The Bush Theatre in Uxbridge Road is the home of new writers says actor-playwright Arinzé Kene.
He is the star and writer of Misty, the latest box office hit from the Shepherds Bush theatre company, which is now heading to the West End – with a special deal on tickets for H&F residents.
But it almost never made it to the stage.
The 30-year-old artist initially struggled to put pen to paper for the play, and even wanted to pay back the commission he was given to write the show.
Fortunately, Bush Theatre artistic director Madani Younis refused and Arinzé then went on to produce the critically-acclaimed Misty, which enjoyed a sold-out run at the Bush earlier this year.
It will now open at the Trafalgar Studios in the West End on 8 September for six weeks.
“There is no mystery why the Bush Theatre is the home of new writers,” said Arinzé.
“They support writers and oil the wheels of the creative process. They pay with the level of effort they put in. I would encourage all young writers to get down to the Bush Theatre. It’s a writer’s theatre.”
Arinzé ended up living in Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush while he was writing Misty, which is the first play he has written and performed in.
The one-man show blends theatre, gig and performance poetry into one as it tells the story of the actor’s personal experiences as an artist while exploring how the city he has grown up in has changed.
“I wanted to reflect what people were seeing on the streets,” added Arinzé. “The area around Uxbridge Road is very similar to where I grew up in Hackney.
“I had to perform in the play. It just felt right. Misty is very autobiographical as it charts my experiences as a writer and the challenges I have faced.
“Initially it was tough performing in Misty as it felt very exposing but then you get used to it and you can then enjoy the ride.”
It was by chance that Arinzé even first got into acting as he stumbled upon the Arcola Theatre in Dalston at the age of 13.
“All the best things in my life have happened by chance. Random moments led me to find love, joy, hobbies and my career as an actor.
“I was on my way to basketball training when it began to rain heavily so I took shelter in a random doorway. It was the Arcola Theatre.”
From there he eventually went on to appear in the production of Torn, playing a young Nigerian boy who wished to date a West Indian girl despite his family’s disapproval, at the east London theatre, and he has not looked back since.
Arinzé will be back on our screens in October in the film musical Been So Long before appearing in the BBC’s adaptation of Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel The Long Song, which will be released in 2019.
The success of Misty coincides with H&F Council’s Art Strategy (pdf) to make the borough one of the country’s leading destinations for the arts.
Its core aims include:
- Destination: Boosting the local economy by developing and promoting a thriving borough for the arts
- Creation: Supporting people to create and produce excellent art of all kinds
- Inclusion: Giving residents from a wide range of backgrounds more opportunity to experience and participate in artistic and cultural activity.
Alongside local theatre companies like the Bush, the council aims to maintain H&F’s reputation as a centre for creativity and further strengthen the borough’s already thriving arts scene.
Read more on the latest arts news in H&F:
- New research reveals Islamic art treasures and their stories at Emery Walker’s House
- Little Lyric brings fun and excitement for kids this autumn
- Comic Jessie Cave hopes to avoid looking like Trump at Shepherds Bush Comedy Festival
- Sands End Arts and Community Centre wins major architecture award
- Royal College of Art students unveil works at free White City exhibition
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