Bush Theatre, 2017

a new home for a new writing theatre

The Bush is an important London producing theatre, deeply embedded in its diverse west London community and presenting cutting edge new work for a new generation. Formerly housed in a room above a pub in London’s Shepherds Bush, the theatre had outgrown its surroundings and needed to relocate and expand within its local constituency.

Haworth Tompkins helped the theatre to find a new home in a former public library (already relocated elsewhere) and to organise a series of public consultation and participation events to develop the brief and establish the feel of the new space.

These processes resulted in a temporary, experimental use of the building for the first years of occupation.

The first phase of work provided the theatre with an auditorium, a foyer and rudimentary back of house spaces on a very tight budget, allowing the organisation to establish itself in the community and to understand its future needs more clearly. Repurposed found objects, home-made elements and voluntary help all contributed to a sense of shared endeavour and common ownership.

The second phase, just completed, is a more permanent series of changes which have provided better facilities for staff and performers, enabled barrier-free access to the whole building for the first time, added a new performance and community events studio and meeting space, extended the public foyer and connected it to a new, fully accessible entrance courtyard which connects directly with the public street.

The attic of the building is now a well-equipped, daylit rehearsal space, allowing new work to be developed and tested on site as well as providing an additional multi-use space for community engagement and events.

Together with essential fabric and technical upgrades, these phased interventions have transformed the building into a powerful engine for theatre making and a welcoming, inclusive public gathering space for the local community.

The new Bush is now firmly embedded as an important part of London’s cultural infrastructure.

client

bush theatre

Main contractor

Rise contracts

project director

plann

structural engineer

price & myers/momentum engineering

services engineer

skelly & couch

quantity surveyor

bristow johnson

acoustician

gillieron scott acoustic design

artist collaboration

antoni malinowski

catering consultant

keith winton design

picture credits

philip vile


Awards
2018 — Civic Trust Award Regional Finalist: The Bush Theatre
2018 — Civic Trust ‘Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Universal Design’ (finalist): The Bush Theatre
2017 — AJ Architecture Awards ‘Cultural Project of the Year’ (finalist): The Bush Theatre

Behind the scenes