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Savage & Schwimmer on board for Younis' first season at Bush

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Madani Younis has announced his first season as artistic director of the Bush Theatre at its new home on Uxbridge road.

Highlights include Lee Mattinson’s Chalet Lines presented in a first time association with Live Theatre Newcastle, Amir Nizar Zuabi’s The Beloved as part of World Stages London, and the world premiere of BAFTA winner Dominic Savage’s first work for the stage, Fear, which the writer will also direct.

Friends star David Schwimmer will also make his debut at the new writing venue directing Sabrina Mahfouz’s Dry Ice, which will run in tandem with You’re Not Like the Other Girls Chrissy by Caroline Horton under the banner Encounters (8-11 May).

The season, which Younis said today will “reflect the breadth of my intent”, also sees the Bush enter a new collaboration with Kudos film and TV company to co-develop the next generation of playwrights and screenwriters.

Younis added: “You don’t come to the Bush Theatre because you want a hug - you come to be provoked … In my first season as artistic director I am keen to push the boundaries of the company’s new home and fully realise the performative value of this space.”

As well as the productions he also announced the appointment of Omar Elerian as his associate director; and Che Walker, Caroline Horton and Sabrina Mahfouz as associate artists. The Bush will also engage with a series of associate companies – including Iron Shoes, Greyscale, Julie’s Bicycle and Theatre Ad Infinitum. 

New collaborations

The spring/summer season opens in the main space, from 12 April to 5 May (previews from 6 April), with the premiere of Lee Mattinson’s Chalet Lines. The play, set in Butlins Skegness, is billed as "a shockingly funny journey through five decades of birthdays, weddings and hen dos which asks do all women inevitably become like their mothers?"

It marks a new collaboration with Newcastle's Live Theatre, where the production, which is directed by Younis, will transfer in the autumn. 

It's followed, from 8 to 11 May, by a double-bill of monologues. Sabrina Mahfouz's Dry Ice centres on a young stripper and is directed by former Friends star David Schwimmer, who met Mahfouz at the same club where he met his wife Zoe Buckman. The play premiered at last year's Edinburgh Fringe, and will run in rep at the Bush with Caroline Horton's You’re Not Like the Other Girls Chrissy, which charts an unlikely wartime love affair.

Next up is the world premiere of Amir Nizar Zuabi's The Beloved, a new take on the story of Abraham and Issaac. Running from 25 May to 9 June (previews from 21 May) and directed by the playwright, the cast will feature: Jonthan Bukshapen, Makram Khoury, Rami Heuberger, Rivkle Noiman, Taher Najib, Sivan Sason and Samaa Wakeem.

BAFTA award-winning documentary, film and television maker Dominic Savage will then present his first play for the stage – Fear (21 June to 14 July, previews from 18 June), which he also directs. Taking a "deeper look at what we value, and what we fear", it examines the fall out when a late night robbery goes wrong.

Meanwhile, the Studio space will host Gbolahan Obisesan's Fringe First-winning Mad About the Boy, produced in association with Iron Shoes and the Unicorn, which examines "the growing divide between the generations who gave, those who earned, and those who demand respect". Running from 28 May to 2 June, it's directed by Ria Parry and designed by James Button.

And the Bush will team up with Kudos, producer of Spooks, Life on Mars and The Hour, to launch The Bush/Kudos Writers' Co-Development Scheme. The collaboration will see the companies offer a three-day master class in September and further support for writers to develop future work for both the stage and sceen.

Madani Younis said: “The Bush has long been associated with nurturing the work of the playwrights of the future. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to join forces with Kudos, who share so many of our values, and to take this to a new level by encouraging talented writers in both the fields of theatre and television to hone their skills, learn about both mediums with a view to commissioning the great new plays and television of the next generation.”


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