The Bush Theatre announces that live performances will re-commence on 17 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).
Harm, a thrilling and twisted new comedy on the corrosive effect of social media and isolation, by Bruntwood Prize Award-winning playwright Phoebe Eclair-Powell, directed by Atri Banerjee will open at the Bush Theatre on 17 May.
When an unhappy estate agent sells a house to Alice, a charismatic social media influencer, the two strike up an unlikely friendship. But as her obsession with Alice’s perfect world intensifies, the lines between online and reality become dangerously blurred.
A filmed version of Harm was broadcast on BBC Four on 13 April and is now available on iPlayer. This first for the Bush Theatre is part of BBC Arts Lights Up season, which partners with theatres across the country to produce plays for audiences at home as part of the BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine initiative. The role of Alice was played by Leanne Best in the BBC version, casting for the Bush Theatre is tbc.
Next in the season will be Lava, when a woman receives an unexpected letter from the British Passport Office, she 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 .
As her journey becomes inextricably linked with the tides of global history, how far will she go to unravel the truth? By turns wickedly funny and strikingly lyrical, Benedict Lombe’s Lava is an explosive debut that will turn the way you see the world on its axis.
Lava started life in 2020 as part of the Bush Theatre’s The Protest Series: a digital artistic response to the murder of George Floyd. It has now been re-imagined as a full-length play for the stage.