Hull’s Art And Theatre Scenes

The north-east city of Kingston-upon-Hull, better known as Hull, is celebrating because it is the first English city to hold the title of UK City of Culture. Each season during 2017 will focus on a different theme: Made in Hull (Jan-Mar) honours what the city has given to the world, from incredible theatre, music and poetry to wind turbines and caravans; Roots and Routes (Apr-Jun) explores Hull’s place in the world and showcases its heritage; Freedom (Jul-Sep) pays tribute to its creative pioneers, while Tell the World (Oct-Dec) rounds up the year.

Local artists, 4,000 volunteers and 60,000 children will work together to host festivals alongside cultural events. Throughout the year, the city will partner with the BBC, BFI, British Council and British Museum, plus The National Gallery, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Shakespeare Company and Southbank Centre.

Hull 2017 is responsible for delivering the celebrations. Director Martin Green says: ‘Hull has always had a unique cultural voice and in 2017 it will roar. Its spirit, stories and talent have inspired this national year of celebration. Through its artists to its residents, Hull will share with the rest of the world what people from here have known all along – this city has contributed significantly to ideas that have changed and enriched the world. ‘The year will show the power that art has to bring people together, to surprise and delight, to educate and provoke debate – to transform lives. Hull invites the world: everyone back to ours 2017.’

The festivities begin at 8.17pm on 1 Jan with fireworks accompanied by an audio-visual soundtrack over the River Humber. Made in Hull’s opening event (1-7 Jan) – curated by the Hull-born documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister – shines a spotlight on the city’s past 70 years. McAllister has teamed up with the lighting designer from the Rio Olympic Games Opening Ceremony to create a trail of live performances. Large-scale illuminations, soundscapes and film will be projected on to buildings across the city. Read on for the year’s highlights…

Hull MarinaThe Art Of Hull
All eyes will be on Ferens Art Gallery in Hull City Hall when it reopens this month to host the prestigious Turner Prize. Once you’ve explored the gallery’s permanent collection – which features Canaletto, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth – you can see five of Francis Bacon’s Screaming Popes (from 21 Jan).

Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe from The Courtauld Gallery, and Rembrandt’s The Shipbuilder and his Wife from the Royal Collection will be displayed throughout 2017, while Pietro Lorenzetti’s Christ Between Saints Paul and Peter will be on show following four years of conservation at The National Gallery. Meanwhile, Open Exhibition (from 20 Jan), now in its 50th year, celebrates local artists.

Contemporary art fans should visit Humber Street Gallery, which opens this month in Fruit – a cultural hub in a former warehouse near Humber Dock Marina. Once you’ve seen Sarah Lucas’ work, watch COUM Transmissions (from 3 Feb), which looks at COUM – a subversive group that exploded on to the art scene in the 1960s.

It’s not just galleries showcasing Hull’s creativity. The University of Hull’s Brynmor Jones Library will exhibit drawings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Matisse from the British Museum in Lines of Thought – Drawing from Michelangelo to Now (3 Jan-28 Feb). Meanwhile, Look Up, a year-long programme of works in public spaces, which features Nayan Kulkarni’s light installations and The City Speaks by artist Michael Pinsky, architects Tonkin Liu and poet Shane Rhodes.

All Of Hull’s A Stage 
Until now, London’s West End has grabbed all the international glory for the UK’s theatre scene, but Hull is set to change that. You want world premieres, talented youths and Royal Shakespeare Company productions? Hull can deliver.

London may have Secret Cinema and speakeasies, but throughout 2017, Hull is presenting immersive performances in unconventional locations. Circa’s Depart (18-21 May), in an undetermined location, brings together acrobats, aerialists, electronic musicians, video artists and choirs for a show that’s part soulful meditation, part circus. The futuristic story, Flood (1-31 Dec), about the end of the world, is in a secret location. Watch as it blends special effects and film.

Blast Theory – known for interactive projects that blur reality and fiction – is collaborating with Denmark’s Aarhus, European Capital of Culture 2017 to bring together film, installation, gaming and technology in 2097: We Made Ourselves Over (1-31 Dec) at various venues to help you imagine the city 80 years from now.

Watch world-class performers, courtesy of the Royal Shakespeare Company, perform the premiere of The Hypocrite (24 Feb-18 Mar) at Hull Truck Theatre. The comedy is written by Hull playwright Richard Bean of One Man, Two Guvnors fame, and is a co-production that will be staged in Stratford afterwards.

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