An epic performance cycle, Sixty-Six Books comprises 66 modern responses to the 66 books in the Bible from writers such as Jeanette Winterson, Neil LaBute, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Carol Ann Duffy, David Edgar, David Eldridge, Anthony Neilson, Wole Soyinka, Roy Williams and former poet laureate Andrew Motion, as well as other voices including musician Billy Bragg, comedian Stewart Lee and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
Curated by Bush artistic director Josie Rourke in collaboration with Christopher Haydon and helmed by a team of directors, Sixty-Six Books will be an “immersive experience” played out over “every room, corner and broom cupboard” in the new building by over 100 artists. The run, from 14 to 29 October 2011 (previews from 10 October), will begin and end with two 24-hour performances, encompassing all 66 responses, with other extracts presented in three- and six-hour chunks.
The inaugural season at the Library, which is also the last programmed by Josie Rourke, who leaves to succeed Michael Grandage as artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse at the end of this year, will then continue with two world premiere plays.
Tom Wells’ The Kitchen Sink, about big dreams and small changes for a family in Withernsea, runs from 23 November to 17 December 2011 (previews from 16 November) and is directed by associate Tamara Harvey. Our New Girl, written by Nancy Harris and directed by Charlotte Gwinner, centres on a nanny with her own dark agenda for a troubled family. It opens the new year schedule, running from 12 January to 11 February 2012.
And from 29 February to 24 March 2012 (previews from 28 February), Tamasha presents the London premiere of Ishy Din’s Snookered, in which four young British Muslim men meet on the sixth anniversary of their friend’s untimely death. Iqbal Khan directs.
Finally, the winning plays from the collaboration between ANGLE and the Bush to find first-time London playwrights will be presented from 30 January to 11 February 2012, and resident company DryWrite will work with the Bush to create six one-off theatrical events, performed one Sunday each month from July to December. The theatre has also launched Bush Local, a free benefits scheme for local residents and workers.
The full list of those who’ve written responses to the King James’ Bible for Sixty-Six Books is: Kwame Kwei Armah, Alia Bano, Neil Bartlett, Caroline Bird, Yemisi Blake, Billy Bragg, Moira Buffini, Sam Burns, Suhayla El Bushra, Anne Carson, Matt Charman, Brian Chikwava, Elinor Cook, Laura Dockrill, Carol Ann Duffy, Stella Duffy, David Edgar, Helen Edmundson, David Eldridge, Adam Foulds, Naomi Foyle, Salena Godden, Chris Goode, James Graham, Trevor Griffiths, Suheir Hammad, Nathalie Handal, Nancy Harris, Daisy Hasan, DC Jackson, Jackie Kay, Luke Kennard, Maha Khan Philips, Deirdre Kinahan, Nancy Kricorian, Neil LaBute, Nick Laird, Mandla Langla, Stewart Lee, Toby Litt, Lachlan Mackinnon, Anne Michaels, Helen Mort, Kate Mosse, Andrew Motion, Paul Muldoon, Molly Naylor, Anthony Neilson, Nick Payne, Wena Poon, Ben Power, Anya Reiss, Tim Rice, Michael Rosen, Kamila Shamsie, Owen Sheers, Christopher Shinn, Wole Soyinka, Jack Thorne, Enda Walsh, Zukiswa Wanner, Steve Waters, Rowan Williams, Jeanette Winterson, Anthony Weigh and Roy Williams.