“The Yard is a fantastic new venue. It gives young artists the kind of opportunities that can transform their careers. And it gives its audiences a wonderful night out. It feels like the future.”
Nicholas Hytner – Director, National Theatre
The Yard is a theatre, bar and kitchen.
Winners of the 2012 Empty Space Dan Crawford Award for innovation, the 2013 Empty Space Peter Brook/Mobius Award for supporting emerging artists and the 2014 Off West End Theatre Awards Special Panel Award for Outstanding Achievement.
The Yard is about new ideas, new writing and the live event.
When we say “new ideas”, we’re talking about work that portrays contemporary visions of who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going.
When we say “new writing”, we’re talking about work that prioritises specificity of the artistic voice, work that explores how text is written (and performed) and the eventual reception of that text by an audience.
When we say “live event”, we’re talking about work that in some way acknowledges that it is in a theatre with an audience.
We programme through a process of open submissions at particular points in the year.
Find out more about Working With Us.
If you are interested in developing work at The Yard we’d strongly recommend that you come and see our work. Please don’t send us unsolicited scripts or performance ideas at other times, but do invite us to see your work. Just email us.
Our next open call for artists will be autumn 2014. To be the first to find out what and when we are programming, please join our Mailing List.
We try to help sustain and create communities of people.
The Wider Community
All the work that is created for The Yard is made in local community centres.
We build partnerships with these local communities, offering free workshops in return for rehearsal space.
We facilitate conversations between those who rehearse at the centre and the members to whom it belongs. And then we encourage everyone who uses the centre, takes part in a workshop, observes a rehearsal, to come and see the resulting production at The Yard.
This year we are working with the following community centres:
Ideastore, Tower Hamlets
Ideastore Tower Hamlets have been vital to The Yard in 2013, supporting the development of work at the Shadwell Centre and Bethnal Green Library. We look forward to our artists working with them in the community.
The Stoke Newington, Dalston and Homerton Libraries are providing The Yard with rehearsal space in exchange for workshops for children over the summer holidays. These workshops are being co-ordinated with the Library’s Children and Young People’s manager and will hopefully be rolled out over a few libraries.
Frampton Park Estate, E9 6QJ
Frampton Park has only recently reopened its youth centre after closing due to lack of trust and security on the estate. In the near future we will be working with Hackney Quest and the Frampton Park TRA to deliver a program of drama workshops for 8 to 19 year olds who have recently started attending sessions at the youth centre. In exchange we are being provided with rehearsal space for a number of our artists.
Springfield Club for Young People, E5 9HH
After establishing a relationship with the Springfield Club in 2011 The Yard was keen to develop the partnership in 2012, which resulted in a series of successful workshops for members of the club. We are very happy to be working with Springfield again in the 2013 season. You can watch a video from one of the workshops here
St Margaret’s House
St Margaret’s House have supported two years of work at The Yard, with evening development space in their wonderful hall. The team are regular visitors to the theatre.
This process makes stronger the relationship between The Yard and those who live in the surrounding area. We want to help reduce the distance between the stage and those who may not regularly be in a position to visit a theatre. To help make this more possible, no ticket price at The Yard exceeds £15.
Why we’re an Arts Award Supporter
“The Arts Award Supporter Programme has been a natural progression of the Community Interaction Project that has been a core aspect of The Yard’s programming since its inception. Providing a platform for new voices and new work, bringing new artists and audiences together, is at the heart of our artistic policy. Nurturing young talent through programmes such as The Arts Award is vital to that.” - Lucy Oliver-Harrison, Executive Director
The Yard, conceived by Artistic Director Jay Miller and built in the summer of 2011, is a multi-award winning theatre and bar based in a converted warehouse in Queen’s Yard, Hackney Wick – five minutes’ walk from the Overground and right on the edge of the Olympic Park. We converted a dormant warehouse, splitting it into two sections – one housing the theatre, and the other a bar and kitchen. Made with recycled and reclaimed materials, the theatre seats 110 in a fully-raked amphitheatre. The Yard is about new ideas, new writing and the live event, encouraging a dialogue between artists and the local community. We are also a registered charity.
The Yard is playing its part in the transformation of the area around the Olympic Park, and has continued to thrive thanks to the ongoing support from The Legacy List – a charity whose mission is to make connections between the park and people. Together we are making The Yard a key cultural destination for people across London.
Since opening its doors in summer 2011, The Yard has welcomed over 20,000 into the venue, supported the development of over 100 smallscale productions, hosted innumerable events and exhibitions, created partnerships with community centres and delivered over 100 workshops in the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, generated a huge amount of buzz in London and beyond, and won the Peter Brook Empty Space Award for Innovation. Due to The Yard’s location, which is an industrial yard nestled amongst mechanics and vegetable peelers, this is not down to footfall, but to the conscious decision of our patrons to come, see our work and enjoy The Yard. The Yard is a necessary cultural hub within East London.
A vital part of The Yard’s work is our Community Interaction Project, which sees us deliver workshops to the local community and offer reduced tickets to local residents. The aim of the project is to connect members of disparate urban groups with each other and the work that happens in their local theatre. The Yard has already collaborated with 15 local community centres and delivered hundreds of workshops within Tower Hamlets and Hackney. Existing Community Partners include Springfield Club for Young People, High Hill TRA, Gainsborough Primary School and the Children’s Library.
Our Supporter Offer
The Yard’s Community Interaction Project has forged connections between under resourced community centres and skilled theatre practitioners, providing opportunities for young people to experience the arts for free. The Yard initiates partnerships and establishes a ‘Gift Economy’ whereby centres gift space for artists to develop and rehearse their work and in return artists gift their time and skills by leading workshops.
This benefits both artists and local young people; for artists the project promotes a socially engaged practice, ensuring that all our work is born of the community in which we’re based, and results in theatre that is provocative and politically relevant. For the community, we provide opportunities to generate links with highly skilled artists who give their time to motivate young people, many of whom have underachieved in conventional education, sharing their skills, and equipping them with social, intellectual and emotional sensitivity.
Workshops have clear aims and targets that give participants a sense of achievement and progress for each session. Within the workshops, artists explore different story telling techniques, whether that be dance, song, drama, or mime. Ultimately we aim for participants to come away with the seed of an idea, and the tools necessary to develop those ideas. We invite them to The Yard in the hope that they will be inspired further by seeing our work and performance in action. We always support community group visits in any way we can, and our existing Community Interaction Project has acted as a strong foundation for The Arts Award Programme, where participation can lead to solid qualifications and records of achievement.
Every season we create an ensemble of artists whom we ask to make and perform work at The Yard. Our aim is to foster a vibrant and active community of artists where debate, discussion and new work can flourish. We encourage ideas to grow collaboratively, enabling connections with fellow artists and the local area.
This year we will be holding salons for ensemble members, an opportunity to have structured discussions with peers and experts about things we find interesting in theatre and the world today.
Our first salon saw speakers Chris Goode, May Abdalla and Alecky Blythe and chair CJ Mitchell discuss documentary and storytelling in performance.