The autumn season at west London’s Bush Theatre features premieres of new plays by Kay Adshead and Steve Thompson as well as Irish actor-turned-playwright Abbie Spallen, whose latest will run at the Bush and next month’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Set in the Armagh badlands, Spallen’s Pumpgirl follows the story of a girl who works in a garage changing the pumps and thinking she’s one of the lads. The darkly comic play is directed by Bush artistic director Mike Bradwell and stars Irish actors James Doran, Orla Fitzgerald and Maggie Hayes. It runs in London from 13 September to 14 October 2006 (preview 12 September), but with three early previews on 26, 27 and 28 July, before it goes to Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre from 3 to 27 August.

It’s followed at the Bush by Bones, which is written and directed by Kay Adshead, whose previous plays at the Bush include Fringe First Winner The Bogus Woman and Bites. A young black boy is ‘questioned’ by a white South African policeman. A terrible incident and the truth are buried – until 36 years later. Adshead’s play is described as a ruthless excavation of South Africa, and an anthem for hope.

Co-produced by Leicester Haymarket, Bones runs at the Bush from runs from 18 October to 4 November 2006 (preview 17 October), following its initial dates in Leicester from 3 to 14 October.

Steve Thompson’s political satire, Whipping It Up, receives its world premiere at the Bush from 10 November to 16 December 2006 (previews from 8 November). One week before Christmas, the new Tory government is facing dissent over its latest bill. With a majority of only three, the whips are out in force and will stop at nothing to keep the strays in line. Thompson’s last play, Damages, won the 2005 Meyer-Whitworth Award.

Prior to the three main shows, the venue’s “Try These on for Size” rehearsed readings kick off the season from 5 to 7 September 2006 with: Times Being What They Are about vigilantism by Bush writer-in-residence Jennifer Farmer, directed by Tony Bicat; Angel Meadow about the aftermath of a car crash by Alan Williams, directed by Vicky Jones, and tHe dYsFUnCKshOnalZ! about a rock band by Mike Packer, directed by Mike Bradwell.

- by Caroline Ansdell