What's on at the Bush Theatre for the 2019-20 season?
| By Nicholas Ephram Ryan Daniels
Calling all London theatre completionists. Lynette Linton has officially announced her first season as the Bush Theatre's Artistic Director. The newly announced programme marks the UK debuts of both Irish and British writers. It will feature works that detail their extraordinary, real-life experiences that will resonate with all four corners of London. The Off-West End venue is renowned for fostering new and emerging talent and many pieces end up transferring to the West End, including last year's hit production Misty with Arinzé Kene.
Check out what's playing this season at the Bush Theatre below.
New Voices / Bold Visions — The Bush Theatre announces its programme for 2019-20
New Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre Lynette Linton is a firm believer in the venue's mission to foster new narratives, develop fantastic new plays, and cast the spotlight on marginalised artists. This is precisely why she chose to open the new season with Chiaroscuro, which serves as the final piece in the Bush Theatre's Passing the Baton programme — a three-year commitment to re-staging masterpieces written by playwrights of colour who were ignored and eventually wiped out of the history books. Linton considers the revival of Chiaroscuro to be long past due and the author of the piece, Jackie Kay, to be a giant marvel.
Linton's first season with Bush Theatre will be brought to a conclusion with Level Up, the debut play penned by Malachi Kirby that both honours and questions youth culture, blending the life of youthhood with theatre. Many young people will be involved with the season finale production — from serving on the creative team to starring in the cast. Linton expresses her hope that by investing in diversity, she can create a space for the next generation that teenagers and young adults will accept as their home away from home where they can always feel welcome.
"You can come in here. This is for you. This is for everyone." — Lynette Linton.
What's showing at the Bush Theatre this season?
Chiaroscuro by Jackie Kay
31 August – 5 October 2019
Aisha, Beth, Opal, and Yomi couldn't feel more like outsiders, but when Aisha decides to throw a dinner party, the group of friends soon discover that they are all searching for the same answer. The spoken word combines with live music to deliver a highly dramatic and fiery gig-theatre show that gives Scottish National Poet Jackie Kay's 1986 masterpiece a new lease of life. This daring reimagining and long-awaited revival of Chiaroscuro is directed by Bush Theatre Artistic Director Lynette Linton (Richard II, Sweat) and serves as an exploration of the life experiences of women of colour that transcends generations, from the 1980s to the present day. Don't miss it!
🎟 Book your Chiaroscuro Bush Theatre tickets from £23.
Baby Reindeer by Richard Gadd
9 October – 9 November 2019
This brand-new debut play directed by Olivier Award-winner Jon Brittain (Rotterdam) is set to hit London's Bush Theatre following its highly-anticipated premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer. When Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Richard Gadd (Monkey See Monkey Do) offers a stranger a nice warm cup of tea, what seems to be an ordinary, run-of-the-mill interaction swiftly becomes far more sinister than he could have ever thought possible. Exploring delusions, obsessions, and the aftermath of an unexpected encounter, Baby Reindeer will grab you by the antlers and drag you on a wild ride.
🎟 Book your Baby Reindeer Bush Theatre tickets from £23.
The Arrival by Bijan Sheibani
21 November 2019 – 18 January 2020
When Tom and Samad meet for the first time, it's like they're seeing their own doppelganger in each other. They make the same body movements and gestures, they have the same reactions and instincts, and even their handwriting looks exactly the same. But as they get to know each other better and become a closer part of each other's lives, the truth of their dark past comes back to haunt them as they risk losing everything. The Arrival is a high-tension family drama about the struggle of discovering and losing something you never had in the first place. The debut play penned by Olivier Award-winning director Bijan Sheibani (Barber Shop Chronicles, The Brothers Size, Dance Nation) is bound to be a season highlight.
🎟 Book your tickets for The Arrival at the Bush Theatre from £23.
I Wanna Be Yours by Zia Ahmed
4 December 2019 – 18 January 2020
Haseeb lives in London. Ella lives in Yorkshire. They order a pizza. Hot chocolate for Haseeb. House red for Ella. "I think I'm falling for you." People and Spotify. Eid and Christmas. Love is more than just a two-player game. Especially when there's a giraffe in the room. I Wanna Be Yours is Zia Ahmed's debut play that tells the tale of two very different people falling in love, taking each other by the hand, and never letting go to what they have. It's the perfect play to warm your heart just in time for the holiday season.
🎟 Book your tickets for I Wanna Be Yours at the Bush Theatre from £11.50.
Collapsible by Margaret Perry
5 February – 14 March 2020
Essie has been made redundant. Her girlfriend has abandoned her at a time when she may have needed her love the most. But Essie is cool. Essie is totally fine. Except for the fact that she's feeling a bit more like a chair than a human these days. One of those foldable chairs. Sturdy one moment, and then the next moment... Bam! From award-winning Irish playwright Margaret Perry (Porcelain), Collapsible is both a fierce and laugh-out-loud funny monologue about catching one's grip in a collapsing world. For anyone who has ever felt a bit brittle and fragile. Winner of the Origins Award for Outstanding New Work at the 2019 VAULT Festival, Collapsible is perhaps a little more relatable than you'd expect.
🎟 Book your Collapsible Bush Theatre tickets from £11.50.
The High Table by Temi Wilkey
8 February – 21 March 2020
Their wedding dresses have been chosen and the venue has been reserved, but Tara and Leah have more to worry about than their nuptials when Tara's Nigerian parents refuse to come to the ceremony. Soon, three of Tara's ancestors awaken from their eternal slumber and watch above the streets of London as a rift between Tara and her parents widen. Will Tara's ancestors manage to keep the family from breaking apart? And will Tara ever get their blessing? This spectacular debut play by Temi Wilkey remains spans both the earth and the heavens. Featuring elements of comedy and tear-jerking tragedy, The High Table is one family drama next year that's worthy of your attention.
🎟 Book your tickets for The High Table at the Bush Theatre from £23.
Level Up by Malachi Kirby
1 May – 6 June 2020
The finale production of Lynnette Linton's first season at the Bush Theatre is set to end the season with a bang. This is where you grew up and also where you want to grow out of. Collect those coins. Defeat the boss. Level up! But what happens when karma comes to get you? What happens when you're not the one holding the game controller? Playful and powerful, the debut play by award-winning actor Malachi Kirby (Roots, Curfew, Black Mirror) follows a young guy's fight to make the right decisions when the odds are not in his favour. Directed by the Bush Theatre's Associate Director, Daniel Bailey, alongside Lynette Linton, Level Up will have you begging for another round long after the curtains say 'game over'.
🎟 Book your Level Up Bush Theatre tickets from £23.