Bush Theatre 2021 season

Having been active where possible throughout the pandemic, the Bush theatre’s live programme returns, re-affirming its place at the heart of the local community in Shepherd’s Bush where the theatre is based.

A commitment to new writing continues as nine new shows are confirmed, including six world premieres.

A new Bush Young Company and a Neighbourhood Company project are announced.

A season of social events welcomes people back into the building. 

‘Write the Bush’s Future’ members and Bush supporters’ booking opens at 11 am on 30 June. Public Booking opens at 11 am on 1 July.  

Performance and on-sale dates will be announced for Studio shows once dates and further details for Step 4 are confirmed by the Government.

Watch Bush Theatre’s Artistic Director Lynette Linton and Associate Artistic Director Daniel Bailey discuss the new season here

The Bush Theatre today announced a new season of work continuing its commitment to braiding new writing with the local community of which it is at the heart.

Throughout the pandemic, the Bush has continued to make work thanks to donations by the ‘Write the Bush’s Future’ supporters and the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund. They made headlines with Protest – a reaction to the murder of George Floyd, reached international audiences with the online broadcast of Travis Alabanza’s Overflow, supported three new freelance designers with Project 2036, and produced both a critically acclaimed BBC film and live stage production of Phoebe Eclair Powell’s Harm, whilst continuing to produce work online and in the local community.  

With the venue fully open again, Artistic Director Lynette Linton said, ‘We’re beyond excited to welcome our Bush family back into the building. We reopened our doors for our local community on 6 August and, throughout the pandemic, we’ve been producing work in person, online, and within the community. But this launch marks a significant return to the live work that’s so important to us, a season of stories that reflect the community on our doorstep and will help audiences understand the world around them. We’re also thrilled to launch the Bush Theatre’s first-ever young company with live performances in August as well as announcing the live broadcast of Holloway Theatre shows this season (dates TBC)’.

The world premiere of Lava by Congolese-British writer Benedict Lombe opens at the Bush Theatre on 9 July (press night 14 July).  It will also be available for viewing online 16 – 21 August. 

Lava started life in 2020 as part of the Bush Theatre’s Protest Series, a digital artistic response to the murder of George Floyd. It has now been re-imagined as a full-length play for the stage, which ‘Could become our era’s equivalent of Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi Is Dead’ – Independent.

This is nice, init? I like it. Good little set-up to tell you the story of my name. The story of my true name.

When a woman receives an unexpected letter from the British Passport Office, she is forced to confront an old mystery: why does her South African passport not carry her first name? Armed with the wisdom of favourite 90s TV shows, she sets out on a journey that will take her back to the turmoil of Mobutu’s Congo, growing up in post-Apartheid South Africa, moving to Ireland, and finding love in a hostile England.

As her journey becomes inextricably linked with the tides of global history, how far will she go to unravel the truth? By turns wickedly funny and strikingly lyrical, Benedict Lombe’s Lava is an explosive debut that will turn the way you see the world on its axis.

Lava is performed by Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo. Her previous theatre work includes Three Sisters (National Theatre, for which she won 3rd prize Ian Charleson Award), Cyprus Avenue (Royal Court, Abbey, Dublin and Public, New York), Hole and Bad Roads (Royal Court),  The Mountaintop (Young Vic), Twelfth Night (Filter and on USA and India tour),  The Oresteia (HOME Manchester),  Pride and Prejudice (Sheffield Crucible), The House That Will Not Stand and The Colby Sisters of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania (Kiln), Anon (Theatre Royal Plymouth) and Random (Crooked Path).  Ronkẹ plays the series regular of Jack Starbright in Alex Rider (Amazon Prime).  She also appeared in Cuckoo, Doctor Who, NW, Cold Feet, Sick Note, Josh, Chewing Gum, Suspects and, The Forgiving Earth. Her film credits include Ear for Eye, Christopher Robin, Been So Long, Ready Player One, One Crazy Thing, Lascivious Grace, The forgotten C, Broken and, The Big Other. 

Benedict Lombe is a Congolese-British writer and theatre-maker based in London. She has been on attachment at The Bush Theatre and has been on a residency at Theatre503 as one of their five writers for 2019/2020. She has produced digital work for the Bush as part of The Protest season, Papatango Theatre Company as part of their Isolated But Open series, and a site-specific piece as part of Damsel Productions’ Outdoors season. She has been part of the BBC Writersroom cohort, has been shortlisted for the Papatango Playwriting Award and the Royal Court & Kudos TV Fellowship, amongst others. Lava will be her London theatre debut. She is currently working on developing original TV projects, with a focus on boldly reclaiming diasporic stories that were never allowed to be told, with the full shades of nuance and truth they always deserved. 

Anthony Simpson-Pike is a director, dramaturg, and writer whose work has been staged in theatres including The Gate, The Young Vic and, The Royal Court. He is currently Associate Director at The Yard Theatre, was previously the resident director at Theatre Peckham, and associate director at The Gate Theatre. Anthony is also a facilitator, working with young people and communities, having worked at The Gate, The Royal Court, The Young Vic and The Globe, and National Theatre in this capacity.  

In addition to theatre, Anthony has worked with Tamasha Theatre company to make audio dramas including collaborations with the National Archives on projects such as Loyalty & Dissent and Once British, Always British and enjoys working across different media including film, having worked on ear for eye by debbie tucker green for BBC Films and BFI. He is passionate about international work having received a British Council bursary to visit the Informal European Theatre Meeting in Brussels, as well as being selected by the British Council to attend DirectorsLab North in Toronto. In 2019, he was invited to be a visiting guest artist for the Banff Playwrights Lab. He is also working on the international project for the Royal Court in Jamaica and Barbados.

Anthony’s recent directorial work includes The Ridiculous Darkness by Wolfram Lotz at The Gate, which received 5-star reviews, ‘stunning and subversive’ (The Stage), ‘you’d be sorely pressed to find anything more riveting or stupendous’ (WhatsOnStage).

Tickets priced from £20 (concessions available) can be booked at bushtheatre.co.uk or at the Box Office on 020 8743 5050

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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