Our city’s story as told by Hull-born playwrights

Published: Tuesday 23rd May 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Hull 2017 is all about demonstrating the brilliant arts and culture this city has to offer. Come To Where I’m From is synonymous with this celebration.

This week, four Hull-born playwrights take to the stage to perform short shows focusing on their hometown and what it means to them. It’s all part of a UK-wide project that was set up seven years ago by Paines Plough theatre company.

Through a collection of work written by some of the country’s most acclaimed playwrights, Paines Plough are piecing together a virtual ‘theatrical tapestry’.

Once performed, a video of each play will be uploaded onto a special smartphone app, allowing people around the world to view and experience Great Britain. Previous cites to take part have included Belfast, Cardiff, Bristol, Nottingham and Newcastle.

Hull’s turn is much-anticipated by local artists and has been incorporated into Hull Truck’s Grow Festival. This four-day programme involves workshops, discussions, debates and new shows, striving to encourage artist development.

“Hull is such a brilliant city to make work in. If I didn’t grow up here, receiving the fantastic support from Hull Truck that I did as a teenager, I don’t think I’d be a playwright now,” enthuses Lydia Marchant, one of the Hull-based playwrights.

“Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is great because it’s an opportunity to celebrate the vibrant theatre scene that we have here, on a national level.”

Lydia’s short play, Changing Rooms, focuses on identity. Centring around main character Beth, the play also explores the change that Hull is experiencing at the moment:

“It’s a kind of exploration of how much you can reinvent and upgrade yourself, before you lose sight of who you are.”

Lydia is also very much involved with the rest of Grow Festival, collaborating with fellow Hull-based theatre company The Roaring Girls on a 20-minute piece on beach bodies.

She’s also taking part in a ton of other activity: “It’s going to be a crazy week, which I’m excited but also terrified about. I’ve booked for literally every workshop I can make.”

Meanwhile, playwright Joe Hakim is equally looking forward to being involved with Grow and performing his own piece of work:

“Usually I write for other people to perform my plays,” he explains, “so the concept of the Paines Plough project is a little daunting.”

Joe plans to deal with current news, focusing on Hull in the aftermath of Britain’s decision to leave the EU last summer:

“It’s set in a pawnbroker shop. The play deals with many topics and debates, including debt, pensions and the economy. It’s all seen through the eyes of someone who works with currency and migrant workers.”

“The fantastic thing about Grow Festival is that you get to try things that you wouldn’t normally do,” Joe adds. “I’m also really looking forward to seeing new work and developing artists.”

Come To Where I’m From takes place at Hull Truck Theatre this Wednesday. Tickets can be booked by calling 014182 323638, or you can book online.

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Published: Tuesday 23rd May 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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