National Poetry Day

Tomorrow, Thursday 6th October 2016, is National Poetry Day, and this time Hull based company A Car Load of Poets are getting involved.

Vicky Foster and Ian Winter, the brains behind A Car Load of Poets, continue to work extremely hard to bring, and produce, quality poetry in the next UK City of Culture.

Seven months ago they started Women of Words, a monthly gathering on the first Wednesday afternoon of the month at Kardomah 94 on Alfred Gelder Street.

While that continues to blossom, judging by the proven, and fresh, talent I’ve seen there, and it’s growing audience, our two heroes continue to reach out to the poetry world, and tomorrow is no different.

I spoke to both of them this afternoon at Kardomah 94, Ian Winter said: “Fortunately we’ve got Kardomah 94, and we’ve got Central Library, which are really open to ideas, which has helped get it off the ground.

“I think we’ve got 20 groups taking part, there’s not many I can think of what aren’t involved.

“We’ve got two stages, one at Central Library from 1pm til 4pm, which I’ll man, one at Kardomah 94 from 10am to 10pm, Vicky Foster will be opening that.

“The night time is a top performance poetry night, we’ve got Toria Garbutt, Louise Fazackerley and Stan Skinny and a special surprise comedy act is coming.

“We’ve got local poets Mike Watts, Peter Knaggs Lucy Clarke and Josh Overton on. There’s Open Mic and we’ll be doing a few poems as well.”

Newish group The Artful Codgers came into the convesation next: “The Artful Codgers were set up by Terry and Sue Ireland, Dave Osgerby, I think Richard Harris is in it, they just kicked off, I think the more groups we get involved, the more the merrier.”

The idea behind A Car Load of Poets came from a desire to promote talented poetry in Hull.

“Hull has some outstanding poets, who deserve to be on stage with the very best.

Malcolm Scott has also been a driving force behind tomorrow, with his well known enthusiasm for the artistic scene in Hull.

“Malcolm Scott has always been very encouraging, he’s like a breath of fresh air, because without Malcolm Scott in the town, there’d be a lot of writers, playwrights like myself either wrapped up, or just continue taking work out of town.

“Tomorrow will hopefully become a regular event, the groups here will hopefully take them out to the community and schools.

“This is just the foundation for it, to be a bigger and better event. Hats off to all the groups, there’s been no thinking about it, it’s been yeah I’m on board, I’m on board, which is fantastic.”

“There’s another creative outlet coming from this dynamic duo as well: “We’ve got a new thing starting in the new year called The Word Hull.

“That’s going to include spoken word, comedy and music, that’s probably going to be on at Kardomah 94, one evening a month, and that will be like a collaborative event.

“Most of the stuff I do is collaborations, Monologues Slam is done with Andy Wilson and Lucy Thurlow, so that’s 20/20 Theatre with Penny Duck Theatre and Scarlet Lights.

“I’ve got Vicky Foster involved with A Car Load of Poets, I always try to involve other people with stuff like A Car Load of Poets.

“You go to Manchester, you go to York, you go to Sheffield, and they all reach out, Joe Hakim and Mike Watts a few years ago were trying to do that for Hull.

“I’m just picking up from where they stopped really.”

Chatting to Vicky after Women of Words, she said: “National Poetry day happens right across the country every year.

“What we decided to do was try and bring local groups together, so we spoke to the libraries and the James Reckitt Trust, and they kindly funded the day and the night.

“So basically we’re going to be having a stage that runs here at Kardomah 94 from 10 in the morning, until 10 at night.

“That’s going to be in two sections, the first will be from 10 til six, there’ll be about 20 different local poetry groups, they’re all going to pick 20 minute spots, and in between those spots, we’ve got open mic available.

“In the evening we’ve got performance poets, we’ve got Toria Garbutt, Louise Ferzackally and Stan Skinny.

“Also, in addition to that, we’ve got a stage running at Central Library from one til four tomorrow afternoon and you’ll see some of the local poetry groups performing there, and there’s open mic spots available there too.”

The attraction of National Poetry day, it seems, is just a natural progression for our talented twosome, who spend a lot of time travelling around on our behalf.

Vicky continues: “We travel around a lot, listening to, and performing poetry and we’re aware that there are a lot of different groups in Hull doing poetry.

“We just wanted to bring those groups together so people can collaborate.

“Also it just gives people a chance to hear a lot of different voices, which is what poetry is about really.” This statement draws a little giggle from this thoroughly engaging lady.

There’s plenty of attraction for her to this event: “I’m really looking forward to all of it, particularly tomorrow night.

“Some of the performance poets who are coming tomorrow night, I really, really like, so I’m looking forward to seeing them.

“There’s a guy who plays the guitar, from the open mic circuit, and I know he’s been writing a bit of poetry, and he’s coming tomorrow morning to perform some poetry for the first time.

The final question is, If people feel like just doing a bit of poetry, they should just come along to this? She replies instantly: “Yes, that’s right.”

I would readily suggest, please go and support this event, it’s bound to be an absolute triumph, I’ll see you there.

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Photo L to R: Vicky Foster, Hannah Davies and Audrey Dunne

Specialist Feature Article

Hull Playgoers Society celebrates its 115th anniversary this year, the society, which is the oldest dramatic society in Hull, and played a large part in the creation of Hull New Theatre, continues to push boundaries with its productions and expansion ideas.

Founded in 1901 by Arabian-born Hull resident Duce Mohamed, the society started life in the assembly rooms in Kingston Square when it was known as the Shakespeare Players, and had its own theatre, the Little Theatre, in the old town.

However in its 20th year, financial problems, which beset any amateur, or professional, company saw then president Tom Sheppard join forces with Holbrook Jackson, who was in the process of forming a playgoers society in Hull, similar to those in Leeds and other large towns.

Rather than having two societies fighting against each other to keep alive, Sheppard and Jackson decided to come together, the result was the launch of Hull Shakespeare and Playgoers Society in 1921.

Meetings were held in a studio in the Assembly Rooms, which is now the New Theatre as we know it today.

In 1924 Edgar Appleton, who at the time was a leading figure in amateur theatre, suggested the name be shortened to the more manageable title of Hull Playgoers Society.

Despite the name change the societies aims remained the same, as they do to this day, underlined by Sheppard as, ‘To stimulate interest in the whole art of the theatre, and enable its members, by readings, discussions, lectures and performances, to become acquainted with the best in modern and classical drama’.

When the ‘Repertory movement’ started in 1924, respected actor/director Arthur R Whatmore decided to bring his repertory season to The Little Theatre, which was in Jarratt Street, next door to the Assembly Rooms.

Whatmore enlisted local actors, stage managers and electricians. The Little Theatre did three or four seasons of ‘Rep’ every year, in the meantime Hull Playgoers put on several productions there to keep the theatre alive.

Other elements of theatre that we see today can also be traced back to the early years of the movement and Hull Playgoers, for instance ‘Suggestive’ advertising helps to fill a theatre.

In March 1926 the Eastern Morning News published an article that stated, ‘Whilst on the subject of Hull Playgoers Society, a great controversy seems to have been brought about by the announcement that Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine is to be produced by Mrs James Downs at the Little Theatre. The majority of members seem to be scandalised at the sordid character of the plot, and the outspoken details of the dialogue. If some of the indignant communications received by the president were to be published, there would not be a single seat available by the time of the first night of the production’.

Soon after that sell-out production the society showed that they hadn’t forgotten their roots as a Shakespearean company by putting on a version of Romeo and Juliet, with sweethearts Lawrence Nicholson and Audrey Dannett playing the title roles.

The couple became engaged at the time, subsequently married and remained as active members of the society for many years beyond that.

That production also saw more experimentation for the society, director Haworth Earle, using the imagination and artistry that the society was, and still is, renowned for, decided it was possible to emphasise the emotion in a play, with the use of light and colour alone.

It was an experiment that worked very well and was hailed as a triumph by audiences who appeared to be part of the crowd at Verona as the Playgoers moved through the auditorium.

In November 1929, with a membership of about 400, the society moved into the Old Gaiety Picture House, the new playhouse opened on 6 December with a performance of three original one-act plays and, in March 1930, the society created history by giving the world’s first modern-dress production of Much Ado About Nothing.

In 1937 Little Theatre manager Peppino Santangelo took over the then vacant Assembly Rooms and construction work to convert the building into a theatre began. Despite the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 Santangelo persuaded directors to keep up the work.

In October 1939 Hull New Theatre opened with the production of Me and My Girl. Santangelo had wanted to open it with a Repertory Theatre season, but the war made it impossible due to a lack of local actors so they had to get outside companies to it instead.

After that in 1940 it was decided that, due to call-ups to active service, it was impossible for Hull Playgoers Society to carry on at that time, although some members did go and do work entertaining the troops with E.N.S.A.

After the war ended in 1945 a public meeting was called to see what sort of response the society would get if it started working again, with support still very enthusiastic the society wasted no time in starting work again.

In 1951 it was suggested that a junior section of the society should be formed, as a result the Playgoers Workshop was formed with Margaret Burnett as its chairman and Beryl Ashburn as the secretary.

The society first used Hull Truck Theatre in 1980, when it was at Spring Street, and are still regulars on its stage since it moved to Ferensway a few years ago.

On the expansion front they started their fringe theatre last year, which gives theatre makers a chance to show a work in development in front of an audience.

President of the society Serena Myers says: “We have regular play readings, along with two productions a year, one in Spring, the other in Autumn.

“We recently did a version of Cyrano De Bergerac at Hull Truck, and in November we’re presenting Mary Shelley at Endeavour.”

The society will also be presenting a piece of work called Last Panto in Little Grimley at the Lord Mayor’s parade on Saturday 11 June, when Shaun Chaytor and his wife, society member Claire Wildey, take office.

The fringe theatre was started with the staging of a production called Girls Night Out at Fruit theatre on Humber Street, this developmental piece was then selected by Hull Truck, where it was staged with great success, proving the power of being able to develop work in front of an audience, they then followed that with Up Pompeii.

Writer/editor Mark Bones of fledgling Radio Faces Theatre Company says: “Hull Playgoers is a great inspiration to our new company, their fringe theatre is a fantastic idea which we support whole-heartedly.

Speaking of the influence of the company, he says: “They are a driving force as we head towards City of Culture, their productions are always of a very high standard which any company should aim for.”

The society welcomes new members, applications can be made to become a member on the website hullplaygoers.org.uk, which also has details of recent and upcoming performances and readings.

The society is showing a production called The Lamplighter, a story based on the subject of slavery, in 2017 which should, undoubtedly, be another spellbinding performance from this multi-faceted company.

Rehearsals take place, every two weeks, on Wednesday evenings at 7.30 pm at Newland Primary School on Newland Avenue, members are welcomed to try acting, working behind the scenes, to read plays to the society, do chapter and verse or just to be entertained.

This article would be published in Browse magazine, a local arts and culture magazine with a connection to the City of Culture board, the target audience would be theatre goers, theatre makers and people interested in getting involved in City of Culture.

 

 

 

Easter Parade- Preview

It’s coming up to that time of year when Super League squads get tested, coaches sprout a few more grey hairs, supporters cheer themselves that bit more hoarse, the whole two games in three days debate rears its head again and a feast of rugby league keeps us all riveted while the men and the boys get separated.

It all starts on Maundy Thursday as the Tigers and the Rhinos lock horns in The Jungle, then after that starter we have a main course, a desert, coffee and liqueurs, after dinner treats and the Easter eggs (for want of a better way of putting it) if you please.

The Saints take on the Warriors in their little spat and while the Wildcats will try to cut the Giants down to size, the Wolves will be hungry to deal with the Viking invasion in Cheshire and the Red Devils and the Dragons will try to put out each others fire.

But on the banks of the Humber something quite different will take place as red and white and black and white will charge at full pelt into each other quite unlike any two other teams in this great feast of uncompromising sport.

In the heat of the battle between two quaintly nicknamed teams, known as the Robins and the Airlie Birds, performance will mean nothing, the result will mean everything as families, friends, work colleagues and acquaintances will be split down the middle of a divided city.

Win and you walk into work the next day, or week, with a glow and aura surrounding you like no other, lose and you want the ground to open up and swallow you and it had better be bloody quick about it.

Blood and thunder has nothing on the Hull Derby, there could be an apocalypse and it wouldn’t matter as long as you hold the bragging rights and the great, and scary, thing about it is that it comes around again and again and again.

Easter Monday is like the warm after-glow, or a chance for part redemption, with six more games as the Dragons tackle the Tigers, the Giants greet the Red Devils, the Champions at home to the Wildcats and the Vikings against the Saints.

But elsewhere the red and white half of Hull will travel to face the Warriors and the black and white half will return home to tackle two of their former employees with the men that replaced them as the Wolves come to the next City of Culture, one will be looking for redemption while the other will basque in the glow of a derby victory.

Easter is looming large on the horizon, are you excited yet about what could hatch?

Documentary Film Treatment

I have written this treatment for the documentary we are making about the Fruit Market area regeneration.

Shoebox@FruitRegeneration

Treatment

The Fruit Market area on Hull Marina is being transformed to the point that it will be almost unrecognisable compared to how it was.

So far nearly £5M has been spent on regenerating the much-loved area that is seen as the cultural hub of the next City of Culture, but will it survive the work?

A team of students are going to introduce us to the area, show what was, what is and what, hopefully, will be as this formerly dilapidated old area is breathed back to life for new and old established businesses and creative works.

With the eye-catching new C4Di building and The Deep to attract the roving eye of the multitude of visitors expected in 2017, and other iconic places such as The Minerva public house and Fruit warehouse theatre what does the future hold?

What does the regeneration mean for the famous Humber Street Sesh music festival and the Freedom Festival not long after that?

Will the Humber Street area be ready for its own events in 2016 to provide a prelude to what is destined to arrive the following year?

Box Office Arrives At Hull FC

It was only meant to be a ‘Friendly’ as Hull FC took on Hull KR in the traditional pre season Clive Sullivan memorial trophy game, but somebody forgot to tell the black and white’s squad that were on duty with a pack that bore a striking resemblance to a full Panzer Division with one particular Tank as its leader.

It all started so well for the Robins as they took the game to their neighbours and even had the temerity to take the lead with a try and goal from Josh Mantellato early on, but their joy was short lived as the Airlie Birds took full control.

Sika Manu started the alarm bells ringing as he swatted away three defenders with ease and crashed over far too easily and it didn’t take long for them to take the lead either as another new player Mahe Fonua was given far too much room on the right to get over in the corner, Marc Sneyd was having a good day with the boot as well as he dissected the posts from every which way all over the pitch.

At this point as well the Tank made his entrance and signaled his intent with his first charge which required the attention of no less than four defenders to eventually drag him down to the ground.

The team in blue and gold then dragged themselves back up off the floor and their former black and white brought them back within two points, but there and then the contest ended as the corks began to pop and the champagne rugby league started to flow through the team in black and white.

Frank the Tank made a break, a sublime offload to local lad Josh Bowden carried on the work as the prop resembled a half-back to dash through, and the greased lightning full-back Jamie Shaul was on hand to race over unopposed with Sneyd making it a two score lead with the boot.

Straight after that another debut maker Carlos Tuimavave got in on the act to scramble over on that lethal left hand side to just about put the match to bed and it was still the first half, then he engineered a try for Steve Michaels straight from the restart to finish the game as a contest without any shadow of a doubt, and still the successful conversions rained in from the boot of Sneyd.

With his trademark ‘Great big cheesy grin’ local lad Shaul made the half-time score look even more embarrassing. With a token white flag surely spiritually raised in resignation many of those in the North Stand must have been offering up prayers to a higher force or wishing the alarm clock would wake them up from this living nightmare.

But the Tank and his teammates were not done yet and the 2nd half started in much the same way as the first had ended, only this time insult was added to injury as a former Robin, on his debut also for the Airlie Birds, unceremoniously bashed his way through would-be tacklers for the try his performance surely deserved.

Next it was the turn of the Mini Tank as the Australian/Italian with a flare for cooking, turned up the heat to barge his way over as the black and white army edged ever closer to the half century with Sneyd keeping up his 100% record with the boot.

The half century was duly passed as Frank the Tank raced away down the left and put trialist Lee Smith through a gap as wide as the Humber Estuary and once again earn a chance for Sneyd to show his pinpoint accuracy from the touchline, but how fitting that it was an ex-Leeds player who had brought up the half century as just a small reminder to what happened to this opposition when they faced the Rhinos at Wembley a mere five months before.

The former Rhino, playing for a deal, then turned provider as Tuimavave crossed again and Sneyd, with 10 out of 10, ensured a record highest score in a Hull Derby was achieved and written into the record books.

The Robins seem to like collecting unwanted records these days, but what now for the black and white half of the next City of Culture? Top 4? Challenge Cup Glory? For now they’ll take the Clive Sullivan memorial trophy and their new Hull Derby record score and with their Panzers gunning their engines and their enthusiastic super-fast backs ready to pounce in the style demonstrated against their nearest and dearest it must be said Super League, you have been warned!!

New Word Resolutions- Review

Hull poet Dave Mahoney organised an evening of fantastic entertainment as many of the City of Culture’s multi-talented came together for New Word Resolutions at O’Rileys on Beverley Road to raise money for homeless charities Hull Homeless and Rootless Project (HULLHARP) and Hull Homeless Outreach.

Taking an idea that he only dreamed up on 23rd December the host brought together a remarkable amount of great talent that included Anarchy Dada, Rich Sharp Wilson, Andy Woolston and Vicky Foster just in the first section.

The second section saw the parade of talent continued by Jack Gleadow, Richard Harries, Right On Cue and the host himself with his unique brand of poetry before the third section brought Gavin Clark, Rob Eunson, Jed Salisbury and Rest Less Wild to the stage.

The evening which had a who’s who of major talent on stage was also attended by local celebrities including Ensemble 52 playwright Dave Windass and poet and Away With Words host Jim Higo.

With collection tins passed round the audience were being quite generous and O’Rileys pledged 10% of the bar takings from the night to the two charities who work all year round with Hull’s homeless supplying, food, drink, clothing, sleeping bags and support services.

Mr Mahoney said: “This was only dreamed up on 23rd December so to get all this talent together in that time is amazing.

“I only meant this to be a one-off event but it’s been such a success I think we will be doing it again in the near future.”

The evening was an evening of outstanding talent and obviously massively important to the two charities and the people who live on our streets, sleeping wherever they can and relying on the kindness of strangers

Hopefully more evenings like this absolute treat will be forthcoming very soon so everybody can be fabulously entertained and the homeless of Hull can benefit further. #NWR

 

Indoor Market Trader Expects Benefits From Town Centre Regeneration

A trader in Hull’s Trinity Indoor Market believes the market can benefit from the regeneration work currently taking place in the City Centre.

Hull City Centre is currently benefitting from a £25M regeneration in preparation for the 2017 City of Culture celebrations.

Ian Rigg of Hull Prints says that the work could help increase footfall in both the New Town and Old Town areas as Hull starts gearing up for its year in the spotlight.

Mr Rigg said: “I think it’s very easy and unfair to blame the council for the problems in the city centre.

“St. Stephen’s is also a bit of a scapegoat which is unfair because all city centres have shopping centres in them and they manage.”

Speaking about what is needed to help increase footfall in the indoor market he said that it needs more unique bespoke stalls.

“We do ok here because we’re a bit of a unique stall because you can’t get these prints anywhere else.

“The record stall Spin It next door also does well because that’s something of a unique stall,” he continued.

Another issue market traders have previously raised is that many people knew it as a food court and maybe didn’t realize what an eclectic mix it has.

Mr Rigg also said: “We need more footfall and more people wanting to spend money, the regeneration outside can maybe also give the area a bit of the wow factor to attract more people.”