The new artistic director has been announced for The Bunker theatre in London.
Chris Sonnex has taken over from founding artistic director Joshua McTaggart who has left to become chief executive and artistic director of The Chelsea Theatre in London.
Sonnex is a London-born theatre director who previously served as the community producer and artistic associate at the Royal Court.
He said: “Under Joshua’s brilliant leadership, The Bunker has achieved phenomenal success and it is a great honour and privilege to be taking over from him as artistic director.
“I am no stranger to the revolutionary nature of theatre. It has transformed my life on numerous occasions. As a working-class boy from a London council estate, art gave me a focus and something to be proud of.
“I was extremely fortunate to become a part of professional theatre through my time at the Royal Court. There, under the mentorship of so many great people, theatre continued to change my life as an artist and a person and I experienced the many ways that it can transform the world; how it can inspire, change outlooks and generate opportunities.
“In this exciting role, I hope to continue enabling and championing the community of artists and theatre-makers originating from underrepresented backgrounds. The Bunker will endeavour to open a gateway for artists, theatre professionals and audiences alike.
“We need voices from all walks of lives to stand on the metaphorical soapbox and tell us their experience, their story and their solutions. Where better to start a theatrical revolution than in an underground car park?”
Sonnex started his theatrical life at the Royal Court, starting as an intern on the Theatre Local Peckham project, progressing to backstage crew, then to community producer and artistic associate. He oversaw and changed the way the community work in the building was made, and successfully created, directed and produced shows in two London boroughs.
He worked with working-class artists and, along the way, discovered and mentored a variety of artists and theatre professionals, many of whom are now cemented in the industry.
He made his Royal Court debut co-directing Tom Fowler’s Katzenmusik in 2017. He was involved heavily with work in the Calais refugee camp with Good Chance Theatre over the months that the camp was still active.
Since then, Sonnex has created work for the Donmar Warehouse participation department, the Almeida Theatre participation department, Synergy Theatre Project, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and the National Theatre Studios digital development department.
The Bunker opened in an underground space next to Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark Street near London Bridge nearly two years ago. Its autumn season, developed under McTaggart, starts next week with the world premiere of Eris by John King presented by Airlock, running from 11 to 28 September. In October, The Bunker’s resident company Pint-Sized present their first week-long festival showcasing five short plays, chosen from 1,681 entries, from 1 to 6 October.
Knaive Theatre’s War with the Newts, based on the Karl Kapec sci-fi novel, arrives at The Bunker from 9 to 26 October after a run at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Fringe. Flux Theatre present Chutney by Reece Connolly from 6 November to 1 December. Chutney has been developed after its appearance in the first of Flux Theatre’s new writing nights called Emerge which have been based at The Bunker since March this year.