Tales of Transatlantic Freedom crosses the Atlantic

Excitement is growing for our upcoming showcase and U.S. premiere of Tales of Transatlantic Freedom taking place at Boston Museum of Fine Art on February 18 at 8pm. This is the inaugural event and new partnership with the National Center for Race Amity.

Following our UK premiere and run of performances of the show as part of the Pianodrome‘s Fringe programme in August 2022 the National Center for Race Amity approached Yard Heads to discuss how performances of Tales of Transatlantic Freedom could support their mission of fostering Race Amity across the United States.

Tales of Transatlantic Freedom is a powerful and memorable piece of music theatre co-created by mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker, opera composer Howard Moody and Yard Heads’ artistic director John Paul McGroarty. Tales of Transatlantic Freedom tells tales in song and movement of power, migration, resistance and emancipation in the transatlantic context since European colonies were founded on the Eastern seaboard of the current United States through the centuries of struggle for freedom and joy which still continue. Bringing a message of joy and hope the audience leaves the auditorium uplifted and empowered, making the show an ideal performance piece for organisations interested in reconciliation, resolution and peaceful freedom fighting.

18 February will be a showcase event where we share the transformational power of the arts in amity and reconciliation. See the NCRA event pages for local booking.

Download our Press and Production Pack and links.

Sing Sistah Sing! Tales of Transatlantic Freedom

Mezzo-soprano Andrea Baker's smiling face shines out over a piano keyboard with the African continent over her left shoulder and a bird sitting on her right shoulder announcing her new show Sing Sistah Sing! Tales of Transatlantic Freedom

In November 2020 we met artist Andrea Baker when she sang for the US Election Night Cabaret at the Lyceum, John Paul was blown away by her voice and presence.

Two years later and we are delighted to be collaborating on a new show, with Andrea and composer Howard Moody, for her Sing Sister Sing! series. In our conversations about Scotland, Andrea’s chosen homeland, and Robert Burns’s songs and life we discussed the histories of transatlantic relationships, the journeys of people, music and ideas.

This summer we will be presenting Andrea with a show she is creating featuring a selection of songs and texts from across the centuries to trace the threads of power, exploitation and emancipation through songs and tales.

We have found the perfect venue for our artist’s musical talents to be shared with a wider audience in the Pianodrome. This musical amphitheatre made from recycled pianos and populated by an enthusiastic, creative and community-spirited team are running their Resonancy at the Old Royal High, 5-7 Regent Rd, Edinburgh EH7 5BL (https://goo.gl/maps/NxPjBd6Wx7Hj8ubu8) from 1st July to 11th September and will be hosting a full programme during Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Sing Sistah Sing! Tales of Transatlantic Freedom will have a short run of performances at the Pianodrome, Venue 391 alongside an exciting programme of music from other groups and performers. The Cyrenians will be providing food and Bellfield Brewery providing refreshments and we are excited about the spirit of the Festival Fringe being recaptured in this new venue.

Tickets for Sing Sistah Sing! Tales of Transatlantic Freedom are available from 9th June at edfringe.com. Dates are 19th & 20th August at 7pm, 234rd, 24th, 25th, 26th August at 3pm.


This event has been supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund. This fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players. 

Dates and Times Announced for Leith Theatre Yard Heads Leith Creative Sessions

In a collaboration with Leith Creative, an independent network of local cultural and creative organisations, Yard Heads is starting a workshop series at Leith Theatre with the support of Postcode Community Trust. Two dates have been identified, 7pm on 12th June and 3pm 26th June.

The first step is to bring those who are interested together in an informal way to discuss and explore our work. We aim over the longer term to work towards concrete projects and collaborations but at this stage we are simply calling out to our community and creative networks to join us to explore issues of commonality, obstacles and opportunity. In our ideal world what would we want to see. We can’t promise that any of these ideals will be realised but articulating them may help.

Expect there to be some semi-structured activity with peer-to-peer support and the chance to meet and discuss with like-minded folk as well as those who may have a different view or different ideas to bring to the table.

Leith is blessed with an active and creative citizenship and a rich background of identity, history, skills, industry and diversity. We believe this is a good place to start when considering culture and action that we hope will result in transnational, outward-looking, supportive, inclusive and enterprising values – and real work and recognition for our associates.

To register follow the date links above.

Leith Theatre Yard Heads project 2019

Yard Heads and Leith Theatre have signed a Letter of Agreement in order for structured theatre activity to take place at the venue over a period of months.

As a legacy of the work completed with The Last Days of Mankind and Yard Heads’ role in producing and directing the work, the project will see structured workshop sessions taking place, under the overall direction of John Paul McGroarty.

The workshop series has been supported by the Postcode Community Trust with a grant to enable work to take place over a number of months. We will be looking for solid projects to emerge from the workshop activity and to discover what sort of work would be effective in the main auditorium.


The Last Days of Mankind – European Co-operation Project with Leith Theatre

Yard Heads dramaturg and director John Paul McGroarty worked with producer Alexandra Lort Phillips to deliver this collaborative show at Leith Theatre, the first professional theatre show in almost three decades to take place in the venue.  

The collaboration was based on an exchange and cooperation project with Theaterlabor Bielefeld, Germany, Teatr A Part, Katowice Poland, Plavo Požoriste, Belgrade, Serbia, Smashing Times, Dublin, Association Arsène, Alsace.

JP co-directed the piece with Yuri Birte Anderson and the work presented developed workshop material from Karl Kraus’s epic play from WW1 Vienna ‘The Last Days of Mankind‘ using a new translation by author Patrick Healy

New music for the show was commissioned from anarchic cabaret operatic band The Tiger Lillies fronted by song-writer Martyn Jaques.

An album of photographs of the show can be viewed on Flickr

The play was well received by reviewers and the public:

11 November – CommonSpace


Review by John Davis

12 November – The Scotsman ****


Great war epic shows conflict…

12 November – The Herald ****


12 November – edinburghguide.com ****


12 November – alledinburghtheatre ****


13 November – theweereview ****


13 November – Morning Star *****


13 November – The Edinburgh Reporter


14 November – The Stage ****


14 November – Irish Examiner


Sanitation of time and memorial…

14 November – reviewsphere *****


14 November – The Times ***


15 November – My Theatre Mates ****


14 November – The Fountain ***