31 Jan 2017

Meet some of Hull’s hottest theatre companies

You’ll see plenty more of these during Hull 2017.

It’s pretty safe to say that, here in Hull, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to emerging theatre groups.

Hull’s alternative theatre scene is buzzing at the moment, with a new wave of performers and theatremakers creating work that doesn’t pull any punches.

Even London is getting in on the action – over the next week, Hull companies Silent Uproar, Pub Corner Poets, Bellow and Middle Child will all perform at the New Diorama Theatre as part of the Emerging Companies Showcase.

Find out more about Hull’s independent theatre companies, and who you should be keeping an eye out for this year.

 

Middle Child

An associate artist of Paines Plough, Middle Child is a collective of 11 artists spearheaded by artistic director Paul Smith and producer Mungo Arney. They create “gig theatre” that captures the electrifying moment when the beat drops. Mixing original live music with bold new writing, Middle Child’s events discuss what it means to live in modern Britain – with a strong northern accent. They’re committed to making work for and about millennials, hosting theatre that’s big on socialising and giving audiences a reason to come early and stay late.

Highlights in 2017

Luke Barnes’ All We Ever Wanted Was Everything premieres in June, highlighting the pressure put on young people to be brilliant in a society intent on removing support systems. Middle Child also runs an alternative Christmas pantomime every year, in addition to regular smaller-scale events such as a monthly quiz night.

 Middle Child, led by Artistic Director Paul Smith (left) and Mungo Arney (fourth from the right) © James Mulkeen

Roaring Girls

The Roaring Girls are an all-female tour de force, making loud theatre that explores big issues and little idiosyncrasies. Somewhere between theatre and a conversation, their shows are interactive, improvised, intimate. Packed with personality and cosy chats, they use personal narratives (often their own) to create work, talking about themes audiences can relate to.

The Roaring Girls share their stories in the hope that you will share yours – to make you roar with laughter, and frustration about the world as they see it.

Highlights in 2017

Zodwa Nyoni’s sold-out show Weathered Estates is about immigration and our sense of home and displacement and premieres 15-18 February. Audiences will have another chance to see the Roaring Girls in the show as part of WOW Festival in March.

 Roaring Girls, Lizi Perry, Rachael Abbey and Shaunagh McClean © James Mulkeen

Silent Uproar

Led by artistic director Alex Mitchell, Silent Uproar is an ensemble renowned for confronting uncomfortable and vital issues affecting people today. By combining visually stunning design and bold text, Silent Uproar create raw, playful and provocative new work appealing to cinema fans and stand-up audiences. They pack a punch with sharp new writing and political provocations.

Highlights in 2017

Working with Jon Brittain, new work about the far-right titled Bold Knights of Britain by Joseph Wilde premieres 7-11 Nov.

 Silent Uproar, led by Alex Mitchell (right) © James Mulkeen

Pub Corner Poets

The Pub Corner Poets mash slam poetry with sonic storytelling, projection VJing and live music to create one-of-a-kind live theatre events.

Tackling big themes from the dusty corner of your local pub, they have spoken word at the heart of everything they do. Performing gigs in pop-up venues and theatre studios, the Pub Corner Poets present physical scores alongside delicious text that makes you shiver.

Highlights in 2017

Pub Corner Poets are hosting regular events throughout the year including a bingo/rave night and poetry slams.

 Pub Corner Poets, with Resident Writer Josh Overton (third from the right) © James Mulkeen

Bellow

Bellow Theatre is a new-writing company rooted in brave and stirring stories. The company often presents work in unusual spaces, so far including a pop-up restaurant, under an oak tree, in a club, and in a car park.

With intimate, moving and DIY aesthetics, Bellow always tries to champion the downtrodden, the forgotten, the excluded or the silenced. Sometimes bringing live music into the mix, Bellow leaves audiences with a feeling of empowerment.

Highlights in 2017

Watch out for Bellow’s work this year following their performance at the New Diorama Theatre.

 Bellow's Artistic Director Maureen Lennon © James Mulkeen

Ensemble 52

Creative producing company Ensemble 52 is led by Andrew Pearson, Dave Windass and Jo Hill. The company makes live performance work in found spaces, public spaces and abandoned warehouses, in addition to the traditional theatre.

Highlights in 2017

Ensemble 52 produces the twice-yearly Heads Up Festival in conjunction with the Battersea Arts Centre; check out the next festival in March. This year the company will also produce an adaptation of the crime novel Dark Winter by David Mark.

 Ensemble 52, led by Joanna Hill, David Windass and Andrew Pearson © James Mulkeen

Assemble Fest

One-day theatre festival, Assemble Fest, offers a platform for local theatre makers to create work in independent businesses. Over the last three years Assemble Fest has supported 14 Hull based companies to create 21 pieces of new work in a myriad of spaces from hairdressers to taxis.

Highlights in 2017

Head down to the festival on Newland Avenue on 3 June.

 Assemble Fest, run by Madeleine O'Reilly (left) © James Mulkeen

Middle Child, Roaring Girls, Silent Uproar, Bellow and Pub Corner Poets are all Supported Artists of Hull Truck Theatre.

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