Following the success of his first season at The Bunker, Artistic Director Chris Sonnex’s new season cements his vision for the theatre, representing and sharing the stories of its community. With a new festival with work from Black artists, a new work from Anna Jordan, debut plays from emerging writers and the return of the sold-out My White Best Friend (and Other Letters Left Unsaid), The Bunker is the place for ambitious creatives to share their work with adventurous audiences.
The Autumn Season will open with This is Black, a curated festival from Steven Kavuma, founder of Diversity School Initiative. Creating a supportive fringe space for Black creatives to produce new work, it will explore identity, hate crime and family relationships with alternate double bills of All the Shit I Can’t Say to My Dad by Abraham Adeyemi and Blue Beneath My Skin by Macadie Amoroso with …cake by babirye bukilwa and The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars by Dipo Baruwa-Etti, along with an accompanying exhibition by Sophia Tassew, who created the recent plus-size mannequins for Nike.
In September, Jade City by Alice Malseed will examine masculinity, vulnerability and friendship through the rich language of Belfast. Presented in association with The Royal Court, Anna Jordan’s We Anchor in Hope will be directed by Chris Sonnex in his inaugural production for The Bunker. Transforming the theatre into a pub, it will interrogate the impact on the community when the local closes.
Based on the writer’s own experiences, Germ Free Adolescent by Natalie Mitchell (NT Connections) is an OCD love story for anyone who’s ever worried that they’re not normal. Debut plays, i will still be whole (when you rip me in half) by Ava Wong Davies and Before I was a Bear by Eleanor Tindall will share the space in November. Davies’ lyrical piece explores the relationship between women in a family as Tindall’s considers sexuality, friendship, celebrity and shame.
The critically acclaimed My White Best Friend and Other Letters Left Unsaid… from Rachel De-Lahay and Milli Bhatia returns to The Bunker for the Autumn Season. Empowering even more writers to challenge and redress where we place ourselves in our society, newly commissioned letters will be performed sight unseen each night.
Following the success of Funeral Flowers in Spring, Harts Theatre Company have joined Pint-Sized and Damsel Productions as Resident Companies, while Ann Akin and Anoushka Warden join Debbie Hannan on The Bunker’s team of Artistic Associates. Akin will produce Matilda Ibini’s new play Little Miss Burden, directed by Hannan, bringing together 90s nostalgia and Nigerian culture to tell the truth about growing up with a physical impairment.
On top of this, The Bunker have introduced a programme of B-Sides to ensure emerging artists have a place to thrive. Including new work from Annie Jenkins and Liv Wynter, this curated run of Sunday and Monday nights will fill the stage with cult hits, experimental work and future classics, reinforced by the return of Pint-Sized’s week-long festival.
Artistic Director Chris Sonnex comments, “Theatre is a village. When we wait in the foyer, when we watch a performance, when we talk about the show over a drink, we reinforce our togetherness, our shared language. We watch in unison as a congress of actors, writers, directors, designers tell us stories to unite and challenge us. The individual creates the community, the community empowers the individual. In The Bunker’s new season, we are lucky to welcome incredible artists with plays that explore this link: between individual and community. We’re delighted to be continuing our partnership with Black Ticket Project, giving away more than 250 tickets across the season. We are ensuring that the artists in our community have a place to experiment in our B-Side season. The Bunker is proud to work with so many talented artists that represent our society. I believe they will be mainstays in our theatre village for years to come.”