New Voices, Bold Visions – Lynette Linton announces her first season at the Bush Theatre, London

  • A season of UK debut plays by British and Irish writers
  • Chiaroscuro by Jackie Kay completes Passing The Baton
  • 1000 free tickets available to young people for Level Up
  • First Look Festival to begin in 2020
  • Five Senior Artistic Associates announced

Lynette Linton has this morning announced her inaugural season as Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre.  The 2019 – 2020 season includes UKdebut plays from six playwrights alongside a new production of celebrated poet and playwright Jackie Kay’s first play Chiaroscuro directed byLynette Linton.  Five Senior Artistic Associates have been announced as actress Adjoa Andoh, movement director Polly Bennett, producers Shawab Iqbal and Tobi Kyeremateng and actress Martha Plimpton.  The associates will support an expansion of the Bush Theatre’s initiatives to involve new writers and theatre practitioners in the theatre industry.

The plans continue the theatre’s commitment to inclusivity, where audiences and artists reflect contemporary London.  In pursuit of this vision, the Bush will continue to look to debut writers and braid together the work presented on stage with work from its local communities.

Lynette Linton said, ‘This season at the Bush Theatre UK debuts by British and Irish writers will fill our stages. You’ll find extraordinary stories of lived experiences that speak to all corners of our city.

I believe in the Bush’s power to write narratives as well as to develop plays. That’s why I’m opening my first season with a production of ‘Chiaroscuro’, an exceptional play which concludes our ‘Passing The Baton’ programme – a three-year commitment to re-staging masterpieces by artists of colour who have been written out of history. To revive ‘Chiaroscuro’ is not only a great honour but well overdue. We are standing on the shoulders of giants and Jackie Kay is definitely one of those giants.

The season concludes with Malachi Kirby’s debut play, ‘Level Up’, which celebrates and interrogates youth culture and, for me, braids together the life of our community with the work on stage. Young people will be the heart of this project – from the making of the show to performing on stage alongside Malachi.

By investing in diverse talent, I want to create a space for the next generation. I know I need to be reaching out to 15-year-old Lynette and others like her and saying: ‘You can come in here. This is for youThis is for everyone.

Main House productions

Bush Theatre presents


by Jackie Kay

Directed by Lynette Linton

31 August – 5 October

Press Night – 6 September

Captioned Performance – 12 Sept at 7.30pm

Audio Described Performance – 28 Sept at 2.30pm

Aisha, Yomi, Beth and Opal couldn’t be more different, but when Aisha hosts a dinner party, the friends soon discover that they’re all looking for an answer to the same question. Does it lie in Aisha’s childhood? Or in Beth and Opal’s new romance? Who will tell them who they really are?

What starts out as a friendly conversation between women, soon turns heated when Yomi reveals what she really thinks about Beth and Opal’s relationship.

Live music and spoken word collide in an explosive gig-theatre event that breathes new life into Scottish National Poet Jackie Kay’s 1986 masterpiece.

Directed by Lynette Linton (SweatRichard II), this bold reimagining explores the experiences of women of colour across generations and celebrates female identity from the 1980s to now.

Chiaroscuro is the latest production in the Passing the Baton series.

Francesca Moody Productions in association with Bush Theatre presents


Written and performed by Richard Gadd

Directed by Jon Brittain

9 October – 9 November

Press Night – 11 October

Captioned Performance – 24 October at 7.30pm

Audio Described Performance – 2 November at 2.30pm

When Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner Richard Gadd (Monkey See Monkey Do) offers a free cup of tea to a stranger, what appears to be a trivial interaction has ramifications far wider than he could ever have imagined.

Fresh from a world premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, Baby Reindeer is an unmissable debut play and chilling personal narrative exploring obsession, delusion, and the aftermath of a chance encounter. Directed by Olivier Award Winner Jon Brittain (Rotterdam).

Bush Theatre presents


Written and directed by Bijan Sheibani

21 November – 18 January (no performances 22 Dec – 1 Jan)

Press Night – 26 November

Captioned Performance – 10 December at 7.30pm

Audio Described Performance – 21 December at 2.30pm

When Tom meets Samad it’s like he’s coming face to face with himself. They have the same gestures, the same instincts – even the same handwriting. But as they get closer and their lives become more entangled, the truth of their past threatens to bring everything crashing to the ground.

The Arrival is a taut family drama about the pain of finding – and losing – something you never had. A debut play from Olivier Award-winning theatre director Bijan Sheibani (Dance Nation, The Brothers Size, Barber Shop Chronicles).

Bush Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre  present


By Temi Wilkey

8 February – 21 March

Press Night – 14 February

Captioned Performance – 27 February at 7.30pm

Audio Described Performance – 14 March at 2.30pm

The dresses are chosen and the venue is booked. But when Tara’s Nigerian parents refuse to attend her wedding to Leah, three of Tara’s ancestors are jolted from their eternal rest. High above London, they watch as the rift widens between Tara and her parents. Can they keep the family together? And will Tara’s decision ever get their blessing?

An epic family drama played out between the heavens and earth, The High Table is the hilarious and heartbreaking debut play from Temi Wilkey. The High Table was submitted through the Bush’s unsolicited submissions window, a process in which the team reads 900 scripts per year from writers not represented by an agent.

Following its premiere at the Bush, The High Table will play Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 2020. This co-production marks the start of a new collaboration with The REP to produce new plays for both London and Birmingham audiences.

Bush Theatre presents


Written and performed by Malachi Kirby

Directed by Daniel Bailey and Lynette Linton

1 May – 6 June

Press night – 7 May

Captioned Performance – 14 May at 7.30pm

Audio Described Performance – 30 May at 2.30pm

This is the place you grew up in, the place you want to grow out of. Get the coins. Beat the boss. Level up. But what happens when the consequences catch up with you? What happens when you’re not really the person behind the controller?

Playful and potent, this debut play from award-winning actor Malachi Kirby (Black Mirror, Curfew, Roots) follows one boy’s fight to make the right choice when the odds are stacked against him.

Created with young people, and directed by Bush Theatre Associate Director, Daniel Bailey and Artistic Director, Lynette Linton, Level Up will be performed by Malachi and an ensemble of young performers.

Level Up will run alongside a partnership with Mentivity, a charity that focuses on mentoring young people through positive activities, sports, and education.

During the run, 1,000 tickets will be made available for free to young people under 26.

Studio productions

Paines Plough and Tamasha in association with Bush Theatre present


By Zia Ahmed

Directed by Anna Himali Howard

4 December – 18 January

Press Night – 6 December

Captioned Performance – 17 December at 7.45pm

Audio Described Performance – 11 January at 2.45pm

Ella is from Yorkshire. Haseeb is from London. They order a pizza. House red for Ella. Hot chocolate for Haseeb. ‘I think I’m falling in love with you.’

People and playlists. Christmas and Eid. Love is more than just a game for two. Especially when there’s an elephant in the room. I Wanna Be Yours is the debut play from Zia Ahmed about finding love and holding onto it with everything you’ve got.

All performances of I Wanna Be Yours will be fully BSL integrated.

Ellie Keel Productions in association with Bush Theatre presents


By Margaret Perry

Directed by Tom Martin

5 February – 14 March

Press night – 7 February

Captioned Performance – 20 February at 7.45pm

Audio Described Performance – 7 March at 2.45pm

Essie’s lost her job. Her girlfriend’s left. But she’s alright. Except lately she feels more like a chair than a person. One of those folding chairs. Solid one minute. And then.

From award-winning Irish writer Margaret Perry (Porcelain), Collapsible is a funny, furious new monologue about holding on in this collapsing world. For anyone who has ever felt crumbly. Winner of the Origins Award for Outstanding New Work, VAULT Festival 2019.



June 2020

Bush Theatre’s inaugural First Look Festival launches a new era of making and presenting work at the theatre. With the aim of giving audiencesan insight into the process and the journey of new writing, the Bush will be presenting early forms of work which will premiere in future seasons.


The Bush Theatre announces its Senior Artistic Associates, five inspiring artists, leading practitioners in their fields, who will be attached to the building for a year. The artists will support programming, mentor artists and act as ambassadors for the theatre.

The first Associates will include actress Adjoa Andoh (Leave TakingRichard IIDoctor Who), movement director Polly Bennett (Bohemian RhapsodyThe Crown), producers Shawab Iqbal (Theatre Royal Stratford East, New Adventures and Boy Blue) and Tobi Kyeremateng (Black Ticket Project, Babylon Festival at the Bush and J’Ouvert at Theatre 503) and actress Martha Plimpton (films including The Goonies and The Mosquito Coast and the current West End production of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat).


The Bush’s inaugural Writer in Residence will be announced later in the summer.  Awarded as an 18-month residency to a writer already working in the field, this advocate will support the Bush Theatre’s literary and programming teams.



Bush Theatre’s ground-breaking Project 2036 programme which has introduced nine new BAMER writers, directors and producers to the theatre industry will adapt to support emerging BAMER Lighting, Sound and Set designers.


The Bush Theatre today announces the fourth year of its Emerging Writers Group with a new intake of writers. The 2019 cohort will be Ava Wong DaviesTife KusoroNatasha SimoneWill JacksonCasey BaileyBenedict Lombe.

The EWG is an opportunity for the Bush to develop relationships with new playwrights encountered through 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 continues to open routes into the theatre industry through from community work to the artist development streams, creating more opportunities to develop lasting relationships with writers at all levels.

In August the Bush will be launching a free West London Playwrights’ Group, an introductory course in playwriting skills, open to anyone aged 18 and over in West London.  Applications open today.


The Community Associate Companies programme sees the Bush Theatre engage with two local community groups each year in a way that is long-lasting, meaningful, creative and inspirational. This year-long project forms part of a strategy to create and demonstrate a model of theatre that is culturally democratic, embedded in its local community and empowers those who don’t have access to the arts to make creative decisions.  This year the venue will work with Masbro Centre Tea Club and The Barons Court Project Women’s Group.

The Masbro Centre is a community service whose aim is to improve the health, wealth and wellbeing of the local community of Hammersmith and Fulham. The Tea Club is a weekly social group for local elders to take part in a variety of different activities, which are mainly focused on health and wellbeing.

The Barons Court Project is a charity supporting people on low incomes who are vulnerable to mental ill health and/or homelessness. The Women’s Group is a female-only space to socialise and take part in trips and activities such as arts and crafts, relaxation and cookery. It runs weekly from the charity’s base in Barons Court.