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The Bunker Theatre announces 2019 spring season from new Artistic Director Chris Sonnex

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The Bunker Theatre announces 2019 spring season from new Artistic Director Chris Sonnex

The Bunker’s revolutionary spring season is the first from its new Artistic Director, Chris Sonnex. The season, which spans four months and includes six productions and a unique festival, will also mark the opening of the Bunker’s Writers’ Snug – a free-to-use space in the theatre for up to four playwrights, with one desk reserved for underrepresented writers.

The Bunker have also named Debbie Hannan (Things of Dry Hours, Latir, Cuckoo) as their new Associate Director; she will present a new monthly podcast – The Underground Podcast – which will be packed with artists and activists, investigating, naming and exploring what needs to change in the theatre industry. In response to the themes discussed in the podcast, The Bunker will also host a monthly variety night – The Underground Night – which will feature new and established musical, spoken word and dance talent.

Sonnex’s first season opens with the world premiere of Borderline’s Welcome To The UK! - a powerful satirical comedy about the situation of refugees in the UK. This bold production has been devised and performed by a mixed ensemble which includes people who have recently sought refuge in the UK. Following this, Sacha Voit and Jessica Butcher’s funny and frank Boots is a story of cross-generational connection through forests and FemFresh, where an unlikely friendship reveals the loneliness of age and the power of Mother Nature.

My White Best Friend and Other Letters Left Unsaid…is a week-long festival exploring intersecting identities and tensions responding to writer Rachel De-Lahay’s original provocative piece, My White Best Friend. She and director Milli Bhatia have commissioned eleven exceptional writers to pen their own letters that say the unsaid to the people that matter most. Two of the letters will be cold-read by performers each night, alongside Rachel’s piece.

March and April see a double bill of one woman shows putting female working class voices front and centre with Kat Woods’ Killymuck and Monsay Whitney’s Box Clever. Written with humour, care and urgency, Killymuck gives an insight into the trials and tribulations of being from the benefit class system whereas Box Clever confronts us with the repercussions of systemic failure in politics to care for the working classes.

Emma Dennis-Edwards’ Fringe First award-winning Funeral Flowers follows 17-year-old Angelique as she navigates her way through adulthood, the care system and the recurring threat from her boyfriend’s gang. The powerful season concludes with Joana Nastari’s Fuck You Pay Me - a surreal collision of comedy, poetry and storytelling which gives a hilarious insight into the life of a stripper in London’s fast-changing cityscape.

Artistic Director Chris Sonnex comments, Theatre exists to disrupt, challenge and interrogate the world that is put before us. We live in a world where the words of so many people are struggling to be meaningfully heard. There is an artistic and political revolution bubbling across our society, whether that be very personal revolutions or a bigger structural, seismic revolt. This season explores the full spectrum of revolution, from Emma Dennis-Edwards exploring how one very personal decision can change someone’s life in Funeral Flowers to Jessica Butcher and Sacha Voit’s burning it all down and starting again in their new play Boots. At The Bunker, we are incredibly honoured to welcome theatre makers who have something to say that reflects and comments on today’s world. These voices will rise up from an underground car park in South London and be heard across the city.

The Bunker’s Spring Season 2019 is as follows:

Welcome To The UK! and Borderline (PSYCHEdelight and The Bunker)

Directed by Sophie NL Besse

Tuesday 22nd January – Saturday 16th February 2019

Press Night: Friday 25th January, 7:30pm

Borderline are a unique theatre ensemble created by PSYCHEdelight, shortlisted for the Community Integration Awards. The world premiere of Welcome to the UK! is set on this side of the Channel, devised and performed by mixed ensemble which includes people who have recently sought refuge in the UK. The production has been developed alongside the Women for Refugee Women drama group which refugee and asylum women performers who have joined the Borderline cast. They will also be performing their first show, Borderline, a satire of the Calais Jungle, twice a week.

Boots (Arsalan Sattari Productions and The Bunker)

Written by Sacha Voit and Jessica Butcher, directed by Nadia Papachronopoulou

Tuesday 19th February – Saturday 16th March 2019

Press Night: Friday 22nd February 2019

The time for silence is over. When it looks like Fred Astaire has burnt down a branch of Boots the chemist, Willow knows that something is seriously afoot. She braves the wilds of Lynx Africa, talking trees, and infertility to find an unlikely friend in Liz as she tracks down the truth. Bring your advantage card.

My White Best Friend and Other Letters Left Unsaid… (The Bunker)

Curated by Rachel De-Lahay and director Milli Bhatia

Monday 18th – Saturday 23rd March 2019

Industry Night: Wednesday 20th March 2019, 7:30pm

Could you put your white best friend on stage and remind them that they’re part of the problem? Originally featured as part of Black Lives Black Words at The Bush Theatre, writer Rachel De-Lahay and director Milli Bhatia have commissioned eleven writers to pen their own letters that say the unsaid to the people that matter most. Two of these new letters will be cold-read by performers each night to build up a network of intersecting identities and tensions through the week-long festival. The writers will include: Bola Agbaje, Zia Ahmed, Travis Alabanza, Fatimah Ashgar, Nathan Bryon, Matilda Ibini, Jammz, Iman Qureshi, Anya Reiss, Nina Segal, Tolani Shoneye.

Double Bill – Killymuck and Box Clever: (W14 Productions and The Bunker)

Tuesday 26th March – Saturday 13th April 2019

Press Night: Thursday 28th March 2019, 7:30pm

We are not all born equal. If you’re born into a working-class family, you have less: less money, less support and crucially, less opportunity. Killymuck and Box Clever explore the political cause and effect of what being born with less means.

Killymuck

Written by Kat Woods and directed by Catriona Shoobridge

Inspired by real events, Killymuck tells of a housing estate built on a paupers’ graveyard in 1970s Ireland. Kat Woods’ compelling play sees Niamh navigate the trials and tribulations of being a kid from the benefit system. Educational barriers, impoverishment, depression and lack of opportunities conspire against the struggle to escape the underclass stereotype in this powerful exploration of survival.

Box Clever

Written by Monsay Whitney and directed by Stef O’Driscoll

Ever get the feeling you’re going round in one big circle? Ten years. Back and forth between a trio of arseholes and nothing to show for it except a baby, an Argos ring and a busted nose. At the refuge they call that a pattern.

Moving, truthful and darkly comic, Box Clever is about one woman’s experience of a refuge and a Mother’s commitment to do the best for her daughter.

Funeral Flowers (Harts Theatre Company and The Bunker)

Written and Performed by Emma Dennis Edwards and directed by Rachel Nwokoro

Monday 15th April – Saturday 4th May 2019

Press Night: Wednesday 17th April 2019, 7:30pm Part poetry, part play, part floristry masterclass, this Fringe First winning play tells the story of 17-year-old Angelique who dreams of being a florist. With her mum in prison, she is left to navigate her way through adulthood, the care system and the recurring threat from her boyfriend’s gang.

Fuck You Pay Me (FYPM and The Bunker)

Written and performed by Joana Nastari, directed by Bethany Pitts

Tuesday 7th – Sunday 19th May 2019

Press Night: Thursday 9th May, 7:30pm

An evening of shameless entertainment, Of divine feminine fury. A burial of preconceptions, A night of Sex-Witch Anarchy.

Featuring a live score and nightly special guests, Joana Nastari’s award-winning debut Fuck You Pay Me is a no-holds-barred, explosive trip through the world of London strip club culture.

The Bunker’s spring season will take place from 22 January – 19 May 2019 at The Bunker, 53A Southwark Street London SE1 1RU.