Celebrate Everything About Us: coming to Hull from 30 April to 6 May

About Us, a spectacular, free open-air event that combines live performances and multimedia installations to celebrate the entire history of the universe from Big Bang to the present day arrives in Hull on 30 April 2022 for one week only as the finale of its five-stop UK tour.

UNBOXED in Caernarfon. Photo by Justin Sutcliffe on behalf of 59 Productions.

Featuring poems and Scratch animations from young people from schools in Yorkshire, across England and the rest of the UK, the 25-minute projection shows will immerse audiences in an exhilarating journey through 13.8 billion years of history since the dawn of the universe in a celebration of the infinite ways in which we connect to the cosmos, natural world, and one another.

About Us is the opening event for UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of creativity taking place across the UK this year; an unprecedented opportunity for people to come together and take part in a series of awe-inspiring major events and creative projects for free. UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK is funded and supported by the four governments of the UK and is commissioned and delivered in partnership with Belfast City Council, Creative Wales, and EventScotland.

At night About Us will transform the landmark Queen Victoria Square into a vast canvas combining awe-inspiring live projection-mapped animation with poetry, music, and beautiful live choral singing to create a unique spectacle. Positioned across the Square, a raft of freestanding plinths containing dynamic theatrical lighting and LED screens will offer the counterpoint of the human-scale narrative against the vast cosmic scale imagery of the video projection. The evening shows will feature winning entries from the About Us nationwide poetry and Scratch animation competition, on the theme of ‘connectivity and the universe’, selected by a host of distinguished judges: Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage; mathematician, author and broadcaster, Rachel Riley; Scots Makar, Kathleen Jamie; co-founder and CEO of Stemettes, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE; writer, poet, performer, educator, UK and International Poetry Slam winner, Keith Jarrett; National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn; co-founder and Creative Director of body>data>space and Stemette Futures Trustee, Ghislaine Boddington; and award-winning Northern Irish poet, Stephen Sexton.

Acclaimed composer and musician Nitin Sawhney CBE has composed the original score which will be performed as part of the live shows by Hull Freedom Chorus. Choir performances of About Us are musically directed by composer, Osnat Schmool, who will conduct alongside local choir leaders. Sawhney has scored more than 60 films and his past collaborators have included Sir Paul McCartney and the London Symphony Orchestra. 

By day pop-up multimedia installations will showcase the boundless creativity of local children and young people with poems and Scratch animations created in schools’ workshops in Hull and the surrounding area.

Lysander Ashton, Director of 59 Productions and Project Director for About Us, said: “About Us has been a unique collaborative process bringing together poets, scientists, musicians, visual artists and school children from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. All these unique voices have contributed to create a dazzlingly rich composite view of the extraordinary universe we all share. About Us is an invitation to experience a world where you are made of stars, you’re built from a trillion intricate cells working in harmony, you are related to dinosaurs and you can make a connection to a billion people with the press of a button; it’s a celebration of some of the incredible things that make us, us, and I can’t wait for audiences to come and see it”.

Martin Green CBE, Chief Creative Officer of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, said: “UNBOXED is the UK’s most ambitious celebration of creativity to date and this free spectacular performance will show us what can be achieved when we harness the creative power of scientists, technicians, producers, musicians, poets and mathematicians to produce and present a truly extraordinary and inspirational experience, that audiences, and the choirs and young people who have contributed, will never forget.”

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, co-founder, and CEO of Stemettes, said: “STEAM allows us to look at scientific concepts through a brand-new lens. There’s more room for ideation and the freedom to create something new by taking an intersectional route to solving a problem. Building on tried and tested methods, STEAM supports the creative process so that people can help solve real-world problems. This multidimensional approach to creativity will be demonstrated using Scratch animation projects in the About Us shows and installations which will provide a feast for the senses.”

About Us has been created by the award-winning 59 Productions, one of the creative and technological forces behind the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony; Stemettes, the award-winning social enterprise working to engage, inform and connect the next generation of women and non-binary people into Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) by showcasing a diversity of people working in STEAM; and one of the UK’s most dynamic arts organisations, The Poetry Society. Pe

About Us is on a five-stop tour from March to May 2022, having travelled to Paisley from 1 to 6 March, Derry–Londonderry from 15 to 21 March, Caernarfon from 30 March to 5 April, it is currently in Luton from 14 to 20 April and will arrive in Hull from 30 April to 6 May. All About Us events are outdoor, free and unticketed, and suitable for audiences of all ages. Find out more: aboutus. earth

UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK features 10 major projects presented across the four nations of the UK. Also presented in Yorkshire are Green Space Dark SkiesStoryTrails and Tour de Moon.