Thursday 10 March 2022 celebrates 50 years since the first performance by Hull Truck Theatre. The Company was founded in 1971 by Mike Bradwell, when he and a group of fellow actors moved into 71 Coltman Street, Hull, to improvise and rehearse a new form of theatre that put real people and real stories centre stage.
To mark the anniversary and in partnership with Hull City Council and Coltman Street Community Association a blue plaque will be placed at No.71 with the words:
“In 1971 Hull Truck Theatre was formed in this house by Mike Bradwell.”
From its revolutionary origins in the 70s and early 80s, presenting a mix of improvised hard-hitting drama, children’s theatre and cabaret, and touring shows out of the back of the infamous truck, through the 80s and 90s under the leadership of John Godber, to the current ambitious and inclusive theatre company on Ferensway, Hull Truck Theatre has always been known for championing new voices and telling recognisable, human stories. We draw in audiences from Hull and East Yorkshire as well as further afield, and tour work out, taking the name and stories of Hull across the UK.
Hull Truck Theatre is proud that 50 years on, we are still able to bring together an energetic and creative community of people dedicated to delivering exceptional theatre for a diverse audience, many of whom are experiencing the arts for the first time. We not only produce theatre of national significance, but also forge meaningful and lasting relationships with our local community.
71 Coltman Street is the title play to kick off Hull Truck Theatre’s 50th Anniversary, a hilarious and irreverent comedy by Richard Bean, that will take our audiences back to the 70s and Hull Truck Theatre’s origin story. It is a roaring combination of comedy, cabaret, farce and drama that is set in a freezing cold house on Coltman Street, with a motley crew of unemployed actors who gather to improvise a play with no name, no plot, no budget and no bookings.
Mike Bradwell, Founder of Hull Truck Theatre, said:
“I’m amazed that Hull Truck is still going strong after 50 years. I was surprised when we lasted for 5. I’m flattered that anyone would want to write a play about me, let alone see one. And I’m excited that Hull Truck continues to provide provocative entertainment after half a century. Keep on truckin’.”
Mark Babych, artistic director at Hull Truck Theatre, said:
“This is a very proud moment for us in the history of our company – it’s wonderful to celebrate the vision and determination of our founders who 50 years ago laid the foundations for a theatre company who flouted conventions and had the courage and determination to follow their own path – thank you Mike and all the artists who dared to follow the dream “
Helen, current owner of 71 Coltman Street, said:
“We have owned 71 Coltman St for 20 years and had no idea of the history of it till recently. To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement! I’m absolutely delighted there will be a blue plaque on the house to mark the history of Hull Truck Theatre and our house, especially as it is 50 years exactly since Hull Truck Theatre began.”
Simon Kelsey, Coltman Street Community Association, said:
“I remember seeing Mike Bradwell going around in a truck. It’s great that what he started is still in place today and it’s brilliant to see 50 years along, that we can celebrate this anniversary. It’s great for the street and it’s great for Hull.”