Their annual theatre festival, NOW, does exactly this. It presents a carefully selected programme giving fresh, bold contemporary theatre a platform. Over five weeks, The Yard will showcase 10 companies, with influential artists being paired together with new voices to form week long double-bills.
The programme is theatre at its edgiest: topics include gender identity, disability and emotion, and performances span soundscape and installation to pole-dancing. We're looking forward to seeing more from director Jude Christian (who impressed in 2015 with the taut Lela and Co. at the Royal Court), in Week 2, with Nanjing, a show dubbed as a theatre essay on militant pacificsm. Also, in Week 4 look out for theatre maker Chris Goode (Men in Cities, Longwave), who returns to direct FCKSYSTMS, a new show by Ponyboy Curtis, an all-male, avant-garde performance boy band. It sounds bonkers, but the ensemble impressed at last year's NOW. There will also be host of up-and-coming talent, selected from hundreds who applied through open submissions. Click here to explore the full programme.
More than just presenting a show to audiences, the festival is also about artists coming together, sharing ideas and supporting each other. Ultimately, NOW creates a space for both artists and audiences to experiment, take risks and try something new. Expect an eclectic mix of performances with shows questioning and pushing the boundaries of theatrical form as well as interrogating the world today. Think all the best bits of the Edinburgh Fringe, but in Hackney.
Best of all, at just £12 for each evening's double bill, audiences can afford to take risks and see two eye-opening productions for the price of a few pints. Oh, and you can come back every week to find a different pair of shows on offer.
|What||NOW 16, The Yard Theatre|
|Where||Yard Theatre, Unit 2a Queen’s Yard, London , E9 5EN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Stratford (underground)|
10 May 16 – 11 Jun 16, First show at 19:30, Second show at 21:00
|Price||£12 per night (multi-buys available)|
|Website||Click here for more information|