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Madani Younis announces the Autumn Winter season of plays at the Bush Theatre After The Venue’s Successful Reopening In March This Year

BUSH THEATRE’S AUTUMN WINTER SEASON INCLUDES:

  • A retrospective of work by internationally acclaimed Iranian theatre-maker Nassim Soleimanpour, featuring three previous works and a brand new play commissioned by the Bush Theatre.
  • A season of international stories, featuring over 10 new works, from Muslim women both at home and abroad entitled Hijabi Monologues.
  • Previously announced new plays by Sophie Wu (Ramona Tells Jim) and Chris Thompson (Of Kith and Kin).
  • A new play by Thomas Eccleshare entitled Heather in a production with Dancing Brick, Paul Jellis and Tobacco Factory Theatres.
  • The Bruntwood Prize judges award winning Parliament Square by James Fritz in a co-production with Royal Exchange Theatre.

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Artistic Director Madani Younis introduces the new season of work for Autumn Winter 2017 :

  • ‘As ever at the Bush Theatre, we continue to seek powerful plays that respond to the urgency of the world around us. London is still reverberating from events that have made us question what community is and what our city means to us. As such, this building continues to speak up for the unheard and celebrate their voices. This year we have brought international movements into our local community with the powerful Black Lives, Black Words back in March and the upcoming Hijabi Monologues. The latter will feature over 10 new works gathered from Muslim women both locally in Shepherd’s Bush and further afield from different parts of the world.’ 

Ramona Tells Jim

Written by Sophie Wu

Directed by Mel Hillyard

Designed by Lucy Sierra

Bush Theatre Studio

20 September – 21 October 2017

Press Night 22 September 2017

It’s 1998. Ramona, of Englandshire, is 15 and she’s totally cool. Honestly. She’s completely cool.

On a wet, midge-riddled 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.

Fast forward fifteen years and Jim, of the shittest village in Scotland, has got a girlfriend and something like a functional life. But Ramona still can’t shake the consequences of that fateful trip. Determined to clear her conscience, she heads back to the Highlands to find that neither her nor Jim’s lives have turned out how they had planned.

Ramona Tells Jim is a darkly comic play about confession and the gravity of young love, from Bush Theatre Emerging Writers’ Group graduate and actor Sophie Wu (Kick AssWild Child), directed by Mel Hillyard and designed by Lucy Sierra.

Supported by Peter Wolff Theatre Trust.

 

Nassim Plays

Written by Nassim Soleimanpour

Bush Theatre

7 – 16 September 2017

In a celebration of his work, the Bush Theatre brings together all four of Iranian theatre-maker Nassim Soleimanpour’s plays.

These will include the self-titled Nassim, commissioned by the Bush Theatre, directed by Omar Elerian and designed by Rhys Jarman; international hit White Rabbit Red Rabbit, presented by Aurora Nova; Blank (Bush Theatre’s RADAR 2015 and Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016), presented by Aurora Nova; and the UK premiere of new play Cook, co-created by Nassim Soleimanpour and the Danish director Jesper Pedersen. All four plays will play in repertory over a week.

This retrospective will follow a run of Nassim at the Traverse Theatre as part of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Soleimanpour’s work is unique in that it requires no rehearsals, no preparation. Just a sealed envelope and a different actor each night reading a script for the first time.

 

A licensed production of Hijabi Monologues USA

Hijabi Monologues

Directed by Milli Bhatia

Bush Theatre

28 – 30 September 2017

Hijabi Monologues London is part of an international project focusing on the real-life experiences of both local and international Muslim women.  In a similar style to Black Lives, Black Words at the Bush Theatre earlier this year, Hijabi Monologues features interweaving stories from our doorstep as well as experiences of Muslim women in other parts of the world.

Directed by Milli Bhatia, the evening will include existing monologues penned for this international project by women including the original writer Sahar Ullah and new works from members of the Bush Theatre’s immediate community totalling over 10 UK premieres. Experience the diverse stories of Muslim women from all over the world – unfiltered and uncensored.

Supported by Amal – A Said Foundation Project, British Council and Safera Foundation.

 

Dancing Brick and Paul Jellis in association with Tobacco Factory Theatres and the Bush Theatre

Heather

Written by Thomas Eccleshare

Directed by Valentina Ceschi

Designed by Lily Arnold

Bush Theatre Studio

31 October – 18 November 2017

Press Night 2 November 2017

A reclusive children’s writer becomes wildly successful. Her books are treasured across the country. But when a troubling narrative starts to unfold, we find ourselves asking: what matters more, the storyteller or the story?

Brilliantly imaginative and theatrically original, Heather is a short, sharp story about language, prejudice and the power of stories.  The cast will include Ashley Gerlach and Charlotte Melia.

Thomas Eccleshare is the Verity Bargate Award-winning writer of Pastoral and the co-artistic director of Arches Brick Award winning company Dancing Brick.  Heather will be directed by Valentina Ceschi and designed by Lily Arnold.

 

A co-production with Sheffield Theatres

Of Kith and Kin

Written by Chris Thompson

Directed by Robert Hastie

Designed by James Perkins

Bush Theatre

18 October – 25 November 2017

Press Night 20 October, 7pm
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.

But 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. Are they as ready for this as they think they are? And more importantly, is Priya?

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 will be designed by James Perkins, with lighting by Prema Mehta, sound by Ella Wahlström and casting by Vicky Richardson.

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

 

A co-production with Royal Exchange Theatre

Parliament Square

Written by James Fritz

Directed by Jude Christian

Designed by Fly Davies

Bush Theatre

30 November 2017 – 6 January 2018

Press Night 1 December 2017

How far would you go for what you believe in?

Kat gets up one morning, leaves her family behind and travels to London to carry out an act that will change her life and, she hopes, everyone else’s. For those it touches, their lives will never be the same. But what, in the end, are the real consequences of her actions?

Raw, disturbing and compassionate, James Fritz‘s searingly powerful play forces a confrontation with some of the most urgent questions we face. What can one individual do to effect change? And where do we choose to draw the line between absolute commitment and dangerous obsession?

Parliament Square won the Judges’ Award in the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and will be directed byJude Christian whose credits include Lela and Co and Bodies both at the Royal Court.

 

EMERGING WRITERS’ GROUP

In June 2017, the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers’ Group (EWG) will enter its third year with a new intake of six writers. Sophie Wu, a graduate of the first EWG, will premiere her play at the Bush Theatre this September.  Five out of the twelve EWG graduates have received commissions or ongoing support from the Bush.  The new intake of writers for 2016 is: Robyn Addison, Afsaneh Gray, Kelly Jones, Isley Lynn, Eno Mfon andTom Wentworth.

 

UP NEXT

The Bush Theatre also announces today the artists taking part in 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 Centre. Tobi Kyeremateng, Sita Thomas, Ruthie Osterman (all Bush Theatre), Lekan Lawal, Tarek Iskander and Saad Eddine Said (Battersea Arts Centre) will be handed the keys to both the Bush Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre in early 2019. Arts Council England’s Sustained Theatre Fund supports the initiative.

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?

Madani Younis’ bold vision for the Bush Theatre affirmed as inaugural season for the redeveloped West London venue announced

Madani Younis © Richard Davenport
Madani Younis © Richard Davenport

Madani Younis © Richard Davenport

In March 2017, following a landmark year taking plays into the communities of West London, the Bush Theatre will return home following a £4.3m revitalisation of the venue. The year-long 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 Bush Theatre strives to create a space which nurtures, develops and showcases the best of new artists and their work; reflects the local, national and international communities and encourages the diversification of artists and artistic leadership in the UK. In its first season back at the Bush, 50% of the programme comes from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) writers. This will coincide with a new cohort of resident artists and associates, further reinforcing the Bush’s commitment to increasing the diversity of the work and the artists presented onstageThis comes hot on the heels of the announcement of UP NEXT, a two-year programme to champion the next generation of BAMER artists, funded by Arts Council England’s Sustained Theatres fund.

Madani Younis said, “With the global political context shifting, and the emergence of pervasive right wing politics, it’s more important than ever that artists and theatres agitate as well as entertain. With the redevelopment of our building, we are proud to be able to embrace new voices who will breathe life into this remarkable building. It’s their stories of joy, love, anger and (most of all) hope that will inspire a new generation of audiences. This year has rocked our very foundations: we might be less assured but we are more honest and I can’t wait to begin to fight back when we reopen the Bush in 2017.”

March 2016 marked the beginning of a major redevelopment of the Bush Theatre, led by architects Howarth Tompkins. 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. This sees a significant growth for the Bush since moving from above the pub on Shepherd’s Bush Green in 2011 – which will see audience grow from 16,000 to a projected 60,000 in just six years. This will also see the programme increase by over 60% and the number of artists increase by over 50%.

The New Season:

From April to November 2017, the Bush Theatre will present three new commissions, three world premieres, two European premieres and one production that will tour nationally.

Guards at the Taj (7 April – 20 May) by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph, will receive its European premiere directed by Jamie Lloyd, who makes his Bush directorial debut.  The production won the Obie Award for Best New American Play and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play when it premiered at the Atlantic Theater in New York.  This will be followed by the European premiere of Hir (15 June – 22 July) by Taylor Mac, an artist and writer whose performance launched this year’s LIFT Festival and whose recent 24-Decade History of Popular Music put him at the forefront of alternative responses to American culture. The production will be directed by Nadia Fall, who returns to the Bush following the acclaimed Disgraced. Then in the autumn, the Bush Theatre commission Of Kith and Kin (18 October – 25 November) by Chris Thompson, last at the Bush with Albion, will be presented in co-production with Sheffield Theatres and directed by Sheffield Theatres’ new Artistic Director Robert Hastie.

Alongside this, the Bush is announcing the first season of work in its new space, the Studio. This 70-seat theatre will serve to increase the artistic output of the Bush Theatre, and provide a new generation of emerging writers and artists with a flexible, intimate space to create and showcase the best in new writing. The first season will feature three world premieres. Up in Arms duo, writer Barney Norris and director Alice Hamilton,collaborate once again after the success of Visitors and Eventide with Norris’ new play While We’re Here (26 April – 27 May). This is a co-production between the Bush Theatre, Up in Arms and Farnham Maltings. Nassim Soleimanpour returns to the Bush with new play Nassim (24 – 29 July)following his globally acclaimed White Rabbit Red Rabbit, which has been translated into 15 different languages and performed over 200 times by artists including Sinead Cusack, Ken Loach and Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Bush Associate Director Omar ElerianNassim will feature the playwright himself. 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 (18 September – 21 October).

Artistic Director, Madani Younis said:

Over the past few years I have realised that we have more ideas and artists than we have opportunities in our theatre. The redevelopment of our building and the introduction of the Studio will give us more creative space for writers and artists to thrive. Our aim is to use this to help us better reflect the diversity and vibrancy of work of our city. It’s refreshing that this season of six plays includes emerging and established artists from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. But diversifying the audience is as important, and to support this, I’m delighted that at least 20% of the tickets in this season will be available for just £10, largely thanks to our new Count Me In ticket.”

Ahead of the first production, the new Bush Theatre will be launched in March 2017 by a week-long celebration under the banner Making SpaceMaking Space reflects the Bush’s wider ambition for the future. For just over a week, every room of the transformed building will be ignited in a celebration of the diverse talent that will shape the venue for the next generation. The theatre’s doors will be open to the community that surrounds it with a free programme of events for local residents, a first look at work by Associate Artists and the Emerging Writers’ Group, and the launch of a new community programme.  At the heart of this will be Black Lives, Black Words which explores the black diaspora experience in some of the world’s largest multicultural cities. Black Lives, Black Words gives voice to an international collection of contemporary black writers and asks ‘Do black lives matter today?’

The Bush is also launching a new talent development strategy designed to revolutionise the diversity and quality of artists and artistic leadership in the UK. From 2017, a new cohort of artists will become part of the fabric of the Bush. This includes three Associate Artists on attachment to the Studio: Milk PresentsDeafinitely Theatre and ANTLER. They will work alongside three Project 2036 practitioners – a programme that will offer a Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) playwright, director and producer a £10,000 bursary each year. Supported by the Leverhulme Trust, the first intake of artists is: Alison Holder (Producer), Rikki Henry (Director) and Hannah Khalil (Playwright). These artists join the previously announced Emerging Writers’ Group (EWG).

Bush Theatre announces two new community initiatives for This Place We Know

The Place We Know. Photo: Helen Murray

The Bush Theatre has today announced two innovative initiatives that will support and accompany This Place We Know, a landmark project in the theatre’s ‘breaking out’ season. This Place We Know will see six world premieres of specially commissioned plays produced in six borrowed, non-theatre spaces across Shepherd’s Bush. Through the Westfield Community Tickets scheme, 20% of the tickets for this season will be available free of charge to residents of the local area. Alongside the programme of plays, Eileen Perrier has been commissioned to complete a photography project which will profile the faces of the local and artistic communities integral to the Bush’s breaking out season

This Place We Know, a landmark project in Bush Theatre's 'breaking out' season. Click on the image to find out more. © Helen Murray

This Place We Know, a landmark project in Bush Theatre’s ‘breaking out’ season. Click on the image to find out more. © Helen Murray

Madani Younis, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre said, This Place We Know embraces the neighbourhood that surrounds the Bush Theatre; taking original plays to new and unexpected environments, meeting new people and encouraging local residents to become audience members for the first time. This aim will be realised through a partnership with shopping centre Westfield London, offering substantial financial support to fund an innovative ticketing initiative.

The Westfield Community Tickets scheme enables the theatre to provide 20% of all tickets to members of the local community, many of whom may not have visited the theatre before, free of charge. Tickets will be available through the Local People’s Lottery, available to all residents of W12. Local people will receive flyers which can be filled out and entered in to a Local People’s Lottery Box at the venues for This Place We Know. The lottery can also be entered online at bushtheatre.co.uk/lottery. Further tickets will be issued through partnerships with London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council and the Bush’s partner venues.

Led by Eileen Perrier, large scale photography will be exhibited on the exterior of the Bush Theatre’s building, currently closed whilst the building undergoes redevelopment, throughout September and October. Whilst Perrier captures images of the community and people of the Uxbridge Road, local residents will be encouraged to get involved and submit their own photography. The project furthers the Bush Theatre’s aspiration of reflecting the community in which it sits and providing a platform for local people to be heard. Alongside this, the project will ensure a legacy for This Place We Know; providing an enduring and collaborative memento of the season.

“Hammersmith and Fulham is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, and we are committed to making it even stronger. We want to ensure that residents get more opportunity to enjoy and participate in art which challenges and inspires them. This Place We Know epitomises this ethos: internationally renowned playwrights producing world premiere productions in venues throughout Shepherd’s Bush. And through this innovative partnership with Westfield, we are delighted that a new generation of audience will be able to experience this work free of charge.” Councillor Andrew Jones, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

Duncan Bower, Director of Development at Westfield, said: “We have been a long-term partner with the Bush Theatre since we opened in 2008 and the theatre moved to their then new premises on Uxbridge Road shortly thereafter – our relationship remains very strong. We hope that many local people can benefit from the Westfield Community Tickets scheme and have the chance to see these exciting new plays that celebrate the cultural landscape of W12.”

This Place We Know has a meeting and information point located at Shepherd’s Bush Boutique Hotel, 11/12 Poplar Mews, London W12 7JS. A venue map is downloadable here.

The Uxbridge Road is one of the longest and most diverse roads in Europe and has been the Bush’s home for the last 4 years. In an extraordinary love-letter to its home, This Place We Know brings together a series of specially-commissioned short plays to be performed in borrowed spaces along this West London artery.

Discover stories of heartbreak, joy, loss and retribution in pubs, churches and karaoke bars. At times funny, mysterious and foreboding, each is an intimate tale woven into the fabric of the city by the hottest new writers.

In 2016, as part of Madani Younis’ stated aim of creating a theatre that truly reflects the community in which it sits, the Bush Theatre is undergoing a major redevelopment of its building, creating a new second space, improved backstage facilities and a new front-of-house area, and making the whole building fully accessible and more sustainable. During the building works, the Bush Theatre’s programme is moving out into the local community, embracing the buildings and people of West London.

Full programme announced for the Bush Theatre’s This Place We Know

Bush Theatre Artist

Tickets are now available for the Bush Theatre’s full programme of This Place We Know, six new, commissioned plays which will be playing in various venues on the Uxbridge Road in September and October this year. Following the previous announcement of the season’s playwrights, the Bush Theatre today reveals full details of the plays, creative teams and venues.

Bush Theatre Artist

Bush Theatre Artists. Photo: Richard Davenport

In the week of 26 September the Bush Theatre’s Artistic Director, Madani Younis will direct Gbolahan Obisesan’s play Zaida and Aadam at a centre for African and Caribbean elderly people – Nubian Life Resource Centre – whilst Nancy Harris’ One Cold Dark Night will be directed by Associate Director, Omar Elerian and performed at the Defector’s Weld pub.

During the second week of the production The Rest of Your Life by Barney Norris and Terrorism by Kenny Emson will both open. The Rest of Your Life will play at local karaoke haunt Bar FM and will be directed by Miranda Cromwell (ADF partnership) whilst Terrorism takes up residency at Room 56, Dorsett – the old Shepherd’s Bush Palladium and a  former cinema – under direction from Eleanor Rhode.

The final week will see Joe Murphy direct Battleface by Sabrina Mahfouz in St Stephen’s CE Primary School and Ailin Conant (ADF partnership) will bring April De Angelis’s Nobody’s Listening to life at the neighbouring St Stephen’s Church.

Press night will be held on 5 October 2016.

Madani Younis said, “It has never seemed more important or fitting to present a season that mirrors the diversity and cultural heritage of our immediate community. From the protagonists of the stories we’re telling, to the playwrights and directors, This Place We Know is a direct result of the gamut of communities in W12. This year sees the Bush Theatre step outside of our building and conventional theatre setting and into the heart of Shepherd’s Bush, continuing our commitment to speaking up for, and with, our neighbours”

Thanks to a partnership with Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF), This Place We Know will include two directors who successfully applied to be a part of the season following a call out to ADF’s core network. The Bush Theatre will work alongside Miranda Cromwell and Ailin Conant as they direct productions as part of this season.

The Uxbridge Road is one of the longest and most diverse roads in Europe and has been the Bush Theatre’s home for the last four years.

In an extraordinary love-letter to its home, This Place We Know brings together a series of specially-commissioned short plays to be performed in borrowed spaces along this West London artery.

Discover stories of heartbreak, joy, loss and retribution in pubs, churches and karaoke bars. At times funny, mysterious and foreboding, each is an intimate tale woven into the fabric of the city by the hottest new writers.

This Place We Know has a meeting and information point located at Shepherd’s Bush Boutique Hotel, 11/12 Poplar Mews, London W12 7JS. A venue map is downloadable here.

Jude Akuwidike, Franc Ashman and Martins Imhangbe join Nicholas Pinnock in the Bush Theatre’s knockout production of The Royale

Nicholas Pinnock, as Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson – the first black heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

Jude Akuwudike, Franc Ashman and Martins Imhangbe will join the cast of The Royale, alongside Nicholas Pinnock, who plays Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson – the first black heavyweight boxing champion of the world. 

Nicholas Pinnock, as Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson – the first black heavyweight boxing champion of the world.

Nicholas Pinnock, as Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson – the first black heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Click the image to book your tickets for The Royale

Jude Akuwudike (Othello, Hamlet, Moon on a Rainbow Shawl) will play boxing trainer Wynton, while Franc Ashman (Peep Show, Tennison, DCI Banks) will reprise the role of Jackson’s sister Nina. Martins Imhangbe(Lionboy, Das Ding) will play Jackson’s sparring partner Fish.

The Royale, a Bush Theatre production, runs from 3 to 26 November at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill.

Written by award-winning American writer Marco Ramirez (Sons of Anarchy, Orange is the New Black), The Royale returns following the UK premiere and sell-out run in spring 2015 and will again be directed by the Bush Theatre’s Artistic Director Madani Younis.

Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson dreams of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. But it’s 1905 and, in the racially segregated world of boxing, his chances are as good as knocked out.

Told in six rounds and set in a boxing ring, The Royale is inspired by the often overlooked story of Jack Johnson, a boxer who – at the height of the Jim Crow era – became the most famous and the most notorious black man on Earth.

Through the sights and sounds of the early 20th century boxing circuit, The Royale examines society’s relationship with our present-day cultural heroes and the responsibilities that are thrust upon them when they find themselves outside of the ropes.

The Royale is loosely based on the real-life story of Jack Johnson, whose story is one of great talent and triumph, but also racism and injustice. Despite Johnson being one of the greatest fighters who had ever lived, one newspaper wrote at the time of his first title fight: “If the black man wins, thousands and thousands of his ignorant brothers will misinterpret his victory as justifying claims to much more than mere physical equality with their white neighbors.”

The Royale will be staged at The Tabernacle as the Bush Theatre undergoes a major redevelopment of its building. The venue, a former church, swinging sixties hang-out, community centre and, more recently, a training ground for young boxers, continues to host amateur boxing matches to this day.

The Royale - Actors and director.

The Royale – Actors and director. Click the image to book your tickets for The Royale

Jude Akuwudike’s recent theatre credits include The Crucible (Bristol Old Vic), Hamlet Asylum Seeker(Talawa/BandBazi), Othello (Actors From The London Stage/USA Tour/Cockpit Theatre, London), Ignorance(Hampstead Theatre), Moon On A Rainbow Shawl (National Theatre), The Faith Machine (Royal Court). TV and film credits include Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4), Lucky Man (Sky1) Cucumber (Channel 4), Holby CityUndercoverMoses Jones (all BBC), Beasts of No Nation (dir. Cary Fukunaga) and The Tempest (dir. Julie Taymor).Jude Akuwudike’s recent theatre credits include The Crucible (Bristol Old Vic), Hamlet Asylum Seeker (Talawa/BandBazi), Othello (Actors From The London Stage/USA Tour/Cockpit Theatre, London), Ignorance (Hampstead Theatre), Moon On A Rainbow Shawl (National Theatre), The Faith Machine(Royal Court). TV and film credits include Cucumber (Channel 4), Holby City, Undercover, Moses Jones (all BBC), Beasts of No Nation (dir. Cary Fukunaga) and The Tempest (dir. Julie Taymor).

Franc Ashman boasts an impressive list of theatre credits having performed extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Out of Joint under the direction of Max Stafford-Clark and the National Theatre. Recent screen credits include Wagstaffe, TennisonDCI Banks and Apple Tree Yard. She played Molly in the latest series of Peep Show for Channel 4.

Franc Ashman boasts an impressive list of theatre credits having performed extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre and acclaimed theatre company Out of Joint under the direction of Max Stafford-Clark. Recent screen credits include Tennison, DCI Banks & Apple Tree Yard. Franc lent her voice to the soundtrack of the Gary Oldman penned feature film Nil By Mouth and can be heard singing the theme song ‘Peculiar Groove’. She played Molly in the latest series of Peep Show for Channel 4.

Martins Imhangbe recently played the title role in Luce at Southwark Playhouse. His Other theatre includes Lionboy (Complicite), Das Ding (New Diorama),Romeo and Juliet (Orange Tree Theatre), Cinderella: A Fairytale (Unicorn Theatre), Street Stories (Royal opera House) and Sold at the Edinburgh Fringe, which won the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award. Martins trained at Central School of Speech and Drama.

Nicholas Pinnock is a British theatre, television and film actor who has recently appeared in programmes such as ITV’s Marcella and Sky’s Fortitude. He has also appeared in Channel 4′s award-winning drama, Top Boyhe played Dr Evan Farleigh in ITV’s The Ice Cream Girls and starred in the sequel to Monsters, in Monsters: Dark Continent.

Madani Younis took over as Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre in 2012. In 2013 he won the Groucho Club Maverick Award for the theatre, following the most successful season in the theatre’s history which played to 99% capacity. Also for the Bush Theatre he has directed Perseverance Drive and Chalet Lines. Prior to his appointment at the Bush Theatre, he was Artistic Director of Freedom Studios in Bradford, Yorkshire where his work included the site-specific work, The Mill – City of Dreams. He has also worked nationally and internationally as a theatre director, writer and practitioner. Whilst at Freedom Studios he collaborated with the Bush Theatre through workshops culminating in Freedom’s two week residency in 2010 at the theatre. He was previously Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company’s Asian Theatre School. He originally trained in film, and his debut short film Ellabellapumpanella, commissioned by the UK Film Council, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007. He was the recipient of the Decibel Award at the South Bank Awards show in 2006.

Bush Theatre issues call for three new associate artists

Bush Theatre Artist

The Bush Theatre is looking for three exceptional individual artists or companies whose practice is focused on new writing and new work, to join them as Associate Artists, in a new programme supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation.

Bush Theatre Artists. Photo: Richard Davenport

Bush Theatre Artists. Photo: Richard Davenport

The Associate Artists will be attached to the Bush Theatre’s new Studio space, which opens in 2017 as part of the theatre’s major redevelopment.

Applications are invited from artists and companies that have an established following and engagement with specific audiences, and wish to expand their practice, audience base, capacity and potential, through a partnership with the Bush Theatre in an 18-month programme starting from September 2016.

The successful associates will receive financial support in the form of a £2,500 bursary, a contribution towards research and development expenses, and commissions of work and/or activities for the Studio and other Bush programmes and events. In-kind support will include mentoring, use of R&D and meeting spaces in the building and access to and involvement with key events, meetings and decisions in the everyday life of the Bush Theatre.

Applications can be submitted via the Bush Theatre’s website at www.bushtheatre.co.uk/artists/ from today until the window closes on 30 June 2016.

The selecting panel will include the Bush Theatre’s Artistic Director Madani Younis, Associate Director Omar Elerian and an external panel member.

In 2016, as part of Madani Younis’ stated aim of creating a theatre that truly reflects the community in which it sits, the Bush Theatre is undergoing a major redevelopment of its building, creating a new second space, improved backstage facilities and a new front-of-house area, and making the whole building fully accessible and more sustainable. During the building works, the Bush Theatre’s programme is moving out into the local community, embracing the buildings and people of West London.

This programme is made possible thanks to support from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

For more information on the Bush Theatre’s programme, visit www.bushtheatre.co.uk

Bush Theatre announces playwrights for This Place We Know

The Place We Know. Photo: Helen Murray

The Bush Theatre today announced a number of ways it will demonstrate the theatre’s commitment to nurturing new writing at all levels, from emerging artists to established artists seeking to try something new.

The Place We Know. Photo: Helen Murray

This Place We Know. Photo: Helen Murray

Its September production This Place We Know will stage six new, specially commissioned plays by April de Angelis, Kenny Emson, Nancy Harris, Sabrina Mahfouz, Barney Norris and Gbolahan Obisesan, in various venues along on and around the Uxbridge Road in Shepherd’s Bush. More details of This Place We Know will be announced in the coming weeks.

In June 2016, the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers’ Group (EWG) will enter its second year with a new intake of six writers. Last year’s EWG consisted of Josh Azouz, Lily Bevan, Sevan Greene, Nabihah Islam, Gemma Rogers and Sophie Wu. Of those writers, two are currently under commission to the Bush, two more are on attachment to the theatre, and the remaining two continue to receive artistic support on new work. The new intake of writers for 2016 is: Tristan Bernays, Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, Kamal Kaan, Jessica Sian, A.C Smith and Camilla Whitehall.

The EWG is an opportunity for the Bush Theatre to develop relationships with new playwrights encountered through its unsolicited submissions process and further afield – all of whom are at early stages in their careers. It aims to support writers over a sustained period of time and help encourage work on a new full length play.

The Bush receives, reads and considers for production more than a thousand unsolicited scripts each year, in four-month Unsolicited Submissions Windows. The first window of 2016 will open on 1 June and close on 30 September 2016.

Bush Theatre Artistic Director Madani Younis says:

From our unsolicited submissions through to the work produced on our stage, we are proud to champion, develop and produce the work of diverse writers. By inviting playwrights to our Emerging Writers’ Group, drawn from unsolicited script submissions and the work we see around the UK, we are more committed than ever to creating bespoke and meaningful opportunities for the brightest and best new writing talent.”

The submission window is open to playwrights from the UK and Republic of Ireland who have a full-length play that can be considered for production at the Bush Theatre. Once submitted, each play will be read by a dedicated team of readers, made up of theatre professionals and led by the Bush Theatre’s Associate Dramaturg. Plays can be submitted via the Bush Theatre website at www.bushtheatre.co.uk/submissions where more information is also available.

For the second year, the Bush Theatre will collaborate with Playwrights of New York (PoNY) to offer a new play commission and month-long residency to a US-based playwright. The residency includes artistic and dramaturgical support, accommodation, research and development of an original idea as well as collaboration and engagement with British theatre artists and the creative life of the Bush Theatre. 2013 PoNY fellow Kimber Lee was the first PoNY Resident at the Bush in 2014-15. Following the Residency, Lee is currently under commission to the Bush for a new play.

Nicholas Pinnock (Marcella, Fortitude) will reprise his role as Jay Jackson, the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world, in the Bush Theatre’s revival of its critically acclaimed play, The Royale

Bush Theatre

Nicholas Pinnock (Marcella, Fortitude) will reprise his role as Jay Jackson, the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world, in the Bush Theatre’s revival of its critically acclaimed play, The Royale, running from 3 to 26 November at The Tabernacle in Notting Hill.

Further casting to be announced.

Bush Theatre

Bush Theatre

Written by award-winning American writer Marco Ramirez (Sons of Anarchy, Orange is the New Black), The Royale returns following the UK premiere and sell-out run in spring 2015 and will again be directed by the Bush Theatre’s Artistic Director Madani Younis.

Jay ‘The Sport’ Jackson dreams of being the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. But it’s 1905 and, in the racially segregated world of boxing, his chances are as good as knocked out.

Told in six rounds and set in a boxing ring, The Royale is inspired by the often overlooked story of Jack Johnson, a boxer who – at the height of the Jim Crow era – became the most famous and the most notorious black man on Earth.

Through the sights and sounds of the early 20th century boxing circuit, The Royale examines society’s relationship with our present-day cultural heroes and the responsibilities that are thrust upon them when they find themselves outside of the ropes.

The Royale is loosely based on the real-life story of Jack Johnson, whose story is one of great talent and triumph, but also racism and injustice. Despite Johnson being one of the greatest fighters who had ever lived, one newspaper wrote at the time of his first title fight: “If the black man wins, thousands and thousands of his ignorant brothers will misinterpret his victory as justifying claims to much more than mere physical equality with their white neighbors.”

The Royale will be staged at The Tabernacle as the Bush Theatre undergoes a major redevelopment of its building. The venue, a former church, swinging sixties hang-out, community centre and, more recently, a training ground for young boxers, continues to host amateur boxing matches to this day.

Nicholas Pinnock is a British theatre, television and film actor who has recently appeared in programmes such as ITV’s Marcella and Sky’s Fortitude. He has also appeared in Channel 4′s award-winning drama, Top Boy, he played Dr Evan Farleigh in ITV’s The Ice Cream Girls and starred in the sequel to Monsters, in Monsters: Dark Continent.

Madani Younis took over as Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre in 2012. In 2013 he won the Groucho Club Maverick Award for the theatre, following the most successful season in the theatre’s history which played to 99% capacity. Also for the Bush Theatre he has directed Perseverance Drive and Chalet Lines. Prior to his appointment at the Bush Theatre, he was Artistic Director of Freedom Studios in Bradford, Yorkshire where his work included the site-specific work, The Mill – City of Dreams. He has also worked nationally and internationally as a theatre director, writer and practitioner. Whilst at Freedom Studios he collaborated with the Bush Theatre through workshops culminating in Freedom’s two week residency in 2010 at the theatre. He was previously Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company’s Asian Theatre School. He originally trained in film, and his debut short film Ellabellapumpanella, commissioned by the UK Film Council, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007. He was the recipient of the Decibel Award at the South Bank Awards show in 2006.