David Schwimmer will make his UK directing debut with Sabrina Mahfouz’s Dry Ice as part of New Writing, New Artists, Madani Younis’s inaugural season as Artistic Director at the Bush theatre.
Other highlights in the diverse season, which Younis said he hoped “would give audiences a flavour of what is to come”, include world premieres of Lee Mattinson’s Chalet Lines, Amir Nizar Zuabi’s The Beloved and Dominic Savage’s Fear, one-man show You’re Not Like Other Girls Chrissy, and Mad About The Boy, the first production to be staged in the venue’s new studio space.
Younis will kick of the season directing Chalet Lines, which will run from 6 April (press night 12 April) until 5 May. Set in Butlins Skegness, where the Walker women have been holidaying since 1961, this year it’s Nana Barbara’s 70th birthday and everyone’s airing their dirty laundry. Loretta’s had too many camp cocktails, Jolene’s fallen for a Redcoat, Abigail’s seeking comfort from a dead end marriage and Nana Barbara has a 50-year-old secret to share.
The comedy will be followed by the Encounters season which plays from 8 to 11 May and features a double-bill from two newly appointed Associate Artists at the venue, playwrights Mahfouz and Caroline Horton.
You’re Not Like Other Girls Chrissy was inspired by Horton’s discovery of her grandmother’s wartime correspondence and is co-directed by fellow newly appointed Associate Director Omar Elerian and Daniel Goldman. Performed by Horton, the piece is set in 1945 after Paris has been liberated and Christiane, an eccentric Parisian, waits at Gare Du Nord for a ticket to England to be reunited with her fiancé. While she waits, she recounts the story of her love affair with Cyril, a tongue-tied English teacher from Staffordshire.
Mahfouz’s Dry Ice follows, with the award-winning playwright and poet also appearing in the show. Using her experience of working at a strip club for five years, Mahfouz has created this expose about the industry, which centres on a young girl trying to find her place in the world.
While still best known for his role as Ross Geller in the hugely popular US series Friends, director Schwimmer is co-founder of the Chicago-based Lookingglass Theatre Company and has directed numerous stage productions in America, as well as directing films Since You’ve Been Gone, Run, Fat Boy, Run and television series Little Britain USA.
Following the monologue season, Palestinian theatre company ShiberHur will return to London to stage The Beloved as part of World Stages London. Playing from 21 May (press night 25 May) to 9 June, Zuabi’s haunting story is based on the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac, looking at what happened when the pair return home from the mountain with the playwright adding a heart-breaking twist.
Multi award-winning documentary, film and television maker Savage will premiere his debut play from 18 June (press night 21 June) to 14 July. The author of the novel and BBC drama Nice Girl and film Love + Hate, Savage’s play Fear, which he will also direct, looks at the effects on a young banker and his attacker when a late-night robbery goes wrong.
Younis’s debut season will also attempt to establish a second studio space at the venue’s new home, with the Artistic Director explaining: “In my first season I am keen to push the boundaries of the company’s new home and fully realise the performative value of this space. We will begin to explore the nature of a second studio theatre through a series of work and consultation with our architects Haworth Tompkins.”
Gbolahan Obisesan’s Mad About The Boy will be the first production staged in the new space, directed by theatre company and co-producer Iron Shoe’s Co-Artistic Director Ria Parry. Playing from 28 May to 2 June, the Edinburgh Fringe First Award-winning play is a razor-sharp drama about a teenage boy fighting to save his reputation, torn between the influence of his family, his friends and school.
Speaking about the aim of his inaugural season, Younis said: “2012 is an important year for London, and I hope the programme we present will speak both on a national and international level giving the very best of what the capital has to offer.”