She Wears My Ring: A nostalgic look at Hessle Road’s trawler community

Published: Monday 9th January 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Tuesday 10 January sees the opening of She Wears My Ring, which will be performed at Fruit. The play is a nostalgic glance into Hull’s past, focusing on the heart and soul of the city: its community.

The story follows the Watts family and their neighbours as they struggle through their everyday lives as part of the trawling community in the 1960s. Val and Eric will be the stars of the show as the play narrates their lives, from their courting years in Rayners pub to having children, Lizzie and Billy.

“The show is an emotional rollercoaster,” says Becki Cooper, Production Assistant. “We learn with them what it’s like to love and lose. Despite the story being a serious tale, there are plenty of heart-warming moments and laughs.”

“The audience will be drawn into the Watts’ family life and fall in love with the characters.”

This Hull-based tale highlights the essential part that trawling played in many families’ lives and Creative X-Change thinks it’s important to tell that story:

“Hull has an amazing and brave history and, unfortunately, it’s often forgotten and overlooked,” Becki explains. “The trawler industry was the making of Hull and it affected a lot of families. Men would literally put their lives on the line three weeks out of every month.”

“The bravery of these families, not just the fishermen, is a story that needs to be heard. It’s our mission to do that with laughs, tears and smiles along the way.”

The cast is equally excited to perform the incredible story. We spoke to James Crowther, who plays Eric Watts, and Lauren Laybourne, who plays Val Watts.

How are you feeling in the run up to the show?

James: “This will be my first time performing at Fruit and I am both eager and excited to get on that stage. The venue is synonymous with City of Culture. It resonates art and culture and I believe it’s a great venue and a hub for the city’s arts industry.”

“Fruit is diverse and gathers an eclectic audience. I know that the play will go down a storm, especially at this end of the city.”

Lauren: “I’m also really excited to have the chance to perform at Fruit. It has a brilliant reputation and the location of the venue is key to our production.”

“Being so close to the marina really does capture the feel of our play. Humber Street is thriving from the City of Culture status at this current time. To be able, in the first month of 2017, to perform a piece of theatre within the heart of the city is truly amazing.”

It definitely sounds like you’re both big fans of Fruit. What’s the best part about playing Val and Eric?

Lauren: “Val is very dear to my heart. I have very close family connections to the fishing industry, and losing a grandad to the sea makes me feel very connected with her.”

“She represents the women of Hessle Road who lived there during the fishing period. She is a true inspiration. In the face of heartbreak, danger and worry, Val carries on, she gets the tea on the table, looks after the children and never once wallows in her own self-pity.”

James: “The role of Eric has been a real challenge but it also gives me great pleasure to represent him in a way that will resonate with the audience and ex-trawlermen.”

“I enjoy the closeness with the family and the emotions that it brings. I have been able to gain real insight into the life of a trawlerman and understand, through the ingenious writing and clear direction, the role of a husband and father of the fishing family.”

Lauren: “I believe that this is the true spirit of Hull, that feeling of community, the we’re-all-in-this-together attitude. I’ve thoroughly loved being involved and I feel honoured to be able to represent the Hessle Road fishing community. ‘We are Hull’ is very fitting for this production.

She Wears My Ring is at Fruit from 10-13 January. For more info, please visit Hull Box Office

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Published: Monday 9th January 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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