Illustration by Joda
Some people burn brighter (and faster) than others. This was certainly true of Adrian Bunting; a playwright, director, producer, construction manager, inventor and compere.
Born in Woolwich in 1966, Adrian initially planned to study Law in Manchester but quickly switched to an MSc in Building at Brighton Polytechnic, where he threw himself into the local art scene, regularly appearing with the Festival Shakespeare Company, founding the Upstairs Theatre Company and becoming master of ceremonies at the legendary Zincbar Cabaret at the Basement (the original, seedier version). It was described as ‘a gloriously unpredictable crucible into which both gold and rubbish were thrown’. More theatrical experimentation was to follow. Not least ‘the World’s Smallest Theatre’ in which Adrian – and actress Clea Smith – performed to a one-person audience in a custom-made wooden box, and the much acclaimed Kemble’s Riot, in which he cast the audience as rioters.
Combining all of his talents, he was drawing up plans for an open-air theatre in the defunct bowling green in Dyke Road Park when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April 2013. Irrepressible to the last, he spent his last weeks sharing his plans with friends, urging them to see the project through to completion, and leaving his life savings to kickstart the project. He died just four weeks later. The brilliant BOAT, which opened in May 2015, is a fitting tribute to his memory (although he might be disappointed with the lack of rioting in the audience).