London’s Bunker Theatre has announced a “revolutionary” new season form new artistic director, Chris Sonnex.
Sonnex has said that he aims “to disrupt, challenge and interrogate the world that is put before us” with the new season, featuring six productions including a satirical comedy about refugees in the UK, the award-winning Funeral Flowers that landed well with audiences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and a new festival exploring identity programmed in for January to May 2019.
“We live in a world where the words of so many people are struggling to be meaningfully heard,” Sonnex continued. “There is an artistic and political revolution bubbling across our society, whether that be very personal revolutions or a bigger structural seismic revolt.”
“This season explores the full spectrum of revolution, from Emma Dennis-Edwards exploring how one very personal decision can change someone’s life in Funeral Flowers to Jessica Butcher and Sacha Voit burning it all down and starting again in their new play Boots.”
“At The Bunker, we are incredibly honoured to welcome theatre-makers who have something to say that reflects and comments on today’s world. These voices will rise up from an underground car park in south London and be heard across the city.“
Alongside the new season The Bunker has announced the ‘Writer’s Snug’, a free-to-use space inside the building for playwrights to work in, with one of the desks always set aside for under-represented writers, as well as a monthly podcast from new associate director Debbie Hannan, who will discuss the theatre industry with various artists and activists which will then inform a monthly variety night called The Underground Night at The Bunker.
The Bunker’s Spring season is as follows:
Welcome to the UK, 22 January – 16 February
A new show from the Borderline ensemble bringing together people from 13 different nationalities for a satirical comedy about refugees in the UK. Written and performed by the ensemble, the show will feature those who have recently sought refuge in the UK with humour, horror, live music and candy floss. The ensemble will also be performing their first show Borderline, a satire of the Calais refugee “jungle” twice week.
Boots, 19 February – 16 March
Full of humour and heart, The Bunker Theatre will present Boots, written by Sacha Voit and Jessica Butcher and directed by Nadia Papachronopoulou. The show will explore the cross-generational connections between a 30-year-old pharmacist and her friendship with a 70-year-old woman, revealing age’s capacity for both loneliness and revolutionary fire.
My White Best Friend, 18 – 23 March
Following Boots will be a week-long festival surrounding intersecting identities an tensions as a response to writer Rachel De-Lahay’s provocative piece, My White Best Friend. Her and co-curator Milli Bhatia have commissioned 11 artists to pen their own letters that “say the unsaid to the people that matter most,” where each night two of the letters will be cold-read by performers alongside De-Lahay’s own piece, engaging with racial tensions, microaggressions, emotional labour and asking the privileged to step back.
Writers and artists included in the festival are Bola Agbaje, Zia Ahmed, Travis Alabanza, Fatimah Ashgar, Nathan Bryon, Matilda Ibini, Jammz, Iman Qureshi, Anya Reiss, Nina Segal and Tolani Shoneye.
Killymuck, 26 March – 13 April
The season will also feature a double bill of one-woman shows from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival including Killymuck, an inspired show from Kat Woods that sees young Niamh navigate the trials and tribulations of being a kid in the benefit system in 1970s Ireland. Educational barriers, impoverishment, depression and lack of opportunities conspire against the struggle to escape the underclass stereotype, starring Aoife Lennon.
Woods had said that Killymuck presented lives that were “constantly overlooked in theatre”, having been inspired to write it after seeing Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman presenting a version of Irish life – written by an English writer – that she did not recognise from her own experience.
Box Clever, 26 March – April
Joining Killymuck will be Box Clever, a moving, truthful and darkly comical show about one woman’s experience of a refuge and a Mother’s commitment to do the best for her daughter. Box Clever landed last year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of Paines Plough’s Roundabout space at Summerhall, written by Monsay Whitney and directed by Stef O’Driscoll, working to highlight the injustice of the social care system.
Funeral Flowers, 15 April – 4 May
The next show will be Emma Dennis-Edwards Funeral Flowers, a hit from this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival directed by Rachel Nwokoro. The show tells the story of 17-year-old Angelique who is navigating her way through the care system and into adulthood, dreaming of being a florist. Along the way she faces challenges including the recurring threat from her boyfriends gang…
Fuck You Pay Me, 7 – 19 May
Sonnex’s first season will end with Fuck You Pay Me, described as an evening of “shameless entertainment, divine feminine fury, a burial of preconceptions and a night of Sex-Witch Anarchy.” Written and performed by Joanna Nastari and directed by Bethany Pitts, Fuck You Pay Me doesn’t hold back as it dives into the world of London’s strip clubs and sex workers, combining live music and poetry with an array of special guests.
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