A tower of languages. A city of immense cultural creativity. A people’s journey.
BABYLON, a season of work which encompasses both a celebration of Black and Brown cultural innovators and a ground-breaking production, fusing live-streamed performances from theatres around the world, opens at the Bush Theatre on 4 February.
Presented by Bush Theatre’s Tobi Kyeremateng and Ruthie Osterman with Up Next.
Week one is BABYLON Festival (4 – 9 February) - a week-long takeover celebrating the contemporary experiences of Black and Brown people and their influence on London culture. BABYLON Festival invites cultural innovators to transform the Bush Theatre with a series of takeovers under three strands:
LOUD - music gigs hosted in the Theatre by electronic musician Nabihah Iqbal, alternative soul-led collective Touching Bass’ ShyOne and Wu-Lu and House of Pharaoh’s rapper Sam Wise, each supported by emerging British talent such as Sans Soucis, Manor the Latekid and Danny Tra$h.
SPEAKS - live podcast shows from The Receipts Podcast and The N-Erd Council, panel discussions from gal-dem and Female Muslim Creatives and an in-house live radio broadcast show from Reprezent Radio, who will be running their drive time shows live from the Bush Theatre’s Gianni and Michael Alen-Buckley Script Library.
RESIDENTS - Theatre takeovers from collectives including Skin Deep’s Sonic Transmissions – a part interview, part music gig with award-winning drummer, composer and producer Moses Boyd – and Cocoa Butter Club - a cabaret collective celebrating performers of colour, with a full-on cabaret soiree, nipple-tassel making workshop and after party.
BABYLON Festival will also be running workshops with Jay Jay Revlon, Black In The Day and Our Naked Truths, and Meet The Artists lunches for local Shepherds Bush-based communities.
The Receipts Podcast: Live
4 Feb | Theatre | 8pm
The Receipts Podcast is fronted by three women who are willing to talk about anything and everything. From relationships to situationships to everyday life experiences, you can expect new perspectives on dating, race and being a millennial woman.
Since its launch in 2016, the podcast has stormed up the iTunes charts, been nominated for several awards and has become a trusted voice in modern conversations, with guest features including Dotty and Maya Jama.
After five sold-out shows in London, Birmingham and Manchester, The Receipts Podcast are back with an intimate live show as part of BABYLON Festival. Expect unadulterated girl talk with no filter as we get up close and personal with the powerful trio.
The N-Erd Council: Live
4 Feb | Studio | 7pm
The N-Erd Council is a podcast run by nerds, for nerds and the nerd at heart.
Based in London, The Council (Ludo, Timi, Ryan and Imbran) bring diverse & engaging topics that veteran Nerds will enjoy and newbies will be enticed by. From Marvel, DC & Star Wars to Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and everything else in-between, The Council cover it all.
They will be premiering their first live show at BABYLON Festival and can’t wait to dissect the different aspects of nerdom in all their glory.
Nabihah Iqbal + guests
5 Feb | Theatre | 8.30pm
Formerly known as Throwing Shade, London-based DJ and producer Nabihah Iqbal charts the waters where dance music and pop meet.
Many musicians like to speak of versatility, but Nabihah Iqbal has better grounds than most. She boasts an MPhil (focused on African history) from Cambridge, experience working in human rights law and a black belt in Karate. Her latest album, ‘Weighing of the Heart’, is a big statement in two ways: first, because she’s taken her real name to stand proudly as a female British Asian artist and, secondly, because she’s moved her music in a bolder, more expansive direction.
Nabihah Iqbal is supported by Sans Soucis, singer-songwriter and composer, active since 2016 and releasing music independently since 2017. Sans Soucis’ music travels along a spectrum of genres that range from R&B to alternative pop, indie and jazz. She has previously played headline shows at iconic London venues such as Union Chapel, Rich Mix and O’Meara.
Skin Deep: Sonic Transmissions with Moses Boyd
6 Feb | Theatre | 8pm
Skin Deep is a London-based multimedia platform that amplifies voices of colour through the discussion of race, culture and politics.
Skin Deep curate an evening of conversation, live performance and collective listening. Join them for a sonic exploration of the immense creative influence of Black and Brown people on London culture
Drummer, composer and Producer. Moses Boyd is 2X MOBO Awards winner, Recipient of The John Peel 'Play more Jazz Award’ from the 2016 Gilles Peterson Worldwide Awards. And the 2014 worshipful company of music young jazz musician of the year award. Moses has worked and collaborated with the likes of Lonnie Liston Smith, Ed Motta, Little Simz, Four Tet, Floating Points, Sampha, Zara McFarlane, Gilles Peterson, and many more. Whilst leading his own outfits The Exodus and Solo Exodus which infuses Jazz, grime and electronic influences. Moses also releases music under his own label Exodus Records, and more recently has become a new resident on BBC Radio 1xtra.
Past Sonic Transmissions events have included artists such as Shabaka Hutchings (ft. Theon Cross and Max Hallett), Nérija, Ahnansé (ft. Yussef Dayes, Mansur Brown, Sheila Maurice-Grey and Shirley Tetteh), and Brother Portrait.
Touching Bass presents: ShyOne & Wu-Lu + guests
7 Feb | Theatre | 8.30pm
Shy One (BBZ/Touching Bass) and Wu-Lu are two of the original members of South London's Touching Bass: a movement of London-based soul disciples who hold down a biweekly NTS Radio residency, a discussion series called Speaking In Sound and a monthly dance (communicated via texting service) among other creative endeavours.
Over the last three years, the latter has become a playground for soulful music of all kinds. As residents, Shy and Wu-Lu (alongside the rest of the Touching Bass selectors), have cultivated a space for musical exploration where emphasis is firmly placed on dance and community above all. A space unbounded by genre and lead by feeling instead, with talented local selectors and heavyweights equally likely to grace the decks.
Touching Bass will be playing a live set of genre-bending tunes and feel-good music that’s guaranteed to get you up on your feet.
Touching Bass will be supported by Manor the Latekid, an artist and producer who aims to translate poetry and Spoken Word into different art forms such as; sound, movement and music.
Manor The Latekid has performed at Boiler Room, Lovebox, Bestival and Tate Britain.
Jay Jay Revlon’s Voguing Workshop
8 Feb | Attic | 6pm
Jay Jay has become a major force in the London dance scene where he is credited with being instrumental to the rise of London’s voguing scene and has created the modern dance house the Kiki House of Tea and leading ballroom collective, English Breakfast London.
Described by Time Out as “one to watch”, DJ and dancer Jay Jay Revlon shuts down the Bush Theatre with the ultimate Voguing Workshop.
Bring your heels, lay on the glitter and prepare to strut your stuff.
Jay Jay has used his love of vogue to establish inclusive and diverse events including the massively popular Let’s Have a Kiki birthed at private member’s club The Curtain Hotel, and now in his community in Peckham at The Prince of Peckham and in workshops at The Tate Britain & Southbank Centre. Jay Jay has also used vogue as a form of social activism, as seen last year where hundreds of Londoners saw him pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando shooting at a vigil on Old Compton Street.
The Cocoa Butter Club
8 Feb | Theatre | 8pm
Showcasing and celebrating spectacular bodies of colour, The Cocoa Butter Club brings you quintessentially queer cabaret, plus a nipple tassel makin’ and shakin’ workshop! Then, it’s pure melanin magic with our After Dark Dance Party.
We are here to take over.
The Cocoa Butter Club brings you a one-off dazzling night of entertainment.
So, lotion up baby, it’s time to decolonise and moisturise, because founder and curator Sadie Sinner The Songbird will bring you a night bold enough to have you screaming ‘yaaaaas queen, smells like cocoa butter up in hurr!’
Female Muslim Creatives: Panel
9 Feb | Studio | 1pm
Female Muslim Creatives is a newly established organization amplifying the work of Muslim, female-identifying artists in the U.K and across the globe.
The first exhibition of the Female Muslim Creatives took place between the 15th & 19th August 2017 and displayed the works of 11 artists centred around the themes of sexuality and sisterhood.
Female Muslim Creatives (FMC) are hosting a panel to explore the experiences of Muslim women curators and creatives in the modern art world.
Black in the Day: Graphic Design Workshop
9 Feb | Reading Room | 2pm
Create your own photo book using images from the Black in the Day archive - a submission-based photo archive documenting the lives and experiences of Black people in the UK.
Participants will learn the basics of graphic communication and typography and will then apply what they’ve learnt to create the sample pages of their own photo book.
9 Feb | Studio | 5pm
gal-dem is a magazine produced by women and non-binary people of colour.
Join gal-dem for a celebratory panel around the different types of community grassroots activism happening across London led by Black and Brown people, including a short film spotlighting the work being done.
With panellists to be announced, the panel will include three activists and be split into three discussions allowing a more free-flowing conversation about three different issues.
Sam Wise + guests
9 Feb | Theatre| 8.30pm
Sam Wise’s youthful and energetic live presence has been honed through his performances on tour with House of Pharaoh - a UK rap collective who are shunning genre categories like grime or drill, in favour of blend hard-hitting beats with psychedelic flourishes.
The South London poet has disrupted the UK hip-hop scene House of Pharaohs, before releasing his first solo offering “Lizzie” - which pairs his definitive bars with light and refreshing visuals.
Week two is BABYLON Beyond Borders (12 – 16 February at 7pm) - a live streamed performance happening simultaneously in four countries.
Four extraordinary theatres, each deeply rooted in their own community, explore their relationship to home, language and migration. A Brazilian activist at the Pequeno Ato Theatre in São Paulo performs with a chorus of women from Shepherd’s Bush. Musicians at Harlem Stage in New York City act out the experiences of students at the Market Theatre Lab in Johannesburg in a celebration of the possibility and the power of cross border encounters.
At the Bush Theatre three actresses are joined by a chorus of local women to perform stories drawn from their own experience of immigrating to a modern Babylon.
Tobi Kyeremateng is a theatre, festival and live performance producer recently named by The Stage as one of the most influential figures in the UK theatre and performing arts industries. She is currently Producer at Apples and Snakes. In 2013 she assisted in producing Ovalhouse Theatre’s site-specific piece The Street and joined BAC as Junior Producer until 2016. She was part of the Old Vic 12 2016 cohort, where she produced Joe White’s play Pagans. Tobi is the co-founder of the Black Ticket Project, an initiative that aims to make theatre accessible to black young people.
Ruthie Osterman is a theatre director, playwright, performer and drama teacher who graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London and the school of Dramatic Arts in Tel-Aviv. Work includes multiple international collaborations and performances in London, Israel, Poland and India. She is a member of the Lincoln Centre Director’s Lab in NYC and was recognised as a promising artist and endorsed for an Exceptionally Talented Artist Visa for the UK by the Arts Council of England in 2015.
The first UP NEXT is a Bush Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre partnership with Artistic Directors of the Future.
The UP NEXT initiative is funded by the Arts Council England Sustained Theatre grant. BABYLON is generously supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Garfield Weston Foundation. The BABYLON Beyond Borders international collaboration is made possible with support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
Prices from £10
Concessions: Bush Locals, Senior Citizens, Disabled and Unemployed patrons, and Bush Connect (Students and U26) members will be eligible for concession prices.
Phone 020 8743 5050
In person Bush Theatre, 7 Uxbridge Road, W12 8LJ