A brand new theatre, named The Bunker, is opening in a former underground car park in Southwark Street and is set to be the capital’s newest contemporary Off-West End venue. Behind this exciting venture are Joel Fisher and Joshua McTaggart – two up-and-coming, emerging creatives set to take the theatre world by storm.
Alongside the theatre programme, The Bunker will curate art installations, film showings and one-off performances encompassing work-in-development, poetry, music, dance, and discussions. A night at The Bunker will be an event in itself that extends beyond an ordinary evening at the theatre.
The autumn season, which runs from October 2016 until January 2017, includes the exciting transfer of a new Philip Ridley production and a transfer of Isley Lynn’s award-winning sell-out show from the 2016 VAULT Festival. The Bunker will also host a brand new musical during the Christmas period, and present a double bill of Irish plays in the new year.
Executive Producer Joel Fisher comments, The Bunker offers a chance for audiences to tell us what they want and what matters to them. Being in the heart of Southwark in this incredible creative hub means that we can start to pinpoint who our audience are and what shows they want to be seeing. This part of London is quickly becoming a cultural hub with developments at Tate Modern and the Globe and the London Theatre Company taking up residency at One Tower Bridge, and The Bunker joins this cultural movement. We want to share ideas with the theatres around us and find new and exciting ways of collaborating.
Artistic Director Joshua McTaggart says, The Bunker isn’t a place where you would leave straight after a show but rather a place that you could hang around in, meet the creatives involved and talk about the piece with your peers. In a way, it’s about creating a community who want to discuss what they have seen and debate what it means to them. It is true that at this unpredictable financial time, opening a new theatre is going to be a risky venture but, as artists, we always approach risk with creativity and ambition. For us, this opportunity was about doing something and doing it differently. It has been a privilege to curate a first season that brings together some of the best emerging and established talent this country has to offer and to see our collaborators’ enthusiasm and excitement for The Bunker proves that the stress and struggles have been worth it.
The renovated space includes a 110-seat auditorium, bar space, office space, technical booth, and dressing rooms.
The exciting inaugural autumn season is as follows:
Skin a Cat (12th October – 5th November)
Isley Lynn’s Skin a Cat transfers to The Bunker following its sell-out award-winning run at the VAULT Festival. Rive and The Bunker have partnered with sexual health charity Brook to engage marginalised and hard to reach audiences. Skin a Cat follows Alana on an awkward sexual odyssey with a kaleidoscope of off-kilter characters: from getting her first period at nine years old and freaking out her frantic mother, to watching bad porn at a house party with her best friend’s boyfriend, to a painful examination by an overly cheery gynaecologist – all in the pursuit of losing her virginity and finally becoming a woman, whatever that means…
Tonight with Donny Stixx (8th November – 3rd December)
Tonight with Donny Stixx by Philip Ridley is his companion piece to his 2013 Fringe First-winner and Soho Theatre sell-out hit Dark Vanilla Jungle. Tonight with Donny Stixx won a Fringe First in 2015 and the original production team reunite here. The play is directed by David Mercatali and stars award-winning actor Sean Michael Verey. Donny has committed an act that shocked everyone. Tabloids called him The Most Hated Boy Alive. But Donny doesn’t want forgiveness.
All Donny wants is… his own television show.
Muted (7th December – 7th January)
New musical Muted, written by Sarah Henley, composed by Tim Pottery-Jones, with additional lyrics by Tori Allen-Martin, was recently staged in a workshop performance at the Actors Church where Stephen Fry called the show ‘stunning’ and Mark Shenton referred to the piece as ‘the British Rent’. This is The Bunker’s alternative to Christmas panto offerings. At seventeen, Michael Brookman was the exceptionally talented lead singer of Lost Boy, a band on the brink of stardom, when his mother, Amanda, was killed in a hit and run accident. Fast-forward three years. Michael hasn’t uttered a word since Amanda’s death. Then one day, encouraged by Michael’s exasperated uncle, the love of his life appears at Michael’s door to see if she can make him speak, or even sing, once again. Edgy, fast paced, sexy and raw, Muted is a story about grief, guilt, self-discovery, forgiveness and that thing we just can’t do without – love.
Abigail and Come on Over (10th January – 4th February 2017)
For the final production of the season, The Bunker will present a double bill of Irish plays by two of the country’s most exciting writers. The world premiere of Fiona Doyle’s Abigail will play alongside Conor McPherson’s Come On Over in an evening that explores two very different but intimate relationships of love, power and dark secrets. Directed by Joshua McTaggart, The Bunker’s Artistic Director, and Sara Joyce, The Bunker’s Associate Director, this pair of gripping tales show the lengths we go to in order to be loved, cared for and protected.