London's Bush Theatre re-opens after year-long redevelopment

Sandra Giorgetti

This week saw the reopening of London's Bush Theatre after a major redevelopment.

Costing £4.3 million, the new spaces were designed by award-winning Haworth Tompkins, the architects behind the rebuild at Battersea Arts Centre.

The building, which was originally a library, is a more sustainable and entirely accessible venue; in addition to a studio space and attic rehearsal room, there is a new front-of-house area and garden terrace.

The new studio will be used by the Bush’s Emerging Writers’ Group and other emerging artists and associate artists Milk Presents, Deafinitely Theatre and ANTLER, working with three Project 2036 practitioners which supports the work of a black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee theatre-maker.

The new building means the Bush will see an increase of 50%+ in produced, co-produced and commissioned productions.

The week of celebratory events marking the venue's reopening includes Black Lives, Black Words, a series of short plays looking at "do black lives matter today?"

Later in the year Jamie Lloyd directs the European première of Guards at the Taj.

The play examines issues of art, privilege and duty. It is written by Rajiv Joseph and received the Obie Award for Best New American Play and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play when it opened last year.

Barney Norris’s While We’re Here will be the inaugural play in the  Studio. This world première will be directed by Alice Hamilton and performed by Tessa Peake-Jones and Andrew French.

These are followed by Hir by Taylor Mac, Nassim by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, Ramona Tells Jim by Sophie Wu, the first graduate of the Bush’s Emerging Writers’ Group to have a full commission produced at the Bush.

The season ends with a Bush Theatre and Sheffield Theatres co-production new comedy by Chris Thompson Of Kith and Kin directed by Sheffield Theatres artistic director Robert Hastie.