Pioneering Hackney Wick theatre needs cash help to insulate its tin roof

The Yard Theatre Director Jay Miller is upset as the venue is at risk of closing down.

The Yard Theatre Director Jay Miller is upset as the venue is at risk of closing down. - Credit: Archant

Nestled in an industrial estate in Hackney Wick is a small theatre with big ideas.

For the past three years The Yard in White Post Lane has given people starting out in the uncertain world of theatre the opportunity to have their voices heard and their productions staged.

But unseasonably cold weather over the past 12 months means its future could be under threat unless it can raise £10,000 to insulate its tin roof.

The draughty interior and lack of heating means that the theatre cannot operate during the winter months.

Current director Jay Miller said: “This year we need to make it a sustainable business. The reason it’s not a sustainable business is it’s only open six months of the year. “It’s really crucial we are able to stay open all year. When we can’t open, we can’t bring in any income. When we are not putting shows on and when we are not open, we are in real danger.”

The theatre has raised £4,500 so far.

Mr Miller said a “real mix” of people had donated and many were people who had worked at the theatre. One anonymous donor had given £2,000.

Most Read

The money raised will be used to fix holes in the roof and buy sheep’s wool which will be hung in nets from the ceiling to provide insulation.

“It also fits into the sustainable ethos of the theatre which has been furnished from recycled and reclaimed materials,” Mr Miller says.

“I wanted to create a space that was really present so you would remember where you had come.

“What we have created is a Grecian amphitheatre in a post-industrial warehouse.

“I originally wondered where we could go to find a warehouse and Hackney Wick is well known for its warehouses.

“It’s a really interesting area as it’s going through profound change. I find this space really inspiring.”

The theatre was initially set up as a pop-up theatre in 2009 and then officially started up in 2011 with £8,000 from the Arts Council.

“I started the theatre because there was not anywhere in London to make new work as arts funding dried up,” Mr Miller added.

“Established theatres don’t take any risks on young artists and new work.

“What we say is we protect new contemporary work which can’t be seen anywhere else in London.

“We want to create the new voices of theatre in years to come.”

The theatre has staged 69 productions over the past three years.

One of its most successful productions so far was a one-woman show by former Hackney resident Michaela Coel, which went on to the Bush Theatre and Royal Exchange Theatre.