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Mika Onyx Johnson

Mika Onyx Johnson

Bush Theatre celebrates Black History Month 2020

Jess Young

By Jess Young First Published 1 October 2020, Last Updated 1 October 2020

To celebrate Black History Month the Bush Theatre is continuing its commitment to broaden the population of theatre-makers through a mixture of online and in-person activities. The celebrations include a series of videos titled Advice to my Younger Self, an online interview with Julie Spencer, Director of the School of Acting at Arts Ed, and an online and in-person Q&A with Mika Johnson, writer of Pink Lemonade. You can see a full programme of events below. 

‘For generations, countless people from the African diaspora have been shaping the UK’s story, making a huge difference to our national and cultural life, and making Britain a better place to be. While the Bush continues to celebrate our Black community all year round, Black History Month is an important moment to acknowledge this contribution.’ Lynette Linton, Bush Theatre Artistic Director.

Advice to my Younger Self 

Following the success of the Advice to my Younger Self series for Women’s History Month in March, four more arts industry leaders share the advice that they would give to their younger selves and other creatives. Actor Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You. BBC), writer Matilda Ibini (Little Miss Burden, Bunker Theatre), Stella Kanu (Executive Director of LIFT), and actor Jamael Westman (Hamilton, West End).  One video will be released each Thursday from 1 October on the Bush Theatre’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts beginning today with Paapa Essiedu.

Interview with Julie Spencer

The Bush spoke to Julie Spencer, Director of Acting at Arts Ed, the first Black woman to take up a senior role in a conservatoire in the UK. Following a restructure of elements of the curriculum and the workforce, Julie spoke about these changes and the impact she has made on the student intake.  This film will be released on 13 October. 

Q&A with Mika Onyx Johnson

Presented by Bush Theatre and the Queer House, Wednesday 21 October, 7.30 pm, Auditorium tickets: £8, Online tickets: £5

Join our Q&A with writer, actor, and performance artist, Mika Onyx Johnson, to discuss their debut show Pink Lemonade, and how it explores identity and self-discovery through original music, poetry, and storytelling. Pink Lemonade previewed at the Gate Theatre, London, and premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 where it was included in The Stage newspaper’s ‘18 best shows of the Fringe’ and prior to lockdown was due to transfer to the Bush Theatre in July 2020. It is currently being developed for TV.

Write the Bush’s Future campaign

The COVID pandemic has had a devastating impact on the theatre industry, on local communities, and on the writers, actors, and freelancers who make the work possible. Every year, with inclusiveness at the forefront, the Bush works with 2,000 members of its local community and 250 emerging writers and artists, as well as employing over 200 freelance creatives. 

In August the Bush launched the ‘Write the Bush’s Future’ campaign which gives people a chance to join the Bush Supporter community from as little as £60. The money raised by this group of very special donors has been integral to the Bush Theatre’s commitment to continue investing in theatre-makers, emerging artists, and their local community.  It is vital in helping the Bush to produce work including their Black History Month celebration marking the huge difference the Black community has made in the UK’s cultural life.

The appeal will run until March and is currently at 50% of its target, with a further £25,000 still to raise. Details of how to join the campaign can be found on the Bush Theatre’s website.


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