Theatre company looks for new home as Darley’s creative hub closes

Darley's
Darley’s – Photo by Sarah Beth.

A Hull theatre company is looking for a new home in the city after discussions with their landlord about the building they occupy being put up for sale.

Middle Child have rehearsed at the former Darley’s pub on Porter Street since 2011 and, since 2018, have opened it to the wider public as a creative hub.

Goodwin Development Trust, who own Darley’s, announced last week their intention to sell the building at auction and Middle Child have agreed that now is the right time to move on.

Artistic director, Paul Smith, said: “We are immensely grateful to Goodwin for hosting us in this building for the best part of a decade and it would be an understatement to say that we would not be where we are today without their support.

“While we’ve enjoyed many years in Darley’s and the news of its sale came as a surprise, we had already begun to discuss our future there internally and imagine what the perfect Middle Child space might be, that better suits the way that we work.

“We are now going to take our time to find a new public space and remain committed to making it available to the wider artistic community and audiences, as we have done with Darley’s in recent years.”

Alongside rehearsing the majority of their shows in the space, Middle Child have also hosted rehearsals for many other local companies and, in 2019, Silent Uproar moved in as company-in-residence.

Darley’s has also hosted countless workshops, as part of Middle Child’s wide-reaching artist development programme to bring through a new generation of theatre makers in the city.

Lock In Festival
Lock In festival, 2018. Photo by Sarah Beth.

In 2018 Middle Child hosted the Lock In festival, bringing together writers, actors, musicians and young paid interns to create four short plays in 24 hours.

Hull’s first scratch night for new writers in many years took place there in January 2020, in partnership with Silent Uproar with support from The Hypocrite writer Richard Bean.

Darley’s is also home to Middle Child’s theatre library, which includes over 2,000 scripts available to borrow for free and which, in 2019, toured Hull City Council libraries.

Middle Child will now spend the coming months finding a suitable new creative space where they can continue their work.

Paul added: “We are sad to leave our draughty old pub on the corner, but we are also excited about what we can achieve with a new space in the future.

“Darley’s was very much cobbled together from what we had available, with invaluable help from artists, volunteers and other participants.

“Now we can take the time to find somewhere that better fits our purpose and meets the needs of artists and audiences in Hull in this new world, post-coronavirus.”

Middle Child are currently arranging an interim space and welcome ideas and enquiries about a potential long-term home.

Visit www.middlechildtheatre.co.uk for more details. 

[Jamie Potter – Middle Child]