Middleton Hall at University of Hull.

The curtain’s up on world-class 2017 venue

It’s show time at the University of Hull.

After a £9.5m revamp, the curtain’s up on Middleton Hall – a 400-seater concert hall that looks set to be a world-class cultural venue during 2017 and beyond.

A key venue in next year’s City of Culture programme, it will host concerts ranging from pop to classical.

Opera North at Middleton Hall - © Chris Pepper

As you might expect, the high-spec hall has state-of-the-art acoustics, tested most appropriately at today’s launch event with a powerful trio of performances from Opera North.

Singers Whitaker Mills and Kathryn Walker, accompanied by pianist John Querns, gave a short concert that included excerpts from Puccini’s Edgar, and Benjamin Britten’s Lucretia flower song.

The acoustics, Kathryn says, are spot on and allow performers’ love of music to shine through. “I just love the drama of it,” she says. “Opera is real gutsy, gutsy music and when you get chance to perform like this, it gets your heart racing.”

Opera North at Middleton Hall - © Chris Pepper

Professor Glenn Burgess, acting vice-chancellor at the University of Hull, adds: “Middleton Hall has been refurbished to such a high-specification that it is now one of the best concert venues in the region. It is a significant addition to the cultural scene and is emblematic of the University’s commitment to creativity within the region.”

The versatile events space can be adapted to host theatre productions and surround-sound cinema screenings, and is completed by a new Arts Cafe.

With industry-standard recording studios and a cutting-edge TV filming and editing suite, the hall also now offers students some of the finest music facilities available. The music studios and recording equipment rival the best commercial studios and includes a huge 48-channel mixing desk and one of the finest ambisonic studios in the country, which allows listeners to experience 3D sound.

The University is a principal partner of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and is playing an active role in producing and hosting some of the year’s spectacular cultural events – many of these will be held on the University’s campus including some at Middleton Hall.

We can’t wait – see you all there.

Middleton Hall in numbers

400 seat performance venue

£9.5m state-of-the-art revamp

48 channel studio mixing desk

1x 3D sound ambisonic studio

Free professional development opportunity for Hull-based music leaders

Music leaders are invited to join two free workshops ahead of the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial Festival in July 2017.

Two professional development workshop sessions, led by award-winning composer and music leader James Redwood, are taking place at the University of Hull’s music department on Friday 4 November 2016.

James has top form when it comes to bringing world-class musicians and communities together: He works all over the country with orchestras, opera companies and arts organisations composing with and for non-professional groups, including the Spitalfields Skills Lab.

As part of this world-class City of Culture project, five of the composers;  Errollyn Wallen ,
Brian Irvine, Jason Singh, Sam Lee and Eliza Carthy and their composer mentor, James Redwood, will be involved in a residency programme working with communities, musicians and students in Hull to create new music, to support and nurture the musical talent that already exists in the city.

The professional development workshop sessions are split into a morning and an afternoon session. During the morning session (9.15am-12.30pm) local music leaders will gather to share ideas about best practice in leading collaborative music-making.  This session will include opportunities to share ideas, as well as practical games, activities and compositional starting points for creative workshops.

The afternoon session, the University Toolbox (1.45pm-5pm), is aimed primarily as a development opportunity for creative music leaders who are interested in getting involved in supporting the PRS New Music Biennial Residency Programme.  The workshop will include games and activities that can be used to structure group composition work.

To book your place, please email TheTeam@hull2017.co.uk, providing your contact details, any access needs, and indicating which session you would like to attend. Please note: unless you are a University of Hull student already involved in the residency, please book in for either the morning session or the whole day (lunch not included). Students part of the residency can attend only the afternoon if they wish. Places are limited and must be booked in advance. Those with a place will be sent full confirmation details.

PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Biennial is generously supported by Hull UK City of Culture, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council England, BBC Radio 3, Southbank Centre, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Cockayne, The John S Cohen Foundation, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, The Finzi Trust, RVW Trust, The Bliss Trust and NMC Recordings. www.newmusicbiennial.co.uk.

In With a Bang: 25,000 free fireworks tickets available next week

Tickets for our huge fireworks display on New Year’s Day 2017, In With A Bang, will be available next week in two batches – one on Wednesday 2 November at 8am, followed by one on Saturday 5 November at 11am.

The fireworks display will take place over the Humber at 20:17 (8.17pm) and will be accompanied by a specially-commissioned soundtrack, featuring bands and musicians from Hull’s pop history.

We are releasing tickets for this free event in two batches, one during the week and one at a weekend, to make sure that as many people as possible can get tickets. We expect that this event will sell out quickly, so make sure you’re ready to go at 8am on Wednesday 2 November or 11am on Saturday 5 November to get tickets to this incredible event.

Tickets will be available on our website at hull2017.co.uk/inwithabang. If you don’t have access to the internet or if you’d like more information about booking tickets to this event (including group bookings and disabled access) please see our booking FAQs page for In With A Bang.

The fireworks will come at the end of the first day of Made in Hull – a spectacular multimedia journey into 70 years of Hull’s history, curated by the Hull-born, award-winning documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister. Made In Hull is a free, unticketed event and will be staged from 4pm-9pm across Hull City Centre from 1-7 January 2017.

Martin Green, CEO and Director, Hull 2017, said: “Made in Hull will be a fascinating journey through the last seven decades of this great city’s history. From the Second World War, to the fishing industry, to sport, to some of the characters that are part of Hull lore, it will be magical, thought-provoking, funny and at times emotional. Whilst the fireworks display will sell out quickly, you won’t need a ticket for Made in Hull and can just turn up on the seven evenings that it is on. It’s the story of Hull and its people and everyone is invited. For Hull residents and anyone with a connection or interest in the city, it’s an event that should not be missed.”

Councillor Steven Bayes, Portfolio Holder, Visitor Destination for Hull City Council, said: “The opening event is our first real opportunity to show the world what we’re made of and I am confident that the hard work local businesses, the 2017 team and the council have all put in will pay off. To have such a high calibre creative team in place is a coup for the city and I’m very much looking forward to see the city centre streets temporarily transformed for Made in Hull.”

With both Made in Hull and the fireworks display lighting up the city centre on January 1, public transport providers East Yorkshire Motor Services and Stagecoach have both confirmed that they will be running a special bus service on New Year’s Day. City centre car parks will also be open, although we’re encouraging people to use public transport wherever possible and to plan their journeys to and from the event in advance.

Don’t forget: create an account at hull2017.co.uk/signup (if you haven’t done so already!) to help make sure that it’s as easy as possible to get tickets for this event.

Please note that tickets for this event are available through Hull UK City of Culture 2017 only and are not available through Hull City Council or Hull Box Office.

Brand new celebration of Northern culture and creativity launches ahead of 2017

A new programme of events to celebrate the cultural diversity and creativity of the North of England will launch this November, with a special opening event at Humber Mouth Literature Festival.

Substance will kick off with a one-off event, featuring acclaimed band The Magnetic North and award-winning architect Will Alsop, at The Polar Bear on 6 November.

Curated by Luke Bainbridge (Head of Art and Culture for Festival No. 6 and Bluedot, Sunday Times best-selling author and one of the founding editors of Observer Music Monthly) Substance will see events across the North over the next 12 months, reflecting on the people, stories, music, arts, culture, urbanism and architecture of the North.

Luke Bainbridge said: “Substance is intended to celebrate the North, but also throw open the discussion, counter stereotypes, offer alternative narratives and cut through the nonsense. Taking Substance to different cities across the North means we get to explore the qualities that are shared across region that is not homogeneous, but has multiple identities, contradictions and stories to tell. There are many reasons for the perceptions we have, historic, political, economic, cultural, and Substance is an opportunity to really get to the heart of the debate.”

After touring a number of northern cities, Substance will culminate in a weekend-long festival as part of Hull 2017 which will take place in December 2017.

Intended to be thought-provoking (even provocative) as well as entertaining, the festival will see artists, performers, political figures, social commentators and cultural leaders coming together with the wider public to celebrate the North and debate culture’s role in shaping our cities, environment, economy, social habits and every other area of life. The wide-ranging programme will include music and live performance, exhibitions, street art and installations, screenings and satellite talks.

Martin Green, Director and CEO of Hull 2017, said: “It’s brilliant to have the first Substance take place as part of Humber Mouth, an event that is itself about ideas, debate and creativity. Substance will reframe the Northern Powerhouse conversation, which has traditionally focused on politics and business. Throughout 2017 and across the North it will put artists, cultural leaders and practitioners at the centre of the debate and be a key event for Hull as we approach the end of our year as UK City of Culture. It will examine the role that culture has in the identity, reputation and prosperity of the North and the creative response to the issues of the day.”

The Magnetic North will kick off Substance with a unique performance at Humber Mouth festival, performing their album Prospect of Skelmersdale in full, inspired by the childhood home of band member Simon Song (formerly of The Verve) where ambitious 1960s planners tried, but failed, to create a utopian housing scheme.

The event also features guest speaker Will Alsop, whose awards for architecture include the Stirling Prize for the landmark Peckham Library and RIBA awards for work stretching from Toronto to Whitechapel. At Substance he will be revisiting his vision of a Super City stretching from Liverpool to Hull – a precursor to the concept of the Northern Powerhouse.

Shane Rhodes, Artistic Director for Humber Mouth, added: “Humber Mouth is delighted to host the inaugural Substance event featuring The Magnetic North as part of this year’s festival. Substance is an innovative way of connecting music, literature, ideas and debate. Long may it continue.”

Broken Biscuits: a new coming of age story by Tom Wells

How do you find the path to ‘coolness’? Broken Biscuits, the latest play from Tom Wells, attempts to find out.

Telling the story of teenagers Megan, Holly and Ben as they form a band in Megan’s garden shed in Hull, Broken Biscuits is a genuinely heart-warming coming of age story, produced by Paines Plough in partnership with Live Theatre Newcastle.

Tom Wells returns to Hull following his previous productions at Hull Truck Theatre, which include Folk, nominated for Best New Play at this year’s UK Theatre Awards, The Kitchen Sink and the critically acclaimed Jumpers for Goalposts.

I love Hull. It feels like a very particular place to me, with its own set of stories, sort of scruffy and funny and a bit of an anti-climax. It’s got magic in it too. A ‘Hullness’.

Tom Wells

Born and raised in East Yorkshire, Playwright Tom takes a particular joy in writing about people struggling with quite ordinary things – like teenagers stressed with exams, embarrassing parents and not having sex. Alongside James Grieve, Joint Artistic Director of Paines Plough, Tom and the production team were looking for ‘soulful actors with funny bones’ to play the roles of Megan, Holly and Ben.

 Broken Biscuits © Hull Truck Theatre

‘The three characters in Broken Biscuits are 16-years-old’ says James, ‘so we figured open auditions were the best way to find the best young actors from across the country to play the parts. We held open auditions in London and Hull, and with our co-producers Live Theatre in Newcastle.’

There’s lots of amazing acting talent around the UK but not everyone can afford to go to drama school or get an agent or move to London. So for six years now we’ve been hosting open auditions in an attempt to meet actors we might not otherwise have a chance to meet.

James Grieve

Broken Biscuits stars Faye Christall (Gone Viral at St James Theatre; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Edinburgh Fringe), Andrew Reed (The Fifteen Streets, Drama Baby and The Machines at Theatre Royal Newcastle), and Grace Hogg-Robinson in her stage debut (BBC One’s The Coroner, Casualty and Doctors).

The cast perform live music written by Matthew Robins, a musician, artist and filmmaker.

We’re trying to learn and do justice to Matthew’s beautiful songs, and making a joyous racket along the way. We’re having a huge amount of fun. Tom’s characters are so funny and charming and loveable, it’s a joy to hang out in Megan’s shed with them all day every day.

James Grieve

‘The actors – Faye, Andrew and Grace – are inventive, charismatic and naturally comedic’ says James, ‘so there’s a lot of playfulness and laughter in the rehearsal room which makes for an enjoyable, galvanising and creative atmosphere. And it’s a joy doing a play with music.’

Broken Biscuits runs from Tuesday 1 November to Saturday 5 November at Hull Truck Theatre before the tour continues to Scarborough. Meet the cast and creative team in a question and answer session following the 7.30pm performance on Wednesday 2 November at Hull Truck.

First Story National Writing Competition

First Story’s mission is to change lives through writing. They bring professional writers into secondary schools to help students find their voices through intensive, fun programmes. All students and teachers at secondary schools across the UK are invited to enter up to 850 words of poetry or prose on the theme of “Footprints” for the First Story National Writing Competition . The subject can be explored in any way your creative flow takes you.

A final shortlist will be judged by multi-award-winning authors Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime), Juno Dawson (All of the Above) and Salena Godden (Springfield Road, The Good Immigrant).

Prizes include: an Arvon creative writing course; money for your school; £100 for teachers who submit more than 50 entries; the chance to attend an awards ceremony in London; and publication of you work in a professional anthology. To be in with a chance of winning, submit your entry to First Story before midnight on Wednesday 23 November 2016.

We asked Dave Windass, First Story programme officer for Hull, about the importance of getting young people involved with the project…

You’ve been involved in Hull’s arts scene for more than two decades, what do you think it is about Hull that makes it so cultured and inspirational?

Philip Larkin’s quote about us “having an end-of-the-line sense of freedom” in Hull is often trotted out as the reason we’re different in terms of a place in which to flourish creatively, but I think that our freedom comes from the fact that we’re forward thinking and progressive.

As a port, we look across to Europe, and the possibilities of travel and escape beyond the Humber fuel our ideas and state of mind. We’re as free as birds, or fish, and looking at the wide expanse of water that flows alongside the city is liberating and an incredible source of material.

In a lot of ways, Hull and its creative landscape is uncharted territory. It is possible to be pioneering, here, and to be wholly original and different. We’re unlike anywhere else and we know it. We know that we’re special and now we’re ready to shout about it – brace yourselves for a whole raft of unique and very special work!

First Story offers many opportunities for young people, teachers and writers in Hull, what do you think that means for the city?

The First Story programme brings so many positives to school life and for all involved and it is wonderful that the programme is running in Hull, a city that has an abundance of creative talent of all ages. The focus of the programme allows the nurturing and development of young people’s creative writing.

Our talented writers working in the city are all successful and acclaimed and all have Hull connections – it’s inspiring to look at them and realise that anyone from this city can work as a writer if they have the necessary burning desire and it’s what they want to do. It’s great to think that new voices will develop and be heard thanks to the First Story programme and that those voices and the work produced could potentially be heard and read beyond the city.

What do you enjoy most about being involved with the First Story programme?

I know what a difference the First Story programme will make to the city.  I have attended First Story anthology launches elsewhere in the country and recently went to the Young Writers’ Festival in Oxford, all of which were amazingly life-affirming.

I am already in awe of the young people who participate in sessions and how creative they can be and I simply cannot wait until students from Hull secondary schools start to get their work out there and for people to take notice of them and how fantastically talented they are.

What would it mean for a student from Hull to succeed in the National Writing Competition?

Their work will be published in an anthology, a proper bound book, professionally produced. That will be an amazing achievement and we will be shouting about them loudly come next year.

As well as an increase in creativity, the young people on the programme will grow in confidence during the course of the year. There will be a lot of pride on display and that will grow with each new piece of work that is written.

Do you have any advice for the budding young writers of Hull?

Just do it. Writing can be hard work and requires a certain amount of discipline. But it’s also a lot of fun and the positive benefits are incredible. A good piece of writing can change lives and the world. Go and create that.

Finally, do you have a favourite short story or poem? If so, what?

I love Edward Lear’s Nonsense Works and I’m pretty sure the first book I owned was A Book of Nonsense. Somewhere there’s a recording of me as a five-year-old reading Lear’s limericks, I especially love The Owl and The Pussycat. Later, when I discovered it, Charles Bukowski’s So You Want to be a Writer? became a particular favourite. In contrast to Lear, it’s a pretty no-nonsense piece of work!


Still need some inspiration?

Read last year’s winning entry, a moving piece on the subject of Echoes, from Maria Clark (Hemel Hempstead School KS4) here.

For more information and to submit your entry go to firststory.org.uk/footprints.

Trawler tragedy play premieres at Hull Truck Theatre

After five years in the making, Hull Truck Theatre presents The Gaul by Hull-born writer Janet Plater and directed by Hull Truck Theatre’s artistic director Mark Babych. No trawler tragedy has caused as much controversy as the loss of the Gaul in 1974. Described as the worst ever single-trawler tragedy it saw the loss of 36 crew members having sailed from Hull. After she twice failed to report in and no distress signal was received, an extensive search operation was launched but no trace of the ship was found.

The Gaul is the most significant play I have worked on to date. It’s an event that’s still very raw for our community and a tough story to tell, so I know how important it is to get it right” – Mark Babych.

The Gaul is part two of The Hull Trilogy, a trio of plays examining how the city’s past has shaped its identity and capacity for survival and renewal.

Curated from speaking to families, members of the fishing community and members of the Hull Bullnose Heritage Group, this world premiere production explores the journeys of the wives and relatives left behind, through the discovery of the wreck by a TV documentary crew in 1997 and the government inquiry in 2004, right up to the present day.

We ask playwright Janet Plater to tell us more about The Gaul

What inspired you to write The Gaul?

“Like most people from Hull, I’ve always been aware of the Gaul and the ongoing mystery surrounding its loss. I’d thought for years that there were good reasons to revisit the Gaul in a play, made in Hull, to say to the families that they are not forgotten. I was also struggling with personal loss at that time and felt I might be able to say something about that: about how people find a way to keep on keeping on.”

What was your writing process for this play?

“Initially I researched everything I could find: read books, blogs, listened to interviews, read the transcripts of the inquiries and so on.  In the first draft of the script, I tried to include everything. If I had continued to pursue this, the play would have had a cast of hundreds and lasted several days.

“This year I’ve been able to talk with some of the relatives and other people from Hull’s trawling community and all those conversations have enabled me to find the heart of the play. In short, the writing process has been write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite…”

Was it difficult to write a play about such a well-known local story?

“It posed particular challenges. Throughout the process I’ve felt a great sense of responsibility towards the families, the community and my hometown.

“I decided the characters would be fictional and not direct representations of specific people, so I’ve used details from what I’ve learnt about people and what they have told me and weaved fictional elements in.

I’m always struck by the resilience of people under difficult circumstances and especially in this Hull community, the sense of humour which will not be quashed.”

Does the play try to solve the mystery of the Gaul?

“The play’s characters have their own theories but this is no new inquiry. Everyone I’ve spoken to seems to have a different theory. When I began writing it, I thought I would examine everything and try to work out for myself what had happened. Although we can’t solve the mystery, I think theatre can be a good place to contemplate it.”

You were born and raised in Hull – what does it mean to have The Gaul premiering here?

“For The Gaul to be produced here in Hull at Hull Truck Theatre, means everything to me as a playwright. Coming home. It’s the best feeling.”


Hull Truck Theatre will also be holding other events for audiences interested in The Gaul including The Gaul Discover Day where artistic director Mark Babych will be offering the chance to see how a production comes to life with an informal workshop with the cast, an exploration of the play, and a ticket to the 2pm matinee performance (Saturday 15 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm). In addition a postshow Q&A will be available for audience members to have the opportunity to ask the cast and creative team about the production (following the 7.30pm performance on Wednesday 26 October).

For more information and special ticket offers visit Hull Truck Theatre.

 The Gaul - Marc Graham and James Hornsby © Andrew Billington

Call out: Share your nightclub footage with us

There are going to be many ways to get involved with our opening event, Made in Hull. Curated by filmmaker Sean McAllister, Made in Hull is a celebration of our city and our region in pictures on buildings, and right now we’re looking for you to share your memories with us. We’re keen to see what you have in your lofts, cupboards and on your phones.

As part of one of the commissions, we’re looking to collect nightclub footage from Hull and the wider Yorkshire area. This footage may be used as part of the opening event by an internationally renowned video artist, who often manipulates footage to create his work. He is particularly interested in people dancing within a rave or dance / trance warehouse or club environment, however other genres and types of nightclubs are also of interest.

The artist has a few requirements and will be looking for when choosing what may be used:

  • Where possible, there needs to be front lighting, so we can see people’s faces.
  • In the video frame, we’re looking for bodies dancing wonderfully but great faces are even more important.
  • People dancing who look and act interestingly, the more characterful the better.
  • Colour film preferred, any period, any style, any culture welcome

Do you have any films like this, hidden away in your attic? We need high-resolution digital footage for this new project.

We do not guarantee we’ll use everything that we’re sent, and please only provide footage that you own and where everyone featured in the footage gives their consent for it to be used.

Fill in our form and share your nightclub footage to become part of this unique project.

Nightclub image © Chris Pepper.

Hull 2017: Useful Information

Cranswick announces City of Culture partnership

One of East Yorkshire’s largest employers, Cranswick plc, is strengthening its links to arts and culture in the city by backing Hull 2017 as a City Partner.

The Hull-based food producer and supplier, which employs more than 4,000 people in the city, is extending its support to the arts community following its commitment as headline sponsor for the Freedom Festival for the next three years.

Adam Couch, chief executive of Cranswick plc, said: “We recognise the boost that arts and culture can give to the social and economic regeneration of an area. As one of the region’s biggest employers, we welcome the opportunity to be at the heart of this transformation.”

“We have operated in Hull for more than 40 years and we have significant cultural diversity within our workforce. We encourage and support this and we are passionate about engaging and connecting with the local community to support long-term regeneration.”

“We are delighted to be at the heart of supporting the City of Culture and the Freedom Festival –  to be involved in these fantastic events here in Hull is a privilege. Our staff are really excited that City of Culture is coming to Hull and the opportunities that brings. We’ve already got a couple of colleagues who are part of the Freedom Chorus and many of them are keen to find out more about signing up to be a Hull 2017 volunteer.”

Martin Green, CEO and director at Hull 2017, added: “Being a key gateway to Europe, we are keen to strengthen our global links during 2017, particularly during our Roots and Routes season, and beyond. As well as being a well established export business, Cranswick has a large Eastern European workforce who, as part of the wider communities of Hull we are keen to include in our year as City of Culture.”

“We’re really looking forward to working together and building on the momentum following the success of Cranswick’s partnership with Freedom Festival.”


Favourite Sounds of Hull

What is your favourite sound in the city where you live – or where you grew up, studied, worked, fell in love, played football or rugby league – or simply spent some time?  Sonic artist Peter Cusack has been asking these questions since 1998 – and building an endlessly fascinating archive by inviting replies to this question in London, Beijing, Prague, Berlin, Birmingham, Manchester and Southend-on-Sea. The result is a series of intriguing and often surprising results, revealing both the city of the ear, and the significant role that everyday sounds play in our lives.

Favourite Sounds of Hull is a further step in a journey that encourages the local community as well as those who know and love Hull, to identify and share with the rest of the world, their favourite sounds of their city – a project devised especially for Hull, running from the autumn of 2016 and throughout the City of Culture year.

See Hull’s Favourite Sounds so far.

Curated by Peter Cusack, and produced by Serious in association with the School of Arts of the University of Hull, the public are encouraged to submit their favourite sounds throughout the year and these will be recorded and made available for all to hear at various live events during 2017. It is also designed to complement “Mind on the Run” the year–long celebration of the Hull’s obscurely influential artist, the composer and sonic explorer Basil Kirchin.

Use this form to submit your favourite sounds of Hull online.

Favourite Sounds of Hull is part of Mind on the Run: The Basil Kirchin Story, our celebration of a forgotten musical genius. Hull City Hall, 17-19 Feb 2017 – tickets available now.

Season Launch Live Stream from Hull Truck Theatre

Join us from 1.15pm on 22 September 2016 to watch the live launch of our first season of events, broadcast from Hull Truck Theatre.

We’ll be revealing the programme for season one, Made In Hull, which will run from January to March 2017, and announcing some of the highlights planned for the rest of the year.

Divided into four seasons and hosted in Hull, UK City of Culture 2017 is the nation’s next major cultural event. We’ve got a world-class programme lined up that celebrates the distinctive spirit of the city and the artists, writers, directors, musicians, revolutionaries and thinkers that have helped make this city so great.


Hull 2017 volunteers proud to wear blue, purple and pink eye-catching uniform that’s proudly Made In Hull

The streets of Hull will be flooded with blue, purple and pink on Thursday [22 September] as dozens of our volunteers hand out free season guides as we unveil our City of Culture programme for season one, Made in Hull.

Our programme launch volunteer team will be debuting, new eye-catching uniforms produced by major partners Arco, the corporate and safety garment specialists behind designs for projects such as the London 2012 Olympic Games and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Hull 2017 Volunteer Uniform_ Victoria Tuthill_(c) Leo Francis

It has been designed to cater for the full range of volunteer roles, from visitor welcome to practical event support, and to be practical and comfortable all year round.

“Our year as UK City of Culture is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I can’t wait to put on my uniform and represent my city. Stepping out in public in my uniform for the first time will be a proud moment.” – Volunteer Lesley Brown

Neil Jowsey, joint managing director of Arco, said: “The team here at Arco has worked tirelessly to deliver the bespoke uniforms for each of the valued Hull 2017 volunteers to wear during the exciting Hull UK City of Culture 2017 programme. As a locally based company, Arco is exceptionally proud to be involved in the project, keeping the volunteers comfortable during their duties.”

Phil Batty, director of marketing, communities and legacy at Hull 2017, said: “Our volunteers will play a vital role before, during and after the city’s year of life-changing culture as unique ambassadors for City of Culture. They are the face of Hull and their distinctive outfits will allow them to stand out in a crowd.”

On Thursday, our volunteers will be out and about across the city, offering information, advice and a warm smile to Hull residents and visitors.

They have already proven to be a valuable asset to the city, working at events and cultural activities throughout the summer, and will be critical to the success of Hull UK City of Culture. Anyone over the age of 16 can become a volunteer, and there’s still time to sign up to be part of this exciting and historic year.

Hull 2017 Volunteer Trevor Sylvester © Leo Francis

Sixty community projects inspire creativity across Hull

Sixty new community projects, ranging from photography and exhibitions to music and food festivals; and choral and orchestral concerts to audio-visual installations, will receive funding to become an important part of the Hull 2017 programme.

Working with local people of all ages to create new artistic work, events, installations and other activity throughout 2017, this innovative scheme is the result of funding through the Hull 2017 Creative Communities Programme, which was set up to celebrate, nurture and support local talent and develop opportunities for emerging artists. A total of £750,000 is being invested in the programme.

Along with the Big Lottery Fund – a principal partner of Hull 2017 – we invited individuals and organisations to come up with ideas for new projects that were creative at heart, celebrated arts and culture, and would have a transformative effect, particularly within communities around Hull.

The successful applicants will receive between £300 and £10,000 each to develop their proposals. All projects put community involvement or participation at their heart, reflecting the diversity of the city and will appeal to people of all ages.

The diversity and creativity of the 60 projects demonstrates that Hull is, and has always been, a city of culture. We hope our funding will inspire and empower residents and communities to celebrate and participate in all this vibrant city has to offer and stimulate activity across the city to create a lifelong legacy. – Martin Green

The programme forms part of our £5 million commitment to encourage participation across the city, which also includes the volunteering programme and learning and engagement programme.

One of the successful projects was Bransholme 50, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the largest housing estates in Britain. Artists from Bransholme Community Arts Enterprise will work with schools and community groups to create performances, exhibitions and permanent public art, reflecting and celebrating the history of the area.

Chris Smith, of Bransholme Community Arts Enterprise, said: “Created in 1967 to rehouse the trawling community after the industry’s demise, Bransholme represents an important part of Hull’s heritage. We are delighted to receive funding to be able to bring the stories of the people of Bransholme to life through arts, stories, photography, video and performance. We are looking forward to hearing about their experiences and aspirations across different generations to find out how some things change while others stay the same.”

In addition to funding from Hull 2017 and the Big Lottery Fund, the projects will receive staff support to build capacity in the arts sector, helping to create a legacy. The Creative Communities Programme is also being supported by Hull and East Riding Charitable Trust.



1940 – Now

Hull Indian Mela

A Sight to Behold

A Song for Hull

Albemarle Saturdays

Art Celebrating Equality

Art in the Park


Born into a City of Culture

Boulevard Mad Yard Art

Bransholme 50

Casting on Humber

Celebrating The Bantu People From South of The Equator In Hull and Regions

Community Arts Jam

Culture of 5, Hull’s Alive!

Display Model of Gipsy Moth

Do You See What I Mean?

Fishing Heritage Art Exhibition

Fly to Freedom



Greatfield 60 Years On

Hear In Hull

Hidden Voices

Hull Beermat Photography Festival

Hull Transforming Lives in Freetown

The Extraordinary Orchard Park Parade

I Wish To Communicate With You

(In)visible Dancing

Mad Pride

Multicultural Festival


Not Forgotten Town

Our Street, Our Stage

Oak Road Festival

Park Life

Playing the Bridge

Pop-up Playhouse – Hansel and Gretel

PresentINGS – Ings Past & Present

Pride in Hull 2017

Reading Rooms


Re-Made in Hull

Sound and Vision Project

Stepney Station Art Installation

Terrace Enders

The Big Gig

The Butterfly Effect

The Electric Fence

The Female Gaze

The People of Priory

Tiger Rags – The fabric of Hull City AFC

Trevor Key’s Top 40

Turn and Face the Strange

UK World Refugee Day | Gig in the Garden/Party in the Park

Voices Across The Humber

We Are The Future!

Why Couldn’t They be Like We Were

Wired Differently

Photo credit: Handmade Parade, The Extraordinary Orchard Park Parade; photo by Chris Ratcliffe.

Fundraising support is massive vote of confidence in Hull

With just under a week to go until we announce our programme for season one, Made in Hull, we’re delighted to share an update on how much funding has been raised to produce our year-long cultural celebration.

Following the successful bid in 2013, the Hull 2017 Culture Company – the charity established to deliver the Hull 2017 programme – set a funding target of £18 million.

Building on Hull City Council’s £3.6 million investment as Host City, we have secured a total of £32m to develop a 365 day programme of cultural events and activities taking place in every neighbourhood across the city.

Including the council and support from the 22 Bid Angels, a total of 61 partners have demonstrated the confidence they have in Hull being UK City of Culture 2017.

It’s a massive vote of confidence in Hull and supports the ambition to use culture to transform lives. – Martin Green

Martin Green, CEO and Director of Hull 2017, said: “We have been blown away by the high levels of support for Hull UK City of Culture. It’s a massive vote of confidence in Hull and supports the ambition to use culture to transform lives and further raise the city’s profile as place to visit, study, invest in and do business with.”

The funding for Hull 2017 enables it not only to deliver an unparalleled year of culture, but to fulfil the commitment to ensure everyone living in the city has the opportunity to participate.

68 per cent of the funding is dedicated to public facing activities, programming dozens of cultural events in every corner of the city, with a further 11 per cent for legacy and contingency supporting existing events so they can grow, staging curtain-raiser events and developing future programming for after 2017.

Alongside this, we’re also investing £5 million in volunteering, learning and community engagement. The learning programme No Limits for example, launching in October, will give over 60,000 children and young people across the city the opportunity to play their part.

The volunteering programme has so far signed up more than 2,000 people, offering opportunities to be at the heart of the action. We are also supporting activities aimed at reducing social isolation and getting people more active.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Brady said: “This is a great vote of confidence in Hull and the 2017 team, led by Martin Green. It will allow the city to stage a truly spectacular year of cultural events and to maximise the economic benefits, with £60 million expected to flow into our local economy as a direct result of hosting UK City of Culture 2017.

“I’d like to thank all of the funders and partners who have backed Hull as we look forward with pride to the launch next week.”

Find out more about our partners and supporters.

The programme for season one and highlights from the rest of the year will be announced on Thursday 22 September.

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PRS NMB Composers

Beatboxer, folk legends and classical composers join new residency programme for Hull 2017

PRS for Music Foundation has announced two major new music programmes that will celebrate music and listening in Hull.

With projects kicking off this month, the New Music Biennial (NMB) Composer Residencies will give communities in Hull the chance to create music and spend time with five world-class composers. The five composers – folk legends Sam Lee and Eliza Carthy, classical composers Errollyn Wallen and Brian Irvine, plus beatbox/electronic artist Jason Singh – will spend time in communities in Hull to create new compositions that take Hull and its residents as their starting point and their inspiration.

In collaboration with Sound and Music – a national charity for new music – PRS has also announced the NMB Minute of Listening project. This is a special edition of Sound and Music’s simple digital learning tool that provides primary-aged children with the chance to experience 60 seconds of creative listening each day of the school year. This new version of Minute of Listening will feature minute-long tracks by NMB composers alongside other sounds recorded in Hull, and will be officially launched on October 18 2016.

Martin Green, CEO and director of Hull 2017, said: “A key ambition for Hull 2017 is seeing as many people as possible in every neighbourhood having the opportunity to participate in a variety of cultural activity across the city. The New Music Biennial Composer Residencies and Minute of Listening programme is a chance for local groups and schoolchildren to make or listen to music by highly respected musicians. It has an important part to play in our learning and participation programme, and we hope it will unleash their creativity and develop their passion for music for years to come.” 

The PRS for Music Foundation announced the NMB project earlier this year with 20 composers, including the NMB Festival weekend in Hull from 30 June to 2 July 2017. This free festival will bring each of the NMB composers together for a festival of performances in Hull, including the performance of a large-scale culmination piece and each of the 20 new compositions. The festival will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and after the performances in Hull, it will head to London’s Southbank Centre.

Vanessa Reed executive director of PRS for Music Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to bring the Composer Residencies and this special edition of Minute of Listening to Hull as part of the New Music Biennial 2017. Both initiatives will play a significant role in the build up to Hull UK City of Culture festivities in 2017 and beyond. The residencies will add an exciting opportunity for communities, groups and schools in Hull to participate, not only in the festival weekends in 2017, but in the creation and performance of new music with some of the UK’s most talented composers.  In addition, the Minute of Listening gives primary school children a fantastic opportunity to explore new music and sound as part of their daily learning activities in schools.

Find out more about the New Music Biennial Composer Residencies, Minute of Listening and the festival weekends at www.newmusicbiennial.co.uk.