The Stage 100 Awards 2012: London theatre of the year
As nominations open for the 2013 awards, we shine the spotlight on this year's winners. To nominate an organisation for The Stage 100 Awards 2013, click here
London theatre of the year 2012: the Bush Theatre
Who's in charge?
Artistic director Madani Younis
Why did they win?
"Rare is the venue that can turn moving premises into an artistic triumph, but the Bush Theatre did just that in 2011. It was a vintage year for the new writing venue as it traded up from its pub home to the former Shepherd’s Bush library. Highlights included its Schools Season, which provided a relevant and timely intervention in the free schools debate, tender farewell piece This is Where We Got to When You Came In, the year’s most ambitious response to the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible with Sixty Six Books and The Kitchen Sink, which one of our judges described as “one of the plays of the year”. The spirit of the Bush – its imagination and its enthusiasm – was summed up in Where’s My Seat? in which the team invited people to scrawl on post-it notes throughout its new building to review the space while watching a medley of new plays. If only more venues looked after their audiences so well. The venue will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year and artistic director Josie Rourke moves to the Donmar Warehouse to make room for Madani Younis. She will be a hard act to follow, especially after the bounty of 2011."
What have they been up to since winning?
Madani Younis launched his first season at the west London venue, opening with the world premiere of Lee Mattinson's Chalet Lines. In its new building, it has opened two new performance spaces - the Studio and the Attic. It also entered a new collaboration with Kudos Film and Television to find and develop writers for theatre and TV. During the summer, the venue was given over to Theatre Delicatessen, which staged Bush Bazaar where performers and artists took over every part of the building and the audience had to barter to pay to see performances. Omar Elerian was appointed as Bush associate director, Che Walker, Caroline Horton and Sabrina Mahfouz appointed as associate artists, and Iron Shoes, Greyscale, Theatre Ad Infinitum and Julie’s Bicycle as associate companies. Meanwhile, there were also awards for work originating at the venue - Tom Wells’ The Kitchen Sink won the Critics’ Circle Best New Playwright Award and the George Devine Award, and was shortlisted for the Evening Standard and Writers’ Guild Awards. Denise Gough was shortlisted for the best newcomer award for the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Our New Girl. But the year has not been without controversy, with the announcement of a change to the theatre's new writing policy meeting with a mixed response.
What they say about their Stage 100 Award
Madani Younis: "Winning The Stage 100 Award for London theatre of the year was a fantastic acknowledgement of the spirit and dedication of our artists, audiences, supporters and staff which has got us to where we are today. For us, the award was an important celebration of our past, and a vote of confidence in the potential of our new home and all the Bush can now become."
To nominate an organisation for The Stage 100 Awards 2013, click here