Madani Younis will step down as artistic director and chief executive of the Bush Theatre to become creative director of the Southbank Centre in January 2019. Associate director Omar Elerian will also depart following his production of Going Through in spring 2019.
Younis became artistic director of the Bush Theatre in 2012 and has led a significant period of growth enabled by his vision of cultural diversity and the successful redevelopment of the theatre’s home. His tenure has pushed the boundaries of the company’s physical space, tripled the audience capacity of the Bush Theatre, and welcomed a greater diversity of both creative talent and audiences than ever before.
Madani Younis said:
“My time at the Bush Theatre is undoubtedly one of my proudest achievements to date. The Bush invested in a vision that celebrated not just the best of theatre but the best of our country’s inherent culture. The result was a more reflective community of artists and a breadth of new audiences that represent the diversity of the city around us. None of what we’ve achieved would have happened without the deep, thoughtful commitment of so many.
“I want to thank the board, the staff team, our generous supporters and stakeholders who all invested in that vision and allowed us to create a depth of experience both on and off stage. I’ll forever be in their debt. I’m also thrilled to have had the opportunity to have worked with executive director Lauren Clancy, someone whose values and vision has shaped and informed the vision of the Bush. In Lauren, we have an exec that will be a significant force in British theatre for another generation.”
Executive director Lauren Clancy said: “I’m thrilled that Madani has such an exciting next step in his career as Creative Director of the Southbank Centre. He leaves an impressive and inspirational legacy that has shaped the Bush Theatre and those individuals that have been lucky enough to work alongside him. I look forward to building on the Bush’s success as we write our next chapter.”
He leaves the organisation following a critically acclaimed season that exceeded the theatre’s audience and box office records. The season included Monica Dolan’s Olivier Award-nominated The B*easts; Arinzé Kene’s critical and popular hit Misty, which will transfer to Trafalgar Studios this month; and the critically acclaimed revival of Leave Taking, by Winsome Pinnock.
Younis oversaw a period where the organisation enjoyed international reach. Highlights include: Cush Jumbo’s Josephine and I, staged by the Public Theater, New York; The Herd by Rory Kinnear, which played at Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago; and Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced, which enjoyed a run at the Lyceum Theater, New York. The Bush’s 2017 production of NASSIM is currently touring internationally.
Last year, Younis was appointed to the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board to advise Sadiq Khan on the issues facing the creative industries and cultural sector and to help craft a bold new culture strategy for London. In 2016 he led phase two of the company’s £4.3 million capital redevelopment project – the largest in the organisation’s history.
As creative director at the Southbank, Younis will work closely alongside Southbank Centre’s director of the Hayward Gallery, Ralph Rugoff, and director of Music, Gillian Moore CBE, creating collaborations and cross-commissioned work, and designing bold and ambitious new cross-arts projects across Southbank Centre’s 17-acre site to complement the existing artistic programme. The new role will be responsible for devising and delivering these as well as managing the literature, dance, performance and free programmes along with senior programmers.
This September Younis will direct his final play for the Bush and its most ambitious show yet – An Adventure by Vinay Patel (True Brits, Murdered By My Father, Doctor Who).