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“I’m the artistic director of London’s Bush Theatre, and this is what my working day really looks like”

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Hannah Keegan
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Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, Lynette Linton talks us through her one-day diary, from morning latte to lights out. 

Lynette Linton, 29, is the artistic director of the Bush Theatre in Shepherd’s Bush. She lives in east London with her family.

My alarm goes off…

At 8am, which is the latest I can possibly get up. I love my sleep! Then I zoom out of the house. What I wear depends on how I’m feeling, sometimes it’s a statement hoodie featuring characters from Rugrats, other days I’m in a dress. My style is all over the place. I arrive at about 10am, which is when the theatre world wakes up.

I’m responsible for…

Programming the plays we put on at the Bush Theatre. This involves everything from developing our talent and finding ways to engage the community to honing the feel of our building.

I got the job…

By realising I wasn’t an actor. I studied at the National Youth Theatre where I met [performer and director] Rikki Beadle-Blair, who told me I was a writer. This led to writing a play called Step, which was put on at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. I didn’t realise I was a director until I was doing it, either. I went on to be assistant director at the Gate Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse. When the job at the Bush Theatre came up, I never thought I’d get it – but they saw something in me. 

Bush Theatre was voted London Theatre of the Year by The Stage

My typical day…

Starts with a croissant in the office, if I remember breakfast. But I have to have a cup of tea. When I first started the job I made sure we had Yorkshire Tea; they had PG Tips, which was a no from me. The first thing I do is check in with our associate director and marketing team. Other days, I could be seeing writers to chat about their ideas, or our community manager to discuss the different programmes we’re running. One of my missions is to braid the community further into the theatre: how are they influencing the work on stage and vice versa?

At about 1pm, I walk to Shepherd’s Bush Market and pick up a Caribbean patty or falafel wrap. Right now, I am programming my first season, which will be announced in June, so in the afternoon I’ll schedule some reading time into my diary. I have piles of scripts next to my desk and I’m really interested in finding writers that we can develop. I grew up in quite a small house, so I’m pretty good at zoning in on something when I need to. It’s important to me that I’m seeking out stories that haven’t been heard before, but also that everyone feels welcome in the space. It’s like, ‘OK, we can put on plays where you’re represented on the stage, but you need to feel comfortable walking through the door in the first place.’ I finish at 6pm most nights. 

My most memorable work moment…

Is all the times a play I’ve worked on has affected people in the audience and they’ve got in touch.

Developing new writers is part of the job

The worst part of my job…

Is that there’s a limit to the amount of stories we can tell.

The best part of my job…

Is that you can be there for voices that haven’t been heard before.

After work…

I might go to the theatre to watch something the Bush is interested in. But I also love going home, getting into my pyjamas and watching Coronation Street. I spend a lot of time reading for work, so it’s nice to just switch off. I’m a takeaway queen and usually order something from Vapiano. I try to be in bed by midnight but it never happens.

My Plan B: Publisher

If it hadn’t been theatre, it would have been books. I’ve always been drawn to language. I remember reading books like Noughts & Crosses and Harry Potter when I was growing up and realising you can create this other world with storytelling and make everyone feel included. 

Photography: Holly McGlynn

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