The search for stories from the fish factory floor

Did you work in the fish factories in Hull during the 1980s? Or know somebody who did? If so, Hull Truck Theatre and Hull Maritime need your help…

The brand-new community production of Guts! The Musical – The Story of the Hull Fish Packers is set to take to the stage at Hull Truck Theatre in Summer 2024 (Sat 29 June – Sat 6 July). Following Union Rep Peter Allen and 15 women from a fish packing factory in Hull, audiences are invited to enjoy this whirlwind retelling of the ground-breaking case which forever changed the Equalities Act in the UK.

To make this iconic local maritime story as authentic as possible, Hull Truck Theatre are seeking to connect with past fish factory workers to gather as many stories as possible. They’d like to hear from people who worked in the fish packing factories in Hull, specifically during the 1980s.

Any contributions, insights or lived experiences shared will be explored and considered for inclusion in the play. Local playwright, Maureen Lennon, will use local stories as a basis for the story alongside some artistic license, to create a fun retelling of the iconic Hull Fish Packers.

Maureen Lennon, Writer of Guts! The Musical, said: “When Hull Truck Theatre commissioned me to write their community production, following a maritime theme, I immediately agreed! I was keen to write a play based on true events, which would resonate with local people. The fishing industry is a huge part of Hull’s rich maritime history, and I knew there would be so many untold stories out there just waiting to be uncovered. I stumbled across the story of Union Rep Peter Allen and the Equalities Act and was instantly hooked!

“It’s really important that local voices contribute towards the creation of the play – which is based on a true story. We’d love to hear from anyone who can help tell us what it was like to work in the fish factories in Hull during this key time.”

The public can submit their stories, encounters and recollections via a digital form. Stories are being accepted up until 31 January 2024.

Tom Saunders, Director of Guts! The Musical, said: “Our community production is always a highlight in the Hull Truck Theatre calendar and this one feels extra special as it’s based on a local story which so was revolutionary, it made history! We think audiences are really going to enjoy this fast-paced farcical drama which will retell the story of demanding equal pay for equal work, but with lots of hilarity and musical joy thrown in for good measure.

“We’ll soon be looking to recruit for our community cast, so watch this space for details if you’d like to be involved on stage, too!”

Hull Truck Theatre are really excited to be working in partnership with Hull Maritime project, using the power of theatre to tell the city’s rich history. 

Councillor Rob Pritchard, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Hull City Council, said: “It is great to join forces with Hull Truck Theatre to get more people involved in the Hull Maritime project in a creative and fun way.

“The play will highlight one of the most important but lesser-known parts of Hull’s maritime heritage and we’re excited that local people will have the opportunity to be part of telling this story.”

Tickets for Guts! The Musical are now on sale from Hull Truck Theatre’s box office, starting from £10.