Adrian Bunting (1966-2013)


Adrian Bunting was a playwright, theatre maker and construction manager. A guiding light in Brighton’s arts scene, Adrian was at his most triumphant as creator and MC of the legendary Zincbar cabaret. Staged every fortnight, the Zincbar was a gloriously unpredictable crucible into which both gold and rubbish were thrown: comedians, poets and situationists alike. Adrian celebrated them all, rousing the audience at the end of each act with “Wasn’t that magnificent?”

After the Zincbar nights, construction proved to be Adrian’s passport to the world. He travelled to Brazil, project-managed builds in Tanzania and Antigua, and in 1998 worked on Njaya Lodge, a hotel on Lake Malawi, where he applied the unusual idea of constructing an environmentally friendly building from sandbags. It still stands today.

In his forties Adrian refined his theatrical philosophy. “Theatre’s not film,” he said. “I want the audience to be part of the show.” His play, Kemble’s Riot – part panto, part satire – cast the audience as rioters in a play about the old Price Riots at Covent Garden theatre in 1809. It was a smash hit, winning the Best Play prize at the Brighton Festival in 2011 and rave reviews at Edinburgh the following year, and in 2013 won the ‘Overall Excellence Award’ at The New York Fringe Festival.

KEMBLE’S RIOT by Adrian Bunting

GIN & TRICKERY  by Adrian Bunting & Clea Smith

THE BRIEF LIFE OF JACK SHEPPARD By Adrian Bunting (Incomplete)

Adrian’s plans to write more plays were sadly curtailed when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April 2013. He died four weeks later, aged 47.

During those final weeks Adrian drew up plans for what he hoped would become his legacy, The Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT). It had always been his dream to build an open air theatre in the city that he loved. Adrian initiated the designs, found the perfect site – the former bowling green at Dyke Road Park – and arranged for his life’s savings (£18,000) to be left to kickstart the project. Finally on a bright spring day, Adrian asked five of his friends if they would continue his dream after he had gone.

BOAT opened in May 2015.

Brighton and Hove Bus Company announced on March 27th 2015 that Adrian’s name would be added to one of their vehicles as part of their tradition of honouring local achievement.