Bush Theatre announces new Community Associate Companies

The Bush Theatre today announced its new Associate Community Companies as This New Ground Collective, led by Spare Tyre and The Neighbourhood Company, led by Artist Molly Taylor.

Bush Community Associate Companies form a long-term, collaborative, creative relationship with the Bush theatre and are given the same resource support and status as Associate Artists. The Bush, alongside Lead Artists chosen by the companies, will develop a programme of regular artistic interventions and activities with these groups which will lead to a centrepiece project performed at the theatre.

This New Ground Collective

This New Ground is an ambitious initiative to elevate the artistic talents of people with learning disabilities based in Hammersmith and Fulham. This New Ground began as a community choir for people with learning disabilities in the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and has since snowballed into something much bigger. Through their exchange projects, they aim to raise the bar for what communities like theirs can achieve and create vital, relevant new artworks for audiences to engage with. Through research and public engagement, they take this work into diverse contexts to cover new ground and deepen our understanding of what is possible. Their Collective of learning disabled and non-disabled artists is the driving force behind everything they do and they will work with Spare Tyre Theatre Company to create a performance for the Bush Theatre.

We are delighted to be the Associate Community Company at the Bush. Our partnership is an opportunity for the collective to collaborate with ground-breaking artists and create innovative, diverse work for new mediums – inspiring social change and celebrating human experience of all kinds.’ – Nathalie Carrington, Artistic Director of This New Ground

I am looking forward to working at the Bush Theatre because it’s an opportunity for me to work with people who are full of creative ideas and I hope to create something that will be remembered for all time even when we are no longer here. Shakespeare done things we still talk about act out and perform, why not us!’ – Faisal Yusuf, Member of This New Ground Collective.

Spare Tyre (Lead Artist)

Spare Tyre is one of the UK’s leading participatory arts charities, with 40 years’ experience of producing bold and powerful theatre with voiceless communities. We use innovative performing and digital arts to challenge prejudice and transform lives, enabling unheard stories to be shared. We currently work with people aged 60+, learning disabled adults, economically disadvantaged communities, women who’ve experienced violence, and people with dementia and carers. We empower participants and artists to have ownership of the creative process enabling personal and political fulfilment and overall wellbeing. Equality, accessibility and diversity are at the heart of everything we do.

The Neighbourhood Company 

The Neighbourhood Company has been running at the Bush Theatre since 2015 as a monthly community theatre group for adults from the local area. The group celebrates and reflects the rich culture of our area and the everyday lives of its residents.  The group will take on writing, acting, producing and stage management roles as they transition to becoming a company in their own right. They will work with Artist, Molly Taylor to create their first performance as The Neighbourhood Company at the Bush Theatre in 2019.

Members of the The Neighbourhood Company said;

The Neighbourhood Project is important because it gets the community together and it is a place where everyone is valued and given the opportunity to thrive in their creativity. This is the only place I can get away from the stress of life, enjoy myself and learn new skills. It is a really special thing to be a part of.’

Bringing together people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures and abilities is amazing.’

Being a part of it has made me realize how much love and pride people have for Shepherds Bush.’

Molly Taylor

Molly Taylor is a playwright and theatre-maker who specialises in creating original performances inspired by the everyday. She blends lyrical yet down-to-earth storytelling to celebrate the relationship between the microcosm –  small, personal, idiosyncratic stories – and the macrocosm; the communities we inhabit. Her work is often drawn from research and autobiography, and she has worked extensively in the participatory sector.

Recent projects include: See Me Now (Young Vic / HighTide / Look Left Look Right), an original performance created with male, female and transgender sex workers. In 2017 she wrote And Yet It Moves (Young Vic Taking Part), and in 2016 she wrote and created The Neighbourhood Project (Bush Theatre), with a community company of local residents.

As a playwright, her one-woman show Love Letters to the Public Transport System was produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, enjoyed a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012, and won the Critics Circle Award at Adelaide Fringe 2018.

Current projects include Cacophony, a new play for the Almeida Young Company to be staged in July 2018, and Extinguished Things which be staged at Summerhall throughout the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Holly Smith, the Bush Theatre’s Community Producer said;

The Community Associate Companies is such an exciting project because it allows the Bush to create deep, meaningful and long lasting relationships with our communities. It’s an exciting opportunity to influence the artistic work of the Bush, as well as highlighting the voices of communities that are often not heard. The participants take a lot of ownership over the direction the project goes in which is a really lovely process to see and be a part of.