London's tiny but powerful Bush Theatre celebrates its 30th anniversary this spring with a season of new plays by Richard Cameron, Tony Bicat and Mike Packer. As part of the four-month programme, running from 20 February to 15 June 2002, the theatre will also hold a 30th anniversary fundraising gala in April.

The season launches this month with Cameron's The Glee Club, in which the five hard-working, hard-drinking miners and the church organist who comprise said club are preparing for a local gala of their own. The Glee Club, running from 20 February to 23 March, stars David Bamber (Olivier winner for My Night with Reg) and David Schofield. It's directed by the Bush artistic director Mike Bradwell, coincidentally marking his 30th production at the theatre.

The Glee Club is followed by Bicat's A Buyer's Market. Set in London 1995, two Eastern European mafia men with suitcases of money are negotiating to buy the penthouse flat of a best-selling author, who's anxiously and mysteriously pushing to complete before nightfall. Directed by Gemma Bodinetz, this black comedy runs from 3 April to 4 May.

The final play in the spring season is Packer's A Carpet, a Pony and a Monkey, also directed by Bradwell. It's Euro 2000 time and millionaire ticket tout Baz has blown it all on dot.com shares so he's off to Belgium to shift 300 tickets to England vs Germany to a bunch of pissed-up Geordies. A Carpet, a Pony and a Monkey runs from 15 May to 15 June.

The Bush Theatre opened in April 1972 in the upstairs dining room (previously used as Lionel Blair's dance studio) of The Bush Hotel in Shepherd's Bush, west London. Since then, it has grown into one of the country's leading venues for new writing, with over 350 productions under its belt, many of which have transferred to the West End and Broadway, been adapted for film and television, and toured throughout the UK, Europe and North America.

Amongst The Bush's many discoveries are playwrights such as Stephen Poliakoff, Snoo Wilson, Ron Hutchinson, Terry Johnson, Kevin Elyot, Doug Lucie, Billy Roche, Tony Kushner, Jonathan Harvey, Conor McPherson, Joe Penhall and Charlotte Jones, who this week won both the Critics' Circle and the Whatsonstage.com Award for Best New Play for Humble Boy, which has just transferred from the NT Cottesloe to the West End's Gielgud Theatre. The theatre receives over 1,500 scripts every year and makes a point of reading every one.

Many major acting and directing talents have also been drawn to the west London theatre over the years, including Bob Hoskins, Alan Rickman, Antony Sher, Stephen Rea, Frances Barber, Lindsay Duncan, Brian Cox, Patricia Hodge, Simon Callow, Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Tim Roth, Jane Horrocks, Mike Leigh, Mike Figgis, Mike Newell and Richard Wilson.

The 30th Anniversary Gala to raise more funds for the theatre and its schemes in support of new writing will take place on Sunday 28 April 2002. It will include a dinner dance and an entertainment from a number of guest stars, to be announced. For more information, call The Bush on 020 7602 3703.

- by Terri Paddock