The Yard is looking for five new voices to take part in our NOW ’16 Festival

The Yard’s NOW festivals are a celebration of everything we think is exciting about UK performance right NOW.

We use this festival to discover five new voices through an open call-out and to invite five more experienced artists to test new ideas. We programme these ten artists in double-bills over five-weeks to create a focused point in our programme that shouts about the artists, and their ideas, that we think audiences should watching.

Through the festival format, we are able to offer support and create an ensemble of artists who can support each other through conversation and sharing ideas. The festival creates a safe environment for both artists and audiences to take risks together and experience something new and exciting.

What we’re looking for

  • Work that is new (this can be the kernel of an idea at this stage).
  • Work that would benefit from a 5 night run in Spring 2016.
  • Artists that would benefit from a mentor relationship.
  • Work that is complementary to a double-bill format (no longer than 60 minutes).
  • New ideas from performance artists, theatre makers, ensembles. You may never have made a piece of performance in your life. You may not associate yourself with the word artist at all.

How do I apply?

Before you apply, please read the info pack thoroughly.

Please send submissions to, and in the subject line include:

  • Your project title (a working title is fine) and ‘NOW ’16’
  • The name of two invited artists you would like to be mentored by in the subject line.

At this stage, don’t sweat over a long and detailed proposal: just send us your idea and we’ll take it from there.

Important dates

Artists Open Evening: Mon 2 Nov, 6pm 

Submissions Deadline: Fri 20 Nov, 5pm

Interviews: w/c 7 Dec

LINES Rehearsal Diary, Week 2

Written by Grace Gummer, Assistant Director on LINES.

I often wonder how much the structure of a rehearsal schedule influences the feeling in a room. No matter what individual process a director has, what atmosphere’s they are conjuring for what play, there are external forces at play. The strongest of these forces is obviously time, crowned with the cherry of a first preview date. And then I wonder if the feeling in the room, the particular thoughts and ideas that sing that week come from where we are in the progress towards realising a production, or vice versa. I’m only thinking all this chicken and egg stuff because I can look back at last week and see that I was thinking of the universal. If last week was big picture, now we’re in week 2, it’s all about detail.

Soldiers do, they don’t show. We keep talking about it. At ATC Pirbright during Bayonet practice, even though one of the aims is to show aggression (or “fucking aggression” in the play), this isn’t really showing. There’s absolutely nothing illustrative about them screaming and shouting, they are aggressive. They scream and shout and “show” precisely so they can do, so they can advance at a sandbag and stab it with a bayonet like their life and the security of the United Kingdom depended on it.

In rehearsal, this has meant character work so detailed they can forget about it once they have finished it, or creating little ripples in huge lakes as Jay put it. The cast worked individually on their character’s biographies across several sessions, turning them into timelines and eventually sharing with the others. They listened and noted what they had in common with each other. And after that, we haven’t looked at them at all.

“The hardest thing to teach by a country mile was drill commands and marching. Thank god I found a pdf drill manual online”

For me particularly, detail has meant the surprisingly difficult job of teaching the actors how to do things “military style”. No seriously, it’s incredibly difficult. Making beds, making beds. It was spooky how the speed of uptake was almost identical for the actors and their characters. Ncuti Gatwa, playing Valentine, the recruit whose bed is “beautiful”, got hospital corners after one demonstration, whereas I had to watch the video at least 5 times. The hardest thing to teach by a country mile was drill commands and marching. Thank god I found a pdf “drill manual” online, not that I understood all of it. I kept it simple – using a basic quick march and halt to devise a warm up exercise, beginning with rhythms and call and response and ending with a perfectly formed, in-step march and halt across the room.

Of course all rehearsal processes include detailed work at some point, but by the end of the week I was left wondering if there was something specific to our room in the level of attention we gave to it. Then it hit me – detail lies at the core of military training. The stakes are much higher than the rehearsal room even, young recruits must learn the necessary the rigour of mind to spot a detail that might save or endanger you.

Promising explosive techno and angelic choral singing, LINES is The Yard’s third in-house production, following the sold-out successes of The Mikvah Project and Beyond Caring (National Theatre).

LINES is written by Pamela Carter and directed by Artistic Director Jay Miller.

Opens 27 Oct

Tickets from £10

Book tickets here




We got to meet up with our new friends, (Tropics & Friends) to find out about their brand and views on the East London party scene.

  1. Can you please tell us what Tropics and Friends is all about?

Tropics and Friends started as an excuse to get all our friends together, a lot of whom are DJ’s, and exchange/play music that we have recently discovered (old or new). It has then become our aim to build the night and acquire a following.

  1. How would you describe your taste in Music?

We don’t really believe in separation of genres in music. If we like it, anything goes. But if we have to break it down to specifics, then I’d say that main roots and inspirations come from jazz, funk, and soul.

  1. How do you feel about the East London party scene?

It’s really hard to define as there’s so much diversity and a lot of genre crossover, especially in the more contemporary styles of club music today.

In recent days what we feel has identified the most with the underground scene has been plastic people in Shoreditch.

Unfortunately the club came to an end in January 2015. We feel obliged to target a similarly influential experience for music lovers attending our parties.

  1. What do you want people to take from your sounds?

We aim to open people’s minds with a broadened range of music for the dancefloor. However, at the end of the day, we just hope they come and have fun.

  1. What are the key ingredients for a music night?

The recipe is pretty simple: an interesting space, a fun crowd, all of London’s liqueur and a groove.

  1. Anything else you would like to add?

This will be our 1st event at the yard so we are really excited to play.

See you all there.

Tropics producer Chris Ward (Innovative Leisure/Because Music) and Joseph Russell (Early Sounds Collective) will be joining us for the very first time at The Yard, this Friday night 10pm – 3am.

Click HERE to find out more info!



LINES Rehearsal Diary, Week 1

Written by Grace Gummer, Assistant Director on LINES.

So, the Yard haven’t been prescriptive on how I should write this diary, so please bear with my total subjectivity here. I’ll tell you of my experience in the room, some of what we’re doing and the show itself. Who what and why basically.

For me, Lines started months ago with research. The project properly began to buzz when I organised a visit for myself, writer Pamela Carter, and director Jay Miller, to ATC Pirbright, one of the British Army’s training barracks. Following a spine of various phonecalls, people and permissions, including a couple of extremely helpful members of the British Army to whom we owe massive gratitude, we arrived a little past 9am (theatre vs army timing) on a sunny June morning. We would spend the whole day there, seeing almost every aspect of Phase 1 training and speaking to officers and recruits. I was exhausted and thirsty by the end, and I hadn’t done a single push up.

“they were in tonnes of kit on the hottest day of the year so far and instead of running from one end of the school hall to the other, they ran 400m either way. Weirdly, I thought it looked quite fun.”

We heard about and witnessed some of the key moments during a recruits’ training: First nights, family day, realities of war, war cop and the Commander’s Cup. Bayonet was ear-opening, there was a cacophony of instructions yelled as loud as possible to get the recruits into the spirit and screams and shouts from the recruits to show they were. To get them warmed up for the exercise, they played a game similar to old youth theatre favourite “Port and Starboard”, except they were in tonnes of kit on the hottest day of the year so far and instead of running from one end of the school hall to the other, they ran 400m either way. Weirdly, I thought it looked quite fun. We met a section of recruits about to take their long weekend home, who told us of the sausage rolls and surprises waiting for them. Of course no one told us if it wasn’t such a big deal to go home or if they’d actually rather stay, but when we spoke to those who had just returned, this feeling wasn’t as uncommon as you might think. Lizards, crows, pepper-potting, and after initial reluctance at swearing in front of women (we had to swear a lot first), lots more twists on classic four letter words – the recruits have their own language. The whole barracks in fact, officers included (rogers and acronyms), with a soundtrack of hiphop from the gym, gunfire from surrounding ranges and distant drills. And everyone was marching ALL THE TIME.

The script is buzzing with our experience at Pirbright. A large part of my job this week has been transferring this world of knowledge to the rehearsal room. On the first two days we were lucky enough to be joined by writer Pamela Carter, and besides tweaking and production meetings, a large part of this time was spent illuminating references in the script. I’m sure we will continue to share this throughout rehearsal.

Another aspect of our research that I‘m pleased to see again in the rehearsal room is the sheer physicality of the recruits’ lives. Jay is keen to develop a physical language for the play, and taking time for detailed physical warm ups has already established the serious importance of this in the process, balanced nicely by an extremely boisterous ball game of the cast and Jay’s own devising. The attention paid to Breath and Breathing has grown every day. When Jay started getting everyone to walk onstage and seemingly do nothing but breath, I wasn’t sure where he was going, but what emerged was a forensic exploration of what breathing in and out could do to the scene. 

If there was one thing I really couldn’t shake after our visit to Pirbright, it was the very specific and intense experience of a teamwork. “Banter” and nicknames but also “One in All in”. A perfect day was described as lots of moving parts all moving perfectly. If you’re the best bed-maker, or the boot-polisher or the ironer in your section, you show the others how. One recruit answered that the absolute worst thing was feeling like a burden to his section. An individual part of a whole is something we’ve all experienced, and most of us could go further and say we’d experienced being part of a team. The room has immediately taken on this quality of ensemble, not least on Thursday with Ezra Burkre coming into work on choral melody with the cast. As they sang, voices blending but four distinct accents, I realised for the first time that there was something totally universal about what I’d seen at Pirbright. I’d always known Lines was going to focus on a rarefied community, that we were going to look at the ordinary cup of tea moments of extraordinary people. But I was surprised to realise I might find something in common with four young men transforming from civilian to solder, facing profound questions of life and death that will hopefully always be alien to me.

Promising explosive techno and angelic choral singing, LINES is The Yard’s third in-house production, following the sold-out successes of The Mikvah Project and Beyond Caring (National Theatre).

LINES is written by Pamela Carter and directed by Artistic Director Jay Miller.

Opens 27 Oct

Tickets from £10

Book tickets here




We are happy to announce our latest food pop up SKINS,  transforming the 1980s much loved classic loaded skin into a modern street food experience.

Not only will it be here for the duration of Brenda but also pleasing our tongues for our next in-house production Lines which will be showcasing from 27th October 2015.

We got to chit chat with celebrity chef Simon Mitchell, so he can tell us about the beloved loaded potato.

  1. What is a Skin?

Hulled out baked potato. Butter brushed. Baked again. Deep fried in beef dripping. Butter brushed AGAIN  = crispy buttery potato heaven.

  1. How did you come up with the concept for Skins?

I went back to TGI Fridays (blast from the past) and had their potato skins – i thought, this is really crap and really good all at the same time… wouldn’t it be a hoot if someone had a play with them – and here i am today!

  1. When did you discover food was your passion? 

When I couldn’t stop eating it and gained 13 stone.

  1. What is it like cooking for music bands such as Muse and Metallica?

It’s a bit of everything – busy, different, hectic, exciting, but most of all great fun.. every day has its own tale at the end of it – i’m no stranger to last minute requests and rushing food backstage during a song – the life 🙂

  1. Where would you like to see Skins go in the future?

I hope to have a skyscraper in London next to the walkie talkie building or the cheese grater in the shape of a jacket potato.  If that does seem a little too far fetched, i think i would like to start attacking all the London markets with my skins – that’s the aim….

  1. Favorite Vegetable? 

what a hard question – but right now, an avocado. wait that’s a fruit! okay, cauliflower. yes. definitely the humble cauliflower…

From tender 48 hour brisket, to filthy Mac and cheese loaded potatoes, Skins will be with us until Saturday 17 October and returning Tuesday 27 October. 

Remember every week there is a new ‘Skin of the Week’ – This week using Simon’s favorite vegetable the cauliflower, we can announce Skin of this Week is CAULIFORNICATION – cauliflower cheese with a difference.

Make sure you head down to The Yard Monday – Saturday from 6pm till late to witness the king of all potatoes!