In March, The Yard kicks off its spring season with the premiere of a new play written by Yard Artistic Associate Josh Azouz, in a long-awaited return after the critically-acclaimed The Mikvah Project in 2015 (★★★★ Time Out, The Stage). Buggy Baby follows a baby and two adults in a damp flat in East London. A horror comedy exploring love, trauma and family, it will be directed by the award-winning Ned Bennett, director of ★★★★★ An Octoroon (Orange Tree Theatre), Pomona (★★★★★ National Theatre) and Yen (★★★★★ Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester).
In April, Empty Space Peter Brook award-winning Company Three return to The Yard with a show about teenage relationships, performed by teenagers: The Act. These teenagers will show us vulnerability, intimacy, subsequent embarrassment, and learning to love. Company Three performed The Future at The Yard in 2016 and their work includes Brainstorm (★★★★ National Theatre) and Boat at Battersea Arts Centre. The Act will run for one week in April before returning in the summer.
Company Three’s Artistic Director Ned Glasier: “Company Three and The Yard were both winners at the recent Peter Brook Empty Space Awards, so it feels hugely exciting to be working together again on The Act. The Act is a play borne out of the kind of opportunities that makes The Yard such a brilliant place to work, and the kind of process that saw us recognised at the awards for our innovative approach. The Act could only be made by a group of brave, risk-taking teenagers, and by a company that have developed their relationships as part of Company Three for almost a decade. They’re now ready to put those relationships in front of an audience, and I can’t think of a better stage to do it on.”
At the end of April there’s a festival of new work, Live Drafts, in which twenty artists will share an idea on The Yard’s stage over two weeks in double bills. In a twist on the previous format of First Drafts festival, some of the performances will be the first time an idea has been shared and for others it will be a second or third iteration. The festival is open submission, and The Yard is welcoming submissions now via its website.
In May, The Yard welcomes theatre company RashDash with a reimagining of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, following the critically acclaimed sell-out tour of “unapologetically loud, snotty and spot-on” Two Man Show (★★★★ The Stage,
Time Out, The Independent). The show will open at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre before making its London premiere at The Yard.
RashDash: “Traditionally The Yard does not put on classics. Traditionally RashDash does not put on classics. Accordingly, this will be anything but traditional. We’re excited.”
The season will culminate with the premiere of Bruntwood-longlisted writer Joe Harbot’s twist on a transformation story with A New And Better You. It is directed by Cheryl Gallacher, a long-time Artistic Associate of The Yard who is also a theatre maker with the Yardlings, its youth theatre group. Surreal and wickedly funny, the play explores image, self-improvement and the pressure of making yourself into what society wants you to be.
The Yard’s Founder and Artistic Director Jay Miller: “Everything is new. Each feels brimming. Each work feels vital. All the artists we are working with are ready to show us our world from a different angle in these brand new works. In an age when the real feels unreal, we are presenting shows that are over-real, hyper-real, surreal.
Buggy Baby is a playfully dark story about trauma and family in East London, made by Josh Azouz and Ned Bennett. RashDash is going to explode Chekhov’s Three Sisters, then pick the pieces off the stage and transform them into a
celebration of female voices and power. A New And Better You is a cutting and hilarious takedown of the culture of self-improvement, betterment, wellness and what society expects of us as individuals. Company Three bring their
inspirationally brilliant teenagers back to our stage to show us how hard (and funny) it is when we try to fall in love for the first time. And we can’t wait to see what amazing writers, performers and makers will be sharing the beginnings of brilliant shows with us in Live Drafts.
This is our first season as one of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio Organisations, and as winners of the final Empty Space Peter Brook Award recognising excellence and innovation in theatre. We think we’ve got a season in
store that absolutely does that justice.”