Lynette Linton announces first season as Bush Theatre’s new artistic director

Lynette Linton

Lynette Linton has announced her first season as the artistic director of the Bush Theatre, featuring new plays by British and Irish writers.

Linton, whose Donmar production of Sweat has just opened in the West End, took over as AD at the Shepherd Bush theatre from Madani Younis, who ran the theatre for seven years and leave to take a new role at the Southbank Centre.

The season opens in August with Jackie Kay’s Chiaroscuro, directed by Linton. An explosive piece of gig theatre, it is based on Kay’s poem which explores the experiences of women of colour from different generations, and celebrates female identity. It begins previews on 31st August.

In October, Jon Brittain (Rotterdam) will direct Richard Gadd who performs his piece Baby Reindeer, which is set to premiere at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer. It sees Gadd offer a cup of tea to a stranger, which has radical implications beyond belief.

Bijan Sheibani (Dance Nation, Barber Shop Chronicles) will then direct his piece The Arrival from 21st November. The family drama sees two people, Tom and Samad, realise they are incredibly similar in the way the move and the way they think.

Temi Wilkey’s play The High Table will then run from 8th February 2020. The play is about the wedding of Tara and Leah, but despite the smooth planning for the big day, a spanner is thrown in the works when Tara’s Nigerian parents refuse to attend the wedding. The play was submitted through the Bush’s unsolicited submissions window, a process which sees a team read 900 scripts a year from unrepresented writers.

The final production in the season in the main space is Level Up, written and performed by Malachi Kirby, which is about a boy’s fight to make the right choice. Directed by Linton and associate director Daniel Bailey, it will feature an ensemble of young performers and runs from 1st May to 6th June.

Two productions in the studio space have also been announced. Zia Ahmed’s I Wanna Be Yours will be directed by Anna Himali Howard from 4th December, and Margaret Perry’s Collapsible will be directed by Tom Martin from 5th February.

Announcing the season this morning, Linton said: “This season at the Bush Theatre UK debuts by British and Irish writers will fill our stages. You’ll find extraordinary stories of lived experiences that speak to all corners of our city.

“By investing in diverse talent, I want to create a space for the next generation. I know I need to be reaching out to 15-year-old Lynette and others like her and saying: ‘You can come in here. This is for you. This is for everyone.”

Photo credit: Bronwen Sharp

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