Kinnear debut to feature in Bush season

by -

Artistic director Madani Younis has announced the Bush Theatre’s 2013 programme, which includes debut plays by actors Rory Kinnear and Cush Jumbo.

The London venue’s season features three in-house productions and starts with a work from another first-time playwright, Ayad Akhtar. The play, Disgraced, which deals with an Asian-American’s experience of life in the US, will receive its UK premiere at the Bush, having been staged in Chicago and New York last year. It will be directed by Nadia Fall in a new production and runs from May 17 until June 15.

This will be followed by Josephine and I, a one-woman play written and performed by Jumbo, which tells the story of 1920s entertainer and political activist Josephine Baker. It will feature live music and runs from July 12 until August 10. The director has yet to be announced.

Also in the Bush’s main space will be The Herd by Kinnear, which will be directed by Howard Davies. It is the first play written by Kinnear, who is best known for his performances at the National Theatre, where he has played Hamlet and will appear as Iago in Othello later this year, directed by Nicholas Hytner. The Herd, which will run from September 13 to October 12, is billed as a “heartfelt look at a family falling apart and pulling together”.

Younis told The Stage: “I feel like this year, with this season of work – and I include [the current production of] Three Birds by Janice Okoh in that – we are presenting an ambitious, surprising set of experiences by the diverse community of our city, our country and our stages. I think they are all ambitious in that way, and powerful.

“I’m also really excited that we can have conversations with people like Howard [Davies], and present a new play to him and he be excited by that proposition as well. That is what our new building affords us. I don’t think we would have been able to do Disgraced, or Rory’s play, necessarily, in our old space. I think that is a direct response to us being in our new building [the Bush moved into its new home in late 2011].”

The Bush will also host a visiting production in its Attic space – Moth by Declan Greene, which transfers from the HighTide Festival and runs from May 29 to June 8.

Meanwhile, the new season will see top-price tickets at £19.50, reduced from £24 last year.

“When we first moved in last year, we tested a model of increasing our top-end price and decreasing our lowest-priced tickets,” Younis explained. “We felt that we learnt a lot from that experience, but there was another opportunity to bring down our top price. We actually did that in the autumn season last year as well.”