Nearly two years after leaving Darley’s, we’re ready to open our new space to the public. Artistic director, Paul Smith, explains how you can make it your own.

In the early days of Middle Child we used the phrase ‘more than a theatre company’ to give ourselves something to aim at, amidst having no idea what we were doing. It meant a variety of things to us at the time, but mainly it related to our dream, that this thing we were building would eventually have a wider focus than just putting on plays.

So, it is with years and years of excitement running through my fingertips that I write this post as we prepare to (finally) open our brand new space in Hull. I won’t waste too much time talking about how much sooner this was supposed happen. You all know why and we’ve talked enough about that for now.

But, I do want to reflect on how opening Bond 31, on High Street in Hull, feels more emotional than I ever thought possible. Because now we know what it’s like when we can’t be together. We know what it’s like to see our library books gather dust, and our rehearsal room sit in silence. We know what it’s like to one day leave our beloved pub, built over years of hard work and never go back.  

And it is with those memories at the forefront of our minds that we’re flinging open the doors and saying to you – to Hull – let’s be having you.

Because, yes, the sign on the door says Middle Child and we’re footing the bill, but our space 100% belongs to the people of Hull, and is nothing without you here making magic happen.

Two men in fancy dress stand on stage and point at a cheering audience

The opening party of Darley’s in 2018. Photo by Sarah Beth.

We’re doing all we can to make Bond 31 a place where anyone is welcome, and where anything can happen. Where people come together to dream, dance, play, create and learn. It can be your living room, your office, your library, your kitchen, your recording studio. We’re here if you want to pop in for a chat or camp out for months on end, crafting your latest masterpiece.  

We’re putting on events and making plans but we’re also open to your suggestions on what should happen here. So, think of this as an invitation. An invitation to our launch party, yes, but more than that. An invitation to help us shape this place into something useful that can last long into the future, and help Hull artists and arts workers be their brilliant selves as easily as possible. 

We know things are getting more expensive and we know how hard it is to work in the arts, so we won’t charge local artists and arts workers to use any of our spaces. We’ll also provide free WiFi, hot drinks and biscuits! 

So here’s what’s on offer so far: 

  • A rehearsal room with newly fitted dancefloor, available for free use Tuesday to Friday, between 9am and 6pm whenever we’re not using it 
  • A private writing room complete with desk (for the more traditional writers) and bed (for the more honest writers) 
  • Hot desking space  
  • Our Theatre Library of over 2,000 new plays, classics and textbooks 
  • Private ‘Zoom room’ or self-taping space. This currently has plain walls and one wall with a Middle Child logo but we’re open to suggestions.

Snazzy pics and video to come soon.

The rehearsal room for There Should Be Unicorns. Photo by Tom Arran.

We also plan to run a number of regular events here, such as: 

  • Our annual Writers’ Group, with Tom Wells 
  • Concrete Retreat writer residency 
  • Quarterly quiz events, bringing the local arts scene together to say hello in a low-pressure and fun environment (with a bar!) 
  • Our brand new Acting Gym: The Lab 
  • Regular Acting Gym workshop sessions 
  • 1:1 Script Support sessions with our brilliant literary manager, Matt 
  • Focus groups 
  • R&Ds on upcoming productions, including our panto and new writing work 

I’m certain there’s plenty we’ve missed, so if there’s anyone out there with a great idea in need of a home, then please do get in touch.

Perhaps you want to get together with some friends to try out accents, or you want a space to practise yoga, or you have to hear your latest music through a PA system? Whatever it is, give us a shout and if we can help make it happen then we will. 

I really hope to see as many of you as possible at our launch party. You’ll get to see the space in all its fresh new glory, we’ll talk a bit more about our plans and return to Middle Child’s old faithful: A PUB QUIZ! (NB: We bought a massive trophy for the Darley’s pub quiz, which never happened, so that’s up for grabs to our winners. It’s massive.) 

There’s a lot of space here, and we mean it when we say it belongs to you. Help us fill it. We’re really excited for what this could become and the impact it could have on our city in the coming years.  

Let’s be in the same place making good things happen.

  • Our space in Bond 31 opens on Tuesday 14 June. Booking forms and information packs about the space will be available on our website from the same date.
  • Book pay what you decide tickets for the launch party on Friday 10 June.