Bush Theatre's New Artistic Director Announces Inaugural Season

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Bush Theatre's New Artistic Director Announces Inaugural Season

Lynette Linton promises six plays will tell 'extraordinary stories of lived experiences'

The Bush Theatre's new Artistic Director Lynette Linton has announced details of her inaugural season in 2019 - 2020.

The season includes UK debut plays from six playwrights, alongside a new production of celebrated poet and playwright Jackie Kay's first play Chiaroscuro, which will be directed by Lynette Linton herself.

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.

These 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 Uxbridge Road 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, who took over the role of Artistic Director following the departure of Madani Younis, who has become creative director at the Southbank Centre, says: " '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."

Here's what's scheduled:


CHIAROSCURO by Jackie Kay, directed by Lynette Linton

31 August - 5 October

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.

BABY REINDEER written and performed by Richard Gadd, directed by Jon Brittain

9 October - 9 November

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).

THE ARRIVAL, written and directed by Bijan Sheibani

21 November - 18 January

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).

THE HIGH TABLE by Temi Wilkey

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.

LEVEL UP written and performed by Malachi Kirby.Directed by Daniel Bailey and Lynette Linton

1 May - 6 June

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.

Talking about this play, Lynette says: "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 you. This is for everyone."





June 24, 2019