Hull’s year in the cultural spotlight has had a big impact, not only on the people who live here, but visitors from far and wide. The energy is infectious, I’ve felt it. This summer, several Hull-based theatre companies causing a stir in the city will take that spirit with them as they head north to the Fringe, the single biggest celebration of art and culture on the planet.
Edinburgh Fringe veterans Middle Child Theatre return for their fifth appearance in seven years to perform their new gig theatre piece, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, a three-act anthem set across three decades, from 1997’s Cool Britannia to 2007’s Broken Britain and today’s Brexit Britain. A generation promised everything – but what happens when dreams don’t become a reality? With bold new writing from Luke Barnes, original live music by James Frewer, sound design from Olivier nominee Ed Clarke and direction from Middle Child artistic director Paul Smith, this Hull 2017 commissioned piece recently took Latitude Festival by storm.
Meanwhile Bellow Theatre, new writing feminist theatre makers and champions of the forgotten and downtrodden, are taking their new show Bare Skin On Briny Waters to the Fringe this year. Underscored with live folk music it tells the story of Annie and Sophie, two young women whose life has led them to the edge. A story of survival and escape, which asks how a generation of young women can forge their own path in the world.
Hard-hitting theatre is something that Hull-based companies seem to specialise in and Silent Uproar – recently awarded the Kevin Spacey Foundation Artists of Choice Award – are no exception. Renowned for confronting uncomfortable and vital issues affecting people today, Silent Uproar make their Edinburgh debut with A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad), a cabaret musical about depression by Olivier Award-winning writing Jon Brittain with music by Matthew Floyd Jones (Frisky & Mannish) and sound design from Olivier nominee Ed Clarke.
Total Theatre Award nominees The Pub Corner Poets look to tragedy to underpin their latest Edinburgh offering Sad Little Man, a mashup of performance poetry, physical theatre and projection telling the story of Lee, a young man in shock. Written by Times Playwriting Award 2015 winner Josh Overton and described as ‘shatteringly beautiful’ and ‘drenched in sadness’ by the New Diorama Theatre, the entire piece is set over the four seconds it takes Lee to find his girlfriend dead on the bathroom floor.
While many companies look to replicate real life encounters, internationally-acclaimed Norwich-based curious directive are looking ahead and using new technology to enhance their work. Their latest production, Frogman, which has been three years in the making, with filming in Indonesia, Australia and at The Deep in Hull, is a coming-of-age supernatural thriller set on the Great Barrier Reef in the 1990s. With sound design from Tony Award-winning Peter Malkin, Frogman is one of the first Virtual Reality theatre pieces and is sure to ignite discussions about the exciting future of the cross-over of digital tools and storytelling.
So what are you waiting for? With four Hull companies, three Supported Artists of Hull Truck Theatre and one world-renowned company making work with organisations in Hull, there’s more Hull action at the Fringe this year than ever before.
Five unmissable shows. Five amazing companies. One UK City of Culture.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 runs from 2 – 28 Aug. For more information head to edfringe.com