Most Croydon culture regulars know that our beloved arts space tucked behind Surrey Street has been living in uncertainty for a little while now, and what with various recent changes in the line-up of organisations operating within, we have heard mutterings of confusion over what events we can expect to see there. Therefore we caught up with Leoni Descartes of Matthews Yard to confirm that their theatre programme for the Spring and beyond is very much alive and kicking (and we’d say bubbling over with innovative performances).
Leoni says of the coming season: ‘we have a packed cultural programme with local theatre, community film screenings, art exhibitions, pop-ups and so much more! As we approach our 6th year, I can find no greater delight in saying that not only is Matthews Yard still here, but we continue to have a calendar full of innovative opportunities and events for and by local people and beyond to get involved in. Every week you will find yoga, capoeira and drama groups while each month we host regular life drawing events, exhibitions and art workshops for all the family to enjoy.’
We take a look at our own top picks at the MY theatre for the next few months:
Amy Johnson: Last Flight Out
Next month sees Croydon playwright and actor Jenny Lockyer on tour with her one-person show, ‘Amy Johnson: Last Flight Out’ about the first female pilot to fly solo from our very own Croydon airport to Australia in 1930. Jenny stops off at Matthew Yard for a performance on Friday 16 March. Tickets have already been snapped up for this show, so we recommend checking in on Jenny’s site to see if any more tickets are released, or book on another leg of her tour. We were lucky enough to see Jenny’s premiere at Croydonites last year, and were mesmerised by her touching and often amusing performance, where we felt we were transported right slap bang into the middle of Amy’s life as an aviator.
Matt Burden returns as host for Comedy Utopia on Saturday 7 April. Three comedians will be performing for your pleasure: Ryan Dalton and Danny Garnell (who you may already know if you came to any of the Comedy Utopia nights in 2017), and Kelsey De Almeida as headline act. Kelsey is one of the UK’s youngest working comedians and has been described by comedy booker Julia Chamberlain as ‘Destined to be absolutely huge’. Matt Burden is very much looking forward to returning to Matthews Yard saying, ‘the venue suits us down to the ground with its concentrated performance space which lends itself so well to stand-up’. If you’re looking for some post-easter laughs we reckon this is the night for you.
Bisexuality is Magic
The show ‘Bisexuality is Magic’ premieres at Matthews Yard with both a matinee and evening performance on Saturday 14 April. Marcus Morgan is a magician, as well as an activist for the bisexual community (often being seen as invisible in gay and straight communities). A magic show seemed an apt solution – Marcus explains, ‘It’s part play – the story of a magician trying to find the perfect trick to explaining bisexuality to people, and part performance – all the magic is done with real audience members and not actors. It’s intended to be as hilarious as it is educational’. Amusingly taglined ‘The show that could go either way’, this sounds like a lighthearted way to learn about a community that is often overlooked, and to be wowed with some tricks at the same time.
Matthews Yard 6th Birthday
Don’t forget to circle Saturday 21 April in your diaries folks as Matthews Yard will be celebrating their 6th birthday. Leoni tells us a bit about the event: ‘we are packing the day with poetry and spoken word, workshops, music and performing arts – encompassing everything we are about from 12pm till 12am’. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on their Facebook for exciting updates.
27 April – 20 May
Croydonites Festival of New Theatre
Last (for now) but by no means least, Croydonites Festival of New Theatre returns for 2018 at the end of April at various venues around central Croydon, with performances at Matthews Yard on 4, 18 and 19 May. We’re personally rather intrigued to see Richard DeDomenici’s event on Friday 18 May about Hollywood movie locations in Croydon, where he’ll screen the premiere of his low-budget recreation of part of the 2017 Michael Keaton action thriller American Assassin, which was set in Istanbul, but filmed in St George’s Walk. Some of you may have stumbled on the set at the time like we did.
We hope that’s enough to whet your appetite and get yourself down to some events at our local theatre space. We’ll let Leoni finish: ‘Despite the cloud of uncertainty at Matthews Yard, you can be sure our summer and autumn schedules will be just as action-packed with events for all. Thank you everyone for all your love and support, visits and thinking of us as a venue to perform and share your skills with our community. We love you Croydon!’
Thank you to Leoni and all the performers for chatting to us.
Header image courtesy of Matthews Yard
Posted by Julia