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First production images released for Guards at the Taj at the Bush Theatre directed by Jamie Lloyd

Bush Theatre announces summer comedy festival in partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Council

Nina Conti: In Your Face
  • Bush Theatre announces summer comedy festival in partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Council and PBJ Management, 1-4 June 2017
  • Nina Conti, Shaun Keaveny and Tim Key join emerging and new comedy talent to showcase works in progress
  • Plus free comedy workshops for local kids
Nina Conti: In Your Face

Nina Conti: In Your Face

Bush Theatre today announced a four-day festival of comedy will be taking place this summer in Shepherd’s Bush. The line-up performing at the newly refurbished Theatre will include Nina Conti, Shaun Keaveny, Tim Key, Joseph Morpurgo, Geins Family Giftshop, Sunday Assembly, Bring Your Own Baby, Tom Allen, Spencer Jones and Standard Guilty Feminist. More acts still to be announced for the festival which runs from 1-4 June 2017. Tickets go on sale today to Bush Local residents and on general sale on 10 April.

The festival will include four days of fresh and exciting new work, award-winning comedians, music and workshops in Shepherd’s Bush and will feature some of the hottest and most surprising comedians in the UK.

The shows will be accompanied by a series of free comedy workshops for local children.

The four-day comedy festival is presented by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and PBJ Management in partnership with the Bush Theatre.

Listings
Shepherd’s Bush Comedy Festival
Presented by London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and PBJ Management
1-4 June 2017
Press night: N/A

Individual show listings
01 Jun, 8pm
NINA CONTI: IN YOUR FACE (plus support)
£18
14+

02 Jun, 8pm
SHAUN KEAVENY: MIDDLE AGED NIGHT OUT (plus DJ slot)
£15
16+

03 Jun, 12pm
STAND-UP FOR KIDS
£FREE
All ages

03 Jun, 1.30pm
JOSEPH MORPURGO (work in progress)
£5
14+

03 Jun, 3pm
GEINS FAMILY GIFTSHOP (work in progress)
£5
14+

03 Jun, 5pm
COMEDY YOGA WITH MARIJANA
£5
All ages

03 Jun, 8pm
TIM KEY (work in progress plus support)
£18
14+

04 Jun, 12pm
SUNDAY ASSEMBLY
£Donation
All ages

04 Jun, 1.30pm
ME & MY BEE
£FREE
All ages

04 Jun, 3pm
TOM ALLEN (work in progress)
£5
14+

04 Jun, 5.00pm
SPENCER JONES (work in progress)
£5
14+

04 Jun, 8.30pm
STANDARD GUILTY FEMINIST
£15
14+

Rehearsal images released for Guards at the Taj at the Bush Theatre directed by Jamie Lloyd

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Barney Norris: ‘It’s so precious and such a privilege, to live in a culture where we can expect things of people, and hold them to account, and we must advocate that wherever we’re afforded an opportunity to do so.’

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The Bush Theatre re-opens after a year-long, £4.3 Mn major redevelopment

East exterior view down Uxbridge Road_2. Bush Theatre reopens. Photographer Philip Vile.
East exterior view down Uxbridge Road_2. Bush Theatre reopens. Photographer Philip Vile.

East exterior view down Uxbridge Road_2. Bush Theatre reopens. Photographer Philip Vile.

The Bush Theatre reopens this week following the biggest capital project in the theatre’s history. The £4.3million, year-long revitalisation of the venue by award-winning architects Haworth Tompkins has turned an old library built at the turn of the 20th Century into a fully accessible, modernised cultural building.

Upon re-opening, the new building will be more sustainable and entirely accessible, with a new entrance, front-of-house area and exterior garden terrace to the main street.  A new studio space and attic rehearsal room will allow the Bush to work with a further 200 artists each year and allow over 50% increase in produced, co-produced and commissioned productions.  This is a remarkable growth for the theatre since moving from above a pub on Shepherd’s Bush Green in 2011.

Madani Younis, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre said:

“Following this landmark capital project, we couldn’t be more excited to re-open our building to the world. We’re looking forward to welcoming audiences old and new to this incredible space. It was important to me that we re-open with a week of celebrations that embrace the diversity of the world we live in.  ‘Black Lives, Black Words’ is a bold statement about one of the most important movements of our time: #BlackLivesMatter. This, followed by Rajiv Joseph’s award-winning ‘Guards at the Taj’ directed by Jamie Lloyd, sets the tone of the stories we want to tell in our beautiful new home.”

Steve Tompkins, Director of Haworth Tompkins, said:

“Working with the Bush Theatre team over the past few years has been a real pleasure. It has been particularly interesting for us to work with successive artistic directors in evolving the theatre’s physical identity to meet changing needs and priorities. We’re looking forward to the building coming back to life as audiences, artists and staff make themselves at home again.”

The Bush redevelopment has been driven by the aim of realising Artistic Director Madani Younis’ vision for a theatre that reflects the diversity and vibrancy of London today.  The new building will nurture, develop and showcase the best of new artists and their work; reflecting local, national and international communities and encouraging the diversification of artists and artistic leadership in the UK.  The new studio will become a home for emerging artists and producers including associate artists Milk Presents, Deafinitely Theatre and ANTLER.  They will work alongside three Project 2036 practitioners (a programme that will offer a Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee playwright, director and producer a £10,000 bursary each year) and the Bush’s Emerging Writers’ Group.

Two local organisations will also join the Bush as Community Associate Companies where they will form a long-term collaborative, creative relationship with the theatre and work closely with artists to create a centre piece project.  Nubian Life Resource Centre, a care provider for African and Caribbean older people living with complex health conditions, will work with Cressida Brown, Artistic Director of political theatre company Offstage Theatre.  Shepherds Bush Families Project, an organisation who work with families in housing need, will work with physical theatre ensemble Tangled Feet.

COMING UP AT THE BUSH THEATRE…

Black Lives, Black Words, Theatre, 23 – 25 March
The new building will be launched by a week of celebrations from 18 March.  At the heart of this is Black Lives, Black Words, a series of short plays in the main theatre responding to the question ‘Do black lives matter today?’  Initiated by award-winning American playwright Reginald Edmund, the international project has explored the black diaspora’s experiences in some of the largest multicultural cities in the world, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Baltimore and London.

The Bush Theatre will contribute four new commissions by black British writers to the Black Lives, Black Words canon.  These are: The Interrogation of Sandra Bland by Mojisola Adebayo, My White Best Friend by Rachel De-Lahay, The Principles of Cartography by Winsome Pinnock and Womb by Somalia Seaton. The programme will also include previously performed pieces by American writers: #Matter by Idris Goodwin and The Bitter Earth by Harrison David Rivers.  The plays will be performed by actors and, in the spirit of protest, most of the audience will stand and move with the performance.  Poet Anthony Anaxagorou will perform his poems If I Told You, This is not a Poem and Master’s Revenge each night.  An anthology of all the works performed as well as a select number from the existing Black Lives, Black Words canon will be published by Oberon Books and edited by Reginald Edmund.

Guards at the Taj, Theatre, 7 April – 20 May, Press Night 12 April
Jamie Lloyd directs the European premiere of Guards at the Taj, written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph and designed by Soutra GilmourDanny Ashok will play Humayun and Darren Kuppan will play Babur.  Guards at the Taj takes an enduring legend about the Taj Mahal and prompts audiences to explore questions about art, privilege and duty. The play premiered at the Atlantic Theater in New York to great acclaim in 2015 and is the recipient of both the Obie Award for Best New American Play and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play.

A Bush Theatre, Up In Arms and Farnham Maltings co-production
While We’re Here, Studio, 26 April – 27 May
The world premiere of Barney NorrisWhile We’re Here directed by Alice Hamilton will open the new Bush Theatre Studio.  Co-Directors of the multi award-winning touring company Up In Arms, Norris and Hamilton last collaborated at the Bush on the critically acclaimed Visitors, for which Norris won the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright. The play will be performed by Tessa Peake-Jones and Andrew French.

Hir, Theatre, 15 June – 22 July, Press Night 20 June
This explosive play by Taylor Mac (24-Decade History of Popular Music) one of America’s most dynamic and distinctive voices comes to London in a new production by Nadia Fall (Disgraced). Mac, an artist at the forefront of alternative responses to American culture, subverts all notions of the modern American family in this clash of wild absurdity and stark realism.

Nassim, Studio, 24 – 29 July
Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour returns to the Bush with an audacious theatrical experiment that explores the power of language to unite us in unknown, uncertain times.  Directed by Bush Associate Director Omar Elerian, Nassim will feature the playwright himself.

Ramona Tells Jim, Studio, 20 September – 21 October
Sophie Wu (Kick Ass, Fresh Meat) will be the first graduate of the Bush’s Emerging Writers’ Group, which launched in 2015, to have a full commission produced at the Bush, with the premiere of Ramona Tells Jim which will be directed by Mel Hillyard.

A Bush Theatre and Sheffield Theatres co-production
Of Kith and Kin,Theatre,18 October – 25 November, Press Night 20 October
Sheffield Theatres Artistic Director Robert Hastie (My Night With Reg, Splendour) directs this gripping new comedy by Chris Thompson (Albion).  The pair previously collaborated on Carthage at the Finborough Theatre.  Of Kith and Kin, a Bush Theatre and Sheffield Theatres co-production, poses the question what does family mean in the 21st century?

Bush Theatre announces casting for While We’re Here by Barney Norris and more tickets released for 2017 Season

Andrew French
Barney Norris

Barney Norris

Casting is announced today for While We’re Here, a new play by acclaimed writer Barney Norris (Visitors, Bush Theatre; Eventide, Arcola Theatre). Alice Hamilton will direct Tessa Peake-Jones (Only Fools and Horses, BBC; Beacons, Park Theatre) and Andrew French (The Iphigenia Quartet, Gate Theatre; Boi, Boi is Dead, West Yorkshire Playhouse) in this world premiere which opens the Bush Theatre’s brand new 60 seat Studio.

Co-Directors of the multi award-winning touring company Up In Arms, Barney Norris and Alice Hamilton return to the Bush following their critically acclaimed production of Visitors, for which Norris won the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright. He has two other productions opening this spring; Echo’s End at Salisbury Playhouse and a revival of Every You Every Me at Oxford Playhouse/ Reading Rep. His debut novel, Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, was released last year and is now a bestseller.

“Sometimes I think my whole life has been a frightening time. Well. I remember the crunch of the gravel under my feet walking back up the drive, and thinking my life might be over. I might have had all of my fun. But I was wrong, it turned out. I’ve had a lot of good things since.”

Eddie and Carol were lovers once, but their lives went in different directions. Now they meet again in a town full of memories, and find something still burns between them. On the country’s southern margin where the towns give way to the English Channel, both search for the centre of their lives.

The Bush has also announced that tickets are released today for Ramona Tells Jim (20 September – 21 October) in the Studio and Of Kith and Kin (18 October – 25 November) in the Theatre as well as more tickets for the upcoming Guards at the Taj (7 April – 20 May) and Hir (15 June – 22 July).

Andrew French

Andrew French

Andrew French returns to the Bush Theatre having previously appeared in I Like Mine With a Kiss directed by Mike Bradwell. Further theatre credits include This Flesh Is Mine/ When Nobody Returns (Border Crossings), The Iphigenia Quartet (Gate Theatre), Bully Boy (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), Boi Boi is Dead and Refugee Boy (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Roundabout Season (Paines Plough), Julius Caesar (Royal Shakespeare Company), Six Characters in Search of an Author (Aquila Theatre, USA), Measure for Measure  (Almeida Theatre), Monster (Royal Exchange, Manchester), As You Like It (West End), References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot (Arcola Theatre/ Young Vic), The Taming of the Shrew (Nottingham Playhouse), The Merchant of Venice and Troilus and Cressida (National Theatre), The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare’s Globe), Things Fall Apart (West Yorkshire Playhouse/ Royal Court), The Tempest (Nottingham Playhouse) and The Tempest (Shared Experience). Television credits include Capital, Soundproof and In Deep, Perfect Parents, Burnside, and Tough Love. Film credits include Breaking the Bank, Exorcist: The Beginning, Exorcist: Dominion, The Merchant of Venice, Close Your Eyes and The Tailor of Panama.

Tessa Peake-Jones

Tessa Peake-Jones

Tessa Peake-Jones is most well-known for playing Raquel in the television series Only Fools and Horses. She returns to the Bush Theatre where she previously appeared in Crossing the Equator. More recently her theatre credits include Beacons (Park Theatre), Home and Brimstone and Treacle (Arcola Theatre), Park Avenue Cats (Arts Theatre), The Five Wives of Maurice Pinder (National Theatre), Shirley Valentine (Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke) and The Park (Barbican Theatre/ Royal Shakespeare Company). Further credits with the Royal Shakespeare Company include Hamlet and A Comedy of Errors. Elsewhere her theatre work includes Pride and Prejudice (Leicester Haymarket/ Old Vic), Romeo and Juliet (Birmingham Rep) and Quartermaine’s Terms (Bristol Old Vic/ Stephen Joseph Theatre). Further television credits include a regular leading role in ITV’s Grantchester, recurring roles in the series Unforgotten, Marchlands, Doctors and Holby City, and movies Legacy and Poppy Shakespeare. Feature film credits include Bonobo, First Night and the upcoming The Devil Went Down to Islington.

Barney Norris (playwright) is a critically acclaimed writer and the co-artistic director of Up in Arms. Previous work at the Bush Theatre includes The Rest of Your Life and Visitors, for which he won the Critics’ Circle and Off West End Most Promising Playwright Awards. Further plays include Fear of Music (National Tour/ Out of Joint), At First Sight (National Tour/ Latitude Festival) and the critically acclaimed Eventide (Arcola Theatre). Further published works include To Bodies Gone: The Theatre of Peter Gill and the bestselling novel Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain. He has two other productions opening this spring; Echo’s End (Salisbury Playhouse) and a revival of Every You Every Me (Oxford Playhouse/ Reading Rep).

Alice Hamilton (director) is the co-artistic director of Up in Arms. She was nominated for the Best Director Offie Award for Visitors (Arcola Theatre/ Bush Theatre/ National Tour) and Eventide (Arcola/ National Tour). For Up in Arms she also directed German Skerries (Orange Tree Theatre/ National Tour), Fear of Music (National Tour/ Out of Joint) and At First Sight (National Tour/ Latitude Festival). Other theatre includes 30 Christmases (Old Fire Station, Oxford), Orca and Orson’s Shadow (both at Southwark Playhouse). She will be directing the upcoming production of Echo’s End (Salisbury Playhouse).

Casting announced today for Guards at the Taj by Pulitzer Priz finalist Rajiv Joseph

Guards at the Taj
Guards at the Taj

Guards at the Taj

Casting is announced today for the European premiere of Guards at the Taj, written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph and directed by Jamie Lloyd. Danny Ashok (Disgraced, Bush Theatre; Capital, BBC) will play Humayun and Darren Kuppan (East is East, West End/ UK Tour) will play Babur. A new image of the cast has been released today and is now available to download here.

This darkly comic play will open the 2017 season at the Bush Theatre, following its major £4.3m capital project to revitalise the building. Guards at the Taj takes an enduring legend about the Taj Mahal and prompts audiences to explore questions about art, privilege and duty. The play premiered at the Atlantic Theater in New York to great acclaim in 2015 and is the recipient of both the Obie Award for Best New American Play and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play.

“If we hadn’t done our jobs tonight, we’d be hanging by our necks in the royal courtyard getting our eyes pecked out by the royal crows. So excuse me if I don’t wallow in some misbegotten guilt all night. Was it fucked up? Yes, it was. But I don’t have to feel terrible about it.”

It’s 1648. Agra, India. Imperial guards Humayun and Babur keep watch as the final touches are put to the mighty Taj Mahal behind them. The emperor has decreed that no one, except the masons, labourers and slaves who exist within those walls, shall turn to look at the building until it is complete.

Guards at the Taj is written by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Jamie Lloyd and designed by Soutra Gilmour. Lighting design is by Richard Howell with sound design and music composed by George Dennis. Fight direction is by Kate Waters.

Danny Ashok’s credits at the Bush Theatre include the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Disgraced, which transferred to Broadway and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. Most recently at the Bush he appeared in Zaida and Aadam, part of last season’s This Place We Know. Elsewhere his theatre credits include The Djinns of Eidgah (Royal Court), Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 (Theatre Royal Bath) and Blood and Gifts (National Theatre). He most recently appeared in the International Emmy Award-winning BBC Drama Capital. Further television work includes The Five, Chasing Shadows and the BAFTA-winning The Dumping Ground. He has recently finished shooting the lead role in Finding Fatimah, directed by Oz Arshad, which will be released this spring.

Darren Kuppan most recently appeared on stage in The Tempest (Shakespeare’s Globe). Previous credits include Cymbeline (Shakespeare’s Globe), as Maneer Khan in East Is East (West End/ UK Tour), An August Bank Holiday Lark (Northern Broadsides), England Street (Oxford Playhouse), Great Expectations (English Touring Theatre/ Watford Palace), Rafta Rafta (Bolton Octagon/ New Vic Stoke), the lead in Theatre Royal Stratford East’s Aladdin, Arabian Nights (New Vic Stoke) and Bollywood Jane (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Television work includes Spooks and Britannia High.

Jamie Lloyd (director) has directed many productions in the West End for The Jamie Lloyd Company, including Doctor Faustus, The Maids, The Homecoming, The Ruling Class (Evening Standard Award for Best Actor for James McAvoy), Macbeth (Olivier nomination for Best Revival), The Hothouse, Richard III and The Pride. He won the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical for Passion while he was Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse (2008 to 2011) and the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for The Pride (Royal Court). Lloyd’s other extensive credits include Urinetown (St. James Theatre/ West End), The Commitments (West End/ UK Tour), The Duchess of Malfi (Old Vic), She Stoops to Conquer (National Theatre), The Faith Machine,  Inadmissible Evidence, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Polar Bears (all Donmar Warehouse), Piaf (Donmar Warehouse/ Vaudeville/Teatro Liceo, Buenos Aires/Nuevo Teatro Alcala, Madrid; Olivier nomination for Best Musical Revival, Hugo Award for Best Director, Clarin Award for Best Musical Production, ADEET Award for Best Production) and Three Days of Rain (West End; Olivier nomination for Best Revival).  He is currently directing a double bill of Philip Ridley’s work, Killer and The Pitchfork Disney, at Shoreditch Town Hall.

Rajiv Joseph (playwright) became a Pulitzer Prize finalist (2010) for his Broadway play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which starred Robin Williams in his Broadway debut. Other plays include Gruesome Playground Injuries, Animals Out of Paper and All This Intimacy (Second Stage Theatre). Screen credits include seasons 3 & 4 of the TV series Nurse Jackie and he was the co-screenwriter of the film Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.

Soutra Gilmour (designer) is an award-winning designer whose extensive credits include many productions in collaboration with Jamie Lloyd. She has designed several productions for The Jamie Lloyd Company in the West End including Doctor Faustus, The Maids, The Homecoming, The Ruling Class, Richard III, The Pride, The Hothouse and Macbeth. Previous work at the Bush Theatre includes Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Qur’an.

Bush Theatre re-opens from 18 March (celebrations include Black Lives, Black Words) and 2017 Season opens with Guards at the Taj directed by Jamie Lloyd

Bush Theatre in progress
 Bush Theatre in progress

Bush Theatre in progress

The Bush Theatre will reopen after a year-long £4.3m redevelopment, the largest capital project in the theatre’s history, with a bold new season kicked off by the European Premiere of Guards at the Taj by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph, directed by Jamie Lloyd (from 7 April). A brand new Studio space opens with the premiere of Barney Norris play While We’re Here directed by Alice Hamilton (from 26 April).

Prior to this, a week of housewarming events (from 18 March) will celebrate the new Bush building and the diversity of its home in Shepherds Bush. This will include performances, talks, music and spoken word. The building will also be animated with work from the Bush’s Associate Artists and Emerging Writers’ Group. See Notes to Editors for full listing details.

A highlight of the week is Black Lives, Black Words (23 March – 25 March) a series of short plays in the newly revitalised theatre space that will consider the question ‘Do black lives matter today?’ This shared project was initiated by the award-winning American playwright Reginald Edmund in Chicago in 2015.  Black Lives, Black Words has since grown to explore the black diaspora’s experiences in some of the largest multicultural cities in the world, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Baltimore and London.

The Bush Theatre will contribute new commissions to the Black Lives, Black Words canon including plays by black British writers Winsome Pinnock and Rachel De-Lahay. Poet Anthony Anaxagorou will open each night with If I told you and an anthology of all the works performed will be published by Oberon Books.

The Bush Theatre redevelopment has been driven by the aim of realising Artistic Director Madani Younis’ vision for a theatre that reflects the diversity of London today. Upon reopening, the building will be more sustainable and entirely accessible, with a new entrance, front-of-house area and exterior garden terrace to the main street. The new 70-seat Studio will serve to increase the artistic output of the Bush Theatre, and provide emerging writers and artists with a flexible, intimate space to create and showcase the best in new writing.

The Season

Over the 2017 season, the Bush Theatre will present three new commissions, three world premieres, two European premieres and one production that will tour nationally. 50% of the programme comes from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) writers.

The Theatre is the Bush Theatre’s original production space with a capacity of 180 seats. The Studio is a brand new, smaller performance space with 70 seats.

Guards at the Taj
Written by Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Jamie Lloyd
Designed by Soutra Gilmour

Theatre

7 April – 20 May
Please note the Press Night will now take place on Wednesday 12 April

The new season opens with Guards at the Taj, a darkly comic moral fable about beauty, privilege and access to art, written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph. This surreal and witty play first opened to critical acclaim in New York. Jamie Lloyd directs the European premiere.

“If we hadn’t done our jobs tonight, we’d be hanging by our necks in the royal courtyard getting our eyes pecked out by the royal crows. So excuse me if I don’t wallow in some misbegotten guilt all night. Was it fucked up? Yes, it was. But I don’t have to feel terrible about it.”

It’s 1648. Agra, India. Imperial guards Humayun and Babur keep watch as the final touches are put to the mighty Taj Mahal behind them. The emperor has decreed that no one, except the masons, labourers and slaves who exist within those walls, shall turn to look at the building until it is complete.

Guards at the Taj takes as its starting point an enduring legend and prompts contemporary audiences to revisit questions about art and privilege. The play premiered at the Atlantic Theater in New York to great acclaim in 2015 and is the recipient of both the Obie Award for Best New American Play and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play.

Jamie Lloyd (director) makes his Bush Theatre directing debut with Guards at the Taj. Most recently he directed a season of revivals in the West End for The Jamie Lloyd Company, including Doctor Faustus, The Maids, The Homecoming, The Ruling Class (Evening Standard Award for Best Actor for James McAvoy) and Macbeth (Olivier nomination for Best Revival). He won the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical for Passion while he was Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse (2008 to 2011) and the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for The Pride (Royal Court). He is directing a double bill of Philip Ridley’s work, Killer and The Pitchfork Disney, at Shoreditch Town Hall from late January.

Rajiv Joseph (playwright) became a Pulitzer Prize finalist (2010) for his Broadway play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. Other plays include Gruesome Playground InjuriesAnimals Out of Paper and All This Intimacy (Second Stage Theatre). Screen credits include seasons 3 & 4 of the TV series Nurse Jackie and he was the co-screenwriter of the film Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.

Soutra Gilmour (designer) is an award-winning designer whose extensive credits include many productions in collaboration with Jamie Lloyd. She designed several productions in The Jamie Lloyd Company’s recent West End season including Doctor FaustusThe Maids, The Homecoming, The Ruling Class, Richard III, The Pride, The Hothouse and Macbeth. Previous work at the Bush Theatre includes Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Qur’an.

A Bush Theatre, Up In Arms and Farnham Maltings co-production
While We’re Here
Written by Barney Norris
Directed by Alice Hamilton
Designed by James Perkins

Studio
26 April – 27 May
Press night on 28 April

A World premiere by Barney Norris opens the brand new 70 seat Studio. While We’re Here will be directed by Alice Hamilton. Co-Directors of the multi award-winning touring company Up In Arms, the duo return to the Bush following their critically acclaimed production of Visitors, for which Norris won the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright

‘I remember the crunch of the gravel under my feet, and thinking my life might be over. I might have had all of my fun. And then him. And we don’t get to choose who we fall for.’

Eddie and Carol were lovers once, but their lives went in different directions. Now they meet again in a town full of memories, and find something still burns between them. On the country’s southern margin where the towns give way to the English Channel, both search for the centre of their lives.

Barney Norris (playwright) is a critically acclaimed writer and the co-artistic director of Up in Arms. Previous work at the Bush Theatre includes The Rest of Your Life and Visitors, for which he won the Critics’ Circle and Off West End Most Promising Playwright Awards. Further plays include Fear of Music (National Tour/ Out of Joint), At First Sight (National Tour/ Latitude Festival) and the critically acclaimed Eventide (Arcola Theatre)Further published works include To Bodies Gone: The Theatre of Peter Gill and the bestselling novel Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain. He has two other productions opening this spring; Echo’s End (Salisbury Playhouse) and a revival of Every You Every Me (Oxford Playhouse/ Reading Rep).

Alice Hamilton (director) is the co-artistic director of Up in Arms. She was nominated for the Best Director Offie Award for Visitors (Arcola Theatre/ Bush Theatre/ National Tour) and Eventide (Arcola/ National Tour). For Up in Arms she also directed German Skerries (Orange Tree Theatre/ National Tour), Fear of Music (National Tour/ Out of Joint) and At First Sight (National Tour/ Latitude Festival). Other theatre includes 30 Christmases (Old Fire Station, Oxford), Orcaand Orson’s Shadow (both at Southwark Playhouse). She will be directing the upcoming production of Echo’s End (Salisbury Playhouse).

HIR
Written by Taylor Mac
Directed by Nadia Fall
Designed by Ben Stones

Theatre
15 June – 22 July
Press Night on 20 June

Having made great waves in New York, this explosive play by one of America’s most dynamic and distinctive voices comes to London in a new production by Nadia Fall (Disgraced). Taylor Mac (24-Decade History of Popular Music), an artist at the forefront of alternative responses to American culture, subverts all notions of the modern American family in this clash of wild absurdity and stark realism.

“Stop behaving like a man!”
“We are men!”

In a nondescript town somewhere in mid-west America, Isaac gets home from serving in the marines to find war has broken out back home. Isaac’s mom Paige is blowing up entrenched routines.  In their cheap house made of plywood and glue, notions of masculinity and femininity become weapons with which to defeat the old order. But sometimes annihilating the past doesn’t free you from it.

Taylor Mac (playwright) is also a multi award-winning actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director and producer. judy is the author of seventeen full-length plays and performance pieces including the 24-hour durational concert A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (an extract of which was performed at the Hackney Empire for LIFT Festival 2016), The Lily’s Revenge (which received rave reviews and an Obie Award), The Walk Across America for Mother EarthThe Young Ladies OfRed Tide BloomingThe Be(a)st of Taylor Mac (winning Edinburgh Festival’s Herald Angel Award), and in collaboration with Mandy Patinkin, Susan Stroman and Paul Ford, Mac created The Last Two People On Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville.

Nadia Fall (director) returns to the Bush Theatre following Disgraced. She has directed numerous productions at the National Theatre including The SuicideOur Country’s GoodDaraChewing Gum DreamsHomeHymn and The Doctor’s Dilemma. Further directing credits include R&D (Hampstead Theatre), Way Upstream(Chichester Festival Theatre), Hobson’s Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), How Was it for You? (Unicorn Theatre) and The Maids (Lyric Hammersmith). She has led participation initiatives with partners such as the Young Vic, Clean Break, Soho Theatre and the Royal Court. She is also an acting coach, supporting professional actors for film and stage.

Ben Stones (designer) has designed extensively for theatre and dance and returns to the Bush Theatre following The Kitchen Sink. Previous work with Nadia Fall includes The Suicide (National Theatre), Way Upstream (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Hobson’s Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). Other credits include Into The Hoods: RemixedThe Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Some like it Hip Hop (ZooNation), Kiss Of The Spider Woman (Donmar Warehouse), The Silence of the Sea (Donmar Trafalgar), An Enemy of the People (Sheffield Crucible) and The Lady In The Van (National Tour). In 2011 he won the MEN award for Best Design for Doctor Faustus at the Royal Exchange, Manchester.

Nassim
Written and performed by Nassim Soleimanpour
Directed by Omar Elerian

Studio
24 – 29 July

Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour returns to the Bush with an audacious theatrical experiment that explores the power of language to unite us in unknown, uncertain times.  Directed by Bush Associate Director Omar Elerian, Nassim will feature the playwright himself.

Dear performer. I want to show you something. Did you know, in Farsi my name is written like this:  ‘.ROUPNAMIELOS MISSAN si eman yM’

No rehearsals. No preparation. Just a sealed envelope and an actor reading a script for the first time.

Nassim follows Soleimanpour’s globally acclaimed White Rabbit Red Rabbit, which has been translated into 15 different languages and performed over 1000 times by some of the biggest names in theatre and film including Sinead Cusack, Ken Loach and Whoopi Goldberg. It had already been performed hundreds of times in more than a dozen languages by 2013 when Soleimanpour was first permitted to travel outside his native Tehran.

Nassim Soleimanpour (playwright and performer) is an independent multidisciplinary theatre maker best known for his multi award-winning play White Rabbit Red Rabbit. Nassim’s play BLANK premiered in the UK at the Bush Theatre’s RADAR festival in 2015, also playing in Amsterdam, Utrecht with further performances all over the world including in Argentina, Australia and India. Further plays include Blind Hamlet which premiered at LIFT Festival 2014 prior to a UK tour and productions in Bucharest and Copenhagen. Nassim now lives in Berlin and has been commissioned to write a new play for Teater Momentum (Denmark).

Omar Elerian (director) is Associate Director at the Bush Theatre where he directed One Cold Night by Nancy Harris and Islands by Caroline Horton. He also co-directed the Olivier nominated You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy at the Bush Theatre alongside Daniel Goldman. He was also Associate Director on The Royale by Marco Ramirez, Perseverance Drive by Robin Soans and Chalet Lines by Lee Mattinson. Other directing credits include acclaimed site-specific production The Mill – City of Dreams (Bradford, Yorkshire), Testa di Rame (Festival Inequilibrio, Italy) and Les P’tites Grandes Choses (Maison de Arts du Cirque et du Clown, France).
Ramona Tells Jim
Written by Sophie Wu

Studio
20 September – 21 October

Sophie Wu (Kick Ass, Fresh Meat) will be the first graduate of the Bush’s Emerging Writers’ Group, which launched in 2015, to have a full commission produced at the Bush, with the premiere of Ramona Tells Jim. 

In 1998, Ramona, of Englandshire, has a penchant for Enya and hates bananas. On her geography field trip she meets Jim, a local laddie wearing an anti-pill fleece.  He’s obsessed with hermit crabs, rock erosion and making homemade Irn-Bru cocktails. Deep in the Scottish Highlands Ramona falls for Jimmy’s awkward charm but gets caught in a scandal that will haunt them both for years to come

Sophie Wu (playwright) is a performer and writer for screen and stage. Her debut play, Sophie Wu is Minging, She Looks Like She’s Dead, premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and then transferred to the Soho Theatre. She is currently developing the play as an original comedy series for television with Charlie Brooker’s company, House of Tomorrow. As a performer, screen credits include Kick-AssFresh Meat and The Midnight Beast. On stage she last appeared at the Bush Theatre in The Wood Orchid directed by Michael Longhurst and most recently Shopping and F***ing (Lyric Hammersmith). Sophie is a graduate of the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers’ Group.


A Bush Theatre and Sheffield Theatres co-production
Of Kith and Kin
Written by Chris Thompson
Directed by Robert Hastie
Designed by James Perkins

Theatre
18 October – 25 November
Press Night on 20 October

Sheffield Theatres Artistic Director Robert Hastie (My Night With Reg, Splendour) directs this gripping new comedy by Chris Thompson (Albion).  The pair previously collaborated on Carthage at the Finborough Theatre.  Of Kith and Kin, a Bush Theatre and Sheffield Theatres co-production, poses the question what does family mean in the 21st century? The play will premiere at Sheffield Theatres as part of Hastie’s inaugural season as Artistic Director before transferring to the Bush Theatre.

‘He can’t call you both Dad. One of you should be Dad and the other one Daddy, surely?’

Daniel and Oliver are about to have their first baby. With their best friend, Priya, acting as surrogate, they’ve turned the study into a nursery and the bottles are sterilised. All that’s missing is the bundle of joy they’ve been pining for. When Daniel’s chaotic mother gatecrashes the baby shower with a few home truths, the cracks in Daniel and Oliver’s relationship begin to show.

Everyone knows you can choose your friends. Chris Thompson’s new play takes us to the heart of what happens when we choose our family too.

Chris Thompson (playwright) returns to the Bush Theatre after Albion. Previous credits include Carthage (Finborough Theatre) for which he won a Pearson Playwriting Award and was nominated for Best New Play and Most Promising New Playwright Offie Awards. Chris was the Channel 4 Playwright in Residence at the Finborough Theatre in 2014. In 2013 he took part in the Kudos/ Bush Initiative and the Royal Court invitation studio writers group.

Robert Hastie (director) is Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres and Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse. He most recently directed Breaking the Code (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Henry V (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Theatr Clwyd). Further directing credits include Chris Thompson’s Carthage (Finborough Theatre) and Sixty-Six Books: In The Land Of Uz, Middle ManDavid and GoliathSnow In Sheffield and A Lost Expression at the Bush Theatre.

Of Kith and Kin opens at Sheffield Studio Theatre on 15 September with a press night on 19 September

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Interview with producer of This Place We Know, Sophie Watson: “I’d just like to put on record that I’m not advocating putting Billie Piper in a time capsule.”

Sophie Watson
Bush Theatre has taken over the Uxbridge Road while the venue is undergoing a year-long redevelopment project. This Place We Know is a bold series of six commissioned short plays performed in spaces on and around Shepherd’s Bush.
This Place We Know has seen six world premieres of specially commissioned plays; this is a unique example of a theatre redefining what new-writing might do and how it might correspond to the local community. I thought it would be a good idea to chat to the producer behind it all: Sophie Watson.
Watson talks about Arts Council imposing ‘quantitative measures of arts quality’, Billie Piper in Yerma and more.
Sophie Watson

Sophie Watson

Hello! What are you working on at the moment?
The Bush Theatre is currently undergoing some changes that will make us more accessible and more sustainable, in the meantime, we’re out and about producing theatre in West London. We’re in our last week of ‘This Place We Know’ a series of short plays commissioned as a love letter to the Uxbridge Road and next up we’re remounting ‘The Royale’ by Marco Ramirez at the Tabernacle.

What is your most treasured possession?
In my theatre life, my playtext of ‘Many Moons’ by Alice Birch – the first play I ever produced.

Who or what is your biggest influence?
I don’t think I could pick one, I’ve always been so inspired by my colleagues; the team at the Bush are heroes.

The best kind of theatre often breaks the mould, how do you juggle risk-taking with sustainability?
When producing for an organisation you can’t look at a play in isolation, at the Bush we’re constantly looking at a season as a whole and asking ourselves whether we are offering our audiences a balanced programme. An example of that would be working with a playwright that audiences know and love and following that up with someone they may never have heard of, and hopefully there’s enough trust for audiences to come on a journey with us and a new playwright.

This Place We Know brings together a series of specially-commissioned plays in and around Shepherd’s Bush.  How have you prepared for this logistically?
I have been working on this project for many months. We commissioned the writers at the end of 2015 and then my first task was to introduce myself to almost every business on the Uxbridge Road to see whether there might be an opportunity to work together. It’s been important to think outside of the box, we ended up producing a play in a karaoke bar which I didn’t approach at first as I couldn’t imagine pulling it off but there’s a lot of good will in Shepherds Bush.

Gender inequality is a huge problem in the arts, however, there’s no shortage of women working in the arts, have you ever faced obstacles in your career?
This is a challenging industry to find your way in to regardless of gender, but I have to say that broadly I haven’t faced any obstacles that I would attribute to my being a woman. I hope I can use my position to support more women coming up through the industry as well as to profile female artists.

What are your thoughts on Arts Council imposing ‘quantitative measures of arts quality’?
I am sceptical about the introduction of these measures as an accurate way of measuring success. I’m also concerned about the additional administrative burden for organisations. I have read of concerns lately that organisations are carrying too much administrative resource, with some suggesting that this is to the detriment of the art/artists, but I find that a difficult argument to balance when looking at the demands placed on us all.

What would you bury in a time capsule to represent theatre in 2016?
Billie Piper. Is that weird? I can’t stop thinking about her performance in Yerma at the Young Vic this year. Plus, she’d have loads of other interesting stories about pop stardom.

Do you think we’ve become too obsessed with ourselves?
I think that we have always been obsessed with ourselves and with other people; particularly how we look, think and feel in relation to those other people. The difference now is the level of insecurity created by the various modes of presentation available to each and everyone of us. It continues to be the role of theatre to help us answer those questions.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
Christmas at Marks and Spencer.  Don’t ask.

What is the best job you’ve ever had?
Producer at the Bush Theatre of course.

Anything you’d like to add?
I’d just like to put on record that I’m not advocating putting Billie Piper in a time capsule.

Bush Theatre announces Up Next, a new programme to champion the next generation of Bamer artists

Bush Theatre
Bush Theatre

Bush Theatre

The Bush Theatre has today announced UP NEXT, a new development programme to champion the next generation of visionary BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee) leaders and artists, in partnership with Artistic Directors of the Future and Battersea Arts CentreArts Council Englands Sustained Theatre Fund has pledged £295,000 towards the initiative.

Over the course of the next two years, seven members of Artistic Directors of the Future – a network organisation for the next generation of BAMER Arts leaders – will gain hands-on experience across a range of disciplines – including artistic direction, producing, programming, fundraising, marketing and production. They will also receive support through networking, mentoring and leadership development. Collectively, the group will have the opportunity to create and lead a two-month takeover season of new work at both the Bush Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre.

Designed by the Bush Theatre alongside Artistic Directors of the Future and in a partnership with Battersea Arts Centre, UP NEXT aims to drive positive change for BAMER artists, to introduce new artists and approaches to the British theatre scene, to explore and implement new approaches to organisational change, and to encourage more UK theatres to take on their own UP NEXT programme in future years.

Madani Younis, Bush Theatre Artistic Director, said: “UP NEXT is based on a shared understanding that a generation of BAMER development projects have struggled to deliver their intended impact across our sector. We needed to go bigger: No more hand holding; no more short-lived schemes; no more waiting for permission. UP NEXT will give BAMER artists the opportunity to take the keys, take the budgets, take the space and change the game at the core of our artistic institutions. It is designed to change our theatres and feed in to the succession of their leadership  and I cant wait to see the results. 

Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway, Founder & Managing Director of Artistic Directors of the Future, said: “UP NEXT is a significant and vital extension to the work we carry out at Artistic Directors of the Future. We have outstanding culturally diverse leaders in our community and, through our partnership with the Bush Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre, we will be able to showcase and empower these individuals by providing a unique hands-on leadership opportunity across two of the UKs most iconic producing theatres. This project will not only support the career development of our members but it will also challenge the status quo, increase the visibility of the UKs culturally diverse leaders and introduce a new model to create positive change for generations to come. We are thrilled to be working with the Bush Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre to redress the balance of culturally diverse leadership in producing theatres across the UK.”

David Jubb, Battersea Arts Centre Artistic Director & CEO, said:“Development schemes for BAMER artists and leaders can play an important role, but unless cultural organisations provide meaningful opportunities for significant risk-taking and unless they are prepared to be changed by those collaborations, then the progress towards a more diverse sector will continue to be painfully slow. We’re really excited to have co-developed UP NEXT with Artistic Directors of the Future and the Bush Theatre and look forward to seeing if we can test a model that could be adopted and adapted more widely.”