We are surprised, delighted and absolutely chuffed with a cherry on top to have won the Dan Crawford Award for Innovation at the Empty Space Awards earlier this week… what a lovely honour and testament to the hard work of our little team!
And now that we’ve started telling you about it we might as well throw modesty right out the window and show you the speech about us that was read out by Time Out’s Andrzej Lukowski…
Ok, now we’re blushing!
“Dan Crawford Innovation Award 2012: Nominee- The Yard”
“Home to the London Olympics and the world’s third largest population of hipsters, East London has a lot going for it. But with the noble exception of the Arcola, it’s an area of the capital that’s bizarrely bereft of new writing and fringe theatre venues.
This winner of this award, then, first and foremost deserves a pat on the back for going where few others will and opening a fully programmed new fringe space in deepest darkest Hackney Wick.
Led by Artistic Director Jay Miller, The Yard offers a refreshing programme of experimental leaning theatre that has, since opening last year, had plenty of hits- notable LiveArtShow’s two excellent avant-garde opera- the odd intriguing miss and Heaven is a Place on Earth, a kaleidoscopic festival of performance named after a Belinda Carlisle song. The Yard is about new writing and new ideas about staging fringe theatre and for that alone it should be commended.
But there’s more to The Yard than just its programme. It would be a shame if London’s pub theatres died out, but that’s an old model from a different time. The Yard is what the future looks like: a 130 seat venue designed by Practice Architects, made from scratch from reclaimed materials, with a great bar- at which you can buy a £2 tinny of beer or a professionally made cocktail- and probably the best food on the London fringe, with an affordable menu that rotates with productions. And in an age where some fringe theatres will happily charge over £20 for a ticket, The Yard’s tickets are less than a tenner a pop.
There has been a lot of talk of urban regeneration in East London following the Olympics, and time will only tell what will happen there. But as the gates of the Olympic Stadium remain locked and the Olympic legacy undecided, The Yard is already offering a shining example of cultural and structural renewal in Hackney Wick, as well as an exemplary model for how to start a new fringe theatre in the twenty-tens.”