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Talent Development at Bush Theatre


The Bush Theatre is internationally famed for discovering and developing the very best of the UK’s leading writers, often through cold submissions or its talent development programmes, which open routes into theatre to people who didn’t previously have access. The theatre has been supporting writers for nearly 50 years and has most recently helped launch the careers of Ambreen Razia (The Diary of a Hounslow Girl), Sophie Wu (Ramona Tells Jim) and Ella Road (The Phlebotomist).



The Bush Theatre has announced its inaugural Writer in Residence will be Trish Cooke (Back Street MammyRunning Dream).  Given as an 18-month residency to a writer already working in the field, Trish will support the Bush Theatre’s literary and programming teams by mentoring young emerging artists as well as writing a full-length play during the course of her residency. The Writer in Residence programme is part of the Bush Theatre’s commitment to celebrating legacy and to provide opportunities for writers at every level of their career. It follows the acclaimed ‘Passing the Baton’ series, a three-year initiative to reacquaint theatre goers with the artists of colour who carved their way through British playwriting with distinction.


Trish said today ‘When I sent my new play to the Bush Theatre I was delighted when Lynette invited me in for a chat and subsequently offered me the residency. The post will give me the opportunity to develop some new ideas in an environment that encourages and supports new writers and also respects and values the work of writers that have been here for a long time. It’s an honour to be attached to such an innovative theatre.’

Today the Bush Theatre has also announced that their latest submissions window will run from 7 November until 15 December. During this window, the theatre will welcome submissions of full-length plays (running at 60 mins or more) from writers based in the UK or Ireland not currently represented by an agent. This year two writers will be selected for the EWG group, the theatre’s literary team will meet with 25 writers and 100 more will receive feedback via email.

Temi Wilkey’s The High Table, submitted via the theatre’s submissions window last year, will play in the Bush’s Holloway Theatre from 8 February 2020. She said, ‘It was a wild dream of mine to be programmed at the Bush but I definitely didn’t think it would happen. I remember saying in the open submissions form that The High Table might suit the Bush because I’d seen lots of POC family dramas there and that there was something about the space that felt vast and epic. But I sent it in and thought, that’ll never happen… And then a few months later, it did! Wowza!”

Actress Martha Plimpton, Senior Artistic Associate of the Bush Theatre, will join this year’s reading panel. She said, ‘It’s incredibly exciting to be able to join the Bush in its nearly 50 year-long mission to discover and support new voices in playwriting. In accepting unsolicited submissions, the Bush is uniquely open to being surprised, and the delight those surprises can bring deserves to be shared with our audiences.



Another introduction to the industry can be made by attending one of the Bush Theatre’s new Masterclass events which offer an insight into theatre by leading practitioners including Artistic Director Lynette Linton, Associate Director Daniel Bailey, writers Margaret Perry and Ella Road and producers Shawab Iqbal and Tobi Kyeremateng. Tickets priced at £30 are on sale today and there are a limited number of bursary places available. Writers can also visit the theatre’s Playtext Sale following one of the Bush’s Masterclass sessions to get discounted Bush Theatre play texts and meet the Literary team for advice sessions.


30 November 10.30 am – 1.30 pm

DIRECTING NEW WORK with Lynette Linton and Daniel Bailey

Tickets £30

Ever wondered how you find the right director for your script? Or how to best bring a brand new script to life? This Masterclass is perfect for writers and directors itching to find out more about how best to work together!

Over three hours, Lynette Linton, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre (ChiaroscuroSweat) and Daniel Bailey, Associate Director of the Bush Theatre (Unknown RiversBlue/Orange) will take you through their best techniques for working with writers and bringing a new script to stage.


11 January 10.30 am – 1 pm

PRODUCING with Shawab Iqbal and Tobi Kyeremateng

Tickets £30

This Masterclass is perfect for emerging producers and those interested in learning more about the business of producing shows and developing audiences.

The Masterclass will be run by Bush Theatre Senior Artistic Associates Shawab Iqbal and Tobi Kyeremateng.


17 January 1.30 – 4.30 pm

THE EMERGING WRITERS’ TOOLKIT with Margaret Perry and Ella Road

Tickets £30

Part workshop on refining character, part toolkit for surviving the industry, this Masterclass is perfect for emerging writers.

For the first part of the Masterclass, Margaret Perry (Collapsible) and Ella Road (The Phlebotomist) will lead practical exercises on revealing characters through voice, subtext, and action.

In the second part of the Masterclass, they’ll let you in on everything they wished they knew as they started out as writers.




Project 2036 is a programme that offers three Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee (BAMER) theatre practitioners a £7,500 bursary each year. After supporting three cohorts of writers, directors, and producers, this year the theatre will adapt to support three emerging designers. This year’s cohort is Set Designer QianEr Jin and Sound Designer Darius McFarlane. The Bush is looking for a Lighting Designer to complete the trio and further details can be found on the theatre’s website.

Working collaboratively with established professionals, this year’s designers will carry out assisting roles, before lead-designing the theatre’s inaugural First Look Festival in June 2020.

Daniel Bailey, Associate Director of the Bush Theatre said, ‘We’re taking strides towards making theatre more representative and accessible for Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities who want to work behind the scenes in theatre. We are delighted to be welcoming our two new designers to the Bush Theatre family, talented individuals who have their own unique perspective and gifts (or potential) to share with the theatre world!’



This is the place you grew up in, the place you want to grow out of. Get the coins. Beat the boss. Level up.

The Bush Theatre is seeking 15 young people aged 18 – 25 to perform in an ensemble alongside actor-writer Malachi Kirby (Black Mirror, Roots) in his debut play, Level Up at the Bush Theatre in May/June 2020.

A workshop on 14th December (5 pm – 7 pm) offers the opportunity to take part in fun and creative activities.  15 participants will then be chosen to help Malachi develop the play during workshops and rehearsals and perform in the Level Up ensemble, 3 times per week during the run. Please note this offer is not open to professional actors.