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In London’s (Off) West End 2020: Final Bunker Theatre season hands space to artists and community (Preview)

Screenshot 2020-01-17 at 3.04.18 AM

LONDON – The full programme of events and performances which make up The Bunker’s final season has now been announced. The eight-week Takeover Season will feature over 80 artists, 70 performances and a host of workshops, lectures and events, before The Bunker closes due to proposed redevelopment at the end of March 2020. For this Takeover Season, a different artist will curate each week, taking over the space and the programme as well as the bar and the box office, determining their own rules of engagement for the tenure.

The first week in February explores the role of the civic space in society by making the theatre a site for the public to play, create and learn. Workshops from members of The Bunker team will seek to pass on everything from basic lighting and sound programming to dealing with imposter syndrome to producing a festival. The following week, Debbie Hannan (Little Miss Burden) and Vinnie Heaven (She’s a Good Boy) will share two showcases placing queer work front and centre while interrogating the tokenistic way queer people are now present in so much mainstream culture.

Following a celebrated run at VAULT 2019, the anonymously written EVERYWOMAN will be presented in week three alongside new pieces on motherhood from five playwrights, with child and childcare-friendly policies and performances. This will be followed by The Upsetters who return to The Bunker with a festival dedicated to celebrating artists of colour. They will debut two pieces of new writing, Unburied by Jimin Suh and Wakes by Sidney Belony, alongside a scratch night, a poetry night, and a series of workshops that pay participants to attend to cover their loss of earnings.

In March, Sculptress Theatre return to The Bunker with Natasha Brown’s new play I Am (Not) Kanye West. They will also make The Bunker available for rehearsals and will host workshops in their week, POWER X RESISTANCE. Following this, Sabrina Mahfouz (A History of Water in the Middle East) will explore aspects of pregnancy that remain taboo with Lilith by Jennie Buckman, about a couple dealing with stillbirth, and Mahfouz’s own KaraOkay about the abortion rights conversation in the UK.

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (Emilia) and Abi Zakarian (Fabric) have declared their Takeover week a Power-Share. They will offer each day to a different artist to present a workshop, play reading and a series of curated short works each evening around a different topic. Finally, director Caitriona Shoobridge (Ivan and the Dogs; Killymuck) presents Where Do We Go Next?, a film installation featuring new monologues from six working class and otherwise underrepresented writers.

Says Artistic Director Chris Sonnex: “I am very proud of what The Bunker achieved in 2019 and it was with that same pride and a communal sadness that we announced its closure. However everyone at the Bunker has consistently rolled with the punches and so we see this as a brilliant opportunity to try a new kind of season. We are not one person or a building, but a community and a civic space for artists and audiences to thrive and feel safe. As such, it was blatantly apparent that we had to give the theatre to artists to do what they felt they needed to. For eight weeks brilliant and incredible artists will take over the space for one week at a time to present what they want, curate what they want, share what they want, say what they want. The Bunker will continue to do what it does best with our support, advice and solidarity for those that wander through our doors. Come, support and cheer these incredible artists and celebrate The Bunker. The space belongs to all of us.”

For the Bunker’s full final season and tickets, visit their website here


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