News: Bush Theatre announces new season

The Bush Theatre has announced productions for the second half of 2024, confirming its position at the forefront of new writing, and reaffirming its dedication to talent development and community engagement.  

In the theatre’s main house, the Holloway Theatre, Gabriel Akuwudike, Rakie Ayola and Tiwa Lade join the cast of My Father’s Fable, a new play by Oliver award nominated actress and winner of this year’s Alfred Fagon Award Faith Omole (Standing At The Sky’s Edge). The Bush Young Company returns to the main stage in August with a production co–created with the 18-25 Young Company, followed by the 14-17 Young Company in a play commissioned from a Bush Emerging Writers’ Group alumnus Jasmin Mandi-Ghomi, as part of our artist development programme Staged by Jerwood.  A high point of the Bush’s season, in just three years, the BYC has developed a reputation amongst audiences and critics as the place to spot tomorrow’s talent. The writer and director behind the Olivier award winning The P WordWaleed Akhtar and Anthony Simpson-Pike reunite to present The Real Ones, a funny and honest love letter to platonic soulmates.  Daniel Bailey returns to the Bush stage following the success of Red Pitch in the West End to direct Bush Emerging Writers Group alumnus Beru Tessema’s Wolves on Road, a co-commission with Tamasha, which takes us on a thrilling deep-dive into the mysterious world of cryptocurrency. In February 2025, Emerging Writers’ Group alum Coral Wylie teams up with Overflow director Debbie Hannan for their debut play, Lavender, Hyacinth, Violet, Yew.

In the Studio, Edinburgh Festival Fringe hit Lady Dealer opens in May followed by Statues, written and performed by Bush Young Company alumnus Azan Ahmed, which explores the impact of loss and what you can gain from it, and Tender, a dazzling and moving new story of two people who find each other without even knowing they were looking written by Eleanor Tindall (Before I Was A Bear, Soho Theatre).

Lynette Linton, the Bush Theatre’s Artistic Director said,  ‘We are surrounded by positivity at the Bush; emerging talent winning critical and audience acclaim, winning industry prizes and recognition, and returning to us with new work which is equally as exciting.  In the last year, shows including ‘A Playlist for the Revolution’, our Young Company Shows ‘Pass It On’ and ‘As We Face The Sun’, ‘Elephant’, ‘Red Pitch’ and ‘Shifters’ have played to packed houses.  There’s undoubtedly a call from audiences for new writing which reflects the world in which we live, written by exciting new talent keen to push theatre forward. The plays in our Studio, traditionally a laboratory for developing new work, have gained a real following amongst audiences wanting to be at the start of something big.  ‘Invisible’ transferred to Off-Broadway, and ‘Dreaming and Drowning’ broke Bush box office records, only to be superseded by ‘This Might Not Be It’ breaking them once again. Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini’s ‘Sleepova’ and AJ Yi’s ‘A Playlist for the Revolution’ were nominated for Olivier Awards this year with ‘Sleepova’ winning both the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright and the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre.

To fulfil our mission to really shake up the theatrical canon and continue to have influence over its future – we hold our artists close and want to support them beyond their debut plays. We are thrilled by the reception to ‘Red Pitch’ in the West End but getting it there was a difficult task, with many producers still feeling it a ‘risk’ to produce work which mirrors the world around them.  We’re determined to forge ahead though, and our commitment to producing second works by Waleed Akhtar and Beru Tessema in this season is testament to this. Until plays by new writers and creatives are given a bigger platform it’s impossible for them to shine, to be seen by awards panels and to be included in the ‘top 10’ lists which define the industry.  But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten our first time writers, Alfred Fagon Award winner Faith Omole makes her Bush debut with ‘My Father’s Fable’, a gripping story of grief, belonging, and a family on the edge, and the debut play from Emerging Writers’ Group alum Coral Wylie ‘Lavender, Hyacinth, Violet, Yew’ is a beautiful exploration of queer history and queerer plants.

The arts world is still feeling the continued impact of Covid and until (we hope) we have a government which takes theatre and its contribution to society seriously, many theatres are understandably reverting to the safest choices they can make, but for us, it has always been about moving forward. When we think about the programming of a Bush show, we have in mind the legacy that we want to leave behind. This season of shows are not only a good night out but also epic explorations of deeply human stories which force us to ask big questions of ourselves and the world we live in and dig deep.’

In the Holloway Theatre 

My Father’s Fable
Written by Faith Omole
Directed by Rebekah Murrell
Cast includes Gabriel Akuwudike, Rakie Ayola and Tiwa Lade

15 June – 27 July 2024
Monday – Saturday at 7.30 pm
Wednesday matinees – 26 June, 3, 10, 17, 24 July at 2.30pm
Saturday matinees – 29 June, 6, 13, 20, 27 July at 2.30pm
Relaxed performances – Saturday 29th June at 2:30pm & Thursday 18th July at 7:30pm
Captioned performance – Thursday 4th July at 7:30pm & Saturday 20th July at 2:30pm
Audio-described performances and touch tours -Saturday 6th July at 2:30pm & Thursday 11th July at 7:30pm

“Shall we have a real conversation? I am ready to stop pretending if you are.”

Peace didn’t know what she needed when her father died. Then she found Bolu, her half-brother from Nigeria she didn’t know existed. Filled with grief and a thousand questions, his arrival feels like something clicking into place. Despite her mother’s concerns and encouraged by her partner, Peace invites Bolu to England. 

But questions about this stranger’s intentions and his mysterious past hang heavy in the air. Desperate to keep her fractured family – and herself – together, Peace must face the fact that the answers she desperately seeks might just lead to everything falling apart.

My Father’s Fable is a gripping story of grief, belonging, and a family on the edge, from Alfred Fagon Award winner Faith Omole, directed by Rebekah Murrell (J’ouvert, West End) with a cast including Gabriel Akuwudike, BAFTA-winner Rakie Ayola (last seen at the Bush in Strange Fruit) and Tiwa Lade.

This production is generously supported by Charles Holloway.

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A Bush Community Production from the 18-25 Bush Young Company

COMMUNION 
Devised by the 18-25 Bush Young Company and Katie Greenall
Directed by Katie Greenall

6 – 10 August 2024
Tuesday – Saturday at 7.30 pm
Saturday matinee – 10 August at 2.30pm

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The End 
Written by Jasmin Mandi-Ghomi
Directed by Neetu Singh

22 – 24 August 2024
Thursday – Saturday at 7.30 pm
Saturday matinees – 24 August at 2.30pm

This production is part of our artist development programme, Staged by Jerwood, supported by the Jerwood Foundation.

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The Real Ones
Written by Waleed Akhtar
Directed by Anthony Simpson-Pike

6 September – 19 October 2024
Monday – Saturday at 7.30 pm
Wednesday matinees – 18, 25 September, 2, 9, 16 October at 2.30pm
Saturday matinees – 14, 21, 28 September, 5, 12, 19 October at 2.30pm
Relaxed performances – Saturday 21st September 2:30pm & Thursday 10th October 7:30pm
Captioned performances – Thursday 26th September 7:30pm & Saturday 5th October 2:30pm
Audio-described performance and touch tour – Saturday 28th September 2:30pm & Thursday 3rd October 7:30pm

“I love you. Like genuinely I love you. You’re a real one.”

Best friends Zaid and Neelam shared a dream: get away, make it as playwrights, build a future where they’re free to be themselves. Together, always. 

Years later, things are far from what they expected. Zaid’s life has kinda stalled, half out the closet, living at home and still chasing the dream. While Neelam’s has taken a completely different path, as she chooses to prioritise her own happiness.

As their lives pull further apart and a mess of things left unsaid hangs between them, it becomes less and less clear if they’ll ever find a way back to each other.

The Real Ones, is a funny and honest love letter to platonic soulmates. The world premiere production comes from the team behind the Olivier Award-winning sensation, The P Word, reuniting writer Waleed Akthar and director Anthony Simpson-Pike.

Praise for The P Word:
WINNER Olivier Award, Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre
★★★★★ “Tremendous. Devastating. Plays like this are rare.” Time Out
★★★★ “Irresistible. Bewitches with hope, romance and heart.” Guardian

This production is generously supported by Charles Holloway.

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Wolves On Road
Written by Beru Tessema
Directed by Daniel Bailey

9 November – 21 December 2024
Monday – Saturday at 7.30 pm
Wednesday matinees – 20, 27 November, 4, 11, 18 December at 2.30pm
Saturday matinees -16, 23, 30 November, 7, 14, 21 December at 2.30pm
Relaxed performances – Saturday 23rd November 2:30pm & Thursday 12th December 7:30pm
Captioned performances – Thursday 28th November 7:30pm & Saturday 7th December 2:30pm
Audio-described performances and touch tours – Saturday 30th November 2:30pm & Wednesday 4th December 7:30pm

“I think your son just made ten thousand pounds…”

Manny dreams of being a big dog – but right now he’s hocking fake designer goods, living with his mum and dealing with her new boyfriend. The glittery skyscrapers of Canary Wharf he sees out the window every day have never seemed so far.

But when his best friend offers him a way to make money faster than he could ever imagine, he pulls his whole family into a world that’s almost too good to be true.

Wolves on Road is a thrilling deep-dive into the mysterious world of crypto-currency, revealing how ambition and hope can be exploited, no matter the system at play.

This fast, funny and furious world premiere from Beru Tessema (House of Ife) is directed by Bush Theatre’s Associate Artistic Director, Daniel Bailey (Red Pitch, August in England), in a co-production with Tamasha.

This production is generously supported by Charles Holloway.

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 In the Bush Theatre Studio

Lady Dealer
Writer – Martha Watson Allpress
Director – Emily Aboud
Set & Costume Designer – Jasmine Araujo
Based on an original design by Blythe Brett
Sound Designer – Anna Short
Lighting Designer – Bethany Gupwell
Dramaturg – Lizzie Manwaring
Production and Stage Manager – Nikita Bala
Producer – Grace Dickson
Performed by Alexa Davies

15 May – 15 June 2024
Monday – Saturday at 8pm
Wednesday matinees – 29 May, 5 & 12 June at 3pm
Saturday matinees – 25 May, 1, 8 & 15 June at 3pm
Audio Described performance – 5 June at 8pm
Captioned performance – 29 May at 8pm
Chilled performance – 25 May at 8pm

For Charly, every day is the same: neck some coffee, answer the phone, sell some drugs. The flat she once shared with her ex, Clo, is now the base of her growing business. And she’s fine with that. She’s fine! Charly is fine.

But when a power cut hits her estate and the burner phone stops buzzing, she is forced to question exactly how fine she is. Desperate to escape the swell of feeling bubbling beneath the surface, Charly charges headfirst into a world of knockoff Morrissey’s, disapproving mothers, and the ghosts of girlfriends past.

Following its run in Edinburgh, Lady Dealer was 
Shortlisted for the BBC Writer’s Room Popcorn Award 2023
Shortlisted for Holden Street Theatres’ Edinburgh Fringe Award 2023
Shortlisted for Filipa Bragança Award 2023
Shortlisted for Verity Bargate Award 2022
Playbill’s Pick of The Fringe 

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Statues
Written and performed by Azan Ahmed 
Directed by Esme Allman
9 October – 9 November 2024
Monday – Saturday at 8 pm
Wednesday matinees – 16, 24, 30 October, 6 November at 3pm
Saturday matinees – 19, 26 October, 2, 9 November at 3pm
Chilled performances – 19 October at 3pm & 8pm
Captioned performance – 23 October at 3pm & 8pm
Audio-described performance and touch tour – 31 October at 3pm & 8pm

“He grew up to be a man whose sighs and slumps replaced sentences. Is that gonna be me?”

Days after his father’s passing, English teacher Yusuf discovers a dusty mixtape that changes everything he knew about a man who barely spoke.

Turns out, Mustafa spent the 90s rapping about pretty girls and Kilburn life, plotting dreams of superstardom with his best friend Omar. How did this passionate wordsmith become a silent statue?

Yusuf’s mourning is overtaken by a journey into the past. Threaded together by Omar’s thumping beats and his father’s bars, Yusuf uncovers secrets that turn his world upside-down.
Witty, honest, and deeply moving, Statues is a lyrical love letter to the original code switchers, exploring the impact of loss, and what you can gain from it. Written and performed by award-winning playwright Azan Ahmed (Deen & Dunya, The Father and the Assassin).

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Tender
Written by Eleanor Tindall
Directed by Emily Aboud
19 November – 21 December 2024
Monday – Saturday at 8pm
Wednesday matinees – 27 November, 4, 11, 18 December at 3pm
Saturday matinees – 30 November, 7, 14, 21 December at 3pm
Chilled performance – 30 November at 8pm
Captioned performance – 4 December at 8pm
Audio-described performance and touch tour – 11 December at 8pm

“You could say, you might say that my life is perfect”

Ivy has life sorted; she’s got a flat, a boyfriend and she knows exactly where it’s all headed. Except there is this thing that she tries not to think about. The thing she left in her childhood bedroom.

Ash is having the time of her life. Fresh from leaving a bad relationship, she’s got no idea what’s next. But there’s something about her new flat. The wallpaper pulses and sometimes it sounds like a heartbeat. 

Two women. A chance meeting. Giddy kisses they never should have shared. Tender is the story of two people who find each other without even knowing they were looking.

The dazzling and moving new play by Eleanor Tindall (Before I Was A Bear, Soho Theatre) is directed by Emily Aboud (Pink Lemonade, Bush Theatre) and produced by Broccoli Arts and Jessie Anand Productions, the team behind the record-breaking Bush Studio hit This Might Not Be It.

Praise for Before I Was A Bear:
Eleanor Tindall was nominated for Best Writer at the Stage Debut Awards.
★★★★★ ‘Gorgeous, hilarious and thrillingly weird’ The Stage
★★★★★ ‘Flawless’ The Spy in the Stalls

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