Curtain goes up for The Yard theatre in Hackney

The Yard Picture: Andy Matthews

A new temporary creative space for east London’s theatrical community opens in Hackney this weekend.

The Yard, based close to Hackney Wick station and which opens its doors this Saturday, says it offers:  “time, space, and a supportive environment over the summer for artists, cost free.”

Companies and emerging artists can enjoy the venue’s free rehearsal space, free performance space and over half of the box office returns in exchange for a few hours help with the operational management of the building. It will remain open until the end of October.

“We aim to forge collaboration between existing local artists,” said artistic director, Jay Miller. “We want to open up and share different artistic practices by having open rehearsals to which the local community will be invited.”

Established theatre makers will be in repertory with some of the best emerging talent from around the country.

The programme will include theatre, dance and opera. A specific focus will be placed on fusing different performance disciplines, recreating known stories and challenging traditional forms of theatre.

The ex-warehouse is the brainchild of architecture and theatre practitioners. Practice Architecture have designed and constructed the 120 seat theatre-café bar. The practice uses recycled and biodegradable materials for their work and has a specific interest in how spaces can bring people together.

A team of theatre-makers and artists who work at the theatre over the summer will also be contributing to the running and management of the theatre. This ensemble will be helped by groups of volunteers from the local community and wider London.

“The feedback has been incredibly good. The local community has shown a keen interest in the project.” says arts and managing director, Martin Shippen.

The Yard aims to increase transparency and access in theatre, making the building a magnet for audience and artists alike.

Every production will introduce ‘workshop performances,’ engaging audiences to critically invest in the programme.

“Most of the methods that we have adopted for running a theatre are new. We would be happy if they work and the way to test that is if our audience come back for more throughout the season,” said Miller.

In an effort to make the theatre accessible to all, ticket prices range from £4 – £10. Play performances cost under £10 and can be purchased at the door from 7pm.

The café-bar will also be hosting a series of events and concerts to complement the work programmed at the theatre.

Tower Hamlets Council, the Arts Council, the Olympic Park Legacy Company and Create Festival, support the project.

More information about the programme and listings can be found at September and October performances will be announced next week.

You can follow The Yard on Twitter or visit their Facebook page.


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