The Generation Game, a season of plays at The Yard, Hackney Wick, London – review by Carole Woddis.

With every passing week, London seems to sprout another new theatre venue, converted from some old industrial wasteland, derelict factory or dockyard premises.  And now here’s another, new to me but apparently in its second year of operation and certainly worth checking out.

The brain child of Jay Miller, a young visionary director, who has taken an old warehouse in Hackney Wick, right beside the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and turned it into a rough edged theatre space complete with bar and easy going café-restaurant dominated by a circular theatre space.

In this, says Miller, he is aiming to give artists who wouldn’t otherwise `get their voices heard’ an opportunity to experiment and have their work seen.

Supported by The Legacy List, a private charity dedicated to bringing more cultural life and expanding connections between the Olympic Park and the local community – and it turns out, the National Theatre Studio – Miller is showing admirable ambition in his scheduling and in the way he has constructed The Yard venue itself, using recycled materials wherever possible.

The result in this second season of work is 10 weeks involving no less than 20 companies with a double bill each night – a tenner for the two – and each double bill running for a week.

Terrific value, my first view this week was of 3Fates’ To Close Your Eyes is to Travel, developed in the US at Amherst College, and Dead Centre’s Souvenir based on the work of Marcel Proust.

The former was a rather wonderful experiment in audience inter-activity on a theme of Emily Dickinson and punctuation (!) plus a visual installation by artist Alice Hoult.  A work-in-progress I was asked not to review it as such.  Suffice to say the Emily Dickinson episode made me hunger for more.

Souvenir, in contrast, is already a fully fledged performance piece, first seen at the Dublin Fringe festival last year.  Performed by the intriguingly named Bush Moukarzel, lovers of Proust will appreciate the mischief and yes, reverence Moukarzel brings to his show, deconstructing A La Recherche du Temps Perdu, pressing it through a witty, very updated prism for today and ending on some serious notes about how we spend time, waste time and life, in essence, being a fiction we construct for ourselves.

Nine more weeks to go.  Well worth the trip if you live in London and two minutes from the Overground (Hackney Wick).  How lucky are we to have such places and mortals amongst us (to paraphrase the Bard and The Tempest)

To Close Your Eyes is to Travel & Souvenir: to May 4

More info from:

www.3fates.com; @3FatesTheatre

Souvenir:

www.deadcentre.org; @dead_centre

The Generation Game: to July 6

The Yard Theatre
Unit 2a, Queen’s Yard
White Post Lane
Hackney Wick
London E9 5EN

All tickets £10 (includes both evening shows).

www.theyardtheatre.co.uk for more information and to book tickets.

Carole Woddis © May 2, 2013.