Artistic director of the Bush Theatre Madani Younis has announced a major redevelopment scheme as well as plans for the new season.
From March 2016, the main building of the theatre will be developed to create a new second studio space, new front-of-house area, improve backstage facilities and make the building fully accessible and more sustainable.
The plans will increase the capacity of the theatre and provide better facilities for audiences and artists, with more space in the bar and café areas, and a revamp of the backstage areas. The theatre hopes to welcome around 15,000 more people per year to the venue.
There will be a 20 per cent increase in seats that comes with the redevelopment of the theatre, all of which will be kept at the affordable price of £10.
Ninety per cent of the redevelopment project, which will cost £4 million, has already raised and fundraising is continuing for the remaining 10 per cent.
During the building works, the Bush Theatre’s programme will move to temporary spaces, and will engage with the local community.
Included in the season off-site will be the European premiere of Melissa Bubnic's Boys Will Be Boys at Bush Hall, a co-production between the Bush Theatre and Headlong. Bush Hall is a listed music venue that has long been part of the community in Shepherd's Bush. Boys Will Be Boys is the first collaboration between Headlong and the Bush Theatre
Bush Theatre will also present This Place We Know, a series of plays performed in non-theatre spaces along Uxbridge Road, and The Neighbourhood Project, a community project in collaboration with Look Left Look Right which features residents of Shepherd's Bush.
Younis will also be reviving his production of The Royale, this time at The Tabernacle. The play, based on the story of the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world, opened at Bush Theatre in March 2015. The Tabernacle is a grade II listed former church in Notting Hill and was opened as a community centre in 1973. In the '90s young boxers trained there and the building continues to host amateur boxing matches.
Younis said: "Whilst we are incredibly proud to be redeveloping our theatre for the next generation, a theatre should not be defined by its walls – which is why we want to go beyond them. We have the privilege of being at the heart of one of the most diverse places in the country, and at a cultural crossroads of everything that it is to live in London today. We want to create a building that embraces this, and work that celebrates this."