Art Yard

Art That Builds Communities

The doorstep theatre project Art Yard is a format that innovatively connects theatre creation in public space with social engagement. It is art that builds communities!

With its help, we at Ana Monro Theatre address people that might be very different from one another, but live in a mutual local space, and help them connect, develop a cooperation among themselves and among different generations and, as a result, encourage building of communities in newly-built housing estates.

The project has raised from our corona lockdown times activities, called Ana under your Window.


We developed the Art Yard project format in cooperation with Simona Savickaitė from Lithuania, a community work adviser and a long-standing coordinator of a similar project We, the people that is part of the European Capital of Culture Kaunas 2022 programme.

The aim of Art Yard project is to use contemporary performimg street arts to help forming bonds between fresh residents of the newly-built neighbourhoods.

On their communal spaces we organize a 12-day cultural and social program for residents to meet with contemporary performative street arts in the home environment, which they rarely or never met before.


  • Advance visit of the neighbourhood to get-to-know the residents;
  • Slow artistic penetration in the community, where artists in the style of a town crier announce the event and start connecting with inhabitants in person;
  • Promotion – every household gets a leaflet, with local children helping distributing them. Many posters are hanged around the perimeter;
  • Decoration of the space to create the festive atmosphere;
  • Artistic event/performance opens the space and communication. We also stream the event over internet to reach the more shy or sceptical residents;
  • Series of smaller events and workshops under the guidance of artists and craftsmen;
  • Neighbours’ day – a whole-day event with a variety of animations, shows, concerts, games, food and workshops where residents can have fun together, get-to-know one another and start friendships;
  • Surveys – during the last day we conduct several surveys – from the questions of quality of life and possible problems in the neighbourhood to the satisfaction with the event;
  • Report – after the event an extensive report with visuals is prepared. The report with the results of the surveys is also presented to the neighbourhood manager to help them with better management and enable them to understand the inhabitants better. Report is also distributed to many stakeholders in the field of civic society, government and art.



We use performing arts as a primary tool to connect residents in new housing estates, to invite them to mix and mingle, to enjoy their communal spaces. And, what is extremely important in these (post)COVID-19-times, to step over individual differences, lower barriers and rekindle mutual trust.

We recognize the sustainable effect of the Art Yard project in sowing the seeds of community, or at least drawing attention to the possibility of its existence. It inspires some individuals and at the same time empowers them to further promote and develop interaction, cooperation, socialising and networking between residents. These can become an important driving force for (re)construction of the neighbourhood community or the core of it.



In the neighbourhood we use urban scenography interventions to change the common grounds into a festive event space. With an artistic street theatre show we open this space and invite people into it. The show addresses the feelings, hardships and concrete living situations that residents of new housing estates (may) face due to just having started to live in a different environment and among strangers. This is done in an understandable, entertaining, non-accusing and non-burdensome way.

As part of the Art Yard project, the event space is not just a stage for art, but is also a space for meeting, socialising, connecting and (co)working. Art Yard therefore goes beyond the aesthetics of theatrical creation in public space and becomes a kind of sociological laboratory that allows a special experience to happen for creators and residents.

It is an innovative format and process that addresses the individuals both as consumers of cultural and artistic contents and in the same time as members of the local housing community. It encourages them to contemplate about their engagement in the community and can change their respective perception – re-direct it from in-wards to out-wards and to-wards the neighbourhood community.

Art Yard is a typical example of the artistic aesthetics of the Ana Monro Theatre, based on genuine, direct and warm communication and empathy as well as pursuing the goal of connecting people into a community. We really enjoy our work, we love being among people or with them, and their experience is most important to us.



The project is designed as a developmental process in which we encourage neighbourhood residents to get involved. The residents for us are not just our guests or spectators, but active (co)creators of events.

We include them in the organisational and implementational as well as in the creative delivery phase of the project.

The cultural and social programme addresses residents of all ages, nationalities, educational degrees, social classes, religions and cultural backgrounds. As part of the Art Yard project, we also address residents who do not attend events in the courtyards or communal venues, but follow them from the windows and balconies of their apartments. We are especially pleased when some of them get encouraged to actually join the events in person at later stage.

The majority of the communal spaces are flat surface and also accessible for people with physical disabilities.

All events within the Art Yard project are freely accessible and free of charge for residents.



Local residents assisted in choosing places for posters and hanging them; in distributing program leaflets; in preparing and cleaning venues; in organising props and materials for workshops. Those who were more enterprising and creative, however, were involved as volunteers in performances, workshops, co-creating animations. Also, some assisted in giving feedbacks, which helped to make preparation and execution easier and smoother. Their day-to-day feedback was very useful for us, organisers, to be more down-to-earth and residents-friendly.

For workshops and animations, we connected to several partner arts organisations and artists and invited them to explore different, new ways to use the public space and to develop new performative, pedagogical and communicational approaches, methods and tools. All this enabled them to find new types of audiences and grow artistically and personally.

In the preparation phase of the project and the aftermath, we connected to different official stakeholders in Ljubljana – City of Ljubljana’s Public Housing Fund, City of Ljubljana’s Office for Local Self-Government and City of Ljubljana’s Department for Culture. They were involved in different aspects of the project – spatial and financial management.

A special contribution is the cooperation with Slovenian experts from IPoP – Institute for Spatial Policies, who identified Art Yard project as an innovative method for involving neighbourhood residents in participatory processes of regulation and sustainable development of public/communal spaces. As part of our collaboration, they invented a specific method for interviewing in space, person to person, which they found very useful for their future use. The results of their survey greatly help City of Ljubljana’s Public Housing Fund to learn about the inhabitants’ opinions about living in their newly constructed neighbourhood and to possibly make it better.



The feeling of belonging is even more important than usual in the so-called new reality. During the (too) long period of the COVID-19 virus epidemic, people started to socially alienate from one another and close themselves into bubbles that are difficult to break. People do want to break them, though, it seems, for the residents of the neighbourhood we visited have expressed that they want and need more events like Art Yard. And we believe that this proves and confirms that the project was successful and effective.

In the final event we conducted a survey among the residents. The results show that for the vast majority our project was a new, pleasant and interesting experience. Everyone we talked to liked the idea of bringing theatre to their backyard. And most importantly – within the project they have made new acquaintances with fellow residents and Art Yard event (re)strengthened their sense of belonging to the community of their neighbourhood, both physical and spiritual.

The experience has shown that children and young people are more likely to be actively involved in the programme, so one specific focus of developing the project further for the future renditions, will be to find ways to attract and involve many more adults into active participation.



Ana Monro Theatre members have been active in the field of contemporary performative street arts since 1982, or as we like to say – we have been creating for the street and on the street for 40 years! We are specialists in organising and creating cultural events in public space, which we are transforming into a stage for arts and a space for meeting and cooperation of general audiences, in order to connect them into a single community, if only just for a short time.

When, during the epidemic, access to and use of public space was limited, we sought new ways to connect with our audience that was forced to stay at home. So, we embarked on a mission to bring theatre to their domestic backyards, and began developing the Art Yard doorstep theatre project.

In this context, we are transferring our many years of knowledge and experience from public spaces to the community areas of newly built residential neighbourhoods. We use arts as a tool to achieve a social engagement, to awaken in the inhabitants a sense of belonging, and to help them connect into a single, strong and lasting community, in person as opposed to over distance or over social networks in virtual space.

We create a meeting place for them in their backyards and encourage them to get-to-know one another, make contacts, connect and socialise. In times of “new reality”, such support is even more important and necessary, because during the (too) long period of epidemiological restrictions, people almost grew accustomed to being apart, and many even developed anxiousness or distrust towards physical contact with other people.

The Art Yard project hence goes beyond its local scope and addresses the global problem of a personal alienation as a consequence of the epidemic. Or, in this context, through cooperation with smaller local communities, it strives to re-socialize society as a whole.