Countdown to Performance Part 3

Well it’s been slightly dramatic since I last posted here, but I can assure you that everything is very much under control, and indeed very exciting.

The big news is that, due to unforeseen circumstances, Kathryn Tinson and our director Cassie Patton, have both had to drop out, although they will be still very much a part of the production, it will be in different ways.

Their replacements are the fabulous Chloe Oldridge-Field, who will be playing the part of Lilian, and Laura Suter who has taken over as our director. Laura very much made her presence felt in the photo shoot we had on Friday, handing out rehearsal schedules, being very much in harmony with the cast and discussing some very good ideas with yours truly.

Chloe, who I know having worked with her on a previous production this year, is a very talented lady, who I can’t wait to see on stage in An Ordinary Hero: The Jack Harrison Story, and from what I understand, she is excited to be in it. She has a BA (Hons) degree in Drama from University of Lincoln, so everybody immediately knows she is top notch.

I also need to thank Topcolor Fotoworx on Hessle Road for their help in doing the photo shoot for the advertising posters/flyers that will become very prevalent in the coming weeks, I also believe some of the pictures will be used in the special souvenir programme that will be available at the performances.

I can assure you, our cast are working incredibly hard to bring you a production to remember, one which will live long in the memory, which will also be seen by members of Jack’s family with any luck at all.

I’m also in discussion with another writer, who may have something to show you, which has definitely got my interest, for reasons which will become apparent later.

Finally I need to remind people, we are all volunteers in this enterprise, doing what we’re doing to raise funds for the Jack Harrison VC MC Statue Campaign. We have had some donations from people and businesses for the production, but we also need people to donate to our JustGiving page for which they will receive very public appreciation and maybe a bit more, but it all depends on the level of support that is given.

It doesn’t matter how much you can give, absolutely every penny is vital to what we’re trying to achieve.

I’m sure I will be posting here again sooner rather than later, definitely this week, so please keep your eyes open, your support, in whatever form it takes, is hugely appreciated by myself, the cast, and all associated with the statue campaign.

Below, you will see a picture that is very self-explanatory for why I’ve added it. #Statue52

Lilian with the King. HD news

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Countdown to Performance part 1

Here I am again, with more news about An Ordinary Hero: The Jack Harrison Story, the play I have written for two reasons.

It never ceases to amaze me how few people know anything about Jack Harrison VC MC, so that was one of the main reasons why I decided to sit down and write this play which will be performed at Park Street Performing Arts Centre on Friday 8th, Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November.

Originally I wrote the short play Our Jack, which was part of the work in progress at the time. We performed Our Jack three times to see how it was received. The people involved in those performances were Clare Crowther, Katie Stones, Jessica Palmer, Kenny Richards-Preston, Jordan Matfin and our original director who is back to direct this production Cassie Patton.

Our Jack then progressed into the feature length production that you will be able to see in November. It was originally performed in May of last year, before I came across some new information about Jack, thanks to my friend Paul Dunham in June or July, causing me to then re-write parts of it before presenting it in front of Jack’s closest relatives in November of last year.

The process this time is already feeling very different to the production that featured the likes of Luke Gillingham, Tim Bettridge, Kieran Danby, Kathryn Tinson (who is in it again this time) Clare Crowther, Sara Featherstone, Johnny Coupland and James Murtagh last year, however with an almost completely different cast and with a returning director, I believe that was always inevitable anyway.

Cassie is seeing it very differently to how I saw it before, and is undoubtedly putting her very experienced stamp on it, while I am largely leaving them to it. When you have an original Hull Trucker as your director, it is probably best to just hand it over and tell the cast and crew to get on with it.

Last night we had a fitting for the actors who need to wear World War 1 uniforms, while I was entrusted with the replica weapons that will feature prominently, but don’t worry they cannot possibly be fired, they just look very convincing, which you will see at the production.

At this point I do have to thank Stephen Manners who is being massively helpful supplying us with the uniforms and replica weapons, some of which are all handmade by him personally.

I know some people who have seen the production before are coming to see it again, and I can absolutely promise that what they see this time will be very different to what they’ve seen before. This is largely because a different director and a largely different cast will, obviously see it differently to who worked on it before, they will have their own way of doing things, which has already been clearly displayed in rehearsals, and they will see it differently and therefore, naturally will communicate it differently, something else which I have noticed in the rehearsals that I have been allowed to attend.

I am now in the strange position, strange for me anyway, of just leaving it alone, not attending rehearsals. Every production I have ever written before I have always been involved in rehearsals, helping by explaining context and how I saw it when I was writing it etc. It’s a funny feeling, but I trust everyone of the cast implicitly, which is also very important in this business. I have been very fortunate to always be able to trust the people I’ve worked with on any production, but previously I have maybe been asked to attend rehearsals, but now I’m being asked to leave them to it, which I am very happy to do so I can spend more time at home with my wife.

In the coming days and weeks I am planning meetings with some of the cast to discuss what local businesses can be given for becoming official backers of the production and the statue campaign, advertising, the special souvenir programme that will be available at the performances and at the end of next week we have a photo shoot for our advertising materials and the programme, so before too long I will have some new images to share with you here, which you can then look out for in various locations around our very cultured city.

Obviously the other reason I wrote this play was as a fundraising vehicle for the statue campaign. We really need as many people as possible to get behind this production by buying tickets to come and see it, or becoming official backers of it and/or the statue campaign please. We do have a JustGiving Page and a bank account, into which you can make one-off or regular monthly donations to support what we’re doing. I can’t stress enough just how important public support is for us.

But for now, just let me say thank you for reading this blog post, there will be another one in the next few days no doubt, and once again thanks very much for everybody who has previously worked on this production, and to Chris C. Corbett, Kathryn Tinson, Jules Lloyd, Cassie Patton, Dave Ross, Jayden Platten and Kev Shephard who are working so hard along with Stephen Manners and my good friend Shaun French who is a trustee at the venue where it will be performed.

#Statue52 #2Legends1Man #JackHarrisonVC

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New Start

I ran this blog when I was doing my degree in Journalism and Digital Media at Hull School of Art and Design from 2014 to 2017. It’s been pretty dormant since then (maybe the occasional post) but nothing like on the scale I’m planning now, after it was suggested I take up blogging again.

The obvious thing to do to start blogging again would be to start up a new one, but that would mean starting from scratch, and this way, if people actually take an interest in what I’m writing these days, they can also look through most of the work I did on my degree.

Of course the other side to restarting on my old blog, is updating you all with what has happened to me since I graduated in 2017, or the highlights at least.

Three months after I graduated I got married to my Alison. She was one of the people who suggested I do my degree when I wasn’t so sure, she also stuck by me and, along with my friends on my degree Jools Oughtibridge and Aaron Irwin, convinced me that I could successfully complete my degree, of course they were right.

Alison is also the one who convinced me that I could study and complete my Masters Degree in English Creative Writing at University of Hull, which I am on the brink of completing, but that’s another blog post for a later date I suppose.

Something which hangs over from doing my degree to this day is that I am still running the Jack Harrison VC MC Statue Campaign.

At present we are now in rehearsals for the play I wrote about Jack, it’s title is An Ordinary Hero: The Jack Harrison Story. It will be performed at Park Street Performing Arts Centre on Friday 8th, Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November. We are also looking for local businesses to sponsor us and also pay for advertising in the programme we hope to produce, so if you read this and know of any businesses that might want to advertise at very competitive prices, please contact me by email on ian.judson123@gmail.com asap!

As for journalism, I’ve had commissioned work in the national Daily Mail and the Daily Express, as well as producing paid work for the hullisthis.co.uk positive news platform founded by my good friend Jerome Whittingham (who is also on the Jack Harrison VC MC Statue Campaign committee) and I’ve also had work in The Hull Hub, Hull Echo and seriousaboutrl.com website, or at least they’re the ones that I’m still writing for.

Just over a year ago Jools who I mentioned earlier gave me the opportunity to run Twitter networking platform @HullHour which takes place every Thursday between 8 and 9pm, just tweet to it and put #HullHour as well and I’ll retweet it, like it and network it any day of the week, it’s particularly useful for advertising, catching up with people, finding out what’s going on in the local area etc.

I’m also doing some voluntary work for community radio station Beverley FM on 107.8 FM, I’m their news and sports reporter, although at the moment the vast majority of my work for them is sports, for instance I’ll be in the press box tonight at the KCOM Stadium for the Betfred Super League game between Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants, to write a match report for the Beverley FM website and record coaches and player press conferences afterwards for broadcast on the airwaves.

I have currently got many irons in the fire for work, particularly my work with our Northern Ireland veterans which is getting sent to a particular national newspaper who showed a brief interest in it. However freelance journalism work is very hard to come by and get paid for, so I’m also applying for jobs all over the place.

What I also intend to do on this blog, at least once a week for now, is a Countdown to Performance, where I will let anybody interested enough know exactly how everything is going, as we go through the process of Page to Stage.

Your cast of the play are:- Chris C. Corbett – Jack, Kathryn Tinson – Lilian, Kev Shephard – John Harrison, Jayden Platten – Matthew, Jules Lloyd – Charlotte and Dave Ross – Sergeant Bob Wells and our Director is original Hull Trucker Cassie Patton, all of whom are working ridiculously hard to bring you a first class production.

I’ve got to thank Shaun French as well for arranging for us to perform the play at Park Street Performing Arts Centre, he’s been a real pleasure to deal with, and very helpful as well. I’ve also got to say Stephen Manners who is providing us with the necessary World War 1 uniforms and dummy weapons, is being absolutely essential to what I’m sure will be a first class show.

Anyway, I think that’s probably enough for now, I do hope plenty of you will start reading these blog posts, I’ll be using it to update you about everything I’m involved with.

Jack standing Hull kit.

Jack Harrison Documentary Assignment- Article

The name of John ‘Jack’ Harrison is synonimous with the history of Hull as a hero in two very different elements which still resonate today with the people of Hull and beyond.

Jack was born on 12 November 1890, he was the fourth of seven born to John and Charlotte Harrison and lived his early life in Williamson Street and Newbridge Road, close to Hull KR’s home ground on Craven Street.

His father was a plater and boilermaker at Earle’s Shipyard so Jack came from a very humble background, but his parents worked very hard to give him the best start in life they could, at the time when university places were the almost exclusive right of the wealthy they worked hard enough to get him a place at what is now York St. John University.

Whilst he was in York Jack trained to be a teacher and also represented his college at Swimming, Cricket and also in Rugby League for which he had exceptional talent.

Jack signed amateur forms to play for York Rugby League club and he appeared in five games for them and scored three tries in the process.

Jack qualified as a teacher in 1912 and returned to his hometown when he gained a post as a teacher at Lime Street School, when he returned everyone expected him to sign for Hull KR because of his East Hull roots and the fact that his father had supported them and indeed York had occasion to believe that Rovers had made a dodgy approach to sign him while he was playing for them but Jack said they had approached him before he ever turned out for York.

In a surprising move Jack opted to sign for the black and white side of Hull and made his debut for Hull FC in September 1912, he went on to score 17 tries in 29 games in his first season at The Boulevard.

The 1913-14 season was a triumphant one for Jack and the team as they achieved what the team had been built for and won the most famous competition in World Rugby League the Challenge Cup. Hull, who had a few years before become the first team ever to lose three consecutive Challenge Cup Finals, beat Wakefield Trinity 6-0 in the final at Thrum Hall, Halifax, and it was Jack who scored the decisive second try to wrap up the victory.

On 1 September 1914 Jack married his sweetheart Lillian Ellis and they set up home in Wharncliffe Street, Chanterlands Avenue, married life obviously suited him as he then went on to score the club record of 52 tries in the 1914-15 season, a record which still stands to this day.

Of course by the end of that season World War 1 was raging all over Europe and on 4th November 1915 Jack signed up for the East Yorkshire regiment and was sent for officer training at Inns of Court Officer Training Corps and was subsequently commissioned as a temporary 2nd Lieutenant.

On 25th March 1917 Jack became a war hero by leading a patrol in No Man’s Land and capturing a prisoner and, for setting an outstanding example, he was awarded the Military Cross, the citation for it reads: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He handled his platoon with great courage and skill, reached his objective under the most trying conditions and captured a prisoner. He set a splendid example throughout.

Jack was tragically killed at Oppy Wood in northern France on 3 May 1917 ina show of extreme bravery to try and save the lives of the men of his platoon as they were held down by heavy machine-gun fire, for his bravery and self-sacrifice he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the citation for this award says:

For the most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice in an attack. Owing to darkness and to smoke from the enemy barrage and from our own, and to the fact that our objective was in a dark wood, it was impossible to see when our barrage had lifted off the enemy front line. Nevertheless 2nd lieutenant John Harrison led his company against the enemy trench and under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, but was repulsed. Re-organising his command as best he could in No Man’s Land, he again attacked in darkness, under heavy fire, but with no success. Then turning round, this gallant officer single-handed made a dash at the machine-gun hoping to knock-out the gun and so save the lives of many of his company. His self-sacrifice and absolute disregard of danger was an inspiring example to all. He is reported missing; presumed dead.

There is a memorial to him outside the KC Stadium but some people are now calling for his memory to be honoured in the form of a statue at the Cenotaph in Hull City Centre

wpid-wp-1447186907574.jpeg Jack Harrison 1 Jack Harrison 2

Hull FC Voices Remembrance Service

FC Voices had their Remembrance Service in memory of all Hull FC players, Supporters and other club representatives who have made the ultimate sacrifice over the years fighting for their country at the Jack Harrison Memorial outside the KC Stadium on Saturday morning.

The respectful and deeply dignified ceremony was attended by supporters and representatives of the club including Hull FC Head of Media James Clark.

A band, formed by supporters, played relevant music including Abide With Me and Old Faithful as well as the traditional Last Post and Reveille to start and end a minutes silence which was impeccably observed by all who were present, much unlike the minutes silence which was disgustingly broken by ‘fans’ at the stadium that afternoon when football teams Hull City and Middlesborough played each other.

FC Voices were represented by Lisa Jewitt and Jed Rust among others and Up The Cream editor Dan Tomlinson was also present to see a wreath of poppies laid in front of the memorial dedicated to club legend Jack Harrison who won the Military Cross and, posthumously, the Victoria Cross when laying down his life in Northern France in 1917.

There was a reading of a wartime poem and a dedication from the club chaplain and the whole ceremony was bound up with a very respectful and enjoyable feeling and atmosphere and was obviously extremely well organised by FC Voices who deserve enormous credit for the many things they do on behalf of both club and supporters.

wpid-wp-1447187118614.jpeg wpid-wp-1447187087169.jpeg wpid-wp-1447187038192.jpeg wpid-wp-1447186985660.jpeg wpid-wp-1447186907574.jpeg Jack Harrison 2 Jack Harrison 1

More Research Evidence For Documentary Assignment

I have looked at plenty of material online and consulted with Hull FC club historian Bill Dalton during my research, here is some of the stuff I’ve researched:

VC Citation

Jack Harrison, Hull History

HDM Story

I have also got myself a readers ticket for Hull History Centre which enables me to read anything in there so I have read many biographical articles about him, including a book of reports about the seasons he played for Hull FC which is why I now know for certain that he set his club try scoring record in 1914-15 as opposed to 1913-14 season which is a common mistake in many publications.