Lost Property

Lost Property: Listen to some of Hull’s LGBT+ stories

If you’ve popped into a local café recently, you might have spotted one of our Lost Property zines. Created by members of Hull’s LGBT+ community, all of whom are non-professional writers who responded to an open call out back in May, the zine features personal stories with themes ranging from advice you wish you could have told your teenage self, to meeting your first love and dealing with discrimination.

And if you haven’t picked up a zine, fear not. Stories are often told best from the mouths of their creators, and in this series of audio clips, our storytellers share their unique tales with you.

 

FOREWORD BY TOM WELLS

Lost Property workshop leader and East Yorkshire playwright Tom Wells reminisces about one particularly memorable bus ride home from school.

MY WHITE NIGHT BY DANIEL COLE

A surprising tale of how love can arise from the most unexpected places.

CHOSEN BY THIS PLACE BY N THOMPSON

A story about overcoming discrimination and finding a safe space.

 

DEAR 13 YEAR OLD ME BY KERRIE MARSH

Knowledge and advice Kerrie wishes she could have known as an LGBT+ teen.

 

ODDS RATIO BY SMADAR NAVE MAGEN

An unlikely romance that spanned continents and defied all odds.

 

A BLACK EYED CHRISTMAS BY MATT COMMERFORD

A story about overcoming troubled times with a little help from your hometown.

 

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM BY MICHAEL MANN

Navigating through that all-important coming out conversation with your nearest and dearest.

 

LIVE AND LET LOSS BY ADAM STRONG

A short story about friendships and unrequited romance.

 

TINDER, TEQUILA AND LOST HOPE BY MOLLY SMALLWOOD

Online dating should be simple, right? Apparently not.

 

FREEDOM BY KODI MAIER

How Hull became the backdrop to a journey of self discovery.

British Road Signs

Q&A: Patrick Murphy, curator of British Road Signs and Director of MADE NORTH

British Road Signs has been encouraging visitors to stop, look and consider the design of this iconic staple of the roads. Playful takes on the signs by prominent artists and designers in a gallery setting have helped transform them, inspiring a new appreciation in the design of the humble road sign.

Here Patrick Murphy, Director and Curator of MADE NORTH reveals a little-known story behind the signs, plus his thoughts on design and culture in the region.

Q. What made you want to pay homage to the road sign?

As a designer and an artist I’ve always been inspired by them as they’re great examples of understated everyday design. Whether we’re driving or walking – they’re everywhere in the towns and cities that we occupy so I’ve always been interested in their role.

When it was the 50th anniversary of the British road sign in 2015 it seemed quite fitting to create a project that celebrated them. I know that other designers and artists love them as well, so it made sense to throw it out to the community for everyone to respond to.

Q. What makes Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir’s designs so iconic?

They did something that’s quite unique – Margaret’s designs are actually quite human, personal. Even though we’re very used to seeing them every day, if you actually go up and look at them afresh you’ll notice that they’re well proportioned, well drawn. Margaret did most of the pictograms – for example the children crossing the road and the roadworks.

Jock Kinneir oversaw the whole project – he did the more typographic side of the design, for example the arrows that everybody sees. The human aspect of the signs, the fact that they’re not mechanically drawn and you can see Margaret’s hand at work in them makes them iconic.

Meeting and working with Margaret, you could see how this had evolved from her own personality as a typographer as well. She helped design the transport and motorway typefaces. It’s the humanity in it.

Q. What did you learn about the personal history of the road sign through working with Margaret?

The human element that she uses. For example, the children crossing the road: the girl leading the boy by the hand is a self-portrait by Margaret. That’s her as a young girl – it’s an example of a story you don’t really realise when you’re looking at the signs. She swapped those roles because the previous sign in the 30s had a boy leading the girl by the hand. With it being the 60s she brought in a bit of girl power. She swapped these roles around and designed the girl around her own self-portrait.

Before computers everything was hand drawn – and although she uses a computer now Margaret still prefers hand-drawn designs and typography that’s been created over the years. Visiting her and meeting her, and seeing her studios, it’s clear that there’s a lot of well-crafted work there.

Q. What are the pieces in the show that stand out for you?

There are so many – it’s hard to pick! There are some that stand out – Aubrey Powell’s reworking of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album, which fits perfectly with the triangle. There’s also FUEL’s reworking of the swastika and Sir Peter Blake’s four pop-art signs which really work well as a series. I just like the fact that people have been able to put their own personalities to it.

Sir Terence Conran did a graphic sign showing somebody splattered on the road – which is perhaps more violent to get a point across, but people should make their own choice!

British Road Signs at Humber Street Gallery. Photo © James Mulkeen.

Q. What are the aims or goals of your organisation MADE NORTH?

MADE NORTH has always tried to promote northern design. I don’t know whether the northern powerhouse as a thing is definable or not. It’s more of an abstract idea. As long as we can champion and showcase northern designers and work with them we’re achieving our aims.

We’re trying to do more publications with designers in the next few years. It’s important that we keep discussing and promoting the North in an interesting way, and avoid the clichés that can be used.

Q. What are your views on Hull 2017 so far? Have you managed to visit?

Yeah, I’ve visited a number of times. I think it’s fantastic. I think the North really needs events like this to promote its output, and also bring national and international artists into the city from abroad. It’s fantastic.

You’ve got the Turner Prize this year, which is great because it brings people outside of Hull into the city, but also gives people based in Hull access to great events and great exhibitions throughout the year.

 

Don’t miss British Road Signs, on until 29 October.

Hull Print Fair set to take over Humber Street Gallery

Established in 2015, Hull Print Fair has been helping new, emerging and established artists share their work with the city. This weekend the event takes over Humber Street Gallery with a wealth of artists hailing from our own city and further afield, sharing creative talent from neighbouring northern cities.

Committed to variety, each day will introduce a new selection of artists’ work to peruse, as well as a variety of workshops. With 20 artists displaying work across two days there’s plenty to browse – keep an eye out for North or Nowt, printers of the striking Hull Print Fair ‘!’ poster designed by Lydia and Josh. Manchester based Saffa Khan will also be on hand offering print related food for thought alongside Liverpool’s Neil Keating and Hull’s Matt FratsonPop Press will bring prints fresh from their garden workshop and graffiti artist VROK will be representing Hull’s zine scene.

Q. What’s Hull Print Fair all about?

Lydia: Hull Print Fair is an annual celebration of all things print. Showcasing the best in contemporary design, art and illustration from Hull and beyond, we aim to connect the talent of the North through events and workshops. We promote the art-form by creating opportunities for the general public to experience the joy of printmaking through free activities, as well as encouraging the development of traditional print usage in Hull through supporting local artists.

Q. Who’s behind the fair?

Lydia: Hull Print Fair is run by Josh Williams, and myself. We’re both Hull-born and based creatives actively engaged in the local art scene. We’re both associate members of contemporary arts group, Hack & Host, who are currently running the public engagement programme for Turner Prize 2017.

I’m a graphic artist with an interest in print, vernacular design and ethnography. Alongside my artistic practice of pattern, print and publications, I have a background in community arts and public engagement. This year I’ve worked on projects including painting a giant fisherman for the Terrace Enders project with artist Kev Largey, running Humber Street Gallery’s Free Play Friday sessions and helping bring I Wish To Communicate With You to East Hull.

Josh is a Hull-based graphic designer, specialising in strong use of print and typography. His experimental design explores and researches various topics, and he always ensures the design is accessible and digestible for everyone in a visually engaging way. It’s Josh that started the print fair in its humble beginnings back in 2015 at a market at Früit.

Q. Why did you want to establish the print fair in Hull?

Lydia: Both of us studied in larger cities – Manchester and Leeds. Their bustling student populations, including art schools with dedicated fine art, illustration, graphic arts and design courses, meant there was always a lively art scene with constant events, exhibitions and a DIY scene of prints and zines amongst students. Returning to Hull was much quieter, and it seemed a lot of artists worked in quite an insular way. It was also surprising there wasn’t a go-to annual print fair, when we’d got to used to popping up every month or so back when studying! We knew there was talent already out there that needed bringing into the public eye – and a print fair seemed like the most accessible way to do this. A fair is familiar to people, and it brings contemporary art, illustration, and design to new audiences, whilst helping local creatives (especially younger/student artists) become confident sharing their work and meeting like-minded individuals from Hull and other northern cities.

Q. What’s Hull’s print scene (and the wider creative community) like to be a part of?

Lydia: The art scene is really exciting to be a part of and it’s constantly getting more interesting. Both of us have experienced more opportunities through the City of Culture status. Like most art forms now, we’re sure the appetite for print will continue to grow… this weekend alone will see Hull Print Fair take over Humber Street Gallery with artists and free workshops, In Print Biennial at Studio Eleven and KAG gallery, plus a showcase of work from Hull Print Collective in KAG gallery.

Q. What can we expect from this weekend, especially regarding workshops?

Lydia: We have the wonderful printmaker Karen Edwards of Redbutton Press coming over from Liverpool on Saturday, armed with ink, postcards kindly supplied by G. F. Smith and a gorgeous letter press. She’ll be running a free letterpress demo all day next to her stall, for anyone to take part in. We’ve clued her up with typical Hull words and sayings and she’s chosen one to recreate on a postcard – the lucky chosen word is a surprise though!

For little ones and early birds on Sunday, local artist Claire West will be running a family-friendly relief print workshop. Join her between 10am and 12pm in KAG gallery to get involved – the event is free and drop-in, so no need to book. Come back after dinner at 1pm where local group, gallery and press Ground will be showing you how to make your very own mini publication in their zine-making workshop.

 

Head to Hull Print Fair at Humber Street Gallery this weekend (21-22 October, 10am- 6pm) to find out what it’s all about.  

Good Things Come To Those Who Bake

In 2017, we have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK. This culminated in the summer with LGBT 50, a week-long programme of expression and togetherness here in Hull. But our quest for equality and support for the LGBT+ community doesn’t end there.

As part of our Make It Happen campaign we met six incredible people who, in their own lives, through family ties or in their career, have a special connection to the LGBT+ community. Everybody’s LGBT+ journey is unique, but by coming together and sharing their stories with us, these six individuals are starting a conversation that we all need to take part in.

If you’d like any further support or advice about the issues in this film, these are just a few of the organisations who would love to hear from you:

– The Warren Youth Project SHOUT Group

 University of Hull Student Union LGBT+ Group

– LGBT Christian Fellowship

– Transcendence

– Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (FFLAG)

– Age UK

– Yorkshire MESMAC

– Hull & East Yorkshire MIND

– Let’s Talk Hull

Discover more about our Make It Happen campaign and see how small changes can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing during Hull 2017 and beyond.

SKIN at Back To Ours

Q&A: Back To Ours choreographer Andrea Walker

The next Back To Ours festival is fast approaching, and we’re getting super excited about the spectacles in store, from breath-taking acrobatics to raucous gigs and a very special secret performance. One show that we’re particularly excited about, however, is SKIN: a magical fusion of hip-hop, dance and theatre by the award-winning 201 Dance Company.

Telling the story of an intimate journey of gender transition to discover a body that feels like home, SKIN will be performed at Winifred Holtby Academy on 31 Oct and 1 Nov.

Crafting the choreography is the uber-talented Andrea Walker, founder of 201 Dance Company and dancer for the likes of Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Aggro Santos and Ebony Bones.

Here, Andrea tells us about some of the themes behind SKIN and what makes the show so special.

SKIN at Back To Ours. Photo © Chris Nash c/o 201 Dance Company

Q: What does 201 Dance Company do differently to other companies out there at the moment?

A: When I founded the company and set out to create our first production Smother, I wanted to use hip-hop to present an intimate yet dysfunctional relationship between two young men – one very much inspired by personal events of mine.

To present an LGBTQ story using hip-hop theatre was something quite new that caught the media’s attention and interested people from the offset. LGBTQ themes are not usually tackled through urban dance, so it’s a boundary I purposely set out to break.

As a choreographer and director, I like to tell stories that expose issues in an accessible way. Hip-hop makes this possible, and I believe LGBTQ stories now need to be told more than ever.

 

Q: What was the inspiration behind SKIN and what themes can we expect to see?

A: After the success of Smother, I wanted to continue to tell LGBTQ stories that matter, so SKIN follows a trans boy’s journey to acceptance. We see his battles with anxiety, family and ideologies imposed by today’s society.

We’ve worked very closely with our dramaturg Kit Redstone on the show, and it’s become something very emotional that anyone who has ever felt out of place will be able to relate to.

If you didn’t think hip-hop could make you cry, you might be in for a surprise.

Q: How do you translate serious and emotional themes into an exciting dance piece?

A: Before I became a choreographer, my background was in film production, and that has been massively influential in the way I create. With my work, I almost want the audience to forget they’re watching a dance show, forget the characters are dancers and just follow the story – almost exactly like they are watching a film unfold.

Narrative is key to me, so when I create movement, none of it can be gratuitous. Everything needs to push the story forward. Dance is so incredible expressive, and today I continue to be amazed at what can be said with movement rather than words, especially with such emotional themes.

Q: What qualities did you look for in your SKIN dance crew and what makes them so special?

A: When choosing my dancers, I mainly look for stamina, strength and a lot of individuality. I like to use dancers who can bring something new to the table and who have a way of moving that is very specific to themselves, but it’s also important that they can adapt to the company’s unique movement stamp.

There’s a good mix of dancers in the crew – some have impressive commercial credits, dancing on Britain’s Got Talent, MTV and for big brands, whilst others are recent graduates with a ridiculous amount of energy and passion. I find that incredibly inspiring.

 

Q: Finally, why should people come to SKIN?

A: SKIN follows an individual’s journey of belonging and acceptance that so many of us will find familiar. The show is a real rollercoaster of emotions, with some powerful choreography and genuine performances. If you didn’t think hip-hop could make you cry, you might be in for a surprise.

 

SKIN will take place at Winifred Holtby Academy from 31 Oct to 1 Nov as part of Back To Ours. Tickets are available now from £2.50 to £5.

The Sixteen Thousand

The Sixteen Thousand

Imagine a world designed and built by the next generation – how would they make their mark on our surroundings? In this exhibition and throughout The Sixteen Thousand project, we have been exploring this freedom of expression with all children under the age of five in Hull.

And this is what happens when thousands of creative minds run wild.

The Sixteen Thousand is exhibited from 2 Oct to 5 Nov at Block C, C4Di. Creative, drop-in clay workshops will be held every weekend and throughout the school half-term holidays (Mon 30 Oct to Fri 3 Nov).

Q&A: Back To Ours playwright Tom Wells

Tickets are flying out of the door for our third Back To Ours festival, heading to a community space near you from 31 Oct to 5 Nov. With a quality line-up including Black Grape, Badly Drawn Boy, 201 Dance Company’s SKIN, Upswing Aerial’s Bedtime Stories and Once Upon A Pillow Fight, to name a few, it’s one you certainly won’t want to miss.

But today, we’re here to talk about Drip, the hilarious one-man musical written by award-winning East Yorkshire playwright Tom Wells, starring Andrew Finnigan.

Tackling themes of friendship, sexuality and adolescence, the show is directed by Jane Fallowfield and features original music by Matthew Robins.

We chatted with Tom Wells to find out more.

Q: TELL US ABOUT DRIP AND WHAT AUDIENCES CAN EXPECT TO SEE.

A: Drip is a musical comedy about two 15-year old friends – Caz, who sets up Beverley Road Baths’ first ever synchronised swimming team, and Liam, who can’t swim but joins in anyway. It’s about the value of just having a go at things, even if they don’t seem very do-able and also about being a teenager and gay in Hull. Audiences can expect singing and even some underwater bits!

Q: WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR THIS PLAY COME FROM?

A: Sometimes in the night I wake up and write down really good ideas for plays and then, in the morning, they seem less good. That’s kind of what happened with Drip. Two years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night, really inspired, and wrote “someone who does synchronised swimming, but just by herself.” By morning, it sounded bad, but the idea sort of took hold in my head.

Gradually, I got characters and a world around the idea and chatted to Jane Fallowfield about it. I realised we could maybe write some songs for it and we’d have a sweet, soulful, funny musical about having a go at stuff with your mates, and being 15, and wearing armbands.

Q: DRIP IS A ONE-MAN MUSICAL. HOW IS WRITING A ONE-PERSON PLAY DIFFERENT TO ONE WITH A WIDER CAST?

A: It’s just a different sort of storytelling, but otherwise it’s the same things that matter – the voice, the character, the story. The main difference is for the actor, I think. But Andrew Finnigan is brilliant, so we’re in safe hands.

Q: WHAT MUSIC GENRE CAN WE EXPECT TO HEAR IN DRIP?

A: Last year I wrote a play called Broken Biscuits about three teenagers who form an indie pop band in their dad’s garden shed. Matthew Robins, who I’ve been working alongside for a couple of years now, produced the music and will also be working on Drip, so that gives an idea of how it might sound.

I wrote the lyrics for Drip and one of the lovely things about songwriting is that you get to work collaboratively. Once the lyrics are ready I can give them to Matthew and he comes back with questions and suggestions and really lovely music. It gets a bit lonely writing plays, so it’s nice to have someone else to work with as you go along.

Drip at Back To Ours.

Q: WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT FOR FESTIVALS SUCH AS BACK TO OURS TO TAKE THE CITY OF CULTURE PROGRAMME OUT TO PEOPLE’S DOORSTEPS?

A: Everyone in Hull should get the chance to see or take part in something special this year. Hopefully the Back To Ours festival makes that a bit easier. I’ve really loved the programme so far – my favourite bit as watching a very smiley pensioner dance with a drag king in North Point Shopping Centre – and I’m properly proud that our show is part of it, too.

People have had access to things that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise (at least, I have) and they have approached them with openness and warmth. I hope that the audience at Back To Ours will be up for seeing more stuff in the future, or (even better) making some of their own. That’d be magic.

Q: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEBODY WHO MAY BE INTERESTED IN PLAYWRITING?

A: I think the best thing to do is just have a go. Put your heart into it. Write in your own voice, about stuff that really matters to you and characters you care about. Try not to worry too much. Once you’ve made it as good as you can, show it to somebody who you trust to give thoughtful and helpful feedback. Listen to the feedback and make it better if you can, then when it feels ready, send it to a theatre who will read it, advise you and maybe even put it on.

Q: WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN HULL TO PAVE THE WAY FOR NEW WRITERS?

I’d like to see an initiative in Hull’s theatre community to help people who are interested in writing to write their first full-length play. When I started writing 10 years ago, I had to go to Leeds to find a theatre that ran workshops to teach a brand new writer like me how to write a play. It makes me sad and angry that this is still the case.

I think a genuine investment in the city’s grassroots writers now is the only way to make sure theatre in the city stays sparky and relevant to its audiences in the years to come.

Drip will run at this year’s Back To Ours festival on 3 Nov at Archbishop Sentamu Academy. A limited number of tickets are available now at £2.50-£5.

INTERVIEW: Shane Rhodes, literature festival director

“Literature is all around us,” says Shane Rhodes. “We are absorbing it all the time without realising it. From adverts, football chants, films and songs. It doesn’t have to be academic… good writing can and does enrich people’s everyday lives.”

And if anyone knows about contemporary literature in Hull, Shane knows.

As Hull dives into a double whammy of high-profile literary festivals, the man who’s helping to bring the cream of the world’s writers, performers and poets together explains why everyone should give these events a go. Even if you’re, well, not too sure about going to a poetry gig… “People should put aside any preconceptions and come along with an open mind,” he says. “I have seen it happen before when I have persuaded literature novices to go to readings. They go in with scepticism and leave converted.”

This year, the acclaimed Hull poet and author of The City Speaks is co-directing the BBC’s new Contains Strong Language festival, which runs from National Poetry Day, Thursday 28 September, to Sunday 1 October.

It is immediately followed by Hull’s annual feast of literary fun, the Humber Mouth literature festival (Monday 2 October to Sunday 8 October), of which Shane is artistic director.

This year, to mark our 25th anniversary, we have invited internationally renowned writers such as Melvyn Bragg and Will Self.

Highlights of Contains Strong Language, which he is co-directing with the BBC’s Sue Roberts, include Dr John Cooper Clarke’s rapid-fire punk poetry and Kate Tempest and band performing the award-winning album Let Them Eat Chaos. Free events include a celebration of Caribbean spoken word by Grace Nichols and John Agard, as well as

Then there’s BBC 1Xtra’s Words First with DJ Mim Shaikh, performances by the likes of Isaiah Hull, Chiedu Oraka and more.  There’s 6Music’s Cerys Matthews and Radio Two’s Jo Whiley, Hull poets Joe Hakim, Vicky Foster and Dean Wilson; and we’re barely scratching the surface of an eclectic, jam-packed and mostly free programme.

“It has been a great learning opportunity and thoroughly enjoyable for me to work with the BBC on this project,” says Shane. “Hull 2017 has placed more focus on Hull and has encouraged more artists to come and new audiences to visit.”

The two festivals weld together perfectly and complement each other.

His driving force, he adds, is the desire to continue delivering quality art in Hull.

In fact, if you’ve visited Hull city centre this year, there’s a good chance you’ll have encountered Shane’s work. He’s the poet whose words sum up the essence of the city so perfectly, they run through Queen Victoria Square, engraved in to the pavement. The City Speaks poem was also read to an audience of 25,000 people on 1 Jan 2017, performed into and displayed upon the tidal barrier art installation of the same name. It’s also published the traditional way, through Shane’s independent publishing house Wrecking Ball Press.

And, when the poetry and performances of BBC Contains Strong Language flow seamlessly in the spoken-word events of Humber Mouth on 2 October, Shane has even more extra-special gigs lined up.

“The two festivals weld together perfectly and complement each other,” he says. “The Humber Mouth’s ethos is about presenting an eclectic mix with a broad appeal, and every year we attract new audiences. This year, to mark our 25th anniversary, we have invited internationally renowned writers such as Melvyn Bragg and Will Self.

“We have Wilde Without The Boy, which is a critically acclaimed solo performance based on Oscar Wilde’s prison letters to his lover. The hilarious Sara Pascoe will read from her debut book.

“We have an innovative partnership between Kathryn Williams and Laura Barnett who are combining literature and music. There will also be plenty more surprises in store.”

So what are you waiting for? Eleven days. Two festivals. One city. Endless words. No excuses…

Booking details

BBC Contains Strong Language: Thu 28 Sept – Sun 1 Oct.

Humber Mouth: Mon 2 Oct – Sun 8 Oct.

 

 

 

 

 

Interview: Why we’re celebrating Trevor Key’s Top 40

“Trevor Key made high art for the high street, fine art for Woolworths,” says Scott King, the graphic designer responsible for bringing Key’s work home to Hull.

Back in the day, the late Trevor Key’s fine art photography and collaborative art could indeed be seen all over Woolies. And Our Price. And every other now-defunct record store of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

From Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, to X-Ray Spex’s Germ Free Adolescents, the Sex Pistols’ Some Product via New Order’s Technique and Wham’s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Trevor Key’s eye-catching works of art could go home with you, wrapped around the record you’d just bought on your Saturday trip to the shops.

Trevor Key deserves to be celebrated as a great son of Hull.
– Scott King

Although the record, explains lifelong music fan Scott, wasn’t always the main priority.

Tubular Bells, for example, is almost like a painting with a record in it,” he says. “It’s a strange dichotomy, because I didn’t love the record, but I always loved the sleeve. I still think it’s one of the best album covers there is.”

Iconic, mass-produced and accessible. Whether your musical tastes veered towards the prog rock of the mid-1970s, late 1970s punk, the post punk of early 1980s, or the pure pop and electronica of the 1980s and early 1990s, record cover art was – and still is – a huge part of the appeal of buying records.

Trevor Key s Top 40, Brodrick Gallery, Hull School of Art and Design © Chris Pepper

“I’m 48,” says Scott, “and for my generation, the sleeve was such a big part of the record. It was crucial to have a good cover.”

A good cover, in fact, can be priceless. As a young art student at Hull School of Art and Design, Scott stumbled across upon a D&AD design competition, exhibiting work by alumni of the school. And there was New Order’s Technique album cover, complete with photography by Hull-born Trevor Key.

“I couldn’t equate the fact that someone from my art college could do that,” says Scott, who hails from the East Yorkshire town of Goole. “It blew my mind. It was very inspirational.”

Taking that art school inspiration and running with it, Scott went on to design and art direct for i-D magazine, was creative director for style bible Sleazenation and has been chair of visual communication at the University of the Arts, London. He has produced work for likes of the Pet Shop Boys, Morrissey, Suicide, St Etienne, Suede and Teenage Fanclub, and written several books. “Trevor Key deserves to be celebrated as a great son of Hull,” he says. “His work is a form of popular art.”

His images remain iconic and set a benchmark that very few others have reached.
– Jon Savage

For Trevor Key’s Top 40, Scott has worked closely with the late artist’s family and his former personal assistant Toby McFarlan Pond to curate a collection of work that is doing Key’s legacy proud.

“It came about because I knew Toby, and he put me in touch with Lesley Dilcock, Trevor Key’s partner,” explains Scott. “This exhibition is by no means a retrospective, but Trevor really does deserve one.

“He worked throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and you can see the changes in fashion in his work. His early stuff, for example, is very prog rock – a thing of its time. It’s zeitgeist. His record sleeves are brilliant collaborations, although Tubular Bells, perhaps his most iconic piece, was purely Trevor.”

Next, says Scott, came pre-punk, which saw many artwork collaborations between Key and Cooke. Record sleeves were representative of “establishment comedy punk”, such as Derek and Clive’s Come Again. And by the time this particular comedy duo were releasing Ad Nauseum, they were pretty much “out-and-out, total punk”.

Key’s punk credentials were reinforced with record sleeve photography for X-Ray Spex’s classic Germ Free Adolescents, as well as a long-standing collaboration with Jamie Reid, for Sex Pistols’ record sleeves.

Jon Savage, author of England’s Dreaming, says: “In his work for the Sex Pistols and Mike Oldfield, to name but two, Trevor Key mixed technical excellence and precision with a clear sense of fun and mischief. His images remain iconic and set a benchmark that very few others have reached.”

By 1981, he was working with Peter Saville on doing New Order cover artworks, and their success led to record sleeve art for likes of Peter Gabriel and Wham!.

It’s much more exciting to attempt to say whatever you want to a mass audience – even if you’re stopped – than it is to be given free rein over a niche audience
– Scott King

Prog-rock, punk, pop… they can be seen in all their eclectic glory, displayed on a rack that Scott, Lesley Dilcock and Toby McFarlan Pond commissioned especially for Trevor Key’s Top 40.

Bright young thing Matthew Darbyshire – a British artist renowned for railing against mass production and today’s consumer society – was brought in to create a unique display case that would be a work of art in itself. On the one hand, its design is intended to evoke a whiff of nostalgia for those record shopping trips down your local high street. On the other, its bespoke nature suggests it is the “reverse, or inverse, of the mass-produced populist high art that Trevor did”.

It’s all about the balance between pop and art, says Scott. Key’s record sleeves undoubtedly had mass appeal, effectively breaking down barriers to art by making it accessible.

Even punk, which tends to be seen – or want to be seen – as an antithesis to commercialism, needs the balance. “You have to draw personal lines about the mass appeal of punk,” says Scott. “The Sex Pistols, for example, needed to sell records to rail against the system. And [Trevor Key collaborator] Jamie Reid’s work, is about infiltrating from the inside. It’s much more exciting to attempt to say whatever you want to a mass audience – even if you’re stopped – than it is to be given free rein over a niche audience.”

Trevor Key’s Top 40 is on display at the Brodrick Gallery at Hull School of Art and Design, weekdays until Wednesday 18 October, from 10am to 5pm. It then moves to Ings Library in east Hull from Fri 20 Oct to Fri 17 Nov, and Fred Moore Library in west Hull from Mon 20 Nov to Mon 18 Dec. It is part of the Hull 2017 Creative Communities Programme.

Scott King , Lesley Dilcock and Toby McFarlan Pond would like to thank Lucy King and Jackie Goodman for their help in bringing Trevor Key’s Top 40 to fruition.

Interview: It’s Different For Girls

If you think ‘girl power’ started with The Spice Girls in the mid-1990s, think again. Hull had already cornered the market with Mandy And The Girlfriends, one of the country’s first all-female beat groups, playing around the pubs and clubs of the city, and further afield.

“When we started in 1965, not all of the band could play their instruments,” says Karen Baker, keyboard player with Mandy And The Girlfriends. “All the venues in the city used to have a resident drummer, so we would borrow one until ours was ready. The audiences were maybe curious about us at first, but there were so many clubs in those days in Hull, we quickly became known on the circuit.

Going on to tour Germany and record an album, the band continued to perform, preferring life on the road to the chance to appear on talent TV shows such as Opportunity Knocks.

It’s an untold tale that has resonated with She Productions, an all-female theatre company resident at the East Riding Theatre in Beverley.

Rachel Barnes, who plays Karen’s counterpart in the production inspired by the band, It’s Different For Girls, says: “It was Andy Pearson at Ensemble 52 who told us about the story and helped us put on an initial performance at a scratch reading night. We loved the fact they were just a group of teenage girls who had an idea and ran with it. But we also liked the parallels between them and us as a young theatre company, working in what’s a very difficult industry with a lack of funding. They just said let’s do it ourselves and that’s kind of what we’re doing.”

The production isn’t a straight retelling of the band’s story, though.

“It’s inspired by their story,” says Rachel. “You always have to juice things up a bit for the purposes of drama.” The production centres on a fictional band, Sindy And The Girlfriends, but it’s the Girlfriends’s biography, written and published by band members, along with the band’s original scrapbook of photographs and press cuttings that gave the cast credit the grounding they needed in the era.

“We’ve also used lots of anecdotes The Girlfriends told us,” says Rachel. “We had a dinner party the first time we met them and it’s interesting how we just clicked, all of us are naturally quite similar to the people we play.”

As you’d expect, music plays a large part in the production. Just as the band had to learn their instruments in the 1960s, the cast members had to get to grips with theirs. “Like Karen, I also played the keyboards before we started,” says Rachel, “so that’s a nice parallel, but the difference is that about half the songs in the production are original material. The Girlfriends only played covers, but it’s another challenge for us.”

It's Different For Girls

The urge to make music clearly hasn’t been diminished by the passage of time for the original Girlfriends.

“We made our first demo disc in Fairview Studios more than 50 years ago,” says Karen, confirming that the band is returning there to record again. “It’s where we started and where we’ll probably finish. We don’t expect it to go viral, but we’re hoping to make it available for people to listen to.”

It’s Different For Girls runs from Wednesday 6 September to Saturday 23 September, and the original Girlfriends can’t wait to see it.

“The whole thing feels weird, but in a good way,” says Karen. “We’ve only seen the first part of the production so far, but I’m coming along to see it with various parts of my family. My granddaughter is 22 and she thinks it’s great. Being in a band was a novelty for us in the first place, but we just loved doing it. Times have changed and it was such a long time ago now, but looking back on it still brings a lump to my throat.”

Q&A with James Ngcobo, director of internationally-acclaimed The Suitcase

Hailing from Johannesburg, poignant and timely play The Suitcase is forging international links between the North of England and South Africa.

A unique partnership with the Market Theatre Johannesburg is bringing international theatre to venues across the North, and Hull is its first UK stop.

Writer Es’kia Mphahlele’s story is as relevant now as it was in the 1950s, and James Ngcobo’s artistic vision has brought the short story to the stage.

Exploring issues of identity, migration, exile and celebration of the human spirit, the play follows the journey of a young newly-married couple as they try to start a new life in the city of Durban. Facing unemployment and alienation in the city, Timi is driven to steal a suitcase, an act that brings terrifying consequences.

Like Hull, Market Theatre Johannesburg has a history of supporting freedom. The theatre challenged the apartheid regime and dared to stand up against social injustice, acting as a vital and powerful voice for freedom and emancipation. The theatre’s artistic director James Ngcobo explains how this driving force has brought The Suitcase to life.

The Market Theatre has been hugely influential over the years, telling incredible
human stories that have reacted to and reflected various times in South African history,
most notably the human struggles during the Apartheid era. What drew you to adapt
The Suitcase for the stage and why is it an important story to tell?

From the second I finished reading The Suitcase I knew immediately that there was a need to adapt this short story and turn it into a theatrical piece.

I was moved by its universality; it’s a piece about a man who is desperate to change his life and his fortunes so he can provide for his beloved wife.

The one thing that moved me about The Suitcase is that it is set during a time of anarchy in South Africa and yet it is initially a love story about a couple who are navigating the troubled times. In the foreground it’s their love story, which is the bigger pivot of this piece.

The production has a beautiful simplicity, full of laughter, joy, pain and heartbreak and
includes some beautiful music by Grammy Award-winning Hugh Masekela – what was it
about Hugh’s approach to music that drew you to work with him and how does the music
enhance the story?

Hugh Masekela has been an absolute gift for me; he has been my mentor. Hugh has a love for theatre, he is very passionate about storytelling and about heritage so it was easy for me, once I had composed the songs for the piece. I brought him in to give the songs a period sound that emanates from where the story is set. It was when this play was chosen to open the Soweto Theatre, to be the very first play in that space, that I reworked the songs with him. The music is there to enhance the story and to take the narrative further.

You will be premiering The Suitcase as part of Hull Truck Theatre’s UK City of Culture
programme for Hull 2017 before going out on tour – how did the friendship between the
two theatres come about and how do you see it developing in the future?

This tour is happening this year all because of the buckets of passion that Mark Babych (Artistic Director at Hull Truck Theatre) has brought to the idea of a piece from South Africa coming to Hull on such a landmark year for the city.

We are looking forward to bringing the story by the prolific Professor Es’kia Mphahlele to Hull and the Northern tour after that. This visit is the gateway to the beginning of a relationship with Hull Truck Theatre, a relationship that will carry on past this tour.

Theatres around the world have always enjoyed collaborating with other theatres that share the same passions, the same DNA, and that is the fact between Hull Truck Theatre and the Market Theatre. These are theatres that are driven by the idea of exciting and surprising their patrons.

Are you looking forward to bringing The Suitcase to the UK?

We are so excited that we are about to visit the UK with a story set in South Africa, yet anyone can relate to this universal tale of a man who wants to change his life. A man walking with a dream and how the obsession with this dream changes his life. Whenever we perform this piece, people have always said that they are clear parallels with their own lives when they witness how Timi’s life unfolds.

The show will have its UK premiere at Hull Truck Theatre (31 August–9 September) as part of our Freedom season before touring to Newcastle (14-16 September), Derby (20-23 September), Lancaster (27-29 September) and Liverpool (4-8 October).

Kasang

Discover South Korea’s Best Kept Secret

Meenah Kim, President and CEO of KASANG CORPORATION, takes us on a whistle-stop tour of her business and explains a little more about the pioneering global technology giant and why they are opening their doors in Hull during 2017.

What is Kasang Corporation?

KASANG is a new South Korean technology company founded in 2007, specialising in the development of products for the gaming and retail sectors. We are a new company, but like South Korea itself, we are expanding quickly.

What does the company do?

At KASANG we strive to be a global technology leader in a variety of sectors. We create pioneering products for the gaming industry, including our famous interactive live gaming experience HOSTAGE 4. We are also developing ground-breaking Virtual Reality Programmes for the architectural sector. In addition, the company’s products include home appliances such as TVs, refrigerators and ovens as well as key mobile telecommunications products like smartphones and tablets.

Why have you decided to base the company in Hull?

Hull is the UK City of Culture for 2017. For Kasang, it’s a special place and a special year.

It is the 10th anniversary of the founding of KASANG and also the 30th anniversary of the birth of modern democracy in South Korea. KASANG officially opens its doors to the public during the 2017 Freedom Festival in September. We cannot imagine a better location or a better time to open our new UK HQ and we are proud to be a City Partner of Hull 2017.

What are you hoping to achieve whilst you are here?

We want to spread the word about our work and introduce people to our culture and our history. Our hometown in Korea is close to Gwangju, the birthplace of modern democracy. The 1980 Gwangju Democratic Uprising was an important event in the history of our country. The bravery of the young protesters who lost their lives in that dark period paved the way for the democracy that we now have in South Korea. Without democracy, a company like KASANG could not exist.

Why are you opening the doors of the Kasang office for the people of Hull to explore?

We want the public to come and experience the exciting and innovative products we have been developing. In September, we will open the doors to our brand new showroom and laboratory and we want you to enjoy the interactive inventions of this technological playground. You will be discovering new products before they are on the market and we want your feedback!

Visit Kasang’s UK Head Office in Hull City Centre between 1 Sep – 1 Oct for a once in a lifetime tour.

Explore a world of possibilities: www.kasang.org

 

Film: Hip-hop in Hull with Redeye Feenix and PlayaOne

Redeye Feenix (aka Steve Arnott), Hull’s first MC to be signed to a US record label, couldn’t be more into Hull 2017 if he tried. His performance was one of the highlights of the hip-hop strand of our Where Are We Now? festival earlier in the year. Since then, Redeye has been holding a new series of hip-hop workshops for young people across the city, and just last month he launched his latest venture, the Beats Bus, at The Big Malarkey Festival.

Redeye and PlayaOne gave us an insight into Hull’s hip-hop scene and told us all about the Beats Bus…

The success of the Beats Bus has brought it to Wansbeck, Paisley, Priory, Ainthorpe and Hall Road primary schools so far, giving over 200 children the chance to take part in hip-hop workshops.

Following the workshops, eight hip-hop stars in the making were chosen to take part in further sessions where they wrote, rehearsed and recorded a track which they’ll perform at Humber Street Sesh on Saturday.

Dedicated to their success, Redeye has also secured the youngsters a gig at Kardomah94 on 22 Aug and Freedom Festival on 2 Sep, with radio interviews with West Hull FM and BBC introducing (9 & 10 Aug).

Find out more about the Beats Bus and follow the young people’s journeys on Twitter.

Bleached: How one artist’s visit to The Deep inspired a stunning set of works

It seems inevitable that Tania Kovats’ work would at some point go on display in Hull.

The British artist’s fascination with bodies of water sits perfectly in a city whose development is so intrinsically built around its relationship with the sea.

Her latest work BLEACHED, commissioned as part of the Look Up series designed for Hull’s public places, goes on display at C4DI on Saturday 29 July. 

The five piece sculptural work, which recycles specially fabricated coral from The Deep, presents slices of an imaginary bleached coral reef inspired by a visit to the aquarium and is a starkly beautiful representation of a potentially devastating environmental event.

Kovats, whose work includes sculpture, drawings, writing and large-scale time-based projects, explains: “My work has considered how water systems, rivers, canals, seas and the hydro cycle connect places, both in time and space. 

“Hull is a city defined by its relationship to the seas and the river. It has a rich maritime history and culture. With this work I wanted to connect to that and make people think about the current state of our seas and oceans and what this means for all our futures. 

BLEACHED was made as my response to the beauty of underwater coral landscapes and out of concern for their fragile position in the world’s ecosystem. 

“Water is a connective element, connecting one place to another. Environmental damage in one place, for example a coral reef, affects us all.” 

She continues, “I first visited The Deep in spring 2016 and was spell bound by the coral exhibit. I loved the window on this underwater world of intensely rich colour and endlessly fascinating forms where you can press your nose against the aquarium see into a landscape of dreams. 

The Deep © Chris Pepper

“As I was developing the ideas for this work, a major global coral bleaching event took place, unprecedented in its scale – 93% of the Great Barrier Reef was thought to be affected. Coral bleaching takes place as a result of rising sea temperatures; when the sea is too warm, corals expel the zooxanthellea algae that give them their brilliant colours leaving them ghostly bone white and at risk. The corals are not dead, and can grow back given the correct conditions, but they are under extreme stress and very vulnerable.” 

“BLEACHED was made as my response to the beauty of underwater coral landscapes and out of concern for their fragile position in the world’s ecosystem.” 

Born in Brighton in 1966, Kovats studied in Newcastle before getting her MA at the Royal College of Art, London. Selected for the Barclays Young Contemporaries of 1991, she received the young artist award. She has travelled the world creating artworks that explore her fascination with landscapes and water.  

Bleached by Tania Kovats © Tania Kovats

Her work Tree (2009), created to mark Charles Darwin’s bicentenary, is a permanent installation at the Natural History Museum in London, while All the Seas (2012 – 2014) presents water from 200 of the world’s seas, collected with the help of a global network of people drawn to the idea of bringing all the waters of the world to one place. 

On display alongside BLEACHED at C4DI will be another of Kovats’ sculptural works, which celebrates oceanic tides and includes representations of the world’s three oceans in the form of three metal bowls called Pacific, Atlantic and Indian. The exhibition also includes new drawings of the surface of the sea, known as seamarks.  

A further work, Colony, will be displayed at The Deep. The tree-like colony of barnacles was produced after Kovats undertook a residency in the Galapagos Islands working alongside the scientific community there. 

Kovats loves the spaces in which her work is being displayed: the iconic lines of The Deep are visible from the windows of the C4DI, which itself is filled with the beautiful light bouncing off the Humber. 

Having provided the initial inspiration for BLEACHED, it is only right for The Deep to be involved in the display of work. 

Kovats explains, “The Deep is an amazing aquarium, a stunning landmark building containing a superb range of exhibits. It’s a place to fall in love with the things that live in the sea – all sorts of things we wouldn’t normally be able to see. And once we have fallen in love with them we might care more about how these creatures survive – what their needs are – and how we should not cause damage to their environments. 

“A bit more behind the scenes The Deep are also a very serious centre for important research about the sea. They have been incredibly supportive with this work and a great partner for BLEACHED”.    

The artist, whose work has also been on display at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, is delighted to be part of Hull 2017 

She continues, “Spending time in Hull has been really exciting. I’ve been particularly struck by the volunteers and the ongoing conversation across the city between people engaging with art in public spaces.” 

“It’s all part of how the city has taken ownership of its time as the UK City of Culture 2017. There is a great energy to the place, and it’s great to see the city lift with all the attention. I have been very happy to be part of that.” 

BLEACHED is on display at C4DI and Colony can be seen at The Deep. The installation runs from Saturday 29 July to Sunday 17 September. Entry is from 10am and free.

Xander Parish

From Russia with love: Xander’s extraordinary rise

Here, Xander tells us how he went from being a sports-mad eight year old taking classes at Hull’s Skelton Hooper School to becoming the first British dancer at St Petersburg’s prestigious Mariinsky Ballet.

I’m interested in the legacy left after 2017 and what that means for the city. Xander Parish

How did you first get into dance?

My parents tell me that I was about eight years old, watching my sister Demelza in a dance performance. Apparently I just turned to my mum and asked why I wasn’t doing it too, and so I started classes with my sister at the Skelton Hooper School of Dance in Hull soon afterwards.

The week I joined, auditions were being held for The Pickwick Papers at Hull New Theatre. I was given the role of a street urchin and absolutely loved being on stage. It wasn’t ballet so much as performing that really caught my imagination.

We heard you started off wanting to get into sport, specifically cricket.
Did you ever encounter prejudice as a Hull boy learning ballet?

For me, ballet was always just another sport. I was a sporty child and played everything, but it was cricket that I really loved. I would study videos to improve my bowling, and aspired to play for Yorkshire. I don’t have a single memory of feeling self-conscious or worried about what others would think of me doing ballet.

There were two other boys who went to ballet class with me we auditioned for The Royal Ballet School and were all accepted. They both took their places in London but I chose not to – I didn’t like the idea of boarding in London nor the idea of giving up cricket. However, with my two friends gone, I felt that I was missing out. My parents called the school and I was allowed to join mid-year. One of the boys had already dropped out but the other was Joseph Caley, now a Principal dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Is there one moment that stands out as being the ‘big break’ of your career?

The moment that changed my life and has defined my career to date came when I flew to Russia and joined the Mariinsky Ballet just over seven years ago. This was so radical and unusual that I could hardly believe it – Russians often come to the West to work in all the major theatres but Westerners very rarely go the other way.

After my training finished at The Royal Ballet School, I was accepted into The Royal Ballet’s corps de ballet, working at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. The following four years involved lots  of hard work but resulted mainly in very basic roles. I was hungry to improve – I certainly wasn’t ready for big roles at that point but I needed nurturing and coaching.

One day a guest teacher from Russia came to teach our classes for two weeks. I loved this man’s energy and attention to detail; one day I asked him if he would mind working with me a bit longer after class and we ended up working for an extra half an hour. He returned to Russia and as far as I knew, that was that. Approximately six months later, that same man became director of ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre and invited me to join the company.

Hull has made an extraordinary contribution to dance and ballet,
with a number of prolific names in dance hailing from the city
– what do you think are the common threads between your success
and that of other home-grown stars?

I put a lot of it down to Yorkshire grit and determination. Where you grow up shapes you – plus Hull is blessed with good ballet schools, especially Skelton Hooper where my sister and I went. The school prepared us and many other current Hull born dance professionals for vocational training, so I would certainly recommend a similar route for any young dancers in the city today.

What has been your career highlight to date?

I’ve been blessed with lots of amazing opportunities so it’s impossible to pick one highlight. As an example, I recently had the privilege of returning to London to perform the role of Albrecht in Giselle as a guest artist with English National Ballet, in front of my family and friends – it was such a great atmosphere.

What are the biggest differences and similarities between living in Russia and in the UK?
How often do you get the chance to come back to Hull?

Most obviously, the biggest difference is the language. It took me a long time to get to grips with Russian – I arrived barely speaking a word of it, which made rehearsals very difficult as you can imagine. Unfortunately, I don’t get home to Hull that often, it’s usually once or twice a year. My most recent trip home was to receive an honorary degree from the University of Hull in January, which was fantastic.

Opening the New, the forthcoming Royal Ballet show at Hull New Theatre,
will mark the reopening of the venue after major refurbishment.
Do you have memories of the theatre from childhood?

Hull New Theatre is a very important place for me, as it’s where I took my first steps on stage. Not long after performing in The Pickwick Papers, Scottish Ballet came to town with The Nutcracker and I was given a role. I still remember being onstage dancing, dressed as some sort of sweet! My mum and dad often took my sister and I to see musicals and ballets at the New Theatre too; I particularly remember watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which is still one of my favourite musicals.

Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to experiencing next time you visit Hull?

When I was back in January I was impressed by Blade (part of the Look Up series of installations) and with all the improvements made to the city, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the New Theatre’s renovation. I’m interested in the legacy left after 2017 and what that means for the city – and I hope there’ll be many ballet and dance performances in Hull that I can be involved in!

LGBT 50 - Yorkshire Dance Into the Light_YD2_© David Lindsay

Q&A with Into The Light curator and choreographer, Gary Clarke

Following Duckie’s spectacular 50 Queers for 50 Years at Pride in Hull last weekend, the performance collective will be presenting A Duckie Summer Tea Party to round off our LGBT 50 celebrations this Saturday before a sold out live BBC Radio 2 concert in Hull City Hall, I Feel Love, and Duckie’s afterparty at Fuel.

The tea party in Queen Victoria Square is free, unticketed and open to everyone. The square will be transformed into a stunning event space and we’ll welcome thousands of people to drink tea, party and dance!

There to help us do so will be award winning choreographer Gary Clarke and his army of 50 dancers. Produced by Yorkshire Dance, Into the Light will present a fast-forward version of LGBT+ history, in a performance commemorating the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK. Looking back at landmark events in LGBT+ history over five decades, from a world in which homosexuality was illegal through to present day, the performance brings together eight contemporary dance artists and 42 people from Hull, ranging from under 16s to over 60s, amateur dancers to those who’ve never been involved in dance before.

Gary, tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m an independent dance artist, choreographer and artist director, I’ve been working in the dance industry for about 15 years now. I trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and I’ve worked professionally as a dancer for many companies all around the world. I’ve been making my own work for the past 10 years.

I’ve worked on a real variety of projects, I did a lot of projects linked to the Cultural Olympiad creating work for big groups of people. I’ve also done lots of large and small scale site specific work that’s non-theatre based, so pieces for galleries, museums, on boats, in ships, on the streets in nightclubs and for cabaret.

The piece for LGBT 50 is a ‘a fast-forward version of LGBT history’ – can you give us an insight into what that means and how you’ll portray this through dance?

I started to look back at the last 50 years and I was really interested to look at the five decades and try and to identify key events, figures and people that have changed the future of the LGBT community. So, people like Peter Tatchell and John Gielgud even going right through to people like Freddie Mercury who had a big impact in the 90s with not only his music but also being an openly gay man and dying of AIDS. Then working right through to gay marriage which we’re at today.

We’ve been looking back at some of these events, but the challenge has been to make it look spectacular and impressive. We’ve been working with a costume designer who’s going to create a beautiful representation of the five decades as well as creating a unity between everybody too. We’re also working with a live band called Best Fiends, they’re a three-piece rock band, so the idea is that the music has reference to the five decades too. It should feel like a collage of all of these decades.

We’ll be telling it through the idea of movement and gesture, we’ve been working out where the action is so it can be translated into the art of movement. We’re also using spoken word which will come through the form of a megaphone. I work in contemporary dance which can be quite an abstract form, so the idea is that we have spoken word to help frame the activity and action so the audience can make a link between the movement and the context and the history of where it’s come from.

I think it’s too easy when we talk about LGBT+ and arts and society we talk about a particular style and sense which generally sometimes can be quite camp, over the top and celebratory.

What research did you do in preparation for the dance?

We discovered that in the 70s there was the first ever gay Pride in London which was led by the Gay Liberation Front and that changed the future of LGBT+ communities in this country. It wasn’t a party then, it was a protest and a parade and it had a political message. We looked on YouTube, at photos, and references, and printed these out to display in the studio so the community group can link and understand with the history too.

How have you overcome the challenges of creating a dance for a public space?

Creating a dance for a public space is so different to creating it for theatre, the first challenge was the monument in Queen Victoria Square. You’ve constantly got to have an awareness of sight lines and that the audience will be all around the action. We have to be careful that there’s no dead space and at all points in the piece the space is animated somehow with people.

Also, another challenge is that around the square there’s architecture, buildings and details. Often when you take this kind of dance from a studio to a public space, a lot of this is lost. So I’m creating big mass movements that will stand out above all of this architecture and within the general public so it feels like it’s a statement somehow.

Tell us about the mass dance which will close the Duckie tea party…

At the end of Into the Light we’re encouraging the people of Hull to get involved! We’ve choreographed this simple, easy dance using movements and gestures from the show that anyone can learn. This piece is about community and people and coming together and I think that’s a really lovely message that actually, we can transcend that what happens on our stage into the audience and they can pick up on that and become one – become part of the community.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JraWTX-8CAg#action=share

What’s it been like to work with non-professional dancers?

It’s really refreshing. It’s lovely having such a wide range of ages, experiences and backgrounds in the room. We’ve tried to get them to create, to think, to move – which has its challenges – but actually I love the idea that dance can inspire people, and it’s a way of communication and expression. I think it’s important that as artists we engage with people in the world that are not necessarily directly in the arts, but we can throw our net wide and see who picks it up.

What do you hope audiences can get from Into the Light?

I think it’s important that people are educated. It’s too easy when we talk about LGBT+ and arts and society we talk about a particular style and sense which generally sometimes can be quite camp, over the top and celebratory. That’s wonderful but Into the Light is more political, it’s going to inform people that might not know what happened in the ’80s and the ’90s as a result of Margaret Thatcher’s Section 28 and what damage that had on the gay community. I want to educate the public and the people of Hull about some of the issues that the gay community have faced over the years.

 

You can see Into The Light at A Duckie Summer Tea Party on Sat 29 Jul throughout the day from 1pm-6pm in Queen Victoria Square. And don’t forget to learn the dance too!