From local legends to international commissions, these are the theatre and performance highlights in our Tell The World season.
Hull Truck Theatre
A major new work from Hull Truck Theatre, The Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca (3–18 November) tells the story of an inspirational period in Hull’s history. Written by award-winning actor and writer Maxine Peake and directed by Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight, with an original live score by Adrian McNally and The Unthanks, this site-specific production in Hull’s historic Guildhall will take you on an unforgettable journey using music, storytelling, movement and performance. Audiences will follow Hull hero Lillian Bilocca and her crew of head-scarfed women through The Guildhall, joining them in 1968 as they dare to speak out and take action to improve the safety conditions for their men at sea.
Award-winning writer Tanika Gupta’s adaptation of Marina Lewycka’s best-selling novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (22 September – 14 October) will be directed by Hull Truck Theatre artistic director Mark Babych. This story, about a lovesick grandfather and two daughters at war, is a must-see dark comedy about a family having to confront its past and rediscover their relationships. Originally co-commissioned with Sheffield Theatres and developed with support from the National Theatre Studio.
Hull Truck Theatre also presents a co-commission with Hull 2017, a brand new play by acclaimed writer James Graham (This House, Ink, Privacy, The Vote). This behind-the-scenes comedy about the City of Culture year is due to open in 2018. Look out for more information about this production soon.
A theatrical highlight for 2017 so far has been Slung Low‘s year-long epic, Flood. This politically-charged, four-part parable told online, on BBC TV and live in Hull is returning during Tell The World. In Flood: New World (Part 4) the world is begun again, anew. The wave has struck. The world as we know it has ended. Gloriana, the girl from the sea, is missing. Can the shattered survivors of the flood build a new world?
The final live element of Flood (Part 4) will be performed in Hull’s Victoria Dock (26–29 September) bringing this epic story to a close. The two live elements of Flood (Part 2 and Part 4) will then be presented as a double bill in Victoria Dock (4–8 October). Flood asks: what if the fleeing masses from our TV screens and Twitter feeds, in their boats and their orange lifejackets, had English accents? Because displacement is like disease: deep down we think it only happens to other people. Find out more about Flood at hull2017.co.uk/flood
2097: We Made Ourselves Over
Ground-breaking multi-platform project 2097: We Made Ourselves Over, a co-commission between Hull 2017 and Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017 from the internationally renowned Blast Theory, will land in Hull this October.
On 1 October at 2pm, every phone box across the city will ring and you are invited to begin an unforgettable journey into the future. At the end of the line, a voice asks who you are and a character from the year 2097 asks for your help. Featuring pop-up screenings of new sci-fi films that have been shot in Hull and Aarhus, 2097 is informed and inspired by residents in both cities as well as experts in different fields, including climate change, smart cities and community activism. A brand new app is being launched by Blast Theory, which allows people to have conversations with the rulers of the future hybrid city, Aarhull.
Double Fringe First winners curious directive bring their new show Frogman to Hull in November (1-11 November) as the finale of a nationwide tour. Set on the Great Barrier Reef in 1995, this multi-sensory coming-of-age thriller is a world-first piece of theatre that fuses live performance with Mixed Reality and immersive film techniques, blurring the lines between reality and fiction, the physical and the virtual. It is performed to an audience of 30 who are each given a Virtual Reality headset to experience new ways into storytelling in a theatre environment. As coral reefs face extinction by 2057, Frogman will enable audiences to experience the reefs in a uniquely immersive way and see the damage taking place with their own eyes.
Frogman is a co-production from curious directive, Hull 2017, The Deep and The Old Market, in association with Brisbane Powerhouse and with guidance from The Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Following their success at the Edinburgh Fringe, two Hull 2017 supported productions are returning to Hull this October, with Bellow Theatre’s Bare Skin on Briny Waters (Hull Truck Theatre, 6-7 October) and Pub Corner Poets’ Sad Little Man (Hull Truck Theatre, 27-28 October) both heading home.
Heads Up Festival
Hull creative company E52, in collaboration with Battersea Arts Centre, are bringing the second instalment of this year’s always lively Heads Up theatre festival (12-22 October), showcasing the best in international and locally-curated talent that’s sure to be as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. Productions this season include Motor’s Ross & Rachel, Likely Theatre’s immersive and interactive show for young children Almost Always Muddy and Kid Carpet and Vic Llewellyn’s Edinburgh smash The Castle Builder.
Hull New Theatre
Hull New Theatre’s opening season, following its £16 million rebuild, includes the National Theatre productions of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (18-23 September) and Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (13-18 November). Hull New Theatre will also see the Opera North residency The Little Greats (26-28 October); Northern Ballet’s new The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (18-21 October); and the world premiere of John Godber’s The Kings of Hull (27 September to 7 October).
Land of Green Ginger
One of the lesser known (even secret) successes of the year so far has been the ground-breaking Land of Green Ginger. A series of new artist commissions, or “Acts of Wanton Wonder”, united under one central narrative, have infiltrated the neighbourhoods of the city, encouraging residents of Hull to immerse themselves in a magical citywide story.
The first three acts – created by Periplum, And Now: and Joshua Sofaer – have been seen by a combined audience of nearly 40,000 people and had a significant impact in engaging harder to reach communities in the city. There are a further three live acts to come, including what promises to be a spectacular culmination in November, an intricate installation from Davy and Kristin McGuire, as well as the Galway-based masters of processional performance, Macnas. Catch up with the story so far at www.greenginger.org