This Summer Paines Plough’s portable pop-up theatre venue Roundabout will return to Summerhall at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. During the month of August, the award-winning, in-the-round auditorium will host two new co-productions from Paines Plough alongside a programme of visiting artists presenting theatre, cabaret, comedy and more from 2 – 27 August. Tickets for Roundabout @ Summerhall are now on sale at https://bit.ly/rbt-summerhall-23
Paines Plough, Soho Theatre and Belgrade Theatre will present the acidically witty STRATEGIC LOVE PLAY, a world premiere from Miriam Battye (little scratch, Scenes With Girls) interrogating modern dating and what we really talk about when we talk about love. It will be directed by Paines Plough Co-Artistic Director Katie Posner (You Bury Me, Hungry). Miriam was the first writer in residence at Sister Pictures and has written widely for TV, most recently as a Story Editor on the latest season of HBO’s wildly popular Succession. She has been shortlisted for both Paines Plough’s Women’s Prize and the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and is the 2020 recipient of the Harold Pinter Commission. Strategic Love Play will preview at Belgrade Theatre in July before its run at Roundabout @ Summerhall.
Winner of the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting 2022, Nathan Queeley-Dennis’ debut play BULLRING TECHNO MAKEOUT JAMZ is a love letter to Birmingham, exploring Black masculinity through Beyonce lyrics, techno raves and the deeply intimate relationship between a man and his barber. The world premiere production is presented at Roundabout by Ellie Keel Productions and Paines Plough, in association with Royal Exchange Theatre. Directed by Dermot Daly, Queeley-Dennis makes his return to Roundabout after performing in the Roundabout 2021 season (Black Love, Really Big and Really Loud).
Paines Plough’s Roundabout will once again be hosting LATER, a programme of late night one-off performances from a range of companies and artists at Edinburgh Festival Fringe including theatre, comedy, cabaret, music and loads more.
Paines Plough have also announced their continued development of the organisation in its commitment to supporting writer development. The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, launched in partnership with Ellie Keel is now in its third year and received over 1000 submissions from women and non binary artists this year. Previous winners Amy Trigg and Ahlam have already had their plays produced to critical acclaim, with the 2021 winner Karis Kelly set to have their play Consumed produced soon. The winner for 2023 will be announced in December. The company will also be working with Vital Xposure this year in the second round of their Wellspring Project, offering support and training for London-based disabled, d/Deaf and Neurodivergent playwrights and script writers. In the same writer development strand of their work, Paines Plough have also launched a new initiative called Tour the Writer, a new writer development programme, in partnership with venues around the country. The multi-year commitment from Paines Plough will strengthen writer networks, nurture local writers and connect them with venues and opportunities. The programme began earlier this year with Open Writer’s Labs at Mercury Theatre Colchester, Queen’s Theatre Barnstaple, Key Theatre Peterborough, Belgrade Theatre in Coventry and Theatre Royal Plymouth, with further Labs due to take place in Bradford and Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.
Katie Posner, Co-Artistic Director, Paines Plough said: Since Charlotte and I took over the leadership of Paines Plough in 2019, just a few months before the pandemic, our intention was always to spend time listening to the writers of today to get a truly national picture of their needs as artists and how best, as an organisation that champions both writing and touring equally, we can support them. Unbeknownst to all of us at the time, this became even more vital and urgent in the years that followed. Since then, we’ve met hundreds of writers across the country both in their homes and online. As a small organisation, we know we can’t speak to everyone, but we hope we have built a comprehensive picture over the last few years of writers at all stages of their careers, all around the country.
With more producing venues closing and organisations shifting away from artistic leadership, it is clear that opportunities for both new writers and new writing are diminishing. As we evolve and face new challenges in society, we need to invest more to nurture and develop writers to create contemporary, diverse and human stories that speak to audiences and help shape our sense of the world.
Previously Paines Plough has taken shows on the road to enable audiences right across the UK, in places where there is limited or no theatre provision, to see new work. We believe that our writer development work needs to be as far reaching as our touring work. To strive to be the heart and home for writers where they are.
The pandemic gave us a moment to pause and to think about how we produce work, how we look after our teams and how we look after our writers. From this the Women’s Prize for Playwriting and Tour the Writer were born.
‘Tour the Writer’ has been designed to develop a community of writers across the UK providing ongoing support, mentoring and development, whilst connecting them to venues. In partnership with regional theatres, we will become a local hub for writers and open up how Paines Plough works with writers, making it a truly nationally representative organisation. In the first year Tour the Writer will work across North Devon, Plymouth, Coventry, Peterborough, Colchester, Cumbria and Bradford.
We’re also thrilled to be bringing Roundabout back to Summerhall this year and to be touring Miriam’s really wonderful, sharp, acerbic new play STRATEGIC LOVE PLAY and to be co-producing BULLRING TECHNO MAKEOUT JAMZ with Ellie Keel Productions, in association with The Royal Exchange Theatre and The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting. Miriam and Nathan’s plays are both bold, brilliant, funny and brutally truthful stories that feel electric and current for audiences today. Producing work like this has demonstrated how writer development opportunities are essential to the sector’s ecosystem and ensuring that an artist’s work can eventually reach a wide audience.
Next year Paines Plough turns 50, and whilst we plan our big anniversary celebrations, as well as our new relocation from London, we will continuously be thinking about how this organisation can continue to ensure we are supporting both writers and audiences all over the UK in the next five decades.”