Artistic Directors Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner have announced plans for Paines Plough 2021. The year’s programme will see the company return with a team of trailblazing writers in theatre including Chris Bush, Vickie Donoghue, Phoebe Eclair-Powell, Ifeyinwa Frederick, Chinonyerem Odimba, Frankie Meredith and Amy Trigg.
The work announced today is presented as an intention. The company recognises the instability of the current environment, both within the sector and beyond. In response to this, Paines Plough are integrating new initiatives and partnerships into their programme in accordance with the themes and issues that their work addresses. Throughout the year they will work with projects that focus on platforming under-represented voices in theatre, as well as collaborating with food banks and mental health charities across their programme
Paines Plough’s Joint Artistic Directors Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner:
“This year we want to make a Promise to 2021 because the world has changed and so have we.
If anything, 2020 has taught us there are no definites but that there is always hope. We are artists, we are activists and 2021 is about discovering how best we can reconnect and serve our national communities after the year we have all been through.
Our Promise to 2021 is a promise of hope. A hope to make some plays, a hope to make them with some people and a hope to share them with our national audiences.
In 2021, we promise to share the stories that should have been shared in 2020 as they are powerful, vital and need to be celebrated, along with new voices and a whole heap more.
We recognise that the world in which we will deliver these plays is now radically different. Our commitment to our communities will lay at the heart of what we deliver, with new bespoke spin-off projects that respond to the present moment.
We will always put artists and audience’s safety first. We will only make and share work where it is safe to do so.
And finally, we will make some heart-stopping, feet-stomping, hair-raising, amazing shows. It’s been a while. Let us at it.
Hope to see you there.”
This year’s work will showcase ground-breaking voices reacting to the world around them. Some of 2020’s programme will return after being postponed due to the pandemic. Covid-19 has exposed the magnitude of systemic inequality around the world, pushing these issues to the front of our discourse. Paines Plough’s new season and new writers are returning to the stage to remind audiences why theatre is so crucial to continuing these conversations.
The Women’s Prize for Playwriting in collaboration with Ellie Keel Productions and principal partner 45North will return after its first year in 2020. Last year’s winner Amy Trigg’s new play Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me – a tragicomedy about self-love, spina bifida, and how shit and wonderful life can be, co-produced with the Women’s Prize for Playwriting, 45North and the Kiln, will be the first production of the company’s season playing at the Kiln from 21 May to 12 June. The Women’s Prize for Playwriting submissions for 2021 will open on 7 April when the judging panel will be announced.
Roundabout will return as part of Belgrade Theatre’s Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 Programme. Its unseen 2020 line-up includes a musical as one of the company’s lead productions; Chinonyerem Odimba’s new work, Black Love explores love and relationships with music by Ben and Max Ringham, in association with tiata fahodzi following Odimba’s new role as Artistic Director of the company. This will be playing in rep with Chris Bush’s new play Hungry investigating food and our dysfunctional relationships with our bodies and Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s new family show Really Big And Really Loud about a girl who loses her voice and goes on a madcap adventure to find it again. Paines Plough’s 2019 Playwright Fellow Frankie Meredith joins the line-up this year with her new play directed by 2021 Co-Artistic Director of Belgrade Theatre Balisha Karra, May Queen – a coming-of-age story about a young woman from Coventry on a quest to find her place in her city and in the world.
Originally planned for last season, Ifeyinwa Frederick’s Sessions, exploring the complexities of mental health in young men, will tour the UK from September before playing at Soho Theatre. Paines Plough will be partnering with Trybe House Theatre, a newly formed company which seeks to actively build resilience and self well-being, particularly with young black men aged 16-25, using theatre as a supportive outlet. Together, they will deliver a programme of theatre workshops to national audiences alongside the SESSIONS tour.
Vickie Donoghue is added to the line up with new play The Electric which will be performed by the Richard Burton Company – the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s in-house theatre company. The play is part of NEW ’21, the Richard Burton Company’s new writing festival, and is recorded for digital release on 21 May.
Paines Plough has added two theatre companies to its latest initiative Re: Build. Nouveau Riche and Bonnie and The Bonnettes join the programme, which has been created to support companies in building their resilience and strengthening their strategic plans during this challenging period.
The company will also be trialling a new Open Submissions programme, whereby during certain windows throughout the year writers can submit their scripts via the Paines Plough website. The scripts will be read by the artistic team and all writers will then have a face to face meeting. The programme is targeted at writers without representation to ensure Paines Plough connect with more writers beyond their existing networks and to hopefully help create a more transparent process.