Themes of journeys and hope continue as Hull Truck Theatre announce Part 2 of their Year of Exceptional Drama for Hull UK City of Culture 2017 Events from September – December 2017, on sale from Monday 26 June at 10am
Mark Babych (Artistic Director) and Janthi Mills-Ward (Executive Director), say: ‘This season we celebrate the many and varied journeys that people make towards a better life. Tales from South Africa, Ukraine and Dickensian Britain all combine to tell a story of hope, transition and change.
Highlights of the Freedom season include the opportunity to see the world class piece The Suitcase from the Market Theatre of Johannesburg, and a world première based on Marina Lewycka’s novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.
As we reach the second half of what has already been an extraordinary year for the city of Hull, we hope the season reflects this spirit of optimism and renewal that we hope will carry us forward into a brighter and more unified future.’
Hull Truck Theatre productions
The season begins with The Suitcase (31 Aug – 9 Sept, press night 5 Sept) presented by Market Theatre Johannesburg, marking the internationally renowned theatre company’s return to the UK after a five-year absence. The production is presented with Hull Truck Theatre, Northern Stage, Derby Theatre, Dukes Lancaster, and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse in partnership with Freedom Festival, bringing world-class international performance to five northern cities, sharing programming and strengthening audience development. It will première at Hull Truck Theatre as part of Hull UK City of Culture’s Freedom season, before touring to Newcastle (14 – 16 Sept), Derby (20 – 23 Sept), Lancaster (27 – 29 Sept) and Liverpool (4 – 8 Oct).
Based on a true story about a young couple who leave their rural village to improve their life in the city, The Suitcase is never more relevant to our time, exploring issues of identity, migration, exile and celebration of the human spirit. It is adapted and directed by Market Theatre’s Artistic Director James Ngcobo from the novel by Es’kia Mphahlele, and features live music composed and written by legendary South African musician Hugh Masekela.
Hull Truck Theatre and Hull UK City of Culture 2017 present A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (22 Sep – 14 Oct, press night 26 Sept), a world première production based on the best-selling novel by Marina Lewycka. Adapted by Tanika Gupta (The Waiting Room at the National Theatre; Anita and Me at Birmingham REP) and directed by Hull Truck Theatre’s Artistic Director Mark Babych, this family comedy tells the story of retired Ukrainian engineer and tractor historian Nikolai and gold-digging bombshell Valentina. Nikolai falls for Valentina after the death of his wife, whilst his daughters unite to save what remains of his pension.
Hull Truck Theatre end their 2017 celebrations with a fresh take on the festive ghost story A Christmas Carol (1 Dec – 6 Jan), adapted by playwright Deborah McAndrew (An August Bank Holiday Lark; Till the Cows Come Home; The Grand Gesture) and directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse Associate Director Amy Leach (The Borrowers at Sherman Cymru; Kes and The Nightmare Before Christmas at West Yorkshire Playhouse; Dracula at Theatre Royal Bath). Set in Victorian Hull, this is a new adaptation of a Christmas classic with all the magical atmosphere and spookiness of Dickens’ original. Presented by Hull Truck Theatre and Hull UK City of Culture 2017, A Christmas Carol will round off the celebrations in Hull Truck Theatre’s Year of Exceptional Drama for 2017.
Performances from local theatre companies and artists
Hull Truck Theatre are proud to be hosting performances from several local theatre companies this season, including a production from one of their Supported Artists (a group of artists and companies who are part of Hull Truck Theatre’s professional development programme for established and early-career artists).
Hull Truck Theatre Supported Artists and Hull-based new-writing company Bellow Theatre present Bare Skin on Briny Waters (6 – 7 Oct), a show about two young women standing on a cliff edge steadily being blown on an unexpected course.
Pub Corner Poets present Sad Little Man (27 – 28 Oct), a stand-up tragedy performed by the mind of a young man in shock, featuring performance poetry, physical theatre, pounding music and projection. They developed the show at Hull Truck Theatre before touring it to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2015, and it was part of the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 Emerging Theatre Companies Showcase at the New Diorama Theatre earlier this year.
Script Club present the new one-man musical comedy Drip (9 – 10 Nov), written by award-winning local playwright Tom Wells (Folk, Jumpers for Goalposts, and Broken Biscuits at Hull Truck Theatre). It tells the story of Liam, an optimistic 15-year-old who signs up for Beverley Road Bath’s first ever synchronised swimming team, despite being unable to swim. Hull Playgoers’ present Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey (17 – 21 Oct), a glorious urban love story between two young men coming to grips with their sexuality.
There is a wealth of visiting drama from across the UK, from contemporary performances and spoken word to raucous gig theatre.
Performance poet Luke Wright presents his politically charged modern epic What I Learned from Johnny Bevan (2 Sept) as part of this year’s Freedom Festival. With humour and humanity, Luke takes British politics through a story of friendship, class ceilings, and the hollow reality of the New Labour dream. What I Learned from Johnny Bevan is the winner of the prestigious Fringe First Award and Stage Awards for Acting Excellence.
Mind the Gap, England’s largest learning-disabled theatre company, present Mia (13 – 14 Sept). Performed by four learning-disabled artists, Mia examines the truths and myths about learning disability and parenthood in today’s society.
Paines Plough’s Growth (3 Oct) is a comedy about growing up and manning up from critically acclaimed writer Luke Norris (So Here We Are at the Royal Exchange; Goodbye to All That at the Royal Court). It tells the story of Tobes, a young man who successfully ignores a testicular lump for two years before it starts to get in the way. The show won a Fringe First Award at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Two performances explore the ideas of war and conscientious objection. Michael Mears tells a compelling, shocking and inspiring story of the men who said no to WWI, in one-man show This Evil Thing (29 – 30 Sept). The questions the show poses are as relevant and urgent as they were one hundred years ago. Not About Heroes (18 – 21 Oct) is about the unique relationship between celebrated WWI poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, who met in a military hospital in 1917 and bonded over a mutual hatred of war, love and poetry. The show is on the first part of a world tour to commemorate the centenary of the poets’ meeting.
Medea (24 – 25 Oct) is a startling, contemporary reimagining of the ancient Greek legend of passion and revenge, casting Medea as the ultimate outsider. Her monologue transports us from ancient Greece to modern Europe and back again in a provocative, blood-soaked collage of performance, opera and sexual confession, performed by acclaimed dancer and vocalist François Testory. François has collaborated with a range of world-class companies including Punchdrunk, Ballet Rambert and DV8 Physical Theatre. The performance features live music by composer and music producer Jonny Pilcher, who has worked with musicians including Lana Del Ray, Super Furry Animals, White Lies and Crystal Castles.
Dom Coyte and The Bloodmoneys’ Songs For the End of The World (2 – 3 Nov) obliterates the line between epic theatre and raucous gig. When the apocalypse arrives, astronaut Jim Walters is left suspended in orbit on his way to Mars, broadcasting his songs for the end of the world back to a silent Earth. Dom Coyte is a regular collaborator with Kneehigh Theatre, whilst his band The Bloodmoneys have toured and recorded with artists including Beth Orton, Scissor Sisters and Gary Newman.
Families are at the heart of Hull Truck Theatre’s season, with family-friendly performances ranging from interactive adventures to breath-taking circus in addition to the family Christmas show A Christmas Carol.
Children can dive into the depths of their imaginations in the popular Finlay McGuigan’s Great Adventures in Storyland (30 Sept, 14 Oct, 25 Nov), the perfect interactive performance for little ones aged 3 to 6 and their families. The show sells out quickly so families are urged to book in advance.
Meet a chaotic family of misfits in The Hogwallops (27 – 28 Oct), a colourful, loud comedy that combines heart-stopping circus skills with slapstick and clowning. Perfect for children aged 3 plus and their families.
Following hot on the heels of The Gruffalo comes The Gruffalo’s Child (2 – 4 Nov), presented by Tall Stories Theatre Company. Based on the short story by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, this musical adaptation brings the much-loved modern classic to life.
Circus and dance
Grania Pickard tells the true story of growing up with her autistic brother in He Ain’t Heavy (12 – 14 Oct), presented by Oddly Moving. Using physical theatre, aerial circus and audience interaction, Grania explains how her brother walks, talks and interacts with the world. She was the first artist to take part in Be Our Guest, Hull Truck Theatre’s week-long residency programme which provides artists with the time, space and support to develop a new piece of work.
The Hull Dance Choreographic Prize (11 Nov) returns for its fourth year at Hull Truck Theatre, promising an exciting evening of dance from companies across Yorkshire and the Humber. Prizes are awarded by a secret audience vote.
Hull Truck Theatre welcome the Hull Jazz Festival presented by J-Night (16 – 18 Nov) in its 25th anniversary year, with performances from leading jazz musicians including clarinettist Arun Ghosh, singer Zoe Gilby, and an evening celebrating the iconic pop sounds of Shirley Bassey and Dusty Springfield.
Hillbilly Troupe and Friends (12 Sept) return with a celebration of local folk music, bringing together musicians from across Hull for an almighty jamboree, whilst 1960s folk rock group Electric Strawbs (24 Oct) take to the stage fronted by lead singer Dave Cousins.
Comedy this season begins with Rich Hall’s Hoedown (13 Sept) on the second leg of its critically acclaimed tour. Rich is known for his television appearances on Have I Got News For You and QI, but if you’ve only seen him on TV you’ve short-changed yourself. The Hoedown begins as a withering dissection of Trump’s America and ends in a celebration of Americana, with stand-up, improvised ballads and impressive musicianship in-between.
Comedian Andy Parsons presents his new stand-up show Peak Bullsh*t (25 Oct), encouraging you to put on your lucky pants and party shoes and stop worrying about the world. Andy was a lead writer for the ground-breaking show Spitting Image, and has performed on numerous TV shows including Mock the Week, QI, and Live at the Apollo.
Phill Jupitus is back with Juplicity (21 Nov), an hour of tales, laughs and diversions from the chaos of his own life and the uncertain world that surrounds it. He’s best known for his 19-year-long team captaincy on BBC 2’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks, as well as regular appearances on QI and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.
Hull Truck Screen and Hull Independent Cinema continue to present the best independent films and live event screenings from around the world. Highlights include RSC Live screenings of Titus Andronicus (Aug 9) and Coriolanus (11 Oct), and the NT Live screening of Yerma with Billie Piper in her Evening Standard Best Actress award-winning role (5 Sept). More films will be announced throughout the season.
Discover more – don’t just see a play, discover it
Audiences can get closer to the shows made at Hull Truck Theatre through Discover events, which run alongside many productions.
Discover Days are a fantastic opportunity to learn more about how a play comes to life or to pose questions to the cast and creative teams. Tickets are £17.50, including a workshop, a matinee ticket and a post-show Q&A. This season’s Discover Days are: The Suitcase (9 Sept), A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (7 Oct), and A Christmas Carol (16 Dec).
Hull Truck Theatre also run post-show Q&As for many in-house and visiting productions, where audiences can ask the cast and creative teams informal questions after seeing the show. This season’s post-show Q&As are: The Suitcase (6 Sept), A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (4 Oct), Mia (following every performance), This Evil Thing (29 Sept), He Ain’t Heavy (12 Oct), and Medea (24 Oct).
Pricing initiatives and accessible performances
Hull Truck Theatre are committed to being as accessible as possible for all audiences. This season they are giving bookers more choice with a range of ticket options, multibuy savings, concessions, groups rates and Pay What You Can nights, as well as accessible performances including audio descriptions and captions (full details below).
Offers include the Dinner and a Show package (a ticket, a main course meal, parking and a show programme), the popular main-house Drama Deal and the new Studio Drama Deal which give audiences the chance to see more shows for less.
Hull Truck Theatre are running audio described performances for The Suitcase (7 Sept), A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (5 Oct), and A Christmas Carol (15 Dec), as well as touch tours for visually impaired patrons before each audio described show.
Accessible performances include gentler sound effects, additional lighting, and a relaxed and friendly attitude to noise and moving around the auditorium – accessible performances include A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (30 Sept) and A Christmas Carol (6 Jan).
Captioned performances include The Suitcase (8 Sept), A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (12 Oct), and A Christmas Carol (4 Jan).