Harry Potter and the Bush Theatre

To celebrate 20 years of Harry Potter we look back on how the Bush has shaped the lives of actors and creatives involved in the Harry Potter universe.

Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman began his journey to fame at the Bush. He was a script reader for us in the 80s and recommended the play When I Was A Girl I Used To Scream and Shout which starred Julie Walters (see below). Early in his career, he starred in Commitments (1980) alongside George Irving at the Bush. There’s a seat named after the late actor in the Theatre – our main space.

Alan Rickman commitments

We also recently got sent this incredible banner of Alan Rickman made out of tiny Alan Rickmans.

alan rickman banner bush theatre

Jim Broadbent

A bearded Jim Broadbent appeared in The Forsdyke Saga Two at the Bush in 1977. Jim returned to the stage for a special one-off gala performance at the Bush in 2013 for The Chapel of Unrest.

harry potter cursed child

Jack Thorne

The playwright who created the epic Harry Potter and the Cursed Child started his career at the Bush. His first professional play When You Cure Me premiered here in 2005. Michael Billington called it “painstakingly honest” and said Thorne had “visible promise”. Philip Fisher in British Theatre Guide said: “When You Cure Me proves itself to be a real find from a playwright who has a very bright future.”

“The Bush Theatre is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. And what makes it so special is I’m far from unique in this.” – Jack Thorne, Close Up Magic

He was Pearson Writer-in-Residence at the Bush Theatre 2006-7. In 2009, 2nd May 1997 distilled all the euphoria and despair of New Labour’s landslide electoral victory and starred Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) at the Bush. Jack also took part in our 2011 project 66 Books.

“I very clearly remember my first meeting at the Bush, mainly because it was my first meeting with anyone in the business of making professional theatre.” Jack Thorne, Close Up Magic

Julie Walters

In At The Death was a sketch revue performed at the Bush in 1978 starring Julie Waters. It was most notable for being the first time that future colleagues Victoria Wood and Julie Walters would work together. Walters first came to international prominence in 1983, for playing the title role in Educating Rita.  The next year, she starred in the hugely successful When I Was A Girl I Used To Scream and Shout which premiered at the Bush in 1984.

julie walters bush theatre

“When I was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout was a huge hit, eventually transferring by way of the Edinburgh festival (where Scottish audiences pursed their lips at the sexual fumblings) to the West End with Julie Walters in the lead. For a long time Macdonald had the distinction of being the West End’s only female playwright bar Agatha Christie.” – Lyn Gardner

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel joined more than 150 actors and directors publicly backing our fight against funding cuts of £180,000 in 2008. Which we won. Thanks!

Kate Fleetwood

Kate appeared in the critically-claimed Our New Girl at the Bush in 2012. She played muggle-born witch Marry Cattermole in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Funnily, Michael Billington described her as having a “witchy, high-cheekboned beauty” in Our New Girl.

kate fleetwood harry potter

What an incredible bunch of people. We expect there are many more who’ve been involved in Harry Potter from here in some shape or form. Hope you enjoyed! Happy Harry Potter 20.