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“Samuel Bailey’s knockout professional debut…rings with fresh truth”

The New York Times (Critic’s Pick)

Papatango today announce the extension of their critically-acclaimed production Shook by Samuel Bailey. The 2019 Papatango New Writing Prize-winner, which was due to transfer to the West End when the pandemic hit, was filmed and made available to stream at the beginning of this month. Due to popular demand, it will now be available for a further month, until 28 March 2021.

Tickets are £10 via – captions available. Access to the stream lasts for 48 hours from point of purchase, provided tickets are purchased by 11.59pm on 28 March 2021.

George Turvey, Artistic Director of Papatango, said today, “We’ve been completely blown away by the response to Shook, with viewers tuning in from 18 countries and 5 continents. It is proof that brilliant new stories transcend borders. We are delighted to extend the run so that more people can share in Samuel’s incredible play.” 

The play, inspired by true stories, looks at three young offenders who are due to become fathers while incarcerated. As Cain, Riyad and Jonjo embark on parenting classes under the instruction of Grace, their different histories slowly emerge and their different futures take shape. Both funny and poignant, Shookexamines the young people society shuts away.

Samuel Bailey’s debut play about masculinity, sensitivity and responsibility has now been turned into a powerful film…Bailey is clearly a voice to be reckoned with.”

Evening Standard

Featuring the original cast – Josef Davies (Jonjo), Josh Finan (Cain), Andrea Hall (Grace) and Ivan Oyik (Riyad) – and with the original set/costume designs by Jasmine Swan and composition and sound design by Richard Hammarton, the capture of the play was directed by Papatango’s Artistic Director George Turvey in collaboration with BAFTA-winning and multi-Emmy-nominated director James Bobin.

Shook won the 2019 Papatango New Writing Prize, debuting to critical acclaim at Southwark Playhouse, and was nominated for 7 OffWestEnd Awards and The Stage Debut Award for Most Promising Playwright. It became the best-selling world première in the venue’s history, and sold out on tour across England and Wales.

Following his debut, Samuel Bailey is now under commission from Paines Plough and Theatre Royal Plymouth, as well as developing a new film with the award-winning director Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) for 42. He was born in London and raised in the West Midlands. He began writing plays in Bristol and developed work with Bristol Old Vic, Tobacco Factory Theatres and Theatre West before moving back to London. He is an alumnus of the Old Vic 12 and Orange Tree Writers’ Collective. Shook was originally supported by the MGCfutures bursary programme, and was his debut full production.

George Turvey co-founded Papatango in 2007 and became the sole Artistic Director in January 2013. Credits as director include Shook (Papatango, UK tour), Hanna (Papatango, UK tour), The Annihilation of Jessie Leadbeater (Papatango at ALRA), After Independence (Papatango at Arcola Theatre, 2016 Alfred Fagon Audience Award, and on BBC Radio 4), Leopoldville (Papatango at Tristan Bates Theatre), and Angel (Papatango at Pleasance London and Tristan Bates Theatre). Turvey trained as an actor at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) and has appeared on stage and screen throughout the UK and internationally, including the lead roles in the world première of Arthur Miller’s No Villain (Old Red Lion Theatre and Trafalgar Studios) and Batman Live World Arena Tour. As a dramaturg, he has led the development of all of Papatango’s productions. He is the co-author of Being A Playwright: A Career Guide For Writers, published by Nick Hern Books.


Papatango discover and champion new playwrights, especially people who would otherwise have no pathway into theatre, through a range of grassroots opportunities – all free, open to anyone in the UK and Ireland, and anonymously assessed. Papatango’s motto is simple: all you need is a story.

Papatango’s flagship opportunity is the Papatango New Writing Prize, the UK’s biggest annual playwriting award. It attracts over 1500 entries each year from every region, and guarantees its winner a full production, publication, commission and royalties, while every entrant receives personal feedback. It is an unmatched commitment to launching brilliant new talent with maximum impact and supporting aspiring playwrights at all levels.

Winners have been evenly divided between men and women, aged from their 20s to their 50s, and 70% have been state educated. Since being launched by Papatango, they have gone on to win BAFTAs, OffWestEnd and Royal National Theatre Foundation awards, premiere in over 20 countries, and work with the RSC, National Theatre, BBC and HBO, among many other leading organisations.

As well as the Prize, Papatango offers a yearly Resident Playwright scheme, taking an emerging playwright through commissioning, development and production of a new play. Previous Residents have won an Alfred Fagon Audience Award, adapted their play for BBC Radio Four, been commissioned by Headlong, the Tricycle Theatre, and the North Wall Arts Centre, and seen their work tour nationwide with Papatango.

Papatango also run GoWrite, which each year provides completely free training in playwriting, including productions and publication, for over 3000 budding writers at state schools, regional venues and community centres. GoWrite has developed plays which have gone on to be staged at Hampstead Theatre, the Vaults Festival, Old Red Lion Theatre, Arcola Theatre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Luton Hat Factory and the Quarry Theatre, Bedford.

In 2019 Papatango launched WriteWest, a playwriting programme across south-west England which provides free training, performances and seed funding for hundreds of grassroots writers and producers in this critically under-served region.

Within 12 hours of the theatre shutdown in 2020, Papatango launched Isolated But Open, a programme to nurture creativity and support freelancers bearing the brunt of the pandemic. It inspired 2063 new plays, producing and publishing 12 of these in free digital incarnations which have since been enshrined in the British Library’s permanent archive as a nationally significant cultural achievement.

Papatango’s first book, Being A Playwright: A Career Guide for Writers, was published in autumn 2018 by Nick Hern Books. It topped Amazon’s best-seller list in the playwriting category, and has been described as a “phenomenon for playwriting good…a bible for playwrights” by Steve Waters and “enlightening…an excellent tool for playwrights” by Indhu Rubasingham.

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