Over 100 artists will collaborate on an epic celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible to mark the opening of the Bush theatre’s inaugural season at its new home this autumn.
Ahead of her departure from the influential Shepherd’s Bush venue, current Artistic Director Josie Rourke announced that the Bush theatre will throw its new doors open with Sixty Six Books in October, before staging new plays The Kitchen Sink and Our New Girl in November and January respectively, and collaborating with theatre company Tamasha on drama Snookered in February.
In Sixty Six Books, 66 playwrights, poets, songwriters and novelists from 12 different countries, will respond to each of the 66 books in the Kings James Bible to create a unique cycle of performances. The impressive list of contributors includes Jeanette Winterson, Carol Ann Duffy, Billy Bragg, Neil LaBute and even the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Rourke will work with a team of directors to present three hour, six hour and two 24 hour epic performances of the responses, with every room, corner and broom cupboard of the new venue put to use.
Following Sixty Six Books is the more conventionally staged The Kitchen Sink. Opening on 23 November (previews from 16 November), Bush Associate Playwright Tom Wells’s drama follows a family and their ever sinking dreams. While Martin’s milk float is falling apart, something is up with wife Kath’s sink. Billy is putting his hopes on art college and Sophie’s plan to become a Jiu-Jitsu teacher might be disappearing down the sink hole.
Well’s play will be directed by Tamara Harvey whose credits at the Bush theatre include forthcoming production Where’s My Seat?, Resilience and Whipping It Up. An Associate Director at the venue, Harvey is also currently working with Tim Rice on his forthcoming musical adaption of From Here To Eternity.
Nancy Harris’s Our New Girl plays from 12 January and is directed by Charlotte Gwinner (The Knowledge, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover). A witty new thriller, Our New Girl looks behind the shiny door of Hazel Robinson’s perfect London home. When Hazel’s plastic surgeon husband embarks on a charitable quest to Haiti, he leaves her alone, heavily pregnant and faced with a failing business and a problem son. When a professional nanny arrives unannounced, Hazel finds her home under the shadow of a perfect stranger with a dark agenda.
Iqbal Khan (A Slight Ache, Landscape) will direct Ishy Din’s Snookered from 28 February (press night 29 February). Din’s drama probes into the lives of three young men and their fragile masculinity as they meet for the sixth anniversary of their friend T’s death. As they excavate the past and measure their own lives against T’s, secrets are revealed and allegiances shift as drinks are downed.
The theatre will also stage the two winning plays from its competition with ANGLE to find new London playwrights from 30 January to 11 February. Winners will be announced in September following a judging panel at the end of this month.