Northern soul play comes to Humber Street Gallery

A new play about northern soul is to debut with a ‘scratch’ performance at Humber Street Gallery this month.

Casino, written by Larner Wallace-Taylor, is set in Wigan’s famous Casino Club during the strikes and power cuts of 1974.

‘Scratch’ means an early, often abridged version of a play, performed by professional actors but with little or no set, costume, lighting or sound design.

The 45-minute performances, repeated over three nights, will give debut writer Larner the chance to see her work in front of an audience for the first time.

Hull theatre companies Middle Child and Silent Uproar are presenting Casino as part of Out Loud, a joint scheme to help playwrights develop new work, without the pressure of creating a full-size production.

Larner said: “Wigan has played a little celebrated yet hugely significant role in the British cultural landscape.

“The northern soul movement was carved out by people who loved it and I’m so excited to be able to share this script in development with that same audience.”

Casino is the first in-person scratch performance, after digital recordings of work by Hannah Scorer and Niall Ransome were shared during Freedom Festival in 2020.

Middle Child and Silent Uproar plan to host more scratch nights over the next few years, giving more writers the opportunity to see their work come to life on an actual stage.

Paul Smith, artistic director of Middle Child, said: “Having worked with Larner and witnessed the way she talks about theatre, we were all incredibly excited about her idea to explore the impact of Northern Soul in Wigan.

“Supporting new writers to develop their craft is a huge part of why we exist, and the work Larner wants to make feels like a great fit with ours – human, relevant to the world we’re living in and with a cracking soundtrack.

“Bringing this story to life for the very first time through Out Loudwill be a vital part of development for both the piece, and for Larner.”

Alex Mitchell, artistic director of Silent Uproar, added: “As Hull’s leading commissioners of great northern talent, we have a shared vision of pooling our resources to create a brand new, bold, and inclusive artist support programme for the city.

“Out Loud will ensure that writers from Hull and the East Riding have access to the same level of opportunity available elsewhere in the UK.

“This work will shake up how new talent is developed in the area whilst creating a platform for brilliant northern writers to shine.”

Casino audience members will have the chance to chat with Larner and the creative team after each performance.

DJ collective Soul Syndicate will also be playing classic northern soul tunes in the gallery bar until late on Saturday 26 March.

The Thursday 24 March performance will be BSL-interpreted by Dave Wycherley.

Tickets are available on a pay what you decide basis, meaning you don’t have to pay until after you’ve seen the show.

Visit for more details and to book tickets. 

Out Loud: Casino is part of Humber Street Gallery’s Thursday Lates programme.