Bush Theatre opens 2036 online programme by emerging minority theatre designers
Bush Theatre’s 2036 programme offers three Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, and Refugee emerging theatre designers a bursary each year to help launch their artistic careers. A statement by the west London theatre shares a prediction based on census data that half of all young people in the capital will be of dual heritage by the year 2036. The work of this year’s bursary recipients looks at personal accounts of young people related to racial identity, and it can now be viewed online as a one-hour show divided into three segments.
The first piece is lighting designer Devon Muller’s Pawn. A boy named Jordan talks of his experience as a teenager of mixed heritage. He recounts episodes of favouritism, bullying and discrimination based purely on assumptions about his ethnicity. The set design is constructed to look like a chess board, and Jordan makes strategic moves as he faces day-to-day dilemmas requiring politically charged decisions, even during times of recreation with his schoolmates.
The second production, set designer QianEr Jin’s One Day, features onscreen animations while a voice narrates the story of a girl who goes by the name of Ashley. The events are told from the perspective of a mayfly, whose lifespan is approximately 24 hours. The protagonist, who is originally from Hong Kong, is grieving the death of her grandmother as she recalls episodes of racism they have both experienced.
The final project is sound designer Latekid’s LimBo, a conceptual music performance exploring the self and racial identity through sound and poetry composed and performed by Latekid (Darius McFarlane) himself.
The trilogy is fresh and vibrant and perfectly captures the anxieties and confusion of a generation experiencing first-hand what it means to grow up in such turbulent times. Racial labels are disintegrating as ethnicities continue to merge but, simultaneously, race is becoming an increasingly hot topic and a source of conflict. The pieces are a promising start by all three artists involved and 2036 is yet another valuable initiative by Bush Theatre.
2036 will stream online from 27th until 28th April 2021. For further information or to book visit Bush Theatre’s website here.