Opening this October, Olivier Award nominee Anoushka Lucas returns to the Bush Theatre with a brand new production of her debut play, Elephant.
Here is everything you need to know about the incredibly talented writer and performer behind the production.
She never planned to be an actor… or a playwright.
Anoushka is a multi-talented artist: singer, composer, actress, and playwright. But the transition into acting and writing for stage was never planned.
She began songwriting at age 14, and spent her twenties pursuing a career in music, described by Jamie Cullum as “an exceptional voice and a great songwriter”. Her debut album, Dark Soul, was produced by Martin Terefe (KT Tunstall, Martha Wainwright) and was released in July 2019.
After years in on-stage bands, Anoushka began an unexpected career as an actor. Her breakout role for stage was starring as Laurey in the highly acclaimed UK incarnation of Daniel Fish’s Oklahoma! at the Young Vic. The subsequent West End transfer earned her an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.
From West End to west London, she opens Elephant hot off the back of Oklahoma!. Soundtracked by original music, her playwriting debut traverses the complex relationship between an artist and the music industry.
Watch Anoushka perform Dark Soul for Radio 2 presents BBC Introducing
Elephant grew from a six-minute online video to a full-scale production
In 2020, the Bush commissioned Anoushka to write for Protest: Black Lives Matter, a series of six pieces released during lockdown by black creators as a response to the killing of George Floyd.
After this, she was commissioned by the Bush to expand her piece Your Work, developing it into a full-length play. This grew into Elephant, which made its world premiere in the Bush’s 2022 Studio season. An instant smash, the show opened to sold-out audiences and critical acclaim, winning her two Off West End Awards for best writer and best performer and a Stage Debut Award nom for best writer.
Watch Anoushka perform Your Work for Bush Theatre’s Protest: Black Lives Matter series
This won’t be the first time that Anoushka has starred on the Bush main stage
In 2019, Anoushka was cast in a bold and contemporary interpretation of Chiaroscuro, the 1980s classic by Jackie Kay. Directed by Lynette Linton, the production marked the start of a new chapter for the Bush as it opened Lynette’s first season as Artistic Director and marked her Bush Theatre directorial debut.
Anoushka starred as Opal, a young woman navigating the knotty relationships between love, race, prejudice, and identity. Interestingly, many of these themes are mirrored in the journey of Lylah, the protagonist of her debut play, Elephant.
Watch Anoushka perform with the cast of Chiaroscuro for WhatsOnStage
Opening 14 Oct, the expanded production of Elephant reunites writer and performer Anoushka Lucas with original director Jess Edwards (Hotter/Fitter, Soho Theatre) for three weeks only.