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THE PROTEST – an at the moment response to the killing of George Floyd
Bush Theatre asked six black British artists to respond to the killing of George Floyd and its impact on black Britons. The six pieces of work are now released on the Bush Theatre’s social media channels – and we’ve got a direct link to each of the videos if you’d like to see them for yourself
My local theatre, Bush theatre is an integral part of the Shepherds Bush community and tragically it, like all the other art’s establishments throughout the UK has had to close its doors as a result of COVID 19. Now more than ever we need to support our theatre’s as they are under unprecedented pressure to find ways to survive and hold fast, whilst also keeping the passion of theatre and performance alive until their doors reopen again. And Bush Theatre is doing just that….
Last week, in response to the killing of George Floyd in the US and its impact on black Britons, the Bush Theatre approached its wide-ranging community of black artists and asked six of them to respond in the moment, however they saw fit.
The results explore and debate the arguments and questions about our society that have long been felt but have been given new urgency by the death of George Floyd and the protests that have swept the world.
The six responses have been released on the Bush Theatre’s social media channels and have already had an overwhelming response, being watched by thousands of people and actress Lily James sharing Anoushka Lucas’ ‘Your Work’ with her 2.4 million followers. A Q&A with some of the participants, led by Bush Theatre Associate Director Daniel Bailey is also available on the Bush Theatre’s Instagram channel.
Bush Theatre Associate Director Daniel Bailey, who curated The Protest series said, ‘The Bush kneels with the black community at home and aboard as we fight the ongoing pandemic – racism and the oppression of Black People. We asked some of our Bush family to lift their voices in a myriad of ways that mirrors the diversity within the Black community…
And this is the result: ‘The Protest’. Black Lives Matter.’
The six powerful and poignant pieces of work are:
Hey Kid by Matilda Ibini:
Matilda Ibini is a bionic playwright and screenwriter. Credits include Unprecedented Series (Headlong/Century Films/BBC4), Little Miss Burden (Bunker Theatre), Choice and Control (Old Vic Theatre), Muscovado (UK tour). She has screen projects in development with BBC Films and Raw Productions.
You Just Don’t Get It – And It Hurts by Fehinti Balogun:
Fehinti Balogun is an actor, theatre-maker and an activist. As an actor, he has worked in theatre, film, and television, with recent performances in The Blue Door (Bath Theatre Royal), BBC Radio 4’s retelling of Oliver Twist, and the new BBC/HBO drama I May Destroy You. Alongside his acting career, he delivers talks on climate change aimed at a more rounded inclusion in the conversation which he is adapting into a play with Complicité theatre company. He, as a result of these talks, has toured around London and south England discussing climate change and taking part in international climate discussions.
Your Work by Anoushka Lucas:
Anoushka Lucas is a singer, songwriter, actress, and composer. As a composer, she co-wrote the score for The Ballad of Klook and Vinette/Klook’s Last Stand (Park Theatre, 2014, NAMT Festival 2017, written by Ché Walker), The Etienne Sisters (Theatre Royal Stratford East, 2015, written by Ché Walker). In 2018 Anoushka wrote a score for and appeared in Sparks (Winner of Best Musical of Edinburgh Fringe 2018, The Pleasance + Vault Festival, written by Jessica Butcher). As an actress, she has appeared in Faces in the Crowd (Gate Theatre, 2020), Chiaroscuro (Bush Theatre, 2019), and Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, 2016). Her debut album Dark Soul was released in 2019 and championed on BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 2, and Jazz FM.
The Fire This Time by Kalungi Ssebandeke, ft Anoushka Lucas :
Kalungi Fresh aka Kalungi Ssebandeke is an Actor/Writer/Musician. Born in Uganda and raised in London, Kalungi is the writer of Assata Taught Me directed by Lynette Linton, and his debut album Katugende is now available on Spotify and Apple Music.
Do You Hear Us Now by Benedict Lombe:
Benedict Lombe is a British Congolese writer and theatre-maker. She is one of Theatre503’s 503Five Writers for 19/20, Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers, and BBC Writersroom London Voices. Her recent short piece was published as part of Papatongo’s ‘Isolated But Open’ Monologues. She has been shortlisted for: BBC Drama Room 19/20, Royal Court/Kudos TV Fellowship, and the 2018 Papatango Playwriting Award. She has a keen interest in boldly reclaiming the stories we were never allowed to tell for ourselves, with the full shades of nuance they always deserved. She is a fan of milkshakes and socialism.
Black by Roy Williams, featuring Aaron Pierre:
Roy Williams began writing plays in 1990 and is now arguably one of the country’s leading dramatists. In 2000 he was the joint-winner of The George Devine Award and in 2001 he was awarded the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright. He was awarded the OBE for Services to Drama in the 2008 Birthday Honours List and was made a fellow of The Royal Society of Literature in 2018.
Opened in 1972, the Bush Theatre is an internationally renowned ‘new writing powerhouse whose size belies its influence’ (Financial Times). A champion of playwrights and operating in one of the most culturally diverse areas of London, the Bush has a commitment to its local community and the wider artistic community braiding these two strands of work together to produce an engaging and challenging programme which reflects the world we live in.
Recent successes include Arinzé Kene’s Misty, which transferred to the West End and Jellyfish, Ben Weatherill’s love story about a young woman with Down’s Syndrome which transferred to the National Theatre and a re-imagining of Jackie Kay’s 1986 masterpiece, Chiaroscuro, directed by the theatre’s Artistic Director Lynette Linton.
The Bush Theatre’s talent development programmes discover and develop the very best of the UK’s leading artistes often through the theatre’s submissions scheme. They believe theatre has a responsibility to programme and generate opportunities for new and established makers and with long term residencies, add to the sustainability of their careers.
Since re-opening in March 2017 after a year-long £4.3 million renovation by architects Haworth Tompkins, the Bush strives to create a space where all communities can be part of our future and call this theatre home.
The Bush was awarded ‘Best London Theatre’ by The Stage in 2019.