Hull Truck Theatre has announced a landmark year-long programme to mark its 50th anniversary in 2022, putting the theatre’s past, present and future in the spotlight. Specially commissioned plays will celebrate the journey from its radical roots to becoming one of the UK’s most innovative regional theatres.
World premieres by Richard Bean, John Godber OBE, Amanda Whittington, Sam Caseley and Lydia Marchant underline the theatre’s reputation for discovering diverse new voices, nurturing homegrown talent and putting the stories of its home city centre stage.
Announced earlier this year and kicking off the anniversary programme is ‘71 Coltman Street’, which runs from 17 February – 12 March 2022, directed by Mark Babych, and takes the audience back to when it all began, telling the dramatised story of Hull Truck Theatre’s origin. Founder Mike Bradwell is on a mission to revolutionise British theatre, resulting in the birth of the Hull theatre company which has since gained a reputation for producing, programming and touring pioneering work with a uniquely Northern voice.
The production is written by multi-award-winning Hull-born playwright Richard Bean (‘One Man, Two Guvnors’) whose critically acclaimed play ‘The Hypocrite’, was co-commissioned by Hull Truck Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company and was a major highlight of Hull’s year as UK City of Culture in 2017.
Making his return to Hull Truck having been at the helm for more than 25 years, former artistic director, John Godber OBE will reimagine his critically acclaimed play ‘Teechers’, originally performed in 1987, presenting ‘Teechers Leavers ‘22’ from 19 May – 11 June 2022, to be directed by Mark Babych.
Not dissimilar to the present day, in 1987 the teaching of drama in comprehensive education was being marginalised in a system under pressure. In the same year Hull Truck Theatre produced ‘Teechers’, which became the go-to play to attract young people to the theatre. Thirty-five years later, exam chaos, tech poverty, isolation, absenteeism and lost school hours have put the state system under more pressure than ever before. Now back for 2022, this highly physical, hugely funny and deceptively radical play will entertain both fans of the classic and newcomers.
Keeping local people at the heart of the programme, a Hull Truck Theatre production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ will pair Shakespeare’s rich and beautiful language with Hull’s vibrant and creative communities. Taking place from 2 – 9 July 2022, local people will swap the seats for the stage in this truly unique version of the romantic comedy masterpiece which celebrates the messy business of love and directed by Hull Truck Theatre Associate Director, Tom Saunders.
Hull Truck Theatre is committed to showcasing contemporary northern female voices, starting with world premiere of ‘Ladies Unleashed’ by Amanda Whittington from 29 September – 22 October 2022. Following the smash-hits ‘Ladies Day’ and ‘Ladies Down Under’, this is the third instalment of the ‘Ladies’ trilogy which explores themes of friendship and belonging, particularly resonant in a post-pandemic world.
Family favourite ‘A Christmas Carol’, adapted by Deborah McAndrew, with its themes of past, present and future, seems a perfect choice for the 2022 festive season, as well as ‘Jack, Mum & The Beanstalk’ – a new commission by Sam Caseley, which will see a contemporary take on the popular tale for young children.
The 50th anniversary programme will be rounded off with an exciting, fresh new talent as Hull-born playwright Lydia Marchant is set to make her debut with her first full-scale work ‘Mumsy’, showing from 2 – 25 March 2023. Sophie is going to be a third generation single Mum and she’s terrified. How will she afford to feed them both? Can she hold on to her job? Surely, she can count on her own Mum and Nan to help…
For fans of ‘A Taste of Honey’ and ‘Motherland’, this warm comedy has been developed as part of Hull Truck Theatre’s Grow Artist Development programme. Lydia Marchant is an Affiliate Artist of the theatre and ‘Mumsy’ was presented as part of First Time Out at the theatre’s Grow Festival 2019.
The year will also feature a vibrant programme of visiting work, working with partners and presenting a diverse mix of comedy, music, family entertainment, circus and more.*
Mark Babych, artistic director at Hull Truck Theatre comments: “Hull Truck Theatre has a proud tradition of work that is uniquely characterised by its individual and uniquely northern voice and we are proud to present a programme that shouts our city’s stories from the rooftops.
“50 years is an incredible milestone to have reached, and it feels like the perfect occasion to reflect on the past and finally tell the theatre’s origin story, while also showcasing our vision for the future via Hull’s phenomenal new talent. This exciting programme of work recognises our rich history not just by recreating it, but creatively reinterpreting it for 2022, alongside projects that reflect our present and give a glimpse into our future.”
Janthi Mills-Ward, Executive Director at Hull Truck Theatre, adds: “We are so excited to announce our 50th anniversary programme which has Hull absolutely at its heart and soul. 50 years down the line, our commitment to the community is stronger than ever. Our creative learning work will be centre stage in the main theatre and will see local people take part in a new production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, celebrating the talent across our region. After such a difficult couple of years, we’re delighted that we can bring the people of Hull and beyond a year of joy and laughter with funny, heart-warming stories that create that unmissable feeling of live theatre.”
The full programme can be viewed at www.hulltruck.co.uk and tickets for all productions are on sale now by visiting the website or calling the Box Office on 01482 323638.