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Paines Plough celebrates 50 years

Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett, Joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough


Paines Plough celebrates 50 years

This year Paines Plough celebrates 50 years of supporting ground-breaking, innovative and thrilling new writing…

The touring theatre company dedicated to developing and producing playwrights has commissioned over 500 writers and developed and produced more than 400 plays since its inception in 1974.

Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett, Joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough:

“This year is a landmark year for Paines Plough as we turn 50 at a time where we remain one of the last subsidised new writing touring theatre companies in the UK. With programming priorities being forced to shift and costs increasing, the landscape for new writing is more challenging than it has ever been. In this context, we’re proud to even be here to talk about a fiftieth year, and to continue to be an advocate, a voice and a thriving platform for writers and the future of new writing around the country.”

Some of the ground-breaking writers supported by Paines Plough over the years include Zia Ahmed, Alice Birch, Mike Bartlett, Miriam Battye, Nathan Bryon, James Graham, Anna Jordan, Sarah Kane, Dennis Kelly, Duncan Macmillan, Chloë Moss, Vinay Patel, Nathan Queeley-Dennis, Simon Stephens and Kae Tempest.

Announced this month as part of Paines Plough’s 50th year is Kelly Jones’ My Mother’s Funeral: The Show. Exploring the experience of being a benefit class artist and different approaches towards trauma stories, Jones’ new play asks us: if death is unifying, why are we not all afforded the same dignity?

Directed by Charlotte Bennett, the production is co-produced by Paines Plough, Mercury Theatre, Belgrade Theatre, Landmark Theatres, and Royal & Derngate, Northampton. My Mother’s Funeral: The Show will preview at the Belgrade in Coventry on 25 – 27 July, before a run at Paines Plough’s pop-up theatre Roundabout at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, ahead of a UK tour.

Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett, Joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough:

“Our fiftieth year will be about future-proofing our longstanding commitment to writers, who remain at the beating heart of everything we do. We will move to our new home in Coventry, previewing our thrilling new play by Kelly Jones there as a ‘see it first’ opportunity for Coventry audiences, before it transfers to Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

“We can’t wait to also welcome the return of last year’s runaway success Strategic Love Play, and continue with our Tour the Writer and writers-on-attachment activity; all of which supports new, bold, brilliant work to be created, just as the company has done in the last 50 years, and which we intend to do in the 50 years to come. Thank you for being part of that journey with us, and we hope you’ll join us for the celebrations throughout the year!”

Paines Plough’s 2023 new writing commission, Miriam Battye’s Strategic Love Play, which previewed at the Belgrade last year, went on to enjoy an award-winning sell-out run at the Fringe and a subsequent UK tour. The show, directed by Katie Posner, will transfer to Soho Theatre’s Main House this year, running from 22 May – 15 June.

Continuing Paines Plough’s long-standing relationship with Coventry, from 2024 onwards the company will find its new home at the Belgrade Theatre in the West Midlands city. As a touring company with activities across the UK, this new home strengthens Paines Plough’s national reach by deepening relationships with their existing co-producers, the Belgrade Theatre, while also opening up opportunities for new collaborations in the Midlands and beyond.

Corey Campbell, Creative Director of Belgrade Theatre:

“I’m very excited that our dear friends and collaborators at Paines Plough are coming to Coventry,  both for the wider region, and the city and the theatre. Coventry will receive a contemporary writing theatre company who are incredible at what they do – they are incredible dramaturgs, and incredible at developing talent. They also look at future forms and future styles of writing, which is something that we at the Belgrade are excited about, supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

“We have a partnership with them currently that’s not only looking at co-produced shows, but also how we wrap around and support co-created practice. I think their practice and our practice coming together is a force to be reckoned with. We look forward to welcoming them to Coventry!”

​Further details about Paines Plough’s 2024 programme will be announced in due course.

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