The Bush Theatre reopens this week following the biggest capital project in the theatre’s history.
The £4.3million, year-long revitalisation of the venue by award-winning architects Haworth Tompkins has turned an old library built at the turn of the 20th Century into a fully accessible, modernised cultural building.
Upon re-opening, the new building will be more sustainable and entirely accessible, with a new entrance, front-of-house area and exterior garden terrace to the main street. A new studio space and attic rehearsal room will allow the Bush to work with a further 200 artists each year and allow over 50% increase in produced, co-produced and commissioned productions. This is a remarkable growth for the theatre since moving from above a pub on Shepherd’s Bush Green in 2011.
The new building will be launched by a week of celebrations from 18 March, for which plans have previously been announced.
At the heart of this is Black Lives, Black Words, a series of short plays in the main theatre responding to the question ‘Do black lives matter today?’ This will be followed by the theatre’s 2017 season, headlined by Guards At The Taj, the European premiere of the play directed by Jamie Lloyd.
Madani Younis, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre said: “Following this landmark capital project, we couldn’t be more excited to re-open our building to the world. We’re looking forward to welcoming audiences old and new to this incredible space.
“It was important to me that we re-open with a week of celebrations that embrace the diversity of the world we live in. ‘Black Lives, Black Words’ is a bold statement about one of the most important movements of our time: #BlackLivesMatter. This, followed by Rajiv Joseph’s award-winning ‘Guards At The Taj’ directed by Jamie Lloyd, sets the tone of the stories we want to tell in our beautiful new home.”
The Bush redevelopment has been driven by the aim of realising Artistic Director Madani Younis’ vision for a theatre that reflects the diversity and vibrancy of London today. The new building will nurture, develop and showcase the best of new artists and their work; reflecting local, national and international communities and encouraging the diversification of artists and artistic leadership in the UK.
The new studio will become a home for emerging artists and producers including associate artists Milk Presents, Deafinitely Theatre and ANTLER. They will work alongside three Project 2036 practitioners (a programme that will offer a Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee playwright, director and producer a £10,000 bursary each year) and the Bush’s Emerging Writers’ Group.
Two local organisations will also join the Bush as Community Associate Companies where they will form a long-term collaborative, creative relationship with the theatre and work closely with artists to create a centre piece project. Nubian Life Resource Centre, a care provider for African and Caribbean older people living with complex health conditions, will work with Cressida Brown, Artistic Director of political theatre company Offstage Theatre. Shepherds Bush Families Project, an organisation who work with families in housing need, will work with physical theatre ensemble Tangled Feet.