The season features a final farewell to the current venue on Shepherd’s Bush Green, as well as an interactive production in the new space featuring input from Alan Ayckbourn and Michael Grandage, who Bush artistic director Josie Rourke will replace at the Donmar later this year.
The season kicks off later this week with, as previously announced, a short work by playwright Nick Payne, In The Beginning, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Taking place at Westminster Abbey on 24 March 2011, the promenade production features a stellar cast led by Christopher Eccleston and Tamsin Greig.
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?. Directed by Tamara Harvey and running from 15 June to 2 July at the new venue on Uxbridge Road, it will give audiences the opportunity to “test drive” the new space by watching three short plays in three different configurations - suggested by Rourke, Grandage and Ayckbourn - after which they’ll be asked to give feedback.
A fundraising gala will be held in the new space on 29 March, featuring playwright Simon Stephens reading his critically acclaimed play Sea Wall.
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 the iconic pub venue. Running from 15 to 30 September 2011, it’s billed as “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 four decades of performances”.
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 (when the Bush was partly closed due to flooding), this new production of Anthony Weigh’s play will be performed as darkness falls in a hidden location at the festival.
Josie Rourke said: "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."