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Plough Presents Portable Venue, Heaton Musical

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Paines Plough artistic directors James Grieve and George Perrin have announced their second season of work with the company, which includes plans to tour new plays in a portable in-the-round venue, as well as a new musical collaboration between singer/songwriter Paul Heaton and Been So Long writer Che Walker.

The season, which is titled Programme 2011, places an emphasis on the company’s nomadic nature and will include “11 productions in 33 places” as far flung as Berwick-Upon-Tweed and Southampton.

These include a co-production with Sheffield Theatres - The Roundabout Season - a major new collaboration between the two companies which will see them build a portable 150 seat in-the-round auditorium. 

The Roundabout auditorium will host three new plays by Duncan Macmillan, Nick Payne and Penelope Skinner, performed by a single acting ensemble, premiering at Sheffield Crucible in October before touring nationwide in spring 2012.  

Grieve and Perrin said: “The creation of our own portable in-the-round ‘Roundabout’ auditorium offers us even greater scope to tour in the future as we strive to ensure everyone, everywhere has access to the very best new plays from the pens of our nation’s world beating playwrights.”

Other highlights of the season include The 8th – a new show with music and lyrics by Beautiful South singer/songwriter Paul Heaton and book by Che Walker (Been So Long) co-commissioned and co-produced with the Manchester International Festival, where it premieres from 7 to 9 July 2011.

Joined onstage by his band and a host of special guests, Heaton “transports you to a destitute neighbourhood where the seven deadly sins unfurl. From the seven an eighth is born, a new and thoroughly modern sin that imprisons all who cross its path.” Directed by George Perrin, The 8th will feature a cast of performers from “across musical genres”.

Programme 2011 will also see revivals of Laurence Wilson’s Tiny Volcanoes, in co-production with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse (where the tour begins from 20-21 April 2011), and Mark Bartlett’s Love, Love, Love, which will play theatres nationwide on what is billed as the “biggest tour in Paines Plough’s history” in co-production with The Drum Theatre, Plymouth. The 13-venue tour recently opened at the Leicester Curve.

Following last year’s tour, Glasgow’s Òran Mór and Paines Plough will take three new world premieres on the road from October 2011 under the A Play, A Pie And A Pint banner, written by Katie Douglas, David Watson and another playwright soon to be announced.  

Summarising the scope of the season, James Grieve and George Perrin said: “Building on our inaugural year as joint artistic directors – which saw us produce nine productions in 33 places – our Programme 2011 sees even more outstanding productions touring to even more places in pursuit of our ambition to be a truly national theatre of new plays.  

“These are tough times for theatre economically, but flourishing times for theatre artistically. Our programme celebrates the very best of British playwriting in exceptional productions that traverse scales from 700-seat proscenium arch playhouses to arts centres, pubs, and outdoor festivals.”


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