Bush Theatre to Move to Old Library

Venue switch forms part of Shepherd's Bush market regeneration plan

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Artistic Director Josie Rourke has announced that The Bush Theatre has been granted permission to relocate to a new home - the old library building in Shepherd's Bush.

Located on the Uxbridge Road beside the Shepherd's Bush Market, the old library is situated at the heart of the community and is moments away from the theatre’s current address. The Bush’s move to the library will form part of the Shepherd's Bush Market regeneration plans.

The move which will take place next year was agreed at a cabinet meeting of the Hammersmith and Fulham Council on 11 November.

Opened thirty-eight years ago in what was the upstairs dining room of The Bush Hotel, The Bush has evolved into a world-famous home for new plays and a champion for pioneering playwrights. The lease on the theatre’s current building expires in October 2011 and The Bush has for some time been searching for a more spacious new home within the Shepherd's Bush area. The current theatre space has in recent years experienced a series of leaks and power cuts, which saw the theatre triumph against adversity in 2008 by staging their Broken Space season in half darkness after lighting issues.

The Bush began an association with the old library in September 2009 when it created a script library there by asking publishers to donate play texts – the current collection through the publishers’ generosity stretches to hundreds of volumes. The Bush has been working alongside Hammersmith and Fulham Council during the past two years to gain consent for the move from the Church of England who own the building.

The Bush is launching a capital campaign to fund the move and renovation costs, with the new building opening its doors in 2011. The architect for the conversion of the library is Steve Tompkins at Haworth Tompkins. In the meantime the current season - including The Schools Season with new plays by Steve Waters and John Donnelly which examine education in Britain today - is scheduled throughout January and February and will be performed at their current address above O’Neill’s pub on Shepherds Bush Green.

Josie Rourke, Artistic Director at The Bush Theatre described the new venue as a perfect fit saying, “We are thrilled that The Bush has finally found a wonderful new home in the heart of Shepherd's Bush after eighteen months of working closely with Hammersmith and Fulham Council to relocate the theatre."

Nick Starr, The Bush’s Chair, said today, “We are enormously grateful to Hammersmith and Fulham Council for making this move to the old library a reality – and to Ed Vaizey for introducing the theatre to Stephen Greenhalgh. Josie Rourke and Angela Bond lead a terrific team and their plans for how to use the building are tremendously exciting.”

Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey – who previously sat on the theatre’s board – said, “This is brilliant news, I’m over the moon that the Bush Theatre has a new home, and most importantly that it will remain right in the heart of the local community. This decision marks the end of years of hard work by all the team at the Bush who have campaigned so determinedly to secure a bright future for the Theatre they love. I look forward to celebrating with them soon.”

Council leader, Stephen Greenhalgh, comments, "We are looking forward to breathing new life into the market and we can't wait to secure the Bush's future with this move. This really is great news for Shepherd's Bush. The area now has a brand new, state-of-the-art library at Westfield and a new home for the much-loved Bush Theatre."

The Council will see the move as going some way to mollifying residents' concerns about changes planned for the Shepherd's Bush Market area.

November 12, 2010

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