Today Artistic Director Josie Rourke announces the Bush Theatre’s 32 Degrees West Season – the angle from the front door of the company’s current home of 39 years, to the new home at the old Library in Shepherd’s Bush where they will relocate this autumn.

Ahead of the building’s inaugural season later this year, the company will throw open the doors of the new venue and invite the public to play a part in the transformation of the space, from library to theatre, in a production entitled Where’s My Seat?

As a final farewell to the theatre’s long term home, the Bush will present non zero one and their interactive site-specific production this is where we got to when you came in to celebrate the history of this unique and special space.

To mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, the Bush presents In the Beginning written by Nick Payne with extracts from the KJV selected by the Revd Dr James Hawkey. This one off theatrical event on 24 March will see audience members taken on an after opening hours, intimate journey around the Abbey.

The new season also includes a return to Latitude for the fourth year with The Flooded Grave. Originally produced by the theatre as part of their Broken Space Season, this new production of Anthony Weigh’s play will be performed as darkness falls in a hidden location at the festival.

On the 29 March the Bush will hold a fundraising gala reading of Simon Stephens’ Sea Wall, read by the playwright.

Rourke will leave the Bush Theatre at the end of 2011 once the company is established in its new home at the old library on the Uxbridge Road, leaving the legacy of a new theatre for the incoming Artistic Director – this position will be advertised in due course. She departs the company after four years to become the new Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse.

Josie Rourke said today, “My final nine months at the Bush will see the company open its new home ready for the theatre’s fortieth anniversary in 2012. This will also mark five years in which I have led a resilient and inspiring team, who faced down adversity to present the work of some exceptional playwrights and build and serve our audiences. The legacy of 40 years of brilliant plays and great nights out at the Bush will be realised in this beautiful building. I look forward with great excitement to taking the Bush into its next incarnation .”

WHERE’S MY SEAT?

The Old Shepherds Bush Library
15 June – 2 July

Director: Tamara Harvey

“One new theatre, three experts, three playwrights and you”

As the Bush prepares to open the doors of our new home in autumn this year, we’re asking you to test drive the space and be a part of its transformation from library to theatre.

Over the course of one evening, you’ll see three short plays by three hot Bush playwrights performed in three different layouts. Each play will be inspired by a set of challenging stage directions selected by three theatre experts and nine curious props chosen by the National Theatre.

As the stage transforms and the seats move around, we’ll ask you to feedback your views from the stalls – and to put to the test other areas of the building from the bathrooms to the bar.

Alan Ayckbourn is an Olivier, Tony and Molière award-winning playwright, who has written 75 plays – more than half of which have been produced in the West End, Broadway and around the world. His principle works include Relatively Speaking, Absurd Person Singular, The Norman Conquests, Absent Friends, Bedroom Farce, Season’s Greetings, A Chorus of Disapproval, A Small Family Business, The Revenger’s Comedies and House & Garden. As an acclaimed director, he has worked extensively in the West End and has also run his own company at the National Theatre. Between 1972 and 2009 he was the Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, where the majority of his work has and continues to be premièred.

Michael Grandage is Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse. Previous work for the Donmar includes King Lear (Critics’ Circle Award for Best Director), Red (also Broadway – Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Director of a Play), The Chalk Garden (Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Director), Othello(Evening Standard Award for Best Director), John Gabriel Borkman, Don Juan in Soho, Frost/Nixon (also West End and Broadway), The Cut, The Wild Duck (Critics’ Circle Award for Best Director), Guys and Dolls (Donmar in the West End – Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Grand Hotel (Evening Standard Award for Best Director, Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Henry IV, After Miss Julie, Caligula (Olivier Award for Best Director) and The Vortex. As part of the Donmar in the West End season Grandage directed Ivanov- Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Director, Twelfth Night, Madame de Sade and Hamlet (also Kronborg Castle and Broadway). Other West End work includes Evita. He was the Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres 1999 – 2005, where his many productions included Don Carlos (Evening Standard Award for Best Director).

Josie Rourke is Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre where she has directed How To Curse by Ian McHugh, Tinderbox by Lucy Kirkwood and 2000 Feet Away and Like a Fishbone by Anthony Weigh, Apologia by Alexi Kaye Campbell and If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet by Nick Payne. Prior to joining the Bush she worked for five years as a freelance director and was Associate Director of Sheffield Theatres and Trainee Associate Director at the Royal Court. For Sheffield she directed World Music and The Unthinkable – both by Steve Waters, Much Ado About Nothing, The Long The Short and The Tall and Kick for Touch. At the Royal Court she directed Crazyblackmuthafuckin’self by DeObia Oparei and Loyal Women by Gary Mitchell. Her other work includes Frame 312, World Music and The Cryptogram (Donmar Warehouse), My Dad’s a Birdman (Young Vic) and for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Believe What You Will and King John (part of the RSC Complete Works Season). She has also directed the 24 Hour Plays at The Old Vic Theatre and in New York. Her most recent work outside The Bush includes Twelfth Night and Taming of the Shrew for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Here by Eve Ensler for Sky Arts, and the critically acclaimed production of Men Should Weep for the National Theatre. Rourke will direct Catherine Tate and David Tennant in Much Ado About Nothing at the Wyndham’s Theatre in May for Sonia Friedman Productions.

Tamara Harvey returns to the Bush to direct. Her previous credits for the company include Resillience as part of Steve Water’s The Contingency Plan and tHe dYsFUnCKshOnalZ!. In the West End , she has directed Plague Over England (also the original production at the Finborough), One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Co-Director) and Whipping It Up (from the original production at the Bush by Terry Johnson). Her other theatre work includes Dancing at Lughnasa (Birmingham Rep), Tell Me On A Sunday (UK tour), the première of Alistair McGowan’s Timing, Who’s The Daddy? (King’s Head Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe), Bedroom Farce (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Romeo and Juliet (Theatre of Memory at Middle Temple Hall), Rock (UK tour), Touch Wood, Purvis, Storm In A Tea Chest, The Prodigal Son (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), Closer (Royal Theatre, Northampton), One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (UK tour), Bash (Trafalgar Studios), An Hour And A Half Late (Theatre Royal Bath and UK tour), The Importance Of Being Earnest (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, USA), Sitting Pretty (Watford Palace), Markings (Southwark Playhouse/Traverse, Edinburgh), The Graduate (UK tour), Young Emma and Something Cloudy, Something Clear (Finborough), The Lion, The With And The Wardrobe (Maitisong, Botswana). Harvey spent much of 2010 directing the theatre plays that form an integral part of Roland Emmerich’s new film, Anonymous. She is a trustee of the Peggy Ramsay Foundation, a selector for the National Student Drama Festival and is a member of the 2011 panel for the George Devine Award for most Promising Playwright.

this is where we got to when you came in

Bush Theatre
15 – 30 September

this is where we got to when you came in is a fond farewell to the old Bush Theatre. Allow your curiosity to lead you through the building that has been home to the Bush for the last 40 years. Stolen kisses in the corner, furrowed brows on the fire escape, those final deep breaths before lines are spoken for the first time – encounter the past and dance with the future – what will you take from this place, and what will you leave behind?

this is where we got to when you came in is an interactive journey through the Bush Theatre, giving participants the chance to take their last, or perhaps even first, steps around the building before its doors close after 4 decades of performances.

non zero one make interactive performances using popular technologies. Their work explores the relationship between performer and participant. It discovers ways in which ties can be made and broken; power won and lost, and experiences shared or made deeply personal, both during and after the performance itself.

non zero one made their London debut with would like to meet at the Southwark Playhouse in 2009, which was presented as part of BITE ’10 at the Barbican Centre last year. They have also presented work at The Basement in Brighton, Forest Fringe in Edinburgh and Bring The Happy Festival in Leeds. non zero one are supported artists of The Basement, Brighton.

IN THE BEGINNING
By Nick Payne with extracts from the KJV selected by the Revd Dr James Hawkey

Westminster Abbey
24 March

Co-directed by Josie Rourke and Christopher Haydon in conjunction with the Dean and Chapter of Westminster

The Bush Theatre has teamed up with Westminster Abbey and the Kings James Bible Trust to create a unique, intimate and highly theatrical event to celebrate the 400th year anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible (KJV), a book that changed the world. In the Beginning is a creative tribute to both the book and the building and it is the first time Westminster Abbey has collaborated in this way.

Exactly four hundred years ago, in 1611, a group of scholars gathered together in the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster Abbey to finalise their translation of the King James Version of the Bible (KJV). Subsequent centuries have seen this book become one of the most significant works of literature in the English language.

In The Beginning, a short work by Bush playwright, Nick Payne, interweaves selected extracts from the KJV with an extraordinary journey round the Abbey. It will access areas that are rarely open to the public and cast a fresh and surprising light on the Abbey itself. The script highlights some of the more idiosyncratic parts of the Abbey’s history; the fact that playwright Ben Johnson was buried standing up for he could only afford to buy one square foot of land.

As the audience travels round the building an ensemble of the country’s most talented actors will lead these intimate tours providing a uniquely theatrical experience for the audience.

Nick Payne won the George Devine Award in 2009 with his play If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet. This was produced at the Bush Theatre in October 2009 directed by Josie Rourke and starring Rafe Spall. Nick studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama and the University of York. He made his debut at the Royal Court theatre in September 2010 with his comedy Wanderlust and is currently under commission for a new play for the Court. His adaptation of Electra for The Gate Theatre opens in March and his first radio play will be recorded for Radio 4 in May 2011.

Christopher Haydon is Associate Artist of the Bush, and the Associate Director of On Theatre. As a director, his work includes Wittenberg (Gate Theatre), Pressure Drop (On Theatre/Wellcome Collection), A Safe Harbour for Elizabeth Bishop (Southbank Centre) Monsters (Arcola Theatre May 2009), A Number (Salisbury Playhouse): Grace (British Council/On Theatre, Theatre Du Poche, Brussels, Belgium): Notes from Underground (Arcola Theatre).

SEA WALL
By Simon Stephens

Fundraising gala at The Old Shepherds Bush Library
29 March

For a one-off fundraising event, award-winning playwright Simon Stephens returns to the theatre to read his critically acclaimed play Sea Wall – a story about family, fear and the things that can’t be undone – as part of a special evening of Bush Theatre hospitality. The evening will begin with cocktails and canapés, and after the performances, a themed soirée.

Simon Stephens’ previous plays include Pornography , Port (Pearson Award for Best Play), Christmas, On the Shore of the Wide World (Olivier Award for Best New Play), Motortown, Harper Regan, Punk Rock, A Thousand Stars Explode Into the Sky (with David Eldridge and Robert Holman) and the musical Marine Parade.

Two tickets are £350 which includes a Rising Star Annual Membership. For existing supporters tickets are £125 each.

THE FLOODED GRAVE
By Anthony Weigh

Latitude Festival
14 – 17 July

“Why have you come here then? In the face of all you’ve heard. To here. To me.
I know why you have come”

When night falls, take the road up from the motorway to the village. Along the path from the farmhouse there’s an open field. You’ll see a crowd is gathering in the darkness by the side of an empty grave. If you listen carefully you will hear a man desperately whispering a prayer. He has a story to tell you about an empty grave and a woman possessed.

Dare to follow the crowd as darkness descends and witness this bloodcurdling tale of faith, insanity and murder.

The Bush will be haunting Latitude Festival with this chilling graveside tale by Anthony Weigh which premiered in October 2008 as part of their Broken Space Season. The show will be performed at night in a hidden location at the Festival.

Anthony Weigh’s continues his collaboration with the Bush where he was Associate Playwright – his 2,000 Feet Away received its UK première at the theatre. The company also presented Like a Fishbone: An argument and an architectural model (with a simultaneous productions also being staged by the Sydney Theatre Company). Other works include Broad Street, or, How do I strike you? (University of Birmingham 20/20 season 2010), (I’m in) Brooklyn, (not Dagenham Parkway) (Miniaturists 27, London). In 2009 Anthony was Playwright in Residence at the National Theatre and his new version of Federico Garcia Lorca’s Yerma will première at The Gate Theatre later this year.

Release issued by: Blueprint PR

LINKS

Bush Theatre website