By Mark Shenton
27 Jan 2014
In a press statement, artistic director Madani Younis commented, "I’m particularly excited to announce our season for 2014 as we introduce new plays by Chris Thompson and Robin Soans to our programme, both new commissions under my tenure. It's wonderful to invite these two voices to our stage – Robin with his wealth of experience, and Chris at the start of his journey. These world premières are complemented by our new production of an extraordinary play from the US - Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present…, which we are thrilled to bring to British audiences, following the success of Ayad Akhtar's Disgraced last year. These contemporary voices bring a potent diversity to our season, reflecting the society on our doorstep and beyond. They not only entertain, but provoke an important debate about the part we each play in our communities. They speak to, and for, London today."
Drury's We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German SudwestAfrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 will begin performances Feb. 28 prior to an official opening March 5, for a run through April 12.
Gbolahan Obisesan will direct a cast that comprises Ayesha Antoine, Joseph Arkley, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Joshua Hill, Kirsty Oswald and Isaac Ssebandeke. In the play, a group of actors gather to tell the little-known story of the first genocide of the 20th century. As the full force of a horrific past crashes into the good intentions of the present, what seemed a faraway place and time is suddenly all too close to home.
Drury, who is based in Brooklyn, NY, received a 2012-13 Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists. She was a member of the 2011-12 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, a 2010-12 New York Theater Workshop Emerging Artist of Color Fellow, and member of The Civilians' R&D Group. Her play Social Creatures was commissioned by Trinity Repertory Theater Company in Providence, RI, and premiered there in March 2013. She is also the inaugural recipient of the 2012-14 Jerome New York Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center.
It is followed by Nick Payne's new play Incognito, which transfers to the Bush following a tour to Newcastle's Live Theatre and Oxford's The North Wall, beginning performances May 14 prior to an official opening May 15, for a run through June 21. Presented by nabokov, Live Theatre Newcastle and HighTide Festival Theatre in association with The North Wall, it continues the Bush Theatre’s association with Hightide Festival Theatre, which saw the transfer of Moth to the theatre, and also their recent collaboration on Pussy Riot: Hunger Strike.
In the play, three interwoven stories explore the nature of identity and how we are defined by what we remember. It is directed by Joe Murphy, artistic director of nabakov. Nick Payne's previous plays include If There is I Haven't Found it Yet (premiered at the Bush in 2009 and subsequently seen at Off-Broadway's Roundabout Theatre Company), Wanderlust and Constellations (both Royal Court), and The Same Deep Water as Me (Donmar Warehouse).
Madani Younis will direct the world premiere of Robin Soans' Perseverance Drive, beginning performances July 4 prior to an official opening July 10, for a run through Aug. 16. According to press materials, it follows one family’s struggle to reconcile their faith in God with faith in one another. Soans' previous plays include One Turbulent Ambassador, Life After Scandal, Talking to Terrorists, The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, A State Affair, Sinners and Saints and Bet Noir.
Chris Thompson's Albion will begin performances Sept. 12 prior to an official opening Sept. 19, for a run through Oct. 25. In the play, it’s karaoke night at The Albion, an East End pub and the unofficial home of the English Protection Army. Paul runs the pub, girlfriend Christine rules the roost, and little brother Jayson hosts the karaoke. On the eve of a demonstration tensions are running high. The mosque want to build a community centre next door and the English Protection Army aren't happy. Paul is going to fight this tooth and nail, but he knows the public won't listen to a bunch of hooligans. Meanwhile, younger brother Jayson thinks this could be his time to shine. Family or not, this is England and it's time to take it back.
The play examines the turbulent rise of the new far right in modern-day Britain. When they embrace diversity, just how far can the far right go?
In November, the Bush's new writing festival RADAR returns for a third year to showcase new writing talent from around the world.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 8743 5050, or visit www.bushtheatre.co.uk.