Free School Inspires Play

Bush Theatre to stage "Little Platoons" as part of School Season

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The Bush Theatre are to stage a play early next year which appears to be more than loosely based on Toby Young's determined efforts to start a free school in West London.

As reported in the Evening Standard recently, "Toby Young has found art imitating his life once again."

Playwright Steve Waters, who wrote The Contingency Plan, about climate change, has been commissioned by celebrated local fringe theatre, the Bush, to write a play about a group of parents opening a free school in "She-Bu".

"We’ve been following what Toby’s planning to do, and it seemed like a fascinating topic for a playwright to open up to debate," says artistic director Josie Rourke.

Waters’s play Little Platoons, a quote from Edmund Burke, is part of a double bill called The School Season.

"The other playwright, John Donnelly, has written a brilliant new play about a young female teacher going off the rails in a corrupt school. We’re bringing together a company of 10 actors (a massive number for a Bush show) to perform both plays in rep."

The play is described on the theatre's website as following "a group of West London parents.... driven by desperation to take the new government up on their offer and start their own ‘free school'. They want to create an education that their children will enjoy rather than endure. But as they find their lives given over to a disturbing version of the Big Society, their fervour turns to panic. "

"I think it’s a great subject for a play," says Toby Young, adding hopefully, "I just hope it isn’t Left-wing claptrap."

September 2, 2010