Bush Theatre announces Clutch cast

A heart-warming story of acceptance, Clutch, a new Bush Theatre commission, opens on 19 September (press night 21 September) at Bush Theatre. The cast is today announced as Geoffrey Aymer and newcomer Charlie Kafflyn, who makes his professional debut. 

‘I’ve been doing this for over twenty years and I’ve never had a student not pass first time. Tyler, do you trust me?’ 

Max is a retired cabbie who now prides himself on being the best driving instructor in Birmingham. Tyler is desperate to escape his suffocating hometown and start a new life in the big city. 

As Tyler gets to grips with clutch control and the highway code, he and Max find themselves navigating the challenges of manhood and personal regrets. Within the confines of a Vauxhall Corsa, the pair strike up an unlikely friendship they both needed more than they ever knew.

Deirdre O’Halloran, the Bush Theatre’s Literary Manager said, ‘Will Jackson started writing ‘Clutch’ whilst in our Emerging Writers Group, and the intimate setting of driving lessons, with all the intensity and stress that comes with it felt like such an exciting place for a drama to unfold! We love how the play explores masculinity and how much easier it is to talk when you're both looking straight ahead. The intimacy and humour of the play made it perfect for our studio season.’

Will Jackson is a Birmingham-based writer and theatre-maker. His first play Magic Hour: The Murder Mystery Disco! won him the Singularity of Vision and Best Ensemble awards at the 2019 National Student Drama Festival. Will was named ‘A Rising Comic Star’ by Attitude Magazine for his solo show Yours Sincerely, which has toured over 80 performances across the UK. Other stage writing credits include Fashion Spies and Confetti both of which debuted as part of Coventry City of Culture in 2021 and will be at Edinburgh Fringe this summer. His radio play, The Life & Works of Veronica St. Claude starring Divina de Campo and Len Blanco, will air on BBC Radio this year. As a devisor and facilitator, Will has worked with companies including Stan’s Cafe, KIT Theatre & Told by an Idiot. Will was one of the Bush Theatre’s 'Emerging Writers’ 2019/20 and is a BBC Arts New Creative. He is an Associate Artist of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and is the Artistic Director of Quick Duck Theatre (a New Vic KILN Associate Company and one of New Diorama Theatre’s emerging companies 2019-20).

Director Philip J Morris began his theatre journey as an intern at the Birmingham REP in 2015 following his graduation from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. During his time at The REP, he became Senior Youth Theatre Director and was the instrumental lead in a pilot project named Up My Street which was created to work specifically with vulnerable young black men across the city. Philip spent 2 years working as a Project Associate with the National Theatre at NT Public Acts before directing two showcases with Neighbourhood Theatre at the Young Vic. In autumn 2021 he directed Sessions, produced by Paines Plough and Soho Theatre, and this year made his international directing debut with the premiere of Bitches by Bola Agbaje at Residenz Theatre in Munich. He is currently working as an Associate Artist at Company Three and will direct Of The Cut at the Young Vic this summer along with producing his first audio project with LAMDA and Audible. Philip is the Artistic Director of Trybe House Theatre, a company that works closely with young black men aged 16-25 to create a space where theatre is used as a supportive outlet.

Ryan Avery-Long is a theatre maker from Slough, now based in Glasgow. As a student at the University of Edinburgh, he performed and directed shows for Bedlam Theatre. Whilst performing at NSDF, Edinburgh Fringe, and touring with the Shrinking Violet Collective’s Barry!, he made it a point to emphasise trans voices in the theatre industry. Since the pandemic, he has directed online shows, participated in dramaturgy and sensitivity reading, and is preparing to launch a trans-led theatre company. His practice is informed by gender performativity, devising, accessibility, and radical politics. He is currently working on some (straight) couples, a series of vignettes about relationships between trans men and women. Overall, as a theatre maker, he believes in making work that comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable, and above all to never be boring.

Geoffrey Aymer plays Max.  His previous theatre credits include Jitney (Old Vic Theatre/Headlong/Leeds Playhouse); The Taxidermist’s Daughter (Chichester Festival Theatre); Sunset Boulevard (Royal Albert Hall); GHBoy (Charing Cross Theatre); Apollo 13:The Dark Side Of The Moon (Online Production); Two Trains Running (ETT UK tour); The Color Purple (Leicester Curve/Birmingham Hippodrome); Robin Hood And The Arrow Of Destiny (Theatre Peckham); The Plague (Arcola); Driving Miss Daisy (Frinton Summer Theatre/Canal Cafe Theatre); The Importance Of Being Earnest (Original Theatre UK tour); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Young Vic); To Kill A Mockingbird (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre/UK tour/Barbican); MacBeth and The Lightning Child (Shakespeare’s Globe); Neighbors (Nuffield Theatre, Southampton); Angel House (Eclipse UK tour); and The Big Life (West End). As a writer, his theatre credits include The Wonderful (Theatre Peckham); Anansi and the Magic Mirror (Talawa Theatre); The Oddest Couple (Theatre Royal Stratford East). His television appearances include Mr Winner; Guerrilla; Eastenders; The A Force; and The Real McCoy. On film, he has appeared in Sket and Rag Tag.

Charlie Kafflyn plays Tyler and is making his professional, theatrical debut in Clutch. Graduating from East 15’s World Performance in 2021 Charlie enjoyed training in a multitude of storytelling techniques from across the globe. He has most recently been in the award-winning immersive production Locked in a Box. Originally from the West Midlands, Charlie is looking forward to being ‘back in Birmingham’!

The Bush continues its commitment to freelance practitioners by employing a core group of creatives to work on all of our Studio shows this season including set and costume designer Georgia Wilmot, lighting designer Laura Howard, sound designer Bella Kear and production manager Ruth Burgon. They have created a common space for the Studio season, uniting the different worlds of the plays and collaborating with different directors on each show.

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