create balance

increasing inclusivity

Paines Plough

the background

Touring the best new theatre around both the UK and the world, Paines Plough has established a solid reputation for finding, creating and touring powerful new stories wherever there is a potential audience.

The newly appointed Joint Artistic Directors and CEO’s wanted to take this reputation and legacy to the next level - extending the recognised strengths and proven success of the current business model into new areas and pioneering new ways of working to advance a truly inclusive and sustainable theatrical canon.

From a broad industry perspective, their ambition aligned to a wider movement striving to transform the way theatre is made, who makes it and how it’s experienced.

But whilst many show great intent, there is still a lack of tangible commitment to shifting the foundations of the systems and ways of working necessary to create significant change. Pains Plough wanted to serve as leaders in this space and set a clear direction and strategy that would enable them to practically deliver against their commitment.

the outcome

Through a series of structured balance conversations, we worked with them to unpack what was at the very heart of their organisation and then help them connect this directly to their ambition in a way that was tangible, achievable and they could personally lead.

The balance framework enabled them to identify their core strengths and values, be honest about the reality of the world in which they operated and realistic about what they could and could not control. The discussions supported their personal balance development, that helped them engage the Board and wider team in the dialogue and decision-making process and enabled them to show their unique value as leaders.

It’s never easy embarking on a new role and evolving an already successful business, especially when you need to maintain tight hold of the commercial reigns, reimagine ways of delivering experiences for wider audiences and build new capability, all whilst running the continually busy day to day. The balance approach was therefore deliberately tailored to help the new leaders keep the ‘big ambition’ present in their daily discussions, leverage existing strengths and relationships and ensure today’s activities directly advanced their personal and professional goals.


“We had the privilege of working with createbalance at the start of our tenure as new Artistic Directors and joint CEO’s for Paines Plough. Both Martin and Mel were extremely helpful in working alongside us at the early stages of our journey and the time we spent with them was critical in supporting us in defining the starting vision for the organisation. They were both friendly and warm, encouraging, and rigorous in their approach.

We were able to have open and honest conversations about future strategies and how to deepen our focus on bigger picture thinking. They shared useful tools in how we defined ourselves as new leaders and gave us the space to talk freely to create solid objectives. They have since become avid supporters of Paines Plough and we could not recommend them highly enough for their guidance and expertise."

Katie Posner and Charlotte Bennett
Joint Artistic Directors and CEO’s - Paines Plough

We’ve kept close to Pains Plough since those initial discussions and watched them go from strength to strength, enabling greater inclusivity for new writing that better reflects and continually evolves with the society it serves. Not only do they create the balance they need to keep moving forward, but they also enable balance in the wider theatre ecosystem which is critical to the direction in which our society and culture will continue to evolve.

more balanced thinking