The spring season at London’s Bush Theatre packs a punch with four new plays dealing with the struggle for justice.
Madani Younis, the theatre’s artistic director, has announced a new season that comes in the shadow of an expected general election.
He said: “All of the plays in this season are not only outstanding pieces of new writing, but they also challenge significant injustices in our society.
“Through this work I want to question individuals’ relationships to the state and a nation’s ability to change the way it looks at itself.
“There are parallels within our industry too. I want theatre to be a just environment; our industry to be an equitable space.
“I believe our diverse programme and our team reflects society. It’s an attitude we live by”.
The season opens in January with the previously announced Islands – a dark new comedy by Caroline Horton about tax havens and revenue fraud.
It is estimated that $18.5 trillion is siphoned into tax-saving schemes each year – Islands is about the people who benefit from these offshore havens, and those who suffer as a result.
Heavyweight drama The Royale steps into the ring in March.
American writer Marco Ramirez tells the story of boxer Jay Jackson, the first African-American Heavyweight Champion of the World.
It is loosely based on the real-life story of Jack Johnson, whose story is one of great talent and triumph, but also racism and injustice.
Despite Johnson being one of the greatest fighters who had ever lived, one newspaper wrote, at the time of his first title fight: “If the black man wins, thousands and thousands of his ignorant brothers will misinterpret his victory as justifying claims to much more than mere physical equality with their white neighbors.”
Scripted in 12 rounds by Orange is the New Black writer Marco Ramirez, and directed by Younis, the play looks at the transcendence of sporting heroes as cultural icons of our time.
Said the director: “I am delighted to bring The Royale to UK audiences, an ambitious play from a new and as yet unheard American voice.
“I’m fascinated by the tale of a sporting hero who transcends his industry and becomes a major symbol in wider culture.
“Amir Khan, Janelle Monáe, Jay-Z: to me they are all Jay Jackson.
“I think the play will really speak to a UK audience when we think of today’s cultural heroes and the responsibilities that are thrust upon them”.
James Graham’s quirky and explosive drama, The Angry Brigade, arrives at the Bush in April after an extensive UK tour.
The production, by Paines Plough, is the story of modern Britain’s first home-grown terrorist group.
Set against a Britain of spending cuts, high unemployment and economic instability, it tells the story of a group of four British anarchists who instigated a campaign of disruption in 1970s Britain.
The Invisible is a new play by Rebecca Lenkiewicz about the current government’s reforms to the provision of legal aid.
Following cuts totalling £350m, many ordinary people will find their access to justice restricted as their entitlement to free legal aid is withdrawn.
Based on interviews with real people at all levels of the British justice system, the play aims to tell the stories of those ordinary people affected by the reforms and examine how these cuts are driving deeper cracks into the fabric of our society.