Paines Plough and Theatre Royal Plymouth present a new play about friendship, class and leaving home

Sorry You're Not a Winner

Today Paines Plough and Theatre Royal Plymouth have announced a new play SORRY, YOU’RE NOT A WINNER by Samuel Bailey.A coming of age tale navigating class, friendship and new surroundings, SORRY, YOU’RE NOT A WINNER will debut at Theatre Royal Plymouth from 24 February for a limited 2 week run before touring around the UK, including Bristol and Newcastle with further dates to be announced. Tickets for the Plymouth run are now available to members and will go on general sale from 29 October. Full information here:

Writer Samuel Bailey said: “For me, SORRY, YOU’RE NOT A WINNER is a play about home and the conflict we might have about leaving. Especially if where you’re going looks nothing like where you’re from. It comes from a pretty personal place but I think a lot of people can relate to that feeling.”

Joint Paines Plough Artistic Directors Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner said: “We have been working with Sam on this play throughout the pandemic and we are so delighted to finally be able to bring it to audiences in Plymouth and on tour across the UK. Sam’s play is a sharp and powerful story about the complexity of friendship, loss and aspiration. Through Liam and Fletch’s eyes we discover what home means to us, how it influences us and who we leave behind when we seek to find ‘something better’ It is a brilliant piece of work about social mobility that will speak to so many of us and we are proud to be collaborating once again with Theatre Royal Plymouth.”

Liam and Fletch grew up together. Born on the same street. Best mates since primary. Inseparable. The only difference was while Fletch was getting suspended from school, Liam was studying. And now he’s going to Oxford. But with Liam gone, who’s going to keep Fletch out of trouble?

SORRY, YOU’RE NOT A WINNER is a play about aspiration, social mobility and getting caught between classes. It asks; if ‘making it’ means leaving everything you know and everyone you love behind – what’s the point?

Samuel Bailey is a writer born in London and raised in the West Midlands. His play SHOOK won the Papatango Prize in 2019. After a sold-out run at the Southwark Playhouse, Papatango created a digital version of the play in collaboration with James Bobin. The film was a NY Times Critic’s Pick and won Samuel the Times Breakthrough Award at the South Bank Show Sky Arts Awards. Previously, Samuel has been part of Old Vic 12, the Orange Tree Writer’s Collective and a recipient of an MGCFutures bursary.

Papatango re-release Shook alongside tv premiere following Samuel Bailey’s nominations for The Times Breakthrough Award

Andrea Hall (Grace), Ivan Oyik (Riyad) Credit The Other Richard

Following Samuel Bailey’s nomination for The Times Breakthrough Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, Papatango today announced that the film capture of his critically acclaimed debut play Shook will premiere on free-to-air television on Thursday 24 June, after which it will be re-released as an online stream from 25 June until 31 July.

Previous winners of The Times Breakthrough Award include Waad al-Kateab, Tom Hiddleston, Billie Piper, Stormzy, Amma Asante, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Jessie Buckley. As the sole nominee in the theatre category, Bailey is a subject of this season’s South Bank Show series. His profile by Melvyn Bragg will air at 9pm on 24 June on Sky Arts, Freeview Channel 11. This broadcast will be immediately followed by the opportunity to watch Shook on Sky Arts at 10pm.

Following this TV broadcast, from Friday 25 June until Saturday 31 July audiences will also be able to stream Shook online. Tickets are £10 per household, and give audiences access to stream the show for 48 hours after purchase via – captions available.

Shook, inspired by true stories, looks at three young offenders who are due to become fathers while incarcerated. As Cain, Riyad and Jonjo embark on parenting classes under the instruction of Grace, their different histories slowly emerge and their different futures take shape. Both funny and poignant, Shook examines the young people society shuts away.

“An astonishingly brilliant production… One of the best debut plays I have ever seen”

Saturday Review, BBC Radio 4

Featuring the original cast – Josef Davies (Jonjo), Josh Finan (Cain), Andrea Hall (Grace) and Ivan Oyik (Riyad) – and with the original set/costume designs by Jasmine Swan and sound design by Richard Hammarton, the capture of Shook was directed by Papatango’s Artistic Director George Turvey in collaboration with BAFTA-winning and multi-Emmy-nominated director James Bobin.

Shook won the 2019 Papatango New Writing Prize, debuting to critical acclaim at Southwark Playhouse, and was nominated for 7 OffWestEnd Awards and The Stage Debut Award for Most Promising Playwright. It became the best-selling world première in the venue’s history, and sold out on tour across England and Wales.

Following his debut, Samuel Bailey is now under commission from Paines Plough and Theatre Royal Plymouth, as well as developing a new film with the award-winning director Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) for 42. He was born in London and raised in the West Midlands. He began writing plays in Bristol and developed work with Bristol Old Vic, Tobacco Factory Theatres and Theatre West before moving back to London. He is an alumnus of the Old Vic 12 and Orange Tree Writers’ Collective. Shook was originally supported by the MGCfutures bursary programme, and was his debut full production.


Papatango discover and champion new playwrights, especially people who would otherwise have no pathway into theatre, through a range of grassroots opportunities – all free, open to anyone in the UK and Ireland, and anonymously assessed. Papatango’s motto is simple: all you need is a story.

Papatango’s flagship opportunity is the Papatango New Writing Prize, the UK’s biggest annual playwriting award. It attracts over 1500 entries each year from every region, and guarantees its winner a full production, publication, commission and royalties, while every entrant receives personal feedback. It is an unmatched commitment to launching brilliant new talent and supporting aspiring playwrights at all levels.

Winners have been evenly divided between men and women, aged from their 20s to their 50s, and 70% have been state educated. Since being launched by Papatango, they have gone on to win BAFTAs, OffWestEnd and Royal National Theatre Foundation awards, premiere in over 20 countries, and work with the RSC, National Theatre, BBC and HBO, among many other leading organisations.

As well as the Prize, Papatango offers a yearly Resident Playwright scheme, taking an emerging playwright through commissioning, development and production of a new play. Previous Residents have won an Alfred Fagon Audience Award, adapted their play for BBC Radio Four, and seen their work tour nationwide with Papatango.

Papatango also run GoWrite, which each year provides completely free training in playwriting, including productions and publication, for over 3000 budding writers at state schools, regional venues and community centres. GoWrite has developed grassroots writers whose plays have gone on to be staged at Hampstead Theatre, the Vaults Festival, Old Red Lion Theatre, Arcola Theatre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Luton Hat Factory and the Quarry Theatre, Bedford.

In 2019 Papatango launched WriteWest, a playwriting programme across south-west England which provides free training, performances and seed funding for hundreds of grassroots writers and producers in this critically under-served region.

Within 12 hours of the theatre shutdown in 2020, Papatango launched Isolated But Open, a programme to nurture creativity and support freelancers. It inspired 2063 new plays, producing and publishing 12 of these in free digital incarnations which have since been enshrined in the British Library’s permanent archive as a nationally significant cultural achievement.

Papatango’s first book, Being A Playwright: A Career Guide for Writers, was published in autumn 2018 by Nick Hern Books. It topped Amazon’s best-seller list in the playwriting category, and has been described as a “phenomenon for playwriting good…a bible for playwrights” by Steve Waters and “enlightening…an excellent tool for playwrights” by Indhu Rubasingham.

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