Hull Truck Theatre launches Grow Festival 2024

Hull Truck Theatre is excited to announce that the programme for Grow Festival is now on sale. Supporting artists and local talent development, the festival is making a welcome live return, with a packed programme of free and paid-for performances, sharing workshops and networking opportunities.

As part of Grow Festival 2024, Hull Truck Theatre has awarded three bursaries to local artists to take part in the Be Our Guest residency programme. Andy Ross and Jack Fielding, Ellen Brammar, and Elise Gilbert will each spend a week in residence at the theatre developing their work to later share with a paying audience in the Godber Studio on Friday 21 June.

Tom Saunders, Associate Director at Hull Truck Theatre, said: “Audiences are essential to the development of new work at Hull Truck Theatre because by simply being in the room and responding naturally – laughing at jokes and gasping when shocked – audiences inform artist’s choices, helping to shape the work going forwards. I am so happy that we are supporting these three pieces, led by three really exiting artists. I promise that you’re going to think, you’re going to laugh and you’re going to be moved.”

Andy Ross and Jack Fielding are both Hull-based performers and have collaborated for over ten years. Jack specialises in circus skills and stage combat while Andy is a trained clown practitioner. They aim to create a space for connection and laughter by merging these two disciplines.

Andy and Jack will develop Who Put the ‘Glad’ in Gladiators? Audiences will be invited to the experimental colosseum where laughter reigns supreme, and gladiators meet hilarity in the most uproarious of battles. Combining a dash of skill and a whole lotta dumb. Choose your warrior, choose your weapon. FIIIIGHT!’

Andy Ross and Jack Fielding said: “We’re really excited to be offered the Be Our Guest residency which has given us the opportunity to work together on a project which we have full autonomy over. We’re really grateful for this time to be able to bring our individual passions of stage combat and clowning together and see what wonderful, hilarious, beautiful mistakes of madness we can create. With audience involvement and laughter being a core objective.”

Ellen Brammar is a Hull-based writer and co-founder of Middle Child Theatre. She was one of the BBC Writers Room’s Northern Voices in 2020, delivering a TV pilot of I Hate Alone, and was selected for the BBC Children’s New Voices Festival. Her latest play, Modest, opened at Hull Truck Theatre and went on to have a very successful run at the Kiln Theatre, London.

Ellen will develop Where Did I Go? About a brilliant and highly logical scientist, who must confront the dark forces that are now haunting her, after discovering she is pregnant. This modern ghost story will interrogate what it really costs to become a mother, and how sometimes there is no escape from the darkness that wants to possess you.

Ellen Brammar said: “I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to experiment with an idea that I find exciting as well as a little daunting. I’ve always wanted to write a ghost story and spending a week developing it, and then sharing it with an audience, will be invaluable. I have great ambition for this piece, and this residency at Hull Truck Theatre is a brilliant first step to achieving these aims.”

Elise Gilbert is a multidisciplinary theatre maker, actor and LGBTQIA+ activist. She is a Hull-born performer and has showcased her autobiographical show Bad Jokes about Men in Manchester and London. Elise’s creative practice takes inspiration from feminism, queerness and body positivity. She uses videography, makeup artistry and musical composition as a tool to tell real life stories. Most recently, Elise founded and organised Beverley town’s first ever pride event, which was celebrated on ITV and local radio stations. She is an active member of the queer community and works to organise inclusive and accessible events for LGBTQIA+ people in her local area.

Elise will develop Beautiful Chaos, an autobiographical one-woman show that explores feeling lost in adulthood with faulty ideologies and expectations on EVERYTHING. From the way you look, to how you learn and all the silly bits in between. Beautiful Chaos is a coming-of-age story, a growing on-stage story… it’s not the answer, it is just the first step outside of the box. 

Elise Gilbert said: “After taking time to develop my creative practice and tour solo work on my own, to now having the support of my local theatre, Hull Truck Theatre feels like the perfect next step for me as a performance artist. This is such a unique opportunity which could really help me springboard into the theatre industry and connect with likeminded creatives, whilst also having the freedom to make theatre without limitations.”

Tickets for the Be Our Guest sharing on Friday 21 June are now on sale for £10 and include theatre, chips and a pint. They’re also available to buy as part of a multi-buy ticket deal, which is applicable for all paid-for performances.  

Grow Festival will also include rehearsed readings, film screenings and work-in-progress sharings of new work. With networking opportunities to strengthen industry connections and drop-in sessions for 1:1 support, there really is something for artists and creatives in all stages of their career in this year’s programme.

Digital Shorts (Thursday 6 June) will once again be included as part of the launch event for the festival. This event will give artists the chance to meet other creatives in the city and to also enjoy a special preview of the series of short films created with local writers, including Tom Wells, Evie Guttridge, Elle Ideson, Jim Norris and Hannah Scorer. Tickets are £6.50.

Knickers (Saturday 8June) is a sharing and Q&A presented by Wolf Pack Theatre. Written by Kira Holmes, this laugh-out-loud comedy will explore the extreme lengths Jodie will go to, to make ends meet during the cost-of-living crisis. Selling her knickers online, what could possibly go wrong? Tickets £13.50 (£2 concession).

On Tuesday 11 June, audiences are invited to catch a glimpse of an exciting new co-production between Hull Truck Theatre and Pilot Theatre that will be coming to Hull Truck Theatre in Spring 2025. This rehearsed reading by Maureen Lennon will tell the tale of the iconic British writer, philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Set against a backdrop of societal upheaval and with music by singer-songwriter Billy Nomates, this story delves deep into Wollstonecraft’s life, from her early struggles growing up in neighbouring Beverley, to her impassioned fight for equality. This is a free ticketed event.

Grow: Connect & Collaborate Networking Event (Wednesday 12 June) is a chance for an informal artist meet-up, facilitated by Hull Truck Theatre. Whatever stage you are at in your career, you’re invited to come together to have a space to connect with other artists in the city, build a community and support one another. Free event.

Join budding playwrights, who have recently attended the 10-week Introduction to Playwrighting course at Hull Truck Theatre, for a script-in-hand sharing of the pieces of work they have created. Introduction to Playwriting: Sharing (Thursday 13 June) is an opportunity to see new work in its rawest and most exciting form. Free event.

Forget-Me-Not screening (Tuesday 18 June) is a 40-minute film that features the shared lived experiences of four Ukrainian refugees who sought sanctuary in East Yorkshire under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. Learn more about their journey, challenges, and adapting to a new environment during this exploration of humanity. Free event.

Making theatre can be tough, at any stage of your career and sometimes you need a second opinion. Whether you are just wanting to introduce yourself and discuss your career aspirations, or you have an exciting new project that you would like producer support on, Hull Truck Theatre is offering free producer 1-to-1s for artists. Drop-in sessions will take place on Fridays 7, 14 and 21 June. If you’re interested in securing a spot, please contact with your request.

Tickets for all three paid-for performances are available for just £24 (20% saving).

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