantastic challenge for playwrights to write big cast, ensemble plays with equally weighted roles. It’s a wonderful opportunity for a playwright and director to develop a relationship. It’s an incredible, unique opportunity for the student actors to bridge training and professional life by originating roles in a world premiere by an outstanding contemporary playwright, working with a professional director and performing in both Cardiff and London. It’s a completely brilliant project. And the plays sometimes go on to have a professional life – Ali McDowell’s POMONA and our own Luke Norris’ GROWTH began life as NEW productions.

With the Guardian cutting the extremely brilliant Lyn Gardner’s theatre blog – the big question is: will all mainstream critics end up on Theatre’s rocks, being eaten by crabs?
No, Lyn is far too vital to be marginalised. She will continue to be an essential read wherever she posts her reviews and analysis. I’m sad at the loss of the Guardian blog, but I’m equally excited by the emergence of new platforms and publications and the vitality of theatre writing and criticism online.

Great initiative by Team Paines Plough: Open auditions in London and Luton

Monday 03 April, 1-4pm @ The Hat Factory, Luton LU1 2EY
Wednesday 05 April, 10am-5pm @ Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond TW9 2SA

Team Paines Plough have announced the  next round of open auditions in collaboration with  Revoluton Arts and the Orange Tree Theatre.

They’re looking to meet actors previously unknown to Paines Plough with a passion for new writing. You can apply in pairs for one of the dates from now until 10 am on 21 March and then they will randomly select 15 duos to see in Luton and 30 duos for Richmond. This is to ensure that everyone who wants to apply is able to, and that the selection process is fair to everyone.

In Luton, they are  only looking for actors who are originally from – or currently live – in Luton or wider Bedfordshire. If you’re not from Bedfordshire please do not apply for these open auditions.

Anyone is welcome to apply for the open auditions in Richmond.

This is how to apply:

– Find yourself a partner – they’re auditioning people in pairs.
– Pick your venue – they only want to meet Bedfordshire actors on 03 April so make sure you apply for the Orange Tree date if you’re not from or based in the area.
– Register by filling in this form by 10am on Tuesday 21 March. There’s no need to send in anything else in advance.
– If you are selected to audition, they will  get in touch with you by Friday 24 March with an audition time – make sure you let them know if you can make it or not.
– If you’re not selected to audition this time, you will be kept on a waiting list and may be offered an audition if a slot becomes available.
– Once everything’s confirmed, please prepare a three-minute duologue from a play written in the last 15 years.
– On the day, all you need is your Spotlight or CV printout and your partner.

Some things to bear in mind:

– If you have auditioned for Paines Plough before, you won’t be eligible to audition this time round.
– To give everyone a fair shot, agent or not, they will  only accept applications from actors so, if you have an agent, please apply using your own email address.
– Places are all allocated in advance. Due to high demand they normally can’t accommodate requests for a different time, and they will be unable to see people on a walk-up basis.
– If for any reason you can’t make your audition please let us them know  ASAP by emailing [email protected]. If you don’t turn up to your audition without letting them know in advance, you won’t be able to apply for future Paines Plough Open Auditions.
– They can only accept applications made with this form before the deadline.
– Due to the large volume of people they will be seeing, they won’t be able to offer feedback.
– They aren’t casting for a particular show at the moment – they just want to meet some new actors so that they can bear you in mind for future productions. So don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back from them after your audition.
– Check out our FAQs for more information about the application process and what to expect on the day, or ping them an email at [email protected] if you’re not sure about anything.
– Don’t worry if you don’t live in the area –they try to hold as many Open Auditions as they can throughout the year all around the UK. Join their  mailing list or keep an eye on Paines Plough social media for details of the next ones…


You can download our FAQs here: Open Audition FAQs

Paines Plough announces Programme 2017

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Interview: Broken Biscuits Tom Wells: “The other day I was trying to explain something a bit awkward and eat a Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer at the same time and it went a bit wrong”

Broken Biscuits is part of Paines Plough’s Programme 2016 which has also included Sabrina Mahfouz’s With A Little Bit of Luck, Come To Where I’m From: Ahead of the new coming-of-age comedy world premier of Broken Biscuits.

Tom Wells

Tom Wells © Matt Humphrey

I had a chat with its writer, Tom Wells,  about how he came to be a playwright, being part of Paines Plough 2016 season and getting something stuck in his throat.

Hi Tom! Can you tell us a secret about Broken Biscuits?
Something really good happens at the end.

How did you come to be a playwright?
I did a course at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds – you didn’t need to have written a play before, you just wrote them a letter and had a go. Some things I did in the workshops ended up being my first play, which they put on. And then I just carried on.

When was the last time you got something stuck in your throat?
The other day I was trying to explain something a bit awkward and eat a Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer at the same time and it went a bit wrong.

What emoji best sums up your life at the moment and why?
The biscuit is popping up quite a lot just lately.

Have you ever managed to get a cuddly toy out of those machines with the claw thing?
No. I’ve given up.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done while drunk?
I woke up in a skip once. But my friend Kate got in a bin and weed so it seemed less bad.

What is your favourite biscuit?

Broken Biscuits is part of Paines Plough’s Programme 2016 – that must be exciting! Could you tell us a little about your history with the company?
I first started working there in 2009 – Tessa and Rox, who now work at Birmingham Rep, ran a year-long attachment called Future Perfect, which was brilliant. We put short pieces of work on, talked to lots of different writers, went to see properly good plays and somehow just turned into playwrights. And then James and George took over and commissioned a play called Jumpers For Goalposts, which James directed in 2013. And we had a good time working on it so we’ve had another go, which is Broken Biscuits. I think Paines Plough as a company has got magic in it. It is lovely to be part of this year’s Programme.

Broken Biscuits

Easy question: who do you think is the best living playwright?
Annie Baker.

Following it’s run at Live Theatre in Newcastle, Broken Biscuits will be heading out on a UK tour – are you excited for audiences around the UK to see it?
Really excited.

Broken Biscuits opens at Live Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne from 5 – 22 October before embarking on a UK tour. Click HERE to buy your tickets for Broken Biscuits.


TRAILER RELEASED – Paines Plough – Broken Biscuits // 5-22 October Live Theatre, Newcastle and UK Tour

The trailer for Paines Plough’s forthcoming UK Tour of ‘Broken Biscuits’ by Tom Wells– billed as “A funny and heart-warming coming-of-age story about three teenagers who decide to form a band.” – is now on internet and it’s a suitably lively affair.
Here’s the trailer (there’s a good bit where someone yells “Losers!”)

A funny and heart-warming coming-of-age story about three teenagers who decide to form a band, the production begins at Live Theatre, Newcastle before embarking on a UK tour visiting Plymouth, Hull, Scarborough, Sheffield, Bristol and Birmingham. Faye ChristallGrace Hogg-Robinson and Andrew Reed will star in the production; Paines Plough held nationwide open auditions and cast Faye and Andrew from their search and Grace will be making her professional stage debut.

You can read about Broken Biscuits’ casting  HERE

Full cast announced for the world premiere of Tom Wells’ Broken Biscuits

Today, Paines Plough and Live Theatre have announced full casting for the world premiere of Tom Wells’ new coming-of-age comedy Broken BiscuitsFaye Christall will play Megan, Grace Hogg-Robinson will play Holly and Andrew Reed will play Ben. Paines Plough held nationwide open auditions and cast Faye and Andrew from their search and Grace will be making her professional stage debut.

Tom Wells, Faye Christall (Megan), Grace Hogg-Robinson (Holly), Andrew Reed (Ben) and James Grieve. Broken Biscuits

Tom Wells, Faye Christall (Megan), Grace Hogg-Robinson (Holly), Andrew Reed (Ben) and James Grieve. Broken Biscuits. © Matt Humphrey 2016

Directed by Co-Artistic Director of Paines Plough James GrieveBroken Biscuits will play at Live Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne from 5 until 22 October with an official press night on 11 OctoberBroken Biscuits will then tour the UK visiting The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Hull Truck Theatre, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, Crucible Studio, Sheffield, The Tobacco Factory, Bristol and The Door, Birmingham Rep.

“The point is: we’re losers. Nobodies. Carry on like this, we’re losers forever. And we don’t have to be. Fresh start, two months to completely one hundred per cent reinvent ourselves. And I know exactly how we can do that.”

Megan, Holly and Ben are definitely not the cool kids. But Megan has a plan. One long summer holiday to change their lives. One sure path to coolness. One amazing transformation, through the power of song.

Holed up in Megan’s garden shed, three friends try to change their fortunes in a beautiful, heart-warming, laugh-out-loud, coming-of-age story for our times. Rock on.

Playwright Tom Wells said: Broken Biscuits is a play about three teenagers starting a band – I wanted to write about the summer you finish your GCSEs, being sixteen, full of big hopes and big worries, figuring things out a bit and trying new stuff. And I wanted to have a go at writing some lyrics, in the DIY spirit of a teenage band, fill the play with music and see what happened. I’m thrilled that Broken Biscuits is being brought to the stage by Live Theatre and Paines Plough and we’ve been really lucky to cast three soulful young actors with funny bones as Megan, Holly and Ben.”

Co-Artistic Directors of Paines Plough, James Grieve and George Perrin, said: Tom first joined Paines Plough as part of our Future Perfect group for emerging playwrights in 2009. We have always adored his writing and following the huge success of Jumpers for Goalposts we are honoured to be co-producing Broken Biscuits with Live Theatre Newcastle. It’s a gorgeous, hilarious, heart-squeezing play that shows why Tom is one of our best loved modern writers. Featuring original songs from Matthew Robins and a supremely talented cast of future stars, we can’t wait to share it with audiences in Newcastle and on tour across the UK.” 

Literary Manager at Live Theatre, Gez Casey, said: “We are delighted to be working once again with partners Paines Plough on the world premiere of a new Tom Wells play. Broken Biscuits is a joyous celebration of teenage friendship, a journey of individual and collective discovery through music. The play is shot through with whip-smart dialogue, vibrant and engaging characters and an infectious generosity of spirit.”

Faye Christall plays Megan. Faye is making her debut with Paines Plough and trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Her theatre credits include Gone Viral (St James Theatre) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Edinburgh Fringe). Faye’s film credits include Cute Little Buggers 3D and Awake and is also part of the Cirque du Soleil Company.

Grace Hogg-Robinson plays Holly. Broken Biscuits marks Grace’s stage debut, her previous credits on television include the regular role of Beth Kennedy in The Coroner: Series 1 & 2 (BBC1 & BBC Worldwide) as well as appearances in Casualty (BBC1), Camping (Sky Atlantic), Diary of a Snob (Nickelodeon), Doctors (BBC1) and Suspects (Channel 5). Grace’s film credits include Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Bros.), Birdhouse (NFTS), Candy Floss (HAUS Pictures) & The Nest (Beyond Fiction).

Andrew Reed plays Ben. Andrew was born in South Tyneside,  he trained with Project A at the Theatre Royal Newcastle and was a member of the Customs House Youth Theatre. Andrew’s previous stage credits include The Fifteen StreetsDrama Baby and Scrapbook, Customs House South Shields, The MachinesTakeaway and 13 (all Theatre Royal Studio Newcastle and on tour).

Tom Wells is a writer from Kilnsea, East Yorkshire. His plays include Folk (UK Tour, 2016), Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith, 2015/16), Symphony (Edinburgh Festival, UK Tour, Soho Theatre 2013/14), Jumpers for Goalposts (Bush Theatre and UK Tour, 2013/14), Jack and the Beanstalk (Lyric Hammersmith, 2013/14), Cosmic (East Yorkshire Tour, 2013),  Jonsey (Lyric Hammersmith, Greenwich Playhouse, Watford Palace Theatre, National Theatre Inside Out, BBC Radio 4, 2012), The Kitchen Sink (Bush Theatre, 2011, winner of the Most Promising Playwright – Critics Circle, 2011 and the 2012 George Devine Award), Fossils (Bush Theatre, 2011), Spacewang (Hull Truck Theatre, 2011), Me, As A Penguin (West Yorkshire Playhouse, 2009 and Arcola Theatre / UK Tour, 2010), Yeti (Bush Theatre, 2010), About A Goth (Paines Plough / Oran Mor, 2009) and Notes For First Time Astronauts (Paines Plough LATER at Soho Theatre, 2009). Ben & Lump, which Tom wrote as part of the Coming Up season was broadcast on Channel 4 in spring of 2012. In 2009 Tom was a member of Paines Plough / Channel 4’s Future Perfect scheme and in 2012 he was Associate Playwright at Hull Truck. Tom is currently under commission to The Drum Plymouth, Northern Broadsides, The Royal Court and the National Theatre. He is developing a new idea for Leftbank Pictures.

Broken Biscuits is part of Paines Plough’s Programme 2016 which has also included Sabrina Mahfouz’s With A Little Bit of LuckCome To Where I’m From: London, the return of Roundabout to Summerhall and subsequent UK tour and Duncan Macmillan’s Every Brilliant Thing which will embark upon a UK tour in September.


Director of Scorch, Emma Jordan talks about the rehearsal process, gender, Ireland and more

Edinburgh may be a not so distant memory but SCORCH by Primecut Productions at Paines Plough’s Roundabout took Summerhall by storm. Scorch had rave reviews from critics and audiences alike and it is due to head out on tour soon. I had a chat with the Director of the show, Emma Jordan about the rehearsal process, gender and Ireland.
Emma Jordan

Emma Jordan

Hello there, how was your Edinburgh Fringe experience this year? 
We had a super time at the Fringe – it’s the first time the company have presented work there and really it was worth waiting for. Summerhall is such a vibrant hub – a fantastic mixture of audience and artists in a relaxed atmosphere – not so hectic as some of the rest of the venues – and the entire programme of work presented there was interesting and inspiring. Our hosts Paines Plough made us so welcome and we really felt that we were part of a bigger picture, in terms of the roundabouts curated programme.

What is the most rewarding part of the process, of bringing a show that you’ve directed to Edinburgh? 
Our company Primecut mostly presents our work in Ireland, so for me it was really gratifying to present to such an eclectic audience. It’s always good to present work to new audiences, especially in Edinburgh where it’s truly international and mixed in terms of gender and age.

How would you describe the narrative of SCORCH in ten words? 
The story of a gender curious teenager and first love.

The response to SCORCH was quite good, wasn’t it? 
We had an amazing response with heaps of five and four star reviews and three awards ; a Best actor award for Amy McAllister – a fringe first – and the Holden street award. Happy days 🙂

Amy McAllister was extraordinary in the play. How would you describe the rehearsal process? 
The rehearsal process was very focused. The script leaves lots of open questions regarding presentation and we had to make a lot of decisions quickly. When you are integrating choreography and text it’s a fine balance – it was intense but also really enjoyable. Amy is a very talented actor and we worked with some great artists Ciaran Bagnal, our set and lighting designer, Carl Kennedy our sound designer and Nicola Curry our choreographer. I think we all understood that the play has important things to say regarding perception of issues around gender – we all had to learn fast and we had great support here in Belfast from Anchor and Buoys two transgender support organisations. They were hugely beneficial in helping us wrap our heads around the issues that Kes faces.

How many kilometers did you walk around the city? 
Who’s counting ? It’s a gorgeous city and the sight of the mountains made every day a pleasure.

Did you have any recommendations for other shows to see?
I really enjoyed Dublin Old School and Greater Belfast – two provocative shows very different in theme and presentation but both with really playing with language in an inventive way. I also loved Johnny and The Baptists Show in the Roundabout – very funny but with an honesty and integrity I applaud.



Solo tour-de-force Scorch puts gender identity centre stage at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Scorch is presented by Primecut Productions at Paines Plough’s Roundabout at Summerhall and sees the Fringe debut for award-winning Northern Irish playwright Stacey Gregg. Directed by Emma Jordan (Paul Hamlyn Cultural Entrepreneurship Breakthrough Award) and performed by Amy McAllister (Call the MidwifePhilomena) the production showcases the work of three of the most exciting voices in Northern Irish theatre today. The play is a new original work from Belfast playwright Stacey Gregg and explores issues surrounding gender disclosure experienced by a contemporary teenager.



Scorch gained further international recognition after it won the Irish Times theatre award for Best New Play of 2015 and has recently won Best New Play at the Writer’s Guild of Ireland ZeBBie Awards.

Inspired by recent court cases and set in the round, Amy McAllister plays Kes, a troubled teenage girl struggling with her gender identity. Kes explores her sexuality and gender by posing as a boy who embarks on an intimate relationship with another girl, which leads to devastating effects both legally and personally. At times funny, poignant and explosive, Scorch is a story of first love through the eyes of a gender-curious teen and examines how the human story often gets lost amidst the headlines.
Presented by Prime Cut Productions; Scorch is directed by Emma Jordan, produced by Una NicEoin and written by Stacey Gregg. Featuring Design/LX by Ciaran Bagnall, Sound Design by Carl Kennedy and Costume Design by Enda Kenny. The production and associated outreach activity is made possible through funding provided by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
2016 marks the third year of Roundabout, Paines Plough’s award-winning portable in-the-round auditorium. It will take up residency once again at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 4 – 29 August.

The real life issue takes on heightened dramatic resonance, fractured and splintered by Gregg’s syncopated prose style”

★★★★ Irish Times

McAllister deftly deals with the emotions involved: incredulity, sadness, fear and the lingering confusion”

★★★★ GiggingNI

Listings Information:


Venue: Paines Plough’s Roundabout at Summerhall

Dates & Times: 18.05 (55 mins)5 – 28 August (not Tuesdays 9, 16, 23)

Tickets: Previews 5,6,7, August: £9

10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 22, 24, 25, 29 August: £14 (full) £12 (conc)
8, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 August: £16 (full) £14 (conc)
Box Office: 0131 226 000 / 0131 560 1581 or

Prime Cut Productions Theatre CompanyBased in Belfast, Northern Ireland and formed in 1992, Prime Cut Productions is at the forefront of contemporary international theatre across the island of Ireland. With over 30 Irish and Northern Irish premieres to their name, Prime Cut have a reputation for producing award-winning, critically acclaimed professional theatre, that challenges, provokes, inspires, entertains and enthrals.

About Paines Plough. Plough is the UK’s national theatre of new plays. The company commissions and produces the best playwrights and tours their plays far and wide. Whether you’re in Liverpool or Lyme Regis, Scarborough or Southampton, a Paines Plough show is coming to a theatre near you soon.
Paines Plough was formed in 1974 over a pint of Paines bitter in the Plough pub. Since then they’ve produced more than 130 new productions by world renowned playwrights like Stephen Jeffreys, Abi Morgan, Sarah Kane, Mark Ravenhill, Dennis Kelly and Mike Bartlett.
2016 marks the third year of Roundabout, Paines Plough’s award-winning portable in-the-round auditorium. The Roundabout season will preview from 19 – 24 July at Hackney Showroom in London before taking up residency once again at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 4 – 29 August

Paines Plough Announces the Return of its EARLIER/LATER Roundabout Programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016

EARLIER/LATER returns to Paines Plough’s Roundabout at Summerhall this August, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, after a successful series of events in 2015.

This year the EARLIER mornings will be filled with free industry workshops, aimed at introducing stage lovers to the professional world of theatre.  Leading experts in areas such as casting, producing, directing etc will hold concise, 45/60 mins long sessions that aim to lift the curtain and allow people to see behind the scenes and into diverse career opportunities within the theatre industry.  Workshops will be held by experienced professionals including Soho Theatre Casting Director Nadine Rennie and Paines Plough Joint Artistic Director James Grieve.

LATER will be filled with an eclectic late night line up of modern poetry sessions, live music, theatre, comedy and scratch nights.  The line-up includes award-winning writer Rob Auton’s The Sleep Show, following on from 2015’s The Water Show and 2014’s The Face Show; a new work in progress from Josie Long with Every Brilliant Thing co-writer Jonny DonahoeTamasha theatre company’s Split/Mixed, a captivating one-man show about a boy growing up in Rwanda in the 90s; and the return of Poleroid Theatre’s Write It: Mic It, an eclectic performance platform for the UK’s best emerging and established playwrights, comedians, spoken word artists and sketch groups.

Paines Plough’s EARLIER/LATER series offers an amazing opportunity for Festival audiences to discover some of the UK’s most up and coming and exciting new performance makers, and a dynamic space for artists to develop their work.  Paines Plough is the “UK’s national theatre of new plays” and renowned for discovering and championing exciting new artists.  Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons by Sam Steiner and Walrus Theatre returns to the daily Roundabout programme after premiering at EARLIER/LATER in 2015.

The Programme

Poleroid Theatre presents
Write It: Mic It

After four years at Vault, Live Theatre, Hackney Attic, Manchester Castle Hotel, Wilderness Festival & Standon Calling, Poleroid Theatre’s acclaimed open ‘write’ platform returns for its second year at the Roundabout!

Triple Off-West End Award nominated Poleroid Theatre bring together the UKs most exciting emerging artists, offering audiences a sneak peak into new work at the first stage of its development and snippets of the best shows to see at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016.

Artists include KATIE BONNA (Dirty Great Love Story/Soho Theatre), LUKE COURTIER (Musical Comedy Award Finalist 2015), MIXED DOUBLES (Dave Comedy Shorts Winners), TOM GILL (Kate Tempest Award Winner), PHOEBE ECLAIR-POWELL (Soho Theatre/Verity Bargate Award Finalist) & LAUGHING STOCK(Sketchfest Audience Choice Winners).

Tamasha Theatre presents

A Portrait of a Boy and a Country.

Split/Mixed is a captivating coming-of-age tale that tells the story of Eddy, a boy growing up in Rwanda during the 1990s.

Writer/performer Ery Nzaramba brings to life nearly a dozen characters, merging memories into a compelling narrative exploring kinship, cultural expectations and self-discovery, weaving the fantastic with the ordinary in his search for a singular voice.

Eddy’s memories of home and his changing country merge into a narrative that explores the search for personal identity of those who grew up during the genocide in Rwanda.

Josh Coates
Get Yourself Together 

One Christmas, Josh was diagnosed with depression and then hit by a car. The following year he was on Job Seekers whilst attempting to balance his sanity and gift buying. A show about being ill and being fit for work. A show about the DWP and being from Bolton. This is a show that explores the thin line between mental health as a clinical and a political issue.

Part stand up, part spoken word and part teenager in his room pretending he’s in a punk band, Get Yourself Together is the new show from Royal Exchange supported artist, Josh Coates.

PLAY Theatre Company presents
PLAY: Edinburgh

Hold on to your hats, it’s PLAYtime!

Award-winning theatre company PLAY champion a new approach to new writing, with an emphasis firmly on collaboration. We’ve brought together some of the industries’ brightest and best – 4 writers, 4 directors and 10 actors – to share a PLAYroom. Starting with a completely blank slate, they have just two weeks to collaborate, devise and create four brand new PLAYs.

Art with Heart presents

Instinctive, curious, bold and bouncy; Sarah is a mighty proud square peg, which wouldn’t be such a problem if the hole wasn’t so damn round.

Sarah grew up feeling different. Her childhood Dr. thought it was sugar. Her current Dr. thinks its ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). Sarah still feels different, so what will a label do?

Declaration examines when we want, need or are forced to declare our differences and the faces we wear to fit in. With autobiographical comedy, storytelling and conversations with audiences, Art with Heart take you on vibrant and daring adventure.

Obviously We Only Want the Best for our Daughter

You’re sitting down to eat when there’s a knock at the door.  A couple introduce themselves.  They make their way inside. They seem at home here. You seem to have a lot in common. In fact, there’s something vaguely familiar about them.

The first showing of a new play by Joe Harbot (The Boy On The Swing, Arcola). Directed by Kay Michaels(Pelican’s Daughters, Shakespeare in ShoreditchRIFT).

Barrel Organ present

Barrel Organ’s award winning debut production returns to Edinburgh after selling out in 2014. Nothing is much more than a series of monologues. It is about – among other things –cupcakes, action films, crap television, shitting, sex, buses and stalking. It is about alienation and being young.

“This young company are the future”– Lyn Gardner

Josie Long and Jonny Donahoe: We Need To Talk (work in progress)

Josie and Jonny are two lefty comedians who often get told they are preaching to the choir, living in a bubble and listening only to a social media echo chamber. They see themselves as optimists who want to make things better. That’s what they think their politics is.

If you think lefties are naïve and immature, or you don’t agree with how they see the world, come along, let’s talk.

Let’s try and be kinder to each other.

Let’s argue, but without being dicks about it.

This is a show about politics and identity and by the end of it; maybe, we will have sorted everything out and can just have a singalong.

Tap Tap Theatre present
Hansel and Gretel 

There’s one for the kids as well, with an EARLIER performance from Tap Tap Theatre: the people that brought you Captain Morgan and Handmade Tales.

Rose and her brother Ollie are going on an adventure. A big adventure. As big as the ones in storybooks. Bigger. With a rucksack stuffed with Hula Hoops and no sense of direction, follow brother and sister as they journey deeper and deeper into the forest. Climb in to the walking boots of adventurers past. Watch the forest come alive in front of your eyes. As they get loster and loster, what will they find? A boisterous and bold big adventure with an even bigger heart.

Tap Tap Theatre return to the Fringe with their spin on Hansel & Gretel, a fast and funny treat for the whole family. Featuring live music, suitable for ages 4+

Tongue Fu presents
Tongue Fu

The UK’s sharpest poets, storytellers, rappers and comedians perform with jaw-dropping improvised soundtracks from the Tongue Fu Band (Nostalgia 77, Jamie Cullum, Beardyman). Created and hosted by poet Chris Redmond (Scroobius Pip’s Beatdown- XFM; Pick of the Week- BBCR4), it is one of the UK’s liveliest and largest spoken word shows: a riotous experiment in live literature, music and improvisation.

With special guests from across the fringe.

Theatre Uncut presents
Theatre Uncut: Refugee

‘Theatre’s rapid response unit’ (Guardian)

Fringe First winners Theatre Uncut return with 6 brand new international short plays, responding to the refugee crisis, by British, Turkish & Danish writers including award winning Sabrina Mafhouz & Athia Sen Gupta. These plays were created in collaboration with Danish Teater GROB for the Copenhagen STAGE Festival.

A discussion with invited, expert guests will follow the performance.

Not Too Tame presents

Previous Roundabout collaborators Not Too Tame invite you to sample their TuckShop, a pick of new work from some of NTT’s favourite writers and a mix of our trademark electrifying energy, blended to create a new writing night with a twist. A night that’s not too well behaved, a little bit naughty and a little bit nice. So satisfy your sweet tooth, come get your fill and tuck into a night of fun, excitement and guaranteed good company!

Bang Said The Gun present
Bang Said The Gun

Bang Said The Gun is poetry for people who don’t like poetry. Voted the best poetry night in the UK by the Times, Bang Said The Gun has made poetry cool again.

A rollercoaster of emotions, it’s loud, raucous, political, trivial, serious and very funny. Normal rules do not apply here. Featuring a rich mix of the best and freshest talent, they will grab you by the collar and drag you into another world.

As recommended by Kate Tempest, ‘It’s like mud wrestling with words’, or as ex poet laureate, Andrew Motion puts it ‘BSTG is a vortex of energy and enthusiasm.’

Rob Auton presents
Rob Auton: The Sleep Show

Rob Auton has been standing up and saying things to audiences since 2008.

This show is about sleep. It is suitable for those who have slept. Following on from 2012’s The Yellow Show, 2013’s The Sky Show, 2014’s The Face Show, 2015’s The Water Show, award-winning writer and performer Rob Auton returns with 2016’s The Sleep Show.

The Workshops

Producer Workshop

Paines Plough is delighted to be hosting its first series of Producer workshops at this year’s Edinburgh Festival.

Here at Paines Plough we are always looking for ways to demystify how we go about commissioning, producing and touring new plays, in order to provide support for theatre makers at any stage of their careers.

Thinking about touring your show after Edinburgh? Join Paines Plough Senior Producer Hanna Streeter and Producer Francesca Moody for a first steps workshop on how to tour.

General Management Workshop 

Paines Plough is delighted to be hosting our next series of General Management workshops in Roundabout.

This workshop is a chance for anyone interested in working in theatre as a General Manager, or in Finance or Administration, to find out more about the profession.

The session will be a discussion and Q&A with members of the theatre community that work in General Management. Full panel list to be confirmed.

Acting / Directing Workshop 

Join Paines Plough Joint Artistic Director James Grieve in a workshop on working in-the-round. Looking at classic texts and new plays, this is a snapshot look at playing the most exposing, exhilarating and energising of all configurations – the round. Come on down to Paines Plough’s pop-up amphitheatre Roundabout for a quick and dirty guide to 360° theatre. Open to actors, directors and other interested parties.

Casting Workshop with Nadine Rennie

Casting Director Nadine Rennie, of Soho Theatre, joins us in Roundabout for a morning Q&A. Having worked with Writers from Dennis Kelly to Shelagh Stevenson, and Directors from Max Stafford Clark to Roxanna Silbert, Nadine has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.

Whether you’re a budding young Casting Director, or an actor looking to find out more about the process and get advice, come along and join us for a morning of insight into casting.

Nadine has been Casting Director at Soho Theatre for the last ten years;  working on new plays by writers including Dennis Kelly, Roy Williams, Shelagh Stevenson, D C Moore, Steve Thompson, Vicky Jones and Oladipo Agboluaje. Directors she has worked with include Rufus Norris, Roxanna Silbert, Indu Rubasingham, Michael Buffong, Max Stafford Clark, Paulette Randall, Tim Crouch and Steve Marmion.