Ok, so no beating around the bush here. It is a very hard time for theatres and theatre people at the moment. Of course all theatres have had to close and shows have been cancelled. Since things are so uncertain we don’t know where we will be in 1 months time let alone for the rest of the year. Shows can be postponed but no one knows when we’ll even be allowed out of the house properly, and only then we might be able to start thinking about reopening theatres. I guess all we can do it sit around and wait to find out…
No, not at all. There is still a lot we can do to continue our support for our local artists, companies and venues. Because of this, I wanted to do a post to spread some love and support for the wonderful theatre community that we have in hull! #hullmafia
First up we have Hull Truck and Hull New Theatre
Both have had to suspend all shows but they are doing what they can to keep up the spirits and support for their audiences.
HULL TRUCK THEATRE
Truck have released a short video detailing their current process of the closure. Where necessary they are offering refunds or credit to those who have been affected by any cancellations but due to the company being a charity they are highlighting the importance of donating to your local theatres. It is possible to donate the value of your tickets to them which will enable Hull Truck to come back better than ever once this madness is all over. You can watch this video here or read about it on their website. In the meantime they are planning out a few things to keep us all entertained in our own homes. Notably, today they’ve been sharing memories of the theatre in celebration of World Theatre Day and have released some videos:https://www.youtube.com/embed/5Vu4eHkOZeI?wmode=opaque
Nicola Stephenson here performs a Mrs Iger monologue from Jim Cartwright’s TWO, that was due to be finishing at Hull Truck today, before moving onto Scarborough next week.
Hester Ullyart gives a poem adaptation from the plat The Ballad of Paragon Station whilst on lockdown in New Zealand.
I imagine they will be posting more things as the time goes on…
Keep an eye on their twitter page for more info.
HULL NEW THEATRE
Hull New have been doing their best so far to offer refunds and reschedule dates. Since many of the shows put on here are by larger nationwide touring companies, many are still bookable on their website. On their twitter they been sharing some vital information in regards to government advice and passing around the hashtag – #TheShowsWillGoOn and inviting people to put a picture of some comedy and tragedy masks up in their windows to show support and celebrate our theatres. Of course I got involved! I know people have also been putting rainbows in their windows to spread happiness so I thought it was worth making a rainbow image.
On to some of Hull’s theatre companies…
These guys are the epitome of what I believe theatre and theatre communities should be about. On the average day they already do a lot to support upcoming artists and companies, but now that we are in this pandemic they have stepped up once again. Firstly, for any theatre companies that are wondering what to do in this situation, they are always there to help and have produced what is basically an action plan regarding the circumstances (send them a message if you’re interested). Secondly, they recognise that in times like this, it is the self-employed artists that are going to struggle the most since they have no working outlet, no money coming in etc. So they began a GoFundMe page (inspired by Luke Barnesy who created something similar for Liverpool artists) aiming to raise enough money to support ten artists by giving them £200 each. Then they went on to smash their target and have so far given £200 to 21 artists with their fundraising total continuing to rise. I have donated and if you wish to you can do so by clicking this link!
Next on their agenda was opening up applications for there writers group but this will now have to happen later on in the year. That has not stopped them though! Every week, associate artist Tom Wells will be sharing with us some writing exercises that can get us kick started on writing that play we’ve always wanted to do but never had enough time to. I guess now we do! And with these exercises we have no excuses! The first two exercises are currently up on their website along with a little more information about what is happening.
Feel like you’ve got a bit of writing to share? Middle Child, in collaboration with Silent Uproar (and supported by Richard Bean) have extended their applications for their Out Loud Scratch night which is now looking to be an online event. The new deadline is 10am Monday 30th March, so if you do have a bit of a script (no more than 10 pages) that you’d like to try out then get involved!
Not into all the writing and just want to be involved somehow, or you are and you want to be more involved? On April 7th they are hosting an online theatre social quiz night via Zoom. You can book tickets online and on the night you’ll get invite to a Zoom meeting and then may the best team win! Social distancing at its best!
Talking of quizzes..
THE ROARING GIRLS
Only two weeks ago today did I post my review of Beach Body Ready,having just started their tour and sadly now they are back at home in Hull. The girls released a twitter thread explaining some of their emotions and plans for the future.
I imagine it has been a very difficult time having to cancel all of the shows after so much planning and I know they were very excited for the tour. Nonetheless, they are keeping up their spirits (and ours) in whatever way they can. A part of the thread was offering any help to people who may need it, including dog walking and food trips, leaving their email address for people to get in touch (Hello@TheRoaringGirls.co.uk). As far as I’m aware they are also planning weekly quizzes over Zoom for us all to join in! They will keep you posted on their twitter! They remain an amazing group of people with Rachael off to work in a supermarket warehouse to become a key worker and getting interviewed for BBC Look North!
Since their beautiful show, To the Moon and Back, Concrete Youth have been working with Life for a Kid foundation to provide Sensory Storybook sessions for people in Hull who have profound and multiple learning disabilities. They aim is to make sensory arts more accessible with each session involving group interaction, singing and Makaton sign language. Usually they happen every third Tuesday of the month but of course, this is now not possible. So far, the next one is still scheduled in for Tuesday 21st April at 11am (at the Life for a Kid Foundation, Hull – more details can be found on their website).
Until then they have been continuing with their Signing Sundays by posting short videos with various Hull artists signing some of their favourite words. The newest addition to their social media has been their daily activity updates, giving a number of different sensory activities that you can do at home. There is everything from making cornflour slime, foot print painting, bubble snakes and more! I’m thing of having a home disco in the kitchen!
I have seen all of the theatre companies showing their support for one another and it’s so lovely that at a time like this we will still find a way to come together and push through so that once it is all over we can have still have the incredible community that we do now!
The support for theatres and theatre people around the country still remains strong and if we keep it up we can be better than ever. It’s at times like this we realise how much we thrive off our entertainment industries and how important these creative people are!
SHARING YOUR SKILLS
Nic Connaughton, head of The Pleasance theatre in London, with the help of actor and theatre maker, Sam Wightman, has created a Google docs list of people are happy to share skills where need. If you feel like you need some mentoring with project management, finance, graphic design, writing, etc., the list is the place to go. Concrete Youth’s Daniel Swift is on there offering advice on accessible theatre, specifically for neurodiverse audiences, and Middle Child’s Jamie Potter is offering feedback and support on marketing, press, and audience development. Otherwise, if you feel you have something to offer, you can add yourself to the list!
POSTCARDS FROM HULL
Not quite theatre related but if you are interested, We Made This in Hull have been working on producing an exhibition that was originally intended to be in Hull Truck but is now being transferred to be an online thing. The project involves getting people to create a Hull themed postcard, any way they want to whether it is through drawing, photography, embroidery, etc. These will then be shared online and hopefully in Hull Truck at a later date. More details about sizes and where to send them is on their site. This is running between March and September 2020. I think I will be leaving Hull around August time when my housing contract is up so I imagine I’ll be sending one in closer to that time when I could perhaps write something a bit more meaningful about my time here in Hull.
Once again, Happy World Theatre Day! I hope you’ve all had a lovely day reminiscing of the wonderful times you’ve spent working or visiting theatres, even if sometimes it was the most stressful, hard work you have done. In celebration, I’m going to finish off this post with a series of images of productions I’ve worked on or been in over the years. There are some serious throwbacks coming your way! These are pretty much any photos I could fine with me in them but if you’re interested to see what other work I’ve done in theatre head over to my theatre portfolio. I had fun looking at my angsty faces so I hope you do too!
SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS OF THE PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS POST (IN ORDER OF MENTION):
Concrete Youth – twitter, facebook, website.
Nic Connaughton – twitter.
Hull New Theatre – twitter, facebook, website.
Jamie Potter – twitter.