The Bush Theatre is set to break out into unexpected venues along the Uxbridge Road for its new season while its building undergoes a £4million refurbishment.
The ground-breaking move is being made to facilitate a major facelift, which along with the shows, is hoped will enable the venue to better reflect, connect with and pay homage to its community.
Funding for the exciting project is at 90 per cent and has been supported by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and Arts Council England.
While the expansion works are underway, the theatre will host shows at various venues including a European premiere of Boys Will Be Boys at Bush Hall, The Royale at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill and This Place We Know features a series of plays performed at venues along the Uxbridge Road, including churches, pubs and laundrettes.
“This is a very exciting time for the Bush Theatre and we’re delighted to be supporting them as they embark on this ground-breaking venture,” said Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration.
“This will be a huge boost to the arts and culture in Shepherds Bush and beyond.”
At a launch event last week, artistic director Madani Younis introduced the ‘Bush Breaks Out’ plans, which he hoped would prevent the fear that theatre would become ‘the domain of a chosen few’.
“2016 will be such a landmark for us,” he said. “Many theatres in this country don’t reflect the culture of this country. This city is changing and so this theatre must too.”
Mr Younis said that despite the former Shepherds Bush Library having served as a good home to date, it was time to expand and make better use of the available space and bring the venue closer to the community in which it resides.
The work will include a new conservatory running alongside the courtyard, with a new entrance greeting visitors as they exit the tube station. A new lift will provide better accessibility for visitors in wheelchairs and for its artists, there will be new dressing rooms, studio and an expanded rehearsal room. For staff the office will also be expanded.
At launch event, Steve Tompkins of architect firm, Howarth Tompkins which helped the Bush when it first moved into the old library, spoke of his brief for the expansion project.
He said: “How can the building become more porous to the city, to the extraordinarily diverse community in which it lives?”
The work is due to begin in mid-April and should be completed by early 2017 and is hoped will generate 15,000 more visitors per year.