Opening Event: Made in Hull

Staged as a trail of discovery across Hull city centre over seven days, Made In Hull will be a light and sound spectacular.

It’s the first major installation work of 2017, and it celebrates 70 years of the city as seen through the eyes of Bafta-nominated documentary film-maker and top Hull bloke Sean McAllister.

Sean is best-known for his Bafta-nominated film A Syrian Love Story, a moving fly-on-the-wall documentary that follows a family from war-torn Syria to Europe over the course of five years. Released in 2015, the film continues to collect awards all over the world.

But as creative director of Made In Hull, Sean returns to his roots, to the city where he grew up and where he learnt his craft.

“When you think about art, as a working-class person from Hull, you often feel it isn’t for you. I’ve tried to make each of the pieces in Made In Hull adventurous – exciting and full of wow – but also full of content.”

– Sean McAllister, creative director, Made in Hull

He’s working in partnership with Hull writer Rupert Creed – “he crystallises my ideas” – local and international light and sound artists, and a creative team that’s in great demand when it comes to producing some of the biggest shows on the planet. The team includes Olympics event veterans Hull lighting designer Durham Marenghi, producer Niccy Hallifax and production designer Ala Lloyd, as well as sound designer and composer Dan Jones.

The carnivalesque show invites everyone in the city to follow a trail of jaw-dropping outdoor projections on to some of Hull’s most iconic buildings and spaces.

It begins in Queen Victoria Square, goes down Whitefriargate where there will be pieces in shop windows, into areas of the Old Town and more. The idea is that people of all ages can drop in for a hour, or spend a whole evening, from 4pm – 9pm, seeing Hull in a completely new light.

Sean is commissioning artists to cover some of the highs and lows of the city’s recent past.

“Made In Hull is first and foremost an amazing show and a great night out,” he says. “It’s also about me as a documentary film-maker playing on my documentary instincts.

“It’s about Hull, post Second World War – it was the second most-bombed city in the country, but was never acknowledged as such; the heyday of the city’s fishing industry when you had your three-day millionaires and Hull was a beacon of the north; and it’s about the following 20 years of recession.

“Hull, though, has a fantastic way of rebuilding itself. The city, and its people, seem to have an ingrained spirit of defiance that rises to challenge adversity. There’s an installation about the city’s club scene, about its sports and about the future. There’s a moment of hope now, with investors such as Siemens coming into the city.

“I want people to come and be wowed by some of the shows, then maybe go home and think about some of them, to feel proud and hopeful for 2017 that stuff’s happening in Hull and that it’s going to impact on everybody, in a real positive way.”