People
Those that make YAT happen
Eric Yardley
Eric Yardley

JOINED YAT
1970

BIOGRAPHY

Born in October 1919, Eric's main leisure interests from early youth were in football, athletics and drama.

His involvement in drama began through the local church who presented Nativity and Passion plays at Christmas and Easter. Later in his teenage years, these developed into secular plays such as Night Must Fall, Rope and Charley's Aunt in which he played juvenile leads.

Called up in to the war-time Army, he continued entertaining the troops with a fellow squaddie by writing and performing poems based on war-time army life, similar to the Radio pair of the time "The Two Types". On the orders of the C.O. at Christmas 1943, and just south of Monte Cassino, they wrote and performed Cinderella in 24 hours on a platform of petrol cans, in which they played the ugly sisters, and a fat colour serjeant dressed in a mosquito net played the fairy godmother.

As the war was ending, Eric was hospitalised and discharged from the Army. While in hospital on a long term basis, he organised Sunday evening play-readings and on several occasions the Teddington Theatre Club to which he belonged brought productions over and performed in the ward.

During the Sixties, Eric worked with and was influenced by Eva Inglis, a Drama teacher who had moved to the area and was running weekly drama workshops. As a result, he was invited to become Youth Drama Advisor for the Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames. After setting up an annual Combined Youth Production drawn from all the local Youth clubs, he moved on to set up the Heatham House Youth Theatre at the borough's youth centre.

Passing this on to a new director specialising in Musicals, it wasn't long before a delegation of youngsters contacted him to direct a play with them. By this time Eva had died and her workshops had ceased, so a new group was started which became known as Youth Action Theatre.

Weekly workshops were re-started and the first production by YAT, The Diary of Anne Frank was cast and put into rehearsal in 1970.

During the Seventies and Eighties, Eric's TTC and YAT shows were nearly all performed at the Hampton Court Theatre. These were mostly large cast plays to allow as many young YAT actors to take part as possible. During these years he also arranged eleven Summer tours for YAT to perform in foreign cities, such as Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna, Leipzig, Kiev, and more recently, Connecticut USA.

In the Nineties, with TTC's lease of the converted ballroom at Hampton Court House coming to its end, a project was launched to raise sufficient funds to construct its own theatre in Hampton Hill High Street. From 1991, Eric played a lead role in helping to raise the necessary funds and the goal was reached with the completion of a handsome new 200-seater theatre, the Hampton Hill Playhouse, in November 1999.

In April 2005, Eric retired from the day-to-day running of YAT and handed over to a Committee of former members. At the same time, Eric was inaugurated as YAT's First President.

On Thursday 28 June 2012, Eric passed away peacefully in his sleep after a short illness at Kingston Hospital.


YAT CREDITS
(under development)

The Diary of Anne Frank (1971)
St Mary's Church Hall, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Waiting to be Born (1972)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Narrow Road to the Deep North (1972)
St Mary's Church Hall, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Johnny So Long (1972)
St Mary's Church Hall, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Crucible (1973)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Spring Awakening (1974)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1974)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1975)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Danton's Death (1975)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Sganarelle + Tartuffe (Double Bill) (1976)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Winter's Tale (1976)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Promise (1977)
Craig Hall, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

A Penny for a Song (1977)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Camino Real (1978)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Big Al (1978)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Comedy of Errors (1979)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Devils (1979)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Tom Jones (1980)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Rimers of Eldritch (1980)
Craig Hall, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Merchant of Venice (1980)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Follow the Star (1981)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Destiny (1981)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Godspell (1981)
Various German Schools, Germany
CREW : Director

Skyvvers (1981)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Godspell (1981)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Godspell (1981)
St James' Church, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

A Christmas Carol (1982)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Cruel Games (1982)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Romeo and Juliet (1982)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Marat/Sade (1983)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Cabaret (1983)
Theater am Halleschen Ufer Berlin, Germany
CREW : Director

Cabaret (1983)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Crucible (1984)
Kingston Parish Church, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Women Pirates (1984)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Jesus Christ Superstar (1984)
Kingston Parish Church, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Nicholas Nickleby - Part I (1984)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Tom Paine (1985)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Accrington Pals (1985)
Vine Hall, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Accrington Pals (1985)
Ensemble Theater, Austria
CREW : Director

To the Island (1985)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1986)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Grand Tour (1986)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Elizabeth I (1987)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Inherit The Wind (1988)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Roses of Eyam (1988)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Our Town (1989)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Blood Brothers (1989)
Palace of Culture, USSR
CREW : Director

Nicholas Nickleby - Part II (1990)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Our Country's Good (1990)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Tess of the D'Ubervilles (1991)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Pippin (1991)
The Edmund Kean Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Pippin (1991)
Theatermanufaktur, Germany
CREW : Director

Much Ado About Nothing (1992)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Doomsday (1992)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Co-Director

Home Before Dark - The Saga of Miss Edie Hill (1993)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Crime and Punishment (1993)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Co-Director

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1994)
Kingston Parish Church, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Crucible (1994)
Teddington School, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

David and Lisa (1995)
Hampton Court Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Great Gatsby (1996)
Orleans Park School, United Kingdom
CREW : Producer

Juno and the Paycock (1996)
Harry Hope Theatre, USA
CREW : Director

Juno and the Paycock (1996)
Teddington School, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Toad of Toad Hall (1996)
Teddington School, United Kingdom
CREW : Producer

Animal Farm (1997)
Barton Green Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Producer

Adam Bede (1998)
Harry Hope Theatre, USA
CREW : Director

Adam Bede (1998)
The Vera Fletcher Hall, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

Albert Make Us Laugh (1999)
Barton Green Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Director

The Bacchae (2000)
Hampton Hill Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Producer

The B.F.G. (2004)
Hampton Hill Theatre, United Kingdom
CREW : Producer

Content © 1996-2017 Youth Action Theatre | Design © 1996-2017 Bill Compton | Hosted by Intralinx Internet Services