The Bush Theatre is to spend £4 million developing its home at the Old Library to add a new studio theatre, increase accessibility, double bar and café space, and revamp the backstage areas.
The capital project, for which 90% of the funding has already been raised, hopes to increase attendance at the Bush by 15,000 people a year.
While the building work is taking place, the Bush will continue to produce theatre. Instead of performing in the space it has occupied since the autumn of 2011, the acclaimed new writing theatre will take its work out into the local community that it hopes the redevelopment and the season will help it better represent.
Madani Younis announces the #BushBreaksOut season
A summer co-production with Headlong, of Melissa Bubnic’s Boys Will Be Boys, will be staged at the iconic music venue Bush Hall. Directed by Amy Hodge, and running from 24 June to 30 July, the show explores the idea of the city as a man’s world through a piece in which all the performers are women.
In the winter, Bush Theatre Artistic Director Madani Younis revives his production of Marco Ramirez’ The Royale that was first seen at the Bush in 2015. The tale of the first African-American boxing heavyweight champion of the world will be staged, from 4 to 26 November, at The Tabernacle, the grade-II listed former church at the centre of Notting Hill’s black community.
Other projects for the year include This Place We Know, a series of plays to be performed in locations along Uxbridge Road, and a community project in collaboration with Look Left Look Right. Dates for these productions are yet to be announced.
Speaking about the plans, Younis said: “Whilst we are incredibly proud to be redeveloping our theatre for the next generation, a theatre should not be defined by its walls, which is why we want to go beyond them. We have the privilege of being at the heart of one of the most diverse places in the country and at a cultural crossroads of everything that it is to live in London today. We want to create a building that embraces this, and work that celebrates this.
“It’s my hope that 2016 is not just remembered as the year that the Old Library ‘had some building work done’. I want this to be remembered as the year where Uxbridge Road became our stage, where we met new audiences and where we discovered the voices whose work will form the bedrock of British Theatre for years to come. All too often theatre in this country doesn't reflect the culture of this country. By the end of this year, I hope that we can say with pride that this theatre truly represents the culture of the Uxbridge Road."
#BushBreaksOut season launch video
The final show to be staged at the Bush before the redevelopment begins is Right Now, the tale of neighbours who soon become something far more unsettling, directed by Michael Boyd. Right Now runs from 23 March to 16 April.
"A theatre should not be defined by its walls, which is why we want to go beyond them."
Madani Younis, Bush Theatre Artistic Director