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Bush Theatre, London (Photo: Philip Vile)

Bush Theatre announces Madani Younis’ final season

Robin Johnson

By Robin Johnson Published 8 November 2018

The Bush Theatre have today revealed their 2019 line-up, The New Face Of Theatre, the final season programmed under the Artistic Directorship of Madani Younis, who departs in January.

The season comprises seven plays, including two world premieres and a UK premiere, and an exciting new festival, with an emphasis on producing new playwrights and speaking up for diversity and inclusivity in all forms.

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The season opens with the Babylon Festival (4 – 16 February), a two-week festival celebrating the global influences and experiences of Black and Brown people, presented by Bush Theatre’s Tobi Kyeremateng and Ruthie Osterman. Events include music gigs, live podcast shows and open discussions, in a fusion of live music, spoken word and movement. The festival will also be performed across New York, Johannesburg and Sao Paulo.

The first play is And The Rest Of Me Floats (20 February – 16 March), written and devised a company directed by Ben Buratta. The show will see performers from across the trans, non-binary, and queer communities weave together autobiographical performance, music, movement and comedy in a powerful and playful celebration of gender expression and identity.

This plays alongside Eve Leigh’s The Trick (19 February – 23 March), a magic show about ageing and grieving with ghosts, goldfish, mediums and slight-of-hand. The show is presented by Loose Tongue and HighTide, companies with remarkable records in launching the careers of emerging playwrights, and is directed by Roy Alexander Weise, whose critically acclaimed The Mountaintop recently played at the Young Vic, and who directed Nine Night at the National Theatre.

Subsequent shows in the season include Estelle Savasta’s Going Through (28 March – 27 April), which mixes English and British Sign Language to tell the remarkable story of a young girl who traverses adolescence and international borders; Iseult Golden and David Horan’s Fringe hit Class (7 May – 1 June), an emotionally explosive confrontation over learning difficulties in the classroom; Urielle Klein-Mekongo’s Yvette (14 May – 1 June), a one-woman show about growing up with a dark secret; and Caryl Phillips’ Strange Fruit (12 June – 20 July), the story of a family caught between two cultures in 1980s England.

The new season concludes with Kenneth Emson’s Rust (26 June – 27 July), about a secretive couple living under new pseudonyms and hoping to wipe the slate clean. But the outside world is slowly closing in, no matter how hard they try to redefine themselves. The show is also a collaboration with HighTide.

Younis said of the season, “My time at the Bush Theatre is undoubtedly one of my proudest achievements to date. The Bush invested in a vision that celebrated not just the best of theatre but the best of our country’s inherent culture.

“With its global outlook, I feel this season shows the best of who we are and stands for the values that we have attempted to build over the past seven years. It’s a season of creatives who have inspired me, continue to inspire me and I hope will inspire our audiences.”

2018 has been a fruitful year for the Bush Theatre. The venue has enjoyed an acclaimed West End transfer for Arinzé Kene’s Misty, which has now been seen by almost 30,000 people and plays at Trafalgar Studios until 17 November, as well as an Olivier Award nomination for Monica Dolan’s The B*easts, and the ongoing world-wide success of its touring production of NASSIM, which opens in New York in December.

More information and tickets can be found on the Bush Theatre website.

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Arinzé Kene ben buratta bush theatre caryl phillips david horan estelle savasta eve leigh iseult golden kenneth emson madani younis monica dolan Nine Night roy alexander weise ruthie osterman season announcement tobi kyeremateng urielle klein-mekongo