Bush Theatre

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Bush Theatre
Bush Theatre.jpeg
Bush Theatre
Address Shepherd's Bush
London, W12
United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°30′19″N 0°13′33″W / 51.505277°N 0.225939°W / 51.505277; -0.225939
Public transit London Underground Shepherd's Bush Market
London Underground National Rail Shepherd's Bush
Owner Alternative Theatre Company
Type Theatre
Capacity Theatre: 180 seats
Studio: 70 seats
Production Seasons of guest and commissioned productions
Opened 6th April 1972; 44 years ago (6th April 1972)
Years active 1972 - Present

The Bush Theatre is based in Shepherd's Bush, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It was established in 1972 and has since become one of the most celebrated new writing theatres in the world. The Bush strives to create a space which nurtures, develops and showcases the best of new artists and their work.

A seedbed for the best new playwrights, many of whom have gone on to become established names in the industry, the Bush has produced hundreds of groundbreaking premieres, many of them Bush Theatre commissions, and hosted guest productions by leading companies and artists from across the world.

Artistic Directors[edit]


The Bush Theatre's Original Home (2005)

On Thursday 6 April 1972, the Bush Theatre was established above The Bush public house on the corner of Goldhawk Road and Shepherd's Bush Green, in what was once the dance studio of Lionel Blair. It was established by a maverick actor, Brian McDermott, who used to tour the Fringe.[6] The venue, despite its fame and massive output, was intimate, only holding a maximum audience of approximately 80. The first production was an adaption of The Collector by John Fowles, directed by John Neville and starring Annette Andre and Brian McDermott.

Throughout 1992, the Bush Theatre celebrated 20 years at the frontier of new writing. "What has held the Bush together for 20 years? Blind faith, youthful commitment and a tenacious belief in new writing: above all, perhaps, the conviction that new work deserves the highest standards in acting, direction and design." The Guardian. The Bush won The Empty Space Award for the year's work, which included Billy Roche's Bush plays A Handful Of Stars, Poor Beatin The Rain and Belfry playing in repertory as The Wexford Trilogy, which toured to Wexford Opera House and the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

In November 2010, the Bush Theatre announced it would be leaving its home of nearly forty years and moving to the old Passmore Edwards Public Library building, round the corner from its own home, on Uxbridge Road.[7]

The relocation took place in 2011 and opened with the "Sixty-Six Books" project.[8] This was a celebration of the anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, which used 66 different writers, many of whom were veterans of the Bush.

That same year, Artistic Director Josie Rourke announced her departure from the Bush to take up the position of Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse. The Board appointed Madani Younis as her successor from January 2012. In 2013, newly appointed Madani Younis programmed the theatre's most successful season to date, which saw the theatre play to 99% capacity.

In Spring 2016, the Bush Theatre relocated its plays to found spaces around Shepherd's Bush and Notting Hill, as the former library building closed for the largest capital project in the theatre’s history.[9] Borrowing new and iconic spaces with their own histories and tales of the local community, this season of work welcomed new audiences and residents by offering a number of free and subsidised theatre tickets to local people.[10]

In March 2017, following a landmark year of taking plays into the communities of West London, the Bush Theatre will return home following a £4.3m revitalisation of the venue. The year-long redevelopment was driven by the aim of realising Artistic Director Madani Younis’ vision for a theatre that reflected the diversity and vibrancy of London. Upon reopening, the building will be more sustainable and entirely accessible, with a new entrance, front-of-house area and exterior garden terrace to the main street.

The Bush Theatre's 2013 production of Pulitzer Prize for Drama winning Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar.


Following the 2016/17 redevelopment, the Bush Theatre now has two performance spaces:

  • The Theatre, which is a reserved seating venue with a maximum capacity of 180. It has remainded in it's original location as before and can be configured in a thrust, end on or in the round layout.
  • The Studio, is an unreserved seating venue with a maximum capacity of 70 and is a home for emerging artists and producers. Similarly, this space can be configured in a thrust, end on or in the round layout.

The building also contains an Attic rehearsal space and Writer's Room, along with a Café Bar, playtext library and garden terrace.

New writing[edit]

The Literary Department at the Bush Theatre is committed to discovering the best new plays from playwrights from the widest range of backgrounds and therefore seek unsolicited submissions throughout the year in dedicated script windows. The Bush is a proud champion of playwrights with a keen interest in those voices not often heard and reflecting the contemporary culture of London, the UK and beyond. The Department receives nearly 2000 scripts a year from new and established playwrights all of which are read and considered for production or development at the Bush.[11]

The Bush Theatre look for exciting new voices that tell contemporary stories with wit, style and passion and have produced hundreds of ground-breaking premieres since its inception in 1972, many of them Bush Theatre commissions, and hosted guest productions by leading companies and artists from across the world. The Bush has won over 100 awards, and developed an enviable reputation for touring its acclaimed productions nationally and internationally.


1977 - George Devine Award for German Skerries by Robert Holman
1979 - George Devine Award for The Tax Exile by Jonathan Gems
1982 - Samuel Beckett Award for Coming Clean by Kevin Elyot [12]
1986 - Laurence Olivier Award Nomination for Outstanding Achievement to Robert Holman for Making Noises Quietly [13]
1989 - John Whiting Award for Handful of Stars by Billy Roche [14]
1993 - Laurence Olivier Award Nomination for Outstanding Achievement to Billy Roche for The Wexford Trilogy [15]
1993 - Susan Smith Blackburn Award to Jane Coles for Backstroke In A Crowded Pool [16]
1993 - John Whiting Award for The Clearing by Helen Edmundson [17]
1994 - John Whiting Award for Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey [18]
1995 - Laurence Olivier Award Nomination for Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey [19]
1996 - Susan Smith Blackburn Award to Naomi Wallace for One Flea Spare
1997 - Meyer-Whitworth Award to Conor McPherson for This Lime Tree Bower
1998- George Devine Award for Caravan by Helen Blakeman
1998 - Meyer-Whitworth Award to Daragh Carville for Language Roulette
1999 - George Devine Award for Howie the Rookie by Mark O'Rowe
2005 - Meyer-Whitworth Award to Stephen Thompson for Damages
2006 - Susan Smith Blackburn Award to Amelia Bullmore for Mammals
2007 - Susan Smith Blackburn Award to Abbie Spallen for 'Pumpgirl
2013 - Pulitzer Prize for Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar


To celebrate 40 years of the Bush Theatre, "Close-Up Magic": 40 Years at the Bush Theatre[20] was published, charting the history of the theatre and including contributions from past directors, actors, writers and audience members.


Selected past productions[edit]

This is a list of selected productions of the Bush Theatre:[21]



  1. ^ "Jenny Topper and Nicky Pallot", 40 Years of Close Up Magic 
  2. ^ "Interview with Mike Bradwell", The British Theatre Guide 
  3. ^ "Interview with Mike Bradwell", The British Theatre Guide 
  4. ^ "Josie Rourke New Artistic Director", The Stage 
  5. ^ "Madani Younis New Artistic Director", News, BBC 
  6. ^ "Brian McDermott", The Times (obituary) 
  7. ^ "Bush Theatre New Home", Official London Theatre 
  8. ^ "24 Hour Events", Sixty-Six Books, Bush Theatre.
  9. ^ "Bush Theatre to open new studio space after redevelopment". The Stage. 2016-02-23. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  10. ^ "Bush Theatre welcomes new audiences with free tickets". LBHF. 2016-09-12. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  11. ^ "BushGreen", Bush Theatre 
  12. ^ "Nick Hern Books - Coming Clean". www.nickhernbooks.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  13. ^ "Olivier Winners 1986". www.olivierawards.com. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  14. ^ "A Handful of Stars | Billy Roche | Largest Collection of Plays and Musicals in the World". www.stageplays.com. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  15. ^ "Olivier Winners 1993". www.olivierawards.com. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  16. ^ "The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize - 1990's". www.blackburnprize.org. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  17. ^ Able, Sane and. "Helen Edmundson - The Agency". The Agency. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  18. ^ Bloomsbury.com. "Bloomsbury - Jonathan Harvey - Jonathan Harvey". www.bloomsbury.com. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  19. ^ "Olivier Winners 1995". www.olivierawards.com. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  20. ^ Burkey, Neil (2011). "Close-Up Magic": 40 Years at the Bush Theatre. Google Books. London: Profile Books Limited. ISBN 978-1906-50765-7. 
  21. ^ https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/past-productions/
  22. ^ "Snookered", Bush Theatre, 2012 
  23. ^ "Chalet Lines", Bush Theatre, 2012 
  24. ^ "The Beloved", Bush Theatre, 2012 
  25. ^ "Mad About The Boy", Bush Theatre, 2012 
  26. ^ "Fear", Bush Theatre, 2012 
  27. ^ "Our New Girl", Bush Theatre Archive, 2012 
  28. ^ "The Kitchen Sink", Bush Theatre Archive, 2011 
  29. ^ "Sixty-Six Books", Bush Theatre Archive, 2011 
  30. ^ "This is where we got to when you came in", Bush Theatre Archive, 2011 
  31. ^ "Where's My Seat", Bush Theatre Archive, 2011 
  32. ^ "In The Beginning", Bush Theatre Archive, 2011 
  33. ^ "Moment", Bush Theatre Archive, 2011 
  34. ^ "Little Platoons", Bush Theatre Archive, 2011 
  35. ^ "The Knowledge", Bush Theatre Archive, 2011 
  36. ^ "My Romantic History", Bush Theatre Archive, 2010 
  37. ^ "The Aliens", Bush Theatre Archive, 2010 
  38. ^ "The Great British Country Fete", Bush Theatre Archive, 2010 
  39. ^ "Like A Fishbone", Bush Theatre Archive, 2010 
  40. ^ "A Little Gem", Bush Theatre Archive, 2010 
  41. ^ "Eigengrau", Bush Theatre Archive, 2010 
  42. ^ "The Whisky Taster", Bush Theatre Archive, 2010 
  43. ^ "The Contingency Plan", Bush Theatre Archive, 2009 
  44. ^ "The Stefan Golazewski Plays", Bush Theatre Archive, 2009 
  45. ^ "If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet", Bush Theatre Archive, 2009 
  46. ^ "Sea Wall", Bush Theatre Archive, 2009 
  47. ^ "2nd May 1997", Bush Theatre Archive, 2009 
  48. ^ "suddenlossdinity.com", Bush Theatre Archive, 2009 
  49. ^ "Apologia", Bush Theatre Archive, 2009 
  50. ^ "Stovepipe", Bush Theatre Archive, 2009 
  51. ^ "Wrecks", Bush Theatre Archive, 2009 
  52. ^ "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover At Christmas", Bush Theatre Archive, 2008 
  53. ^ "I Caught Crabs in walberwsick", Bush Theatre Archive, 2008 
  54. ^ "Broken Space Season", Bush Theatre Archive, 2008 
  55. ^ "Turf", Bush Theatre Archive, 2008 
  56. ^ "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover", Bush Theatre Archive, 2008 
  57. ^ "2,000 Feet Away", Bush Theatre Archive, 2008 
  58. ^ "Tinderbox", Bush Theatre Archive, 2008 
  59. ^ "Artefacts", Bush Theatre Archive, 2008 
  60. ^ "Helter Skelter/Land of the Dead", Bush Theatre Archive, 2008 
  61. ^ "tHe dYsFUnCKshOnalZ!", Bush Theatre Archive, 2007 
  62. ^ "How To Curse", Bush Theatre Archive, 2007 
  63. ^ "Flight Path", Bush Theatre Archive, 2007 
  64. ^ "Trance", Bush Theatre Archive, 2007 
  65. ^ "Elling", Bush Theatre Archive, 2007 
  66. ^ "Tom Fool", Bush Theatre Archive, 2007 
  67. ^ "I Like Mine With a Kiss", Bush Theatre Archive, 2007 
  68. ^ "Product: World Remix", Bush Theatre Archive, 2007 
  69. ^ "What Would Judas Do", Bush Theatre Archive, 2007 
  70. ^ "Whipping It Up", Bush Theatre Archive, 2006 
  71. ^ "Bones", Bush Theatre Archive, 2006 
  72. ^ "Pumpgirl", Bush Theatre Archive, 2006 
  73. ^ "Cruising", Bush Theatre Archive, 2006 
  74. ^ "Crooked", Bush Theatre Archive, 2006 
  75. ^ "Trad", Bush Theatre Archive, 2006 
  76. ^ "Christmas Is Miles Away", Bush Theatre Archive, 2006 
  77. ^ "Try These On For International Size", Bush Theatre Archive, 2006 
  78. ^ "Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers Of The Qur'an", Bush Theatre Archive, 2006 
  79. ^ "When You Cure Me", Bush Theatre Archive, 2005 
  80. ^ "Bottle Universe", Bush Theatre Archive, 2005 
  81. ^ "After the End", Bush Theatre Archive, 2005 
  82. ^ "The Obituary Show", Bush Theatre Archive, 2005 
  83. ^ "Kingfisher Blue", Bush Theatre Archive, 2005 
  84. ^ "Mammals", Bush Theatre Archive, 2005 
  85. ^ "Take Me Away", Bush Theatre Archive, 2005 
  86. ^ "Bites", Bush Theatre Archive, 2005 
  87. ^ "Going Donkeys", Bush Theatre Archive, 2004 
  88. ^ "How Love Is Spelt", Bush Theatre Archive, 2004 
  89. ^ "Damages", Bush Theatre Archive, 2004 
  90. ^ "Adrenalin...Heart", Bush Theatre Archive, 2004 
  91. ^ "One Minute", Bush Theatre Archive, 2004 
  92. ^ "Christmas", Bush Theatre Archive, 2004 
  93. ^ "The God Botherers", Bush Theatre Archive, 2003, archived from the original on 9 June 2012 
  94. ^ "Airsick", Bush Theatre Archive, 2003 
  95. ^ "Nine Parts of Desire", Bush Theatre Archive, 2003 
  96. ^ "Little Baby Nothing", Bush Theatre Archive, 2003 
  97. ^ "Disco Pigs", Bush Theatre Archive, 1997 
  98. ^ "Love and Understanding", Bush Theatre Archive, 2003 
  99. ^ "St Nicholas", Bush Theatre Archive, 1997 
  100. ^ "All of You Mine", Bush Theatre Archive, 1997 
  101. ^ "Dreams of San Francisco", Bush Theatre Archive, 1987 
  102. ^ "Tattoo Theatre", Bush Theatre Archive, 1987 
  103. ^ "The Mystery of the Rose Bouquet", Bush Theatre Archive, 1987 
  104. ^ "Effies Burning", Bush Theatre Archive, 1987 
  105. ^ "People Show No 92 Whistle Stop", Bush Theatre Archive, 1987 
  106. ^ "Love Field", Bush Theatre Archive, 1987 
  107. ^ "More Light", Bush Theatre Archive, 1987 
  108. ^ "An Imitation of Life", Bush Theatre Archive, 1987 
  109. ^ "The Oven Glove Murders", Bush Theatre Archive, 1986 
  110. ^ "Making Noise Quietly", Bush Theatre Archive, 1986 
  111. ^ "Hard Feelings", Bush Theatre Archive, 1983 
  112. ^ "The Relief of Martha King", Bush Theatre Archive, 1972 
  113. ^ "Christmas Carol", Bush Theatre Archive, 1972 
  114. ^ "Plays for Rubber Gogo", Bush Theatre Archive, 1972 

External links[edit]