Truck announces new season of exceptional drama

Hull Truck Theatre have partnered with Northern Broadsides and Hull UK City of Culture 2017 to present Shakespeare’s Richard III (4 - 27 May), directed by Northern Broadsides’ Artistic Director Barrie Rutter OBE. 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of Northern Broadsides, and this co-production with Hull Truck Theatre brings the celebrated company back to its roots, when it staged Richard III as its first play in the Marina Boatshed in Hull.

Hull Truck Theatre and Hull UK City of Culture 2017 present the world première of Mighty Atoms (8 June - 1 July) directed by Hull Truck Theatre’s Artistic Director Mark Babych. It follows a group of women taking part in a boxercise class above a struggling Hull pub. The class is more than a way to lose weight and have a laugh – they’re fighting the grinding challenges of everyday life. Inspired by Hull’s original ‘Mighty Atom’, world champion boxer Barbara Buttrick, this new play by award-winning writer Amanda Whittington (Ladies Day, Be My Baby, Amateur Girl) pulls no punches. The production is the final part of The Hull Trilogy, a trio of world premières examining how the city’s past has shaped its identity and capacity for survival and renewal. (Dancing Through the Shadows in 2015, The Gaul in 2016). 

These shows follow on from Hull Truck Theatre’s first production of Hull UK City of Culture 2017: the world premiere of The Hypocrite (24 Feb - 18 Mar) by Olivier Award winning writer Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors; Made in Dagenham; Great Britain), starring Mark Addy (Game of Thrones, The Full Monty). Hull Truck Theatre have partnered with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Hull UK City of Culture 2017 to present a show bigger in scale and ambition than anything they have produced before. The show went on sale on 22 September, and the theatre recently announced that The Hypocrite is the fastest selling production since their Ferensway building opened in 2009.

The Hypocrite is accompanied by intergenerational participation project Defiance (22 - 25 Mar), a devised piece from Hull Truck Senior Youth Theatre and Act III over 55s theatre makers group. The piece explores what happens when ‘the protest generation’ meets the ‘politically apathetic’, and asks what defiance means to two different generations in 2017. It will take place in a secret location in Hull.  

Hull Truck Theatre productions from young people

Hull Truck Theatre are also proud to present the world premiere of Our Mutual Friend (16 - 19 Aug), presented with Hull UK City of Culture 2017, adapted by playwright Bryony Lavery from the novel by Charles Dickens. Around 100 performers from the 11-13, 14-16 and 16+ Hull Truck Youth Theatre groups will unite for the first time on the main stage in this feisty new production. Our Mutual Friend was written in 1865 and set in London, but is a story that feels relevant for Hull Truck Youth Theatre. Renewal is one of the story’s central themes, with characters fighting to change their future and struggling to overcome society’s expectations. It explores many other themes key to Dickens’ novels; romance, unrequited love, kindness, hidden identities and redemption.

Hull Truck Youth Theatre present The Crysalides (12 - 13 Apr), and a double bill of work including Remote and This Changes Everything (20 - 22 Apr).

Regional Young Actors Ensemble and Hull UK City of Culture 2017 present Without Borders (26 Aug), a physical street-theatre explosion performed in Hull City Centre. This free performance explores what it is to be shackled, and what the journey to freedom really looks like. Regional Young Actors Ensemble is a pilot project for 2017 in which Hull Truck Theatre, Derby Theatre and Live Theatre Newcastle offer vocational actor training to young people aged 18 - 25.

Festivals

Hull Truck Theatre are proud to be hosting and curating a range of world-class festivals this season. Grow Festival (23 - 27 May) returns as the main event in Hull Truck Theatre’s year-round programme of artist development. It includes performances, workshops, panel discussions, international collaborations, and platforms for presenting work for the first time. Now in its third year, Grow Festival has become one of the key events in Hull’s cultural calendar.  

Soror (9 - 10 Mar), presented by Hull Truck Theatre and Hull UK City of Culture 2017, is a powerful, acrobatic dance performance from an all-female company exploring emotional and physical closeness between women. It comes to Hull Truck Theatre as part of the Southbank Centre's WOW - Women of the World Festival (10-12 March, events taking place across Hull). 

Hull Truck Theatre also welcome the regular Hull Jazz Festival (11 - 16 July) in its 25th anniversary year, including performances from saxophonist Snake Davis, French guitarist Sébastien Giniaux, and the reunion of Hull jazz band Hot Club Legends.

Hull Independent Cinema return with their popular Film Festival (3 - 8 July), as well as presenting the best of independent and world cinema throughout the season as part of Hull Truck Screen. 

Diverse programme from visiting companies

Visiting drama this season includes The John Godber Company and Theatre Royal Wakefield’s The Empty Nesters’ Club (18 - 22 Apr), telling the story of the inaugural meeting of parents whose children have grown up and left home.

Performances by local theatre groups include musical Betty Blue Eyes (12 - 13 Apr) from NAPA, based on the film A Private Function by Alan Bennett, bittersweet comedy Sex Cells (27 June – 1 July) from The Chameleon Players, The Baker’s Wife (18 - 22 July) from Hessle Theatre Company, and One Off Productions’ musical-within-a-musical The Drowsy Chaperone (5 – 8 July).

Contemporary theatre includes Lung’s E15 (8 - 11 Feb), which focusses on 29 single mothers fighting the gentrification of Newham in London, adapted from real-life testimonies of those struggling through Britain’s housing crisis. Eurohouse (15 - 16 Feb) takes a darkly comic look at the EU’s founding ideals, whilst Jack Rooke’s Good Grief (12 - 13 May) celebrates finding happiness after tragedy, exploring how we treat the bereaved and the state of welfare for grieving families. Rachael Clerke and The Great White Males present Cuncrete (26 - 27 Apr), a drag king punk musical about architecture and idealism, with original music, grotesque posturing, sharp suits and fresh cement.

Live music at Hull Truck Theatre includes Two Pianos (14 Jan) performing the rock n’ roll hits of Elvis, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. Swinging at the Cotton Club (21 Jan) recreates the music of 1920s New York’s hottest venue, the Cotton Club, whilst Hull’s foremost folk band The Hillbilly Troupe collaborate with a range of musicians in a celebration of the city’s folk scene (The Story of Hull Folk by Hillbilly Troupe and Friends, 4 Mar).

Putting the Band Back Together (15 - 16 Mar) is part gig, part tender storytelling from The Futureheads’ Ross Millard, Maria Crocker and Alex Elliot, asking why many of us have musical instruments gathering dust in the attic and voices heard only in the shower. The performance features a different band every evening formed of ex-players – audience members are invited to join in by emailing band@unfoldingtheatre.co.uk.

The comedy line-up includes Comedian Scott Gibson, who tells the story of the brain haemorrhage which changed his life forever in his new show Life After Death (17 May), and James Wilson-Taylor attempts to rebrand the redhead in Ginger is the New Black (24 June) after his sell-out run at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Hull Truck Screen and Hull Independent Cinema continue to present the best independent films and live event screenings from around the world. Highlights include RSC Live screenings of The Tempest (11 Jan), Julius Caesar (29 Apr) and Anthony and Cleopatra (31 May), as well as Saint Joan (17 Feb) and Hedda Gabler (11 Mar) from NT Live.

Creative Voice and Hull Dance take over Hull Truck Theatre in Creative Voice Dance (29 Jan), introducing the next generation of performers and choreographers, whilst Barely Methodical Troupe return to Hull Truck Theatre following their performance of Kin earlier this year. Their award-winning show Bromance (25 - 28 Jan) wittily explores male companionship and its limits through high octane circus skills and movement.

Musical theatre this season includes Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (1 Feb), fresh from London’s West End with an Olivier Award to its name. A brand new musical comedy is created from scratch at each performance as audience suggestions are transformed on the spot into a production, with hilarious results.

One off events include Bang Said the Gun (28 July), a spoken word evening voted best poetry night in the UK by The Times, and A One Night Stand with Barrie Rutter (19 Jan) which sees the actor and director take to the stage to share a collection of readings and anecdotes from his glittering career.

There are many family friendly productions in Hull Truck Theatre’s season. Children can dive into the depths of their imaginations in Finlay McGuigan’s Great Adventures in Storyland (the last Saturday of every month), the perfect interactive performance for little ones aged 3 to 8 and their families. Battersea Arts Centre present Mouth Open, Story Jump Out (18 Feb) by master story maker-upper and spoken word artist Polarbear, whilst Mimika Theatre return with their wordless visual show Small Worlds (3 June), an unforgettable story of friendship between a group of animals and a six-year-old girl, told in their unique white tent.

Frozen Light present a show for audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities in association with New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich. Home (9 - 10 May) tells the tale of two friends learning how to survive and create a future together in an environment that is full of surprises.

Pricing initiatives and accessible performances

Hull Truck Theatre are committed to being as accessible as possible for all audiences. This season they are giving bookers more choice with a range of ticket options, multibuy savings, concessions, groups rates and Pay What You Can nights, as well as accessible performances including audio descriptions and captioning (full details below).

Offers include the Dinner and a Show (a ticket, a main course meal, parking and show programme), a Family and Friends ticket, and the popular Drama Deal which gives audiences the chance to see more shows for less.

This season they are introducing the new Drama Deal Plus, which offers patrons the VIP treatment for £20 a year. Patrons receive priority booking before each new season, with 10% discount on food and drink, as well as free parking for up to 5 visits.

Hull Truck Theatre are running audio described performances for The Hypocrite (16 Mar), Richard III (18 May), Mighty Atoms (22 June) and Our Mutual Friend (18 Aug), as well as touch tours for visually impaired patrons before each audio described show. 

Accessible performances include gentler sound effects, additional lighting, and a relaxed and friendly attitude to noise and moving around the auditorium – The Hypocrite (11 Mar), Richard III (20 May), Mighty Atoms (17 June). Captioned performances include Richard III (24 May), Mighty Atoms (28 June), and Our Mutual Friend (19 Aug). 

Mark Babych (Artistic Director) and Janthi Mills-Ward (Executive Director), said: "Welcome to the first half of our world-class programme for Hull UK City of Culture 2017. We have a year of ambitious and exceptional drama for 2017, telling powerful human stories which resonate with our city and beyond. We are excited to be working with internationally renowned artists whilst staying true to our roots and remaining a cultural hub for our communities.

"Highlights of the season include celebrations of our city’s heritage and bright future; it’s important to put local stories on our stage during Hull’s year in the spotlight.

"Young people are also a key part of our season and ongoing work. They will be performing on the same stage as renowned national and international artists, which will be an inspiring experience and will hopefully encourage them to be involved in the arts long past 2017. 

"Our diverse programme certainly has something for all tastes. All of this ambitious work is evidence of the exciting journey that Hull Truck Theatre is on, and we want to continue to offer audiences innovative, high quality work for years to come.’"

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