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

 

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Marc Graham Interview About Middle Child Theatre Panto

Actor Marc Graham has spoken about the Middle Child Theatre Company panto which is a Dave Windass written adaptation of Aladdin and has a special guest appearance by Hull rapper Nineties Boy.

The production, which runs from 21st to 29th December at Fruit, is the fourth time the Hull-based company have teamed up with the prolific writer for their take on the mad-cap world of pantomime and has, once again, seen Middle Child parody a popular Christmas advert, with their version of a girl making friends with Nineties Boy on the moon after seeing him through her telescope. Trailer

Looking relaxed back with the company Marc is best known for working with, after his sojourn to Hull Truck Theatre to appear in the sensational Dancing Through the Shadows, you get a definite sense of contentment as he says: “Middle Child feels like home, it’s what I’m used to, where it started for me and where I get the most enjoyment.”

Laid back on two chairs oozing the professionalism the company is known for and showing the attitude of a major star he then speaks about how the Nineties Boy connection came about: “We do a quiz at Fruit every month and Nineties Boy was on the sort of panel we have for it once so we just asked him to be in it.

He carried on in his relaxed mood: “He’s playing Wishy Washy but it’s an alternative production so it’s a very Nineties Boy Wishy Washy.”

Then we got onto the subject of working with Dave Windass for a fourth year in a row so Ensemble 52 got mentioned as I asked if he could see the two companies working together in future to which the reply had a hint of the unknown: “I don’t know, maybe but I’m not sure what we’d have to offer each other, which is a shame.”

Then he told me about the challenge of doing three different types of shows every day: “It’s really hard work doing three different performances in a day.

He continued: “Christmas is secondary because you have to be really focused on what you’re doing. Panto is really fun, you might spend the rest of the year doing really deep stuff like Mercury Fur, then panto comes along and it’s really good fun but you have to work really hard to get to that, you have to know it better than every other show you do that year.

“We try and make it completely up to date so it’ll be different every time.”

The performances will also include a band on stage which will have a different name every time and Northern Lights Drama Children’s Choir will be involved as well.

Tickets are priced at £8 Adults £6 Concessions/ £10 Adult Shows Tickets and £24 Family Tickets which is for 2 Adults and 2 Children and can be purchased on the Middle Child Website or Hull Box Office Tickets

 

Revolutionary Andrew Pearson

He’s the normally super-cool artistic director of Hull-based Ensemble 52 Theatre Company but his latest project is seeing Andrew Pearson remind us all of a turbulent and red hot part of recent history.

Revolutions is the latest work to spring forth from the pen of playwright Dave Windass, harking back to the year of 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down, Tiananmen Square was rocked by riot and Romanian communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown and the UK said hello to rave.

Fortunately he didn’t have to do much research about the historical period that the production covers because it comes from a period that he already had an interest in and also had its brainchild in a previous production by Ensemble 52.

“We did a production called Euphoria a few years ago which took place around lot’s of different units in the fruit market area and it was about the history of club culture and the one that did really well which seemed to gravitate more towards people was the one that covered 1989.

“Then last year was 25 years since 1989 which was one of the most important years in the latter half of the 20th century but of course people were concentrating more on the first world war commemorations and not many people seemed to clock the fact that it was 25 years since the Berlin Wall came down, since Tiananmen Square and the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe so I wanted to do something about that.”

We then moved on to the potential of the production being educational as well as entertaining, he says: “I think there will be an element of that but it’s certainly not going to be a history lesson, the work that we do we try and provide a stimulus so that people might want to go away and research that subject, so I would like to think that people will come and be entertained and we’ll maybe peak interest in that period and people will go away and look back at it.

“It’s also nice to maybe sort of spur people on and look at their own lives and how they would like to see things in their future.”

We then spoke about what sort of legacy the production could leave and whether what happened in 1989 could happen all over again, the ace director replied: “In some ways I think we’re always in a sort of state of revolution but when things get to a critical mass it becomes more obvious like we had the Arab Spring a couple of years ago.

“Can we do it all again? We’re not there to ram it all down anybody’s neck we just want to ask certain questions and let people figure it out for themselves.”

With just two weeks of rehearsals to get everything right cast and crew don’t have any time to play with before opening at Freedom Festival and then moving onto Hull Truck Theatre but I can’t help but think this production will be a massive winner.

Revolutions

Dave Windass Talks About Heads Up Festival And It’s Future

Hull playwright Dave Windass has spoken about the upcoming Heads Up Festival which will start on Saturday 5th September as part of Freedom Festival for the third time.

“We’ve been delighted to start Heads Up as part of Freedom Festival which has allowed us to take some really good shows to Freedom, but the festival is going to be restructured from next year,” he said.

Heads Up Festival has always been a twice yearly event every March and September but from next year it will be an annual event with it taking place in March although this doesn’t mean that Heads Up won’t have a bond with Freedom Festival.

“We hope that Heads Up Festival, as a brand, will be able to contribute theatre to Freedom Festival,” he continued.

Talking about the changes coming due to the involvement of Battersea Arts Centre coming to an end as well he said: “We’re in ongoing conversation with Battersea Arts Centre to make sure that Heads Up has got a future so it’s part of a thing called the collaborative touring network.”

Speaking next of future plans for the festival moving forward to 2017 with a purposeful look about him he says, “We’re seeing it as maybe a bit of an international festival, kind of like maybe the Edinburgh Fringe, although that’s a really big ambition.

“The festival was already going before we won City of Culture so Heads Up was a sign of Hull’s ambition, but now we want it to grow and go to other parts of Hull other than just in the city centre.”

We then spoke about what shows that are coming up in September for this Heads Up Festival and the first one that gets mentioned is one written by Mr Windass called Revolutions which has been in development for about two years and is being shown by Ensemble 52 at Freedom Festival first before moving on to a short run at Hull Truck Theatre.

“For me as one of Ensemble 52’s team, and the writer of that show, it’s very exciting to present that show as part of Freedom Festival and at Hull Truck.

“We’ve also got a show at Freedom Festival called At The End of Everything Else which is going to be in the big top and it’s powered by pedal power with the actors actually on bikes to provide the power for the show.

“Wot? No Fish!! Is also a great show that will be on at Kardomah 94 on the 2nd weekend of the Festival.

“The whole festival has some really innovative work that’s really human to the core that people will be really able to identify with.”

Talking about companies that Heads Up would like to forge partnerships with names like Middle Child, Silent Uproar and Pony Express Theatre Company are mentioned along with many others.

“Hull’s theatre ecology is really exciting and I think Heads Up is a really good umbrella for them to present their work.”

ChristopherBrettBailey_THISISHOWWEDIE_2_Credit Claire Haigh

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revolutions poster

Q and A With Dave Windass About Heads Up Festival

IPJ. You said in a recent interview “We’re developing a bad habit of shunning conventional theatre spaces” will this continue?

  1. I would like to think we’ll continue to explore other spaces in the future, it keeps you on your toes but is very expensive, it is very fashionable to do work in these site specific spaces but also it does restrict audience numbers sometimes.

IPJ. How important are places like Hull Truck to Ensemble 52 and Heads Up Festival?

  1. Hull Truck is a partner this year because Battersea Arts Centre approached them 2 years ago so they’re very important.

IPJ. Do you personally have any out of the ordinary spaces that you would like to take Heads Up Festival to in future?

  1. I would like to use the Lord Line Building, the Rank Hovis Building and the swing bridge in the old town but that’s not to say that we would create work specifically for those spaces it would still be a case of ‘Where would this piece of work fit?’

IPJ. Will Heads Up Festival ever venture outside Hull to places like maybe Beverley or Cottingham?

  1. No because of the partnership with Battersea Arts Centre we have to keep it inside Hull but we’ll try and take it as far and wide as possible from one end of Hull to the other, we’d like to reach out to disengaged audiences.

IPJ. Do any of the upcoming events particularly stand out to you personally?

  1. I’m excited about The Adventure which is an immersive story for kids that’s showing at Central Library, I would love to go and see that, Lorraine and Alan and also Gloriator, which is a female version of Gladiator also look very good.

IPJ. What about Penny Duck Theatre?

  1. We’ve worked many time with Andy Wilson who is one of the founder members of Penny Duck, they’re doing a double bill so people are getting two for the price of one, one is called Hair of the Dog and the other is Deja Shoe and knowing them as well as we do we know laughs will be guaranteed.

IPJ. What is happening with Ensemble 52 about 2017 now?

  1. We want Heads Up to be sustainable by 2017 because the agreement with Battersea Arts Centre comes to a close in 2016 so if it is we’ll hopefully attract some international acts then.

IPJ. Were you happy with how the production of Yalda went this week?

DW. Yes, Yalda is a piece in development, we know it requires further work, it gave us opportunity to see if we want to continue with it, the next version will have more action, more movement, more dance and a bit more physicality.