Showtime: Hull throws open its doors to the world with 365 days of culture

With just days to go to the end of 2016, anticipation is building for the start of Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

The historic year officially launches at 4pm on Sunday 1 January with Made In Hull, a not-to be-missed journey through 70 years of the city’s history. The Bafta-nominated documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister is creative director of this major event, which will see local and international artists using large-scale projections, soundscapes, site-specific art installations, animation, archive material and interactive live performance to transform iconic buildings, streets, the skyline and other public spaces around Hull’s city centre.

Together, these new commissions will create an awe-inspiring tapestry of dazzling visuals, sound and light that offer different stories of the city and will make you experience Hull in a different way.

“The ambition for Hull 2017 has been to create a year-long programme that speaks of the city, its people, their creativity and energy. With Made In Hull, artists have created an unmissable, immersive tapestry, which we hope will inspire, amuse and create an emotional response among everyone that experiences it.” Martin Green, CEO and director, Hull 2017

Everyone is invited to attend Made In Hull, which is supported by Arts Council England through its Ambition for Excellence funding programme, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Spirit of 2012.

Made In Hull is free, unticketed and runs from 4pm to 9pm, over seven evenings from 1 to 7 January. The first night will culminate with In With A Bang, presented in association with Arco, a spectacular fireworks display over the Humber at 8.17pm (20.17), to be attended by 25,000 ticketholders.

The pyrotechnic display, created by Titanium Fireworks, will last around 12 minutes and be accompanied by a film from Hull-based poet Shane Rhodes, filmmaker Dave Lee and musician Steve Cobby of Fila Brazillia fame. There will also be a video mix celebrating the sounds of the city from VJ/DJ Cheeba, a specially compiled soundtrack of music from bands and musicians associated with Hull. In With A Bang will also include pre-show entertainment with music from Linda Levantiz, who runs the famous Bonny Boat pub in Trinity House Lane, Hull city centre, and screen content.

People heading to Made in Hull or In With A Bang on 1 January are advised to use public transport wherever possible. Information about bus services being run by EYMS and Stagecoach, train services, parking in the city centre, plus road closures is available here.

Martin Green added: “This is just the start of an amazing year that will see hundreds of events in every corner of the city, to be enjoyed by the people of Hull and visitors alike. We should acknowledge the role of everyone that has helped make this happen, Hull City Council for their investment and continuing vision, the people of Hull who backed the bid, the city’s artists and cultural community, and the many funders and other partners who have got behind this unforgettable year.”

Councillor Stephen Brady, leader, Hull City Council, said: “2017 is going to be an incredible and memorable year. Since we won the bid back in 2013, we have worked non-stop to make sure that Hull is ready to welcome millions of visitors throughout the year so they can enjoy all of the wonderful cultural events that will be staged throughout the city. Hull is ready to enjoy its time in the spotlight and showcase exactly why we deserve to be UK City of Culture 2017. We will also continue to work with our partners to ensure the legacy will be strong and last long into the future.”

Rosie Millard, chair, Hull 2017, added: “2017 is here, and kicking off in sensational style. Throughout the year there will be a stunning variety of cultural events for people across the city to enjoy. Since Hull won the bid in 2013 there has been incredible support, not least among the thousands of people who have signed up to become volunteers, and Hull schoolchildren are already involved through our learning programme. It’s a year that will build upon Hull’s strong credentials as a city of culture and we will continue to work with the council and our partners to ensure there is a lasting legacy for the city.”

Hull is ready to enjoy its time in the spotlight and showcase exactly why we deserve to be UK City of Culture 2017.” Stephen Brady, leader, Hull City Council


There will be a host of events in the opening weeks of 2017, many of them free. They include:

1 JANUARY: MADE IN HULL  spectacular free event involving artists’ installations across the city centre. Runs 4pm-9pm each evening until Saturday 7 January. FREE.

1 JANUARY: BORN INTO A CITY OF CULTURE – Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust in Anlaby Road, Hull, will begin capturing prints of babies’ feet born throughout 2017 to create a unique piece of artwork truly made in Hull. One of 60 projects funded through the Creative Communities Programme, which showcases local creativity and talent.

2 JANUARY:  BOWHEAD  opens at Hull Maritime Museum, a lifelike audiovisual installation of a mighty Bowhead whale, highlighting Hull’s whaling heritage. FREE.

2 JANUARY: REDboard – another Creative Communities Programme funded project, REDboard sees contemporary art break out of the confines of traditional gallery space on to 13 Hull billboards over the course of 2017. Celebrating 20 years of RED Contemporary Arts (formerly RED Gallery), every four weeks, billboards across the city will be transformed into platforms for art, with local talent showcased throughout the year. FREE.

3 JANUARY: LINES OF THOUGHTdrawings from Michelangelo to now, this impressive British Museum partnership tour at the University Of Hull, will feature works from some of the all-time greatest artists from Dürer to Degas, Michelangelo to Matisse, Rembrandt to Riley. FREE.

3 JANUARY: HULL CHARTERS – In its first major exhibition of 2017, Hull History Centre tells the story of the first four centuries of Hull though its archives, focusing on its great collection of city charters. Supported by Hull 2017 and the Heritage Lottery Fund. FREE.

4 JANUARY: POT LUCK – at Früit in Humber Street runs alongside Made in Hull and invites audiences to take a chance on a mystery night out that could see you being entertained by film, music, poetry, art and more. Ticketholders will be entertained by one of the following: an art night by Anna Bean and The Evil Litter; spoken word curated by Shane Rhodes with Luke Wright, Attila the Stockbroker, Joelle Taylor and Dean Wilson; a film night with Sean McAllister and a surprise guest; or live music, including Jody McKenna, Bud Sugar and others. Pot Luck is curated by Sean McAllister and runs from 4 to 7 January. Tickets are just £5 and on sale now to audiences aged 18 and over.

13 JANUARY: FERENS ART GALLERY REOPENS to the public following a £4.5 million investment.  It will open with a display of the permanent collection, including the unveiling of an outstanding new acquisition, Pietro Lorenzetti’s Christ Between Saints Paul and Peter (c.1320), which has undergone extensive conservation and restoration at the National Gallery.

Later in the month, five major paintings by Francis Bacon, one of the undisputed giants of 20th-century British art, will enhance a thematic display of portraits drawn from the permanent collection. The Hull Open Exhibition, showcasing the creativity of local artists, celebrating its 50th anniversary will also go on show, with works selected by Gabriel Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, Hull-born actress, Maureen Lipman and sculptor, David Mach. FREE.

21 JANUARY: The world-famous BRIGHOUSE AND RASTRICK BAND will share the stage with local favourites East Yorkshire Motor Services Band for a spectacular concert at Hull City Hall.

22 JANUARY: ANTHONY MINGHELLA  retrospective begins, including film screenings and exhibition at University of Hull, in conjunction with Hull 2017, BFI and BFI Hub North.

More events will be revealed in January, including new commissions unveiled as part of Look Up, a series of artist installations in the public realm, adding to the programme details already announced for the year. And on 3 February Humber Street Gallery, a new contemporary art space will open in the Fruit Market cultural quarter. The first show will be COUM Transmissions, curated by Cosey Fanni Tutti and Cabinet, London. The show will present materials drawn from the archives of Cosey Fanni Tutti and Genesis P-Orridge, held by Tate Britain, alongside new filmed interviews with original COUM members. The live programme alongside the exhibition, curated with leading independent online music and arts publication, The Quietus, will include performances by Cosey Fanni Tutti and Genesis P-Orridge, club events, panel discussions and talks. Exhibition is free.


A few words from our partners …

Glenn Burgess, acting vice-chancellor, University of Hull, said: “As a principal partner of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, the university is playing an active role in producing and hosting some of the year’s spectacular cultural events. We are thrilled to open our programme with the British Museum partnership tour, Lines Of Thought, which may be the single greatest gathering of artistic talent ever seen in Hull. We look forward to welcoming visitors to this magnificent exhibition and the other outstanding on-campus events due to take place in 2017, including further high-profile exhibitions and film festivals.”

Debbie Lye, chief executive, Spirit of 2012, a principal partner of Hull 2017, said: “We’re super excited about Hull UK City of Culture swinging into action this year. Spirit invested £2.85m because we believe that 2017 has huge potential to generate and showcase wonderful culture that brings the people of Hull together for a year-long celebration.  World-class art happening, and involving people in every corner of the city, will boost pride and show the rest of the UK what this historical and characterful place is all about.”

Rob Lynes, director UK region, British Council, said: “The British Council is delighted to be working with Hull UK City of Culture 2017 on a three-year programme that will have a lasting impact on the creative industries both in Hull and internationally. In particular, we are pleased to be building on the long-standing civic links between the twinned cities of Hull and Freetown, Sierra Leone, with a series of cultural and educational projects that we hope will build stronger relationships between people, institutions and governments.”

Sir Peter Luff, chair, Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), a principal partner of Hull 2017, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to celebrate and share Hull’s story. HLF’s involvement is thanks to National Lottery players and we hope that our £3m investment will help make a positive impact on Hull’s public profile and economic wellbeing.”

Vanessa Reed, chief executive, PRS for Music Foundation, which is bringing the New Music Biennial to Hull in July 2017, said: “While all eyes will be on Hull on 1 January 2017, we’re proud that people from across the city have already been getting involved with our New Music Biennial, demonstrating the long term engagement that the City of Culture title can inspire. Composers selected for our New Music Biennial residencies have been researching and meeting with the local communities who they’ll be making music with in 2017. Local teachers have been learning how to use the New Music Biennial ‘Minute of Listening’ tool, which our partner Sound and Music created to give schoolchildren the chance to tune in to new music and sounds as part of their daily programme. Based on this experience, I’m convinced that the energy of the city’s music scene and the determination of local partners will ensure that City of Culture is a title that Hull will continue to wear with pride way beyond next year.”