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.
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. 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. The relocation took place in 2011 and opened with the "Sixty-Six Books" project. 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. 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.
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.
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 remained in its original location 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, garden terrace and playtext library, which is the largest public theatre reference library in the United Kingdom.
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.
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.
The Bush Theatre aims to be as accessible as possible in everything they do. The whole building is accessible to wheelchair users. They also programme a range of assisted performances throughout the year, including audio described and captioned.
You are welcome to bring your assistance dog into both auditoriums. Please request an aisle seat when you book. Alternatively, their staff are happy to dog-sit for you.
Audio Description provides information about the visual elements of a production. The description is delivered live, in-between dialogue and picked up through headsets, giving access to visually impaired audiences. An audio introduction MP3 is sent out in advance and will be available on this page of their website to listen to or download. A Touch Tour before the performance allows the audience to explore the set and costumes and meet the cast.
Hearing Loop. Please collect headsets from the box office for their hearing system. Captioned Performances. A caption unit displays the actors’ words as they are spoken or sung, and provides information such as sound effects and music. Captioning may also be useful for people who speak English as a second language, when actors speak with strong accents. Captioned performances are available for most of their productions.
Entrance. There are two entrances. One is on Uxbridge Road at the front of the building through the porch up some steps. The theatre’s Library Bar is straight ahead, the Reading Room is to the left, and the Box Office to the right. The second entrance is accessible via a ramp suitable for wheelchair users and buggies to the right hand side of the building. There is an automatic double glass door. From here the Box Office is to the left and the theatre Library Bar and Reading Room are beyond the Box Office around the corner.
Theatre. The Theatre is the larger of their two auditoriums (140-180 seats). Access to the Theatre is on the ground floor and the floor is level. For a detailed view of the layout of the Theatre please see the seating plan below. Please note the layout of the space changes for each production. A wheelchair space is available to book for every show.
Studio. The Studio is the smaller of their two auditoriums (70 seats). The Studio is on the ground floor and the floor is level. It’s accessed from the end of the glass corridor that faces the Garden Terrace. For a detailed view of the layout of the Studio please see the seating plan for each performance below. Please note the layout of the space changes for each production. A wheelchair space is available to book for every show.
Attic. The Attic is on the second (top) floor and is accessible via the lift or stairs. The Attic is used for rehearsals, early showings of newer work and special events. Toilets. The toilets are situated on the first floor and are accessible via stairs or the lift. There is also an accessible toilet on the ground floor beneath the stairs which disabled patrons have priority to use.
Library Bar and Reading Room. Both of these spaces are on the ground floor. Access needs have been taken into account with the provision of all glassware, crockery and cutlery. Hearing dogs and guide dogs are welcome. Disabled customers may use the Box Office phone to arrange a pick up or call a taxi, or alternatively may ask a member of staff to do this.
Garden. The Garden is located to the right of the theatre building. From inside it is accessed through a glass door beyond the Box Office. Alternatively, it can be reached from Uxbridge Road at street level via a ramp or steps.
Location : Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, London W12 8LJ
Access Line : 020 8743 5050
Tel: 020 8743 5050