Bush Theatre gets new director as audiences boom

The groundbreaking, new-look Bush Theatre – one of the jewels in the crown of London drama – is getting a new artistic director.

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New Bush Theatre artistic director Lynette Linton. PICTURE: HELEN MAYBANKS

The groundbreaking, new-look Bush Theatre – one of the jewels in the crown of London drama – is getting a new artistic director.

She is Lynette Linton, she’s still in her 20s, she has big plans and she has described landing the job as ‘a great honour’.

The job came up after Madani Younis announced he was leaving Shepherds Bush after six years to become creative director of the Southbank Centre.

Linton, a 28-year-old playwright, will become artistic director in January, but is already a fan of the place. “Some of my favourite plays have been in this building,” she said of the theatre set up above a pub in the early 1970s and now occupying a transformed site in the former library in the longest street in the capital, Uxbridge Road.

New chapter

The former resident assistant director at the Donmar Warehouse, where she is currently directing Sweat, and associate director at the Gate Theatre (setting up its youth company), she is about to co-direct a production of Richard II at the Globe which marks the first time a black woman has appeared in a Shakespeare play on a major UK stage.

She has described her Bush appointment as ‘an exciting new chapter’ and will be working alongside executive director Lauren Clancy in a creative space which is financially supported by Hammersmith & Fulham Council and has recently had £4.3million spent on its refurbishment.

“I cannot wait to lead an exciting new chapter inspired by all the wonderful artists that populate our unique city,” she said.

Bush Theatre chair Simon Johnson said that the board had been searching for ‘a new artistic director who moved and inspired us’ as well as ‘a leader willing to fight for what we stand for’.

He added: “I can’t wait to see her build on the momentum of Madani’s tenure, and continue to raise the scale, profile and impact of our remarkable theatre both artistically and socially.”

Amazing work

The announcement was also welcomed by Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for the Economy and the Arts. “The Bush does amazing work in the wider neighbourhood of Shepherds Bush alongside its stage productions, which underlines the power of theatre to positively change the community,” he said. “We wish Lynette Linton well in her new job.”

It’s been quite a year for the Bush, still celebrating the West End transfer of Arinzé Kene’s Misty, which has now been seen by 30,000 people.

Linton, who was born in London to Guyanese parents, plans to build on the Bush’s commitment to unearth, nurture and produce new playwrights from the widest background range. The 2018 programme has seen a 40 per cent rise in attendance on the previous year, with more than half of the audience first-timers.

Visit www.bushtheatre.co.uk for more information.

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