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The Yard Theatre wins 2017 Empty Space Peter Brook Award

The Yard, Hackney The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick
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London’s the Yard Theatre has won this year’s Empty Space Peter Brook Award, in which it was celebrated for “telling exhilarating contemporary stories in contemporary ways”.

The east London theatre took home the £2,000 prize at the 28th annual awards, which it was announced will end this year.

The Yard was nominated for the main prize alongside the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, the Orange Tree in Richmond, the Other Room in Cardiff, Paines Plough’s pop-up theatre the Roundabout and Tara Arts in south London.

Each year the awards celebrate innovation in small theatres, and were this year focused on studio theatres that had become local theatres, with Brook sending a message recognising the “bubbling energy throughout the country”.

At the ceremony, held on October 31 at the National Theatre Studio in London, other winners included the Liverpool Everyman’s rep company, which was given the Peter Brook/Equity ensemble award of £2,000.

The money is intended to help establish the deeper development of ensemble work within studio theatres.

Company Three’s work for teenagers helped it win the Dan Crawford Innovation award, also worth £2,000, in which it was nominated alongside creative producers Crying Out Loud and the Young Vic’s Taking Part programme.

Meanwhile, the Union Theatre in south London won the Peter Brook/Royal Court support award, which offers one year of the Royal Court’s expertise to the winning theatre.

The Peter Brook special achievement award went to the London International Mime Festival, for its “spectacular programme of visual performances” over the past 40 years.

The awards were judged by a panel that includes the scheme’s founder, Blanche Marvin, and critics such as Lyn Gardner, Mark Shenton, Fiona Mountford, Susannah Clapp and Matt Trueman.