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Bush Theatre: Quick Chat with Daniel Bailey Director of The High Table

Bush Theatre: Quick Chat with Daniel Bailey Director of The High Table

Daniel Bailey is the Associate Director at the Bush, he joined the team in 2019 working alongside Lynette Linton. He is also Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, originally joining The REP as part of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme and where his work has included artist development programmes; for writers, theatre-makers and directors. Directing work includes: Blue/Orange, Concubine, Stuff, I Knew You, Abuelo, Jump! We’ll Catch You, Made in India/Britain and Exhale. Previous appointments include Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio, Associate Artist at Theatre Stratford Royal East and Resident Assistant Director at The Finborough Theatre. He studied Modern Drama at Brunel University before participating in the Young Vic’s Introduction to Directing. Previous theatre directing credits include: My Darling Wife (Talawa Theatre Company), Pre Judgment Day and Covered (New Heritage Theatre).  Daniel was also Assistant Director on King Lear (Talawa/Manchester Rx/Birmingham Rep) Back Down, Anita and Me, (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Silent Planet and Rachel (Finborough Theatre), Inherit the Wind (New Vic). His film director credits include: On Belonging (Young Vic), Malachi (S.E.D), Floating on Clouds (Kingdom Entertainment Group) and Y.O.L.O. Therapy (S.E.D). He has recently directed The High Table which in on at the Bush until 21 March 2020.

ALT: Why did you decide to direct the play?

I loved this play from the moment it was mentioned to me, Tom Wright spoke about working on an earlier version and I really wanted us to programme it at the Bush and at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. We did. When it came time, my name was called, and after much deliberation, the universe made the choice easy for me. What is meant for you, will be for you.

ALT: What has been some of the training that has helped you on your way?

Introduction to Directing was a huge help for me, it opened many doors and the Regional Theatre’s Young Directors Scheme 18-month placement was key in helping me develop my identity as a new writing director.

ALT: What makes you jump with joy about directing a project?

An idea that gives voice to the silence in a unique and unequivocal fashion. A project that has space for us to collaborate and have fun.

ALT:  What did you like about Temi’s script?

Temi has poetry to her writing that strikes a chord in the most delicate and loving manner, she coerces your imagination and at the centre of it, she’s written two black queer women at the heart and seasoned the script with a dope-ass history lesson.

ALT: Tell about what your role at the Bush involves?

Many things, that can change day-to-day depending on the demands of the team and or the artist. Sometimes reading scripts and giving feedback to the team or to an artist, directing shows, and thinking of new ways to support artists… sometimes holding the door open for Pirate or Marley the Bush cats!

ALT:  What stories are important to you?

Stories that give Black and Brown people agency. Work that challenges us without beating us over the head. I want to see stories that leave me feeling inspired.

ALT:  What tips can you give about directing actors?

Find out what they need early, create a universal language that works for you and the team and give them space to explore and learn.

ALT:  Who are the main characters in The High Table?

Every character is a main character because they’re all integral to the story.

ALT: Tell us about some of the schemes in place at the Bush that encourages new writing?

See Also

For new writers, we have West London Playwrights Group, which is open to local writers in surrounding boroughs.

Emerging Writers Group for writers who are a bit more established.

Young Writers Group for 14-17-year-olds… Writers who are just starting their journeys.

Bush Green (on the Bush Theatre’s website)  also has workshops and loads of writing material including blogs and helpful tips.

We have an open submission window for full unsolicited scripts.

And a free script Library… that helped whilst I was writing.

ALT: Use 5 words that describe The High Table?

Colourful, Queer, Nigerian, Black Love.

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