Lava goes on public sale at the Bush Theatre as Tina Lobondi collaboration is revealed

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The world premiere of Lava by Congolese-British writer Benedict Lombe opens at the Bush Theatre on 9 July (press night 14 July). It will also be available for viewing online 16 – 21 August. To mark the first day of public booking a photograph of Benedict Lombe by Latoya Fits Okuneye with clothes provided by Tina Lobondi has been released.

Congolese-born designer Tina Lobondi established her fashion label in Notting Hill, London in 2011. Combining African heritage with delicate French couture, the label focuses on chic and classic looks producing exclusive collections which unveil limited availability and creates an emotional connection to the brand. Tina Lobondi forges a dynamic synthesis of elegance and edginess to shape a striking silhouette with infinite attention to detail and finish, producing classic and chic ready-to-wear.

Lava started life in 2020 as part of the Bush Theatre’s The Protest Series: a digital artistic response to the murder of George Floyd. It has now been re-imagined as a full-length play for the stage, which ‘Could become our era’s equivalent of Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Bansi Is Dead’ – The Independent.

This is nice, init? I like it. Good little set-up to tell you the story of my name. The story of my true name.

When a woman receives an unexpected letter from the British Passport Office, she is forced to confront an old mystery: why does her South African passport not carry her first name? Armed with the wisdom of favourite 90s TV shows, she sets out on a journey that will take her back to the turmoil of Mobutu’s Congo, growing up in post-Apartheid South Africa, moving to Ireland, and finding love in a hostile England.

As her journey becomes inextricably linked with the tides of global history, how far will she go to unravel the truth? By turns wickedly funny and strikingly lyrical, Benedict Lombe’s Lava is an explosive debut that will turn the way you see the world on its axis.

Benedict Lombe is a Congolese-British writer and theatre-maker based in London. She has been on attachment at The Bush Theatre and has been on a residency at Theatre503 as one of their five writers for 2019/2020. She has produced digital work for the Bush as part of The Protest season, Papatango Theatre Company as part of their Isolated but Open series, and a site-specific piece as part of Damsel Productions’ Outdoors season. She has been part of the BBC Writersroom cohort, has been shortlisted for the Papatango Playwriting Award and the Royal Court & Kudos TV Fellowship, amongst others. Lava will be her London theatre debut.

She is currently working on developing original TV projects, with a focus on boldly reclaiming diasporic stories that were never allowed to be told, with the full shades of nuance and truth they always deserved.

Lava – Online is streaming worldwide from 16 – 21 August. This broadcast of a previously filmed live show will begin promptly at 7.30 pm GMT (matinee performances at 2.30 pm on 18 and 21 August). The film will be available to watch for 48 hours following the chosen performance. Lava – Online can be viewed on a web browser, via Google Chromecast, or on Apple TV, Android TV, or Amazon Fire TV.

All online performances are captioned (English – UK) and there will be audio-described broadcasts at 7.30 pm on 19 August and 2.30 pm on 21 August.

Tickets priced from £20 (concessions available) can be booked at bushtheatre.co.uk or at the Box Office on 020 8743 5050

200 tickets are being made available priced £10 for theatre freelancers, many of whom have been affected by the theatre closures due to Covid-19. Account details can be updated at bushtheatre.co.uk

The Bush is partnering with the ALT A SheCAN Initiative by offering an allocation of free tickets to Lava to their networks.

SheCAN is a drive to get more Black women and Women of Colour into theatre who may not find the industry affordable or accessible. SheCAN creates opportunities for women aged 18-35 within the creative industries, through mentoring, training, and jobs.

alt-africa.com is a publisher of online magazines and print newspaper ALT A Review, producing a dedicated stream of bespoke arts content celebrating diversity and inclusivity across the UK and, also an Arts Support Service offering, contract publishing, marketing and film programming and event management services to arts businesses and SME’s. Recently: The SheCan Biz directory for women-led businesses who are of Asian diasporas heritage (East, West, South, South-East, and Central) and African diaspora (Caribbean, African).

ALT AFRICA Founder Joy Coker said, ‘I am really excited to join forces with the Bush Theatre and join them in the amazing work they do for diversity in the theatre space; it is even more so elevating that we can offer these opportunities to Women of Colour.’

For more information on SheCAN go to www.alt-africa.com/shecan

Lava – Online

16 – 21 August at 7.30 pm (no performances on Sundays)

Saturday matinees – 21 August at 2.30 pm

Wednesday matinees – 18 August at 2.30 pm

All broadcasts are captioned.

Audio Described broadcasts at 7.30 pm, on 19 August and 2.30 pm on 21 August.

Lava – Online tickets are priced from £10 – £30. We would be grateful if you could consider paying close to what you might normally spend on a theatre ticket. Audience support is vital to help secure the future of our theatre in the coming year – every penny will make a difference. Tickets can be booked at bushtheatre.co.uk or at the Box Office on 020 8743 5050

Lava is made possible thanks to the support of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, which enables the venue to produce work from April to June 2021.

Performances of Lava will go on sale with socially distanced seating. When government guidelines allow, these performances will move to full seating capacity.

For further information on Tina Lobondi – www.tinalobondi.com

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