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Paines Plough at the Criterion Theatre and Southwark Playhouse

L-R: Lydia Larson, David Carlyle, Andrew Finnigan and Becci Gemmell. Photo credit: Rebecca Need Menear.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

PAINES Plough have announced a special one-off event at the Criterion Theatre on November 18, 2019, and a transfer of Sam Steiner’s You Stupid Darkness! to Southwark Playhouse, a co-production with Theatre Royal Plymouth.

The announcements mark the final programming from former co-Artistic Directors James Grieve and George Perrin. Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner are set to announce their new season for the company on Friday, October 4.

The one-off event at the Criterion Theatre on November 18 celebrates ten years of Come To Where I’m From, their nationwide live and digital project which sees playwrights from across the country pen plays about the places they call home.

The event will star some of the nation’s leading playwrights performing their own plays about the communities and times that have shaped them. With more to be announced, writers performing on the night include: James Graham, Dennis Kelly, April De Angelis, Simon Stephens, Roy Williams, Zia Ahmed and Chloë Moss.

The event, in celebration of Paines Plough’s history of discovering and developing talented writers from across the country, aims to raise £25,000 to invest in to the next generation of playwrights. Tickets are now on sale.

Since 2010, Paines Plough’s nationwide project Come To Where I’m From has seen over 160 playwrights from across the country write about the places they call home. Each play is performed for one-night only and then becomes part of the free Come To Where I’m From smartphone app which houses all the mini-plays that have been performed since the project began to create a vivid patchwork quilt of accents, experiences and impressions of the UK.

The app is free to download from the Apple Store and Google Play. The 160-strong audio play library includes a huge range of playwrights, from Olivier Award winners to first timers. Recent additions include: Alice Birch, Mike Bartlett, Roy Williams, Vinay Patel and Lizzie Nunnery.

Sam Steiner’s You Stupid Darkness! will run at Southwark Playhouse from January 16 to February 22, 2020. An urgent play from Sam Steiner about the struggle for optimism and community amid the chaos of a collapsing world, the show opened with co-producer Theatre Royal Plymouth earlier this year. The production is directed by former Paines Plough co-Artistic Director James Grieve.

I just think it’s, you know, important to look at the good things that are happening as well.

Everything’s been falling apart for a while now. In a cramped, crumbling office four volunteers spend a few hours every Tuesday night on the phone to strangers telling them everything is going to be ok. As the outside world disintegrates around them, Frances, Joey, Angie and Jon teeter on the edge of their own personal catastrophes. Their hopes and fears become entangled as they try, desperately, to connect with the callers and with each other.

Find out more about Paines Plough at www.painesplough.com/.

Tickets (Come To Where I’m From): From £10. To book, https://www.criterion-theatre.co.uk/whats-on.

Time: 7pm.

Tickets (You Stupid Darkness!): From £14. To book, visit southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/.

Image: L-R: Lydia Larson, David Carlyle, Andrew Finnigan and Becci Gemmell. Photo credit: Rebecca Need Menear.