A blue-eyed pig will perform on Hull Truck’s main stage

Published: Tuesday 4th April 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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Betty Blue Eyes is a Great British musical by legendary West End duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.

As soon as the rights were released, the Northern Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) knew that they needed to snap them up.

Based on Anlaby Road directly behind Paragon Interchange, NAPA’s staff and students have been hard at work for weeks. We spoke to some of the team to find out more.


“It really is such a wonderful play,” CEO Barbara Dawson tells us. “It’s full of energy, fun and colour, and we know that Hull audiences are going to love it.”

The story follows a community in post-war Britain that’s preparing for the royal wedding. With meat still rationed, the townsfolk have come up with a way to celebrate by illegally rearing a pig specially for the occasion.

However, Betty the pig has other ideas, and the plan turns into a romantic farce that will have audiences rolling the aisles.

Managed by Patrick Start, Head of Musical Theatre, NAPA’s production is set to be an all-singing, all-dancing sensation that will make its original creators proud.

To verify this claim, Stiles and Drewe (pictured below) were invited to NAPA to deliver a workshop and provide in-depth feedback.

Whilst there, they explored different ways to stage two sections of the show, and George even wrote a new harmony for a couple of the actors.

Anthony Drewe and George Stiles

“The support and advice kindly offered by Stiles and Drewe was invaluable,” says Barbara. “It’s really helped to take our production to the next level.”

We also spoke to Shawnee Vale, who designed and built the Betty puppet:

“The first step was a scale drawing on paper, which was turned into a 3D cardboard cross-section,” says Shawnee. “This was used in rehearsals.”


“Next, the skeleton was filled with foam to make a solid body piece, limbs and head, then carved down to the right shape and sanded until smooth.”

“The eyes and handle were fitted into the head, a handle and hook through the back, and bars through the legs and body.”

“Everything was covered with hessian and glue, then trimmed when dry. A tail and ears made out of wire and hessian were attached to the body and head. Finally, Betty was painted and fitted together.”

As you can see, the result really is something special:


Betty Blue Eyes runs at Hull Truck Theatre from Wednesday 12 until Saturday 15 April and is guaranteed to be a thrilling experience.

Taking place on the main stage, it follows NAPA’s previous sell-out productions of The Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd.

Tickets are £15 and can be purchased by calling the box office on 01482 323638, or you can book online.

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Published: Tuesday 4th April 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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