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Arts of the UK 2021: Bush Theatre announces two new productions and a new writer-in-residence

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LONDON – The Bush Theatre has announced that live performances will re-commence on 17th May with two brand new Bush commissions, Harm by Bruntwood Prize award-winning playwright Phoebe Eclair-Powell, closely followed by Lava, the debut play by Benedict Lombe. Both writers continue the Bush Theatre’s reputation for commissioning and producing new work which reflects and helps us process the world around us. The venue has also announced its new writer in residence will be Vinay Patel (True Brits, An Adventure, BBC’s Doctor Who).

The Writer-in-Residence programme is part of the Bush Theatre’s commitment to celebrating legacy and providing opportunities for writers at every level of their career. Following Trish Cooke’s inaugural residency, Vinay Patelwill support the Bush Theatre’s literary and programming teams by mentoring emerging artists, as well as writing a full-length play during the course of his residency. 

Vinay is a playwright and screenwriter who began his relationship with the Bush Theatre in 2014, after his debut play True Brits transferred to the theatre from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. An Adventure, Patel’s epic family drama spanning seven decades and three continents opened at the Bush in 2018 to both critical and audience acclaim.

Vinay said: ‘The Bush is my home. It encouraged my early aspirations and backed me to reach them on my own terms. So I’m thrilled to join the theatre as it reopens and support it in being a place of honesty, ambition, and joy in an uncertain world.’

In Harm, the thrilling and twisted new comedy passes commentary on the corrosive effect of social media and isolation. Written by Bruntwood Prize Award-winning playwright Phoebe Eclair-Powell, and directed by Atri Banerjee, the play follows an unhappy estate agent who sells a house to Alice, a charismatic social media influencer. When the two strike up an unlikely friendship, things start to get dangerously blurred as her obsession with Alice’s perfect world intensifies, and the difference between online and reality become hard to see. 

Meanwhile, in Benedict Lombe’s Lava, a woman receives an unexpected letter from the British Passport Office, and is forced to confront an old mystery: why does her South African passport not carry her first name? Armed with the soundtrack to your favourite 90s TV shows, she sets out on a journey that will take her back to the turmoil of Mobutu’s Congo, growing up in post-Apartheid South Africa, moving to Ireland, and finding love in a hostile England.

Harm plays from 17th May to 26th June 2021, while Lava plays from 9th July to 7th August 2021. Tickets available from their website here

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