Hold tight, Hull, here’s what we’ve got planned for you over the next 12 months!
A world premiere in Hull and trip to London for a new drag king cabaret-inspired play about Victorian artist Elizabeth Thompson, an outdoor show created with the residents of Gipsyville, two scratch nights, the return of our people’s panto and extensive artist development opportunities feature in a jam-packed programme of ground-breaking theatre for the year ahead. All from our home in Hull.
This exciting programme for 2023-24 speaks to four key commitments across our work: to Hull, to new writing, to broadening who theatre is made for and by, and to lessening the impact of the cost of living crisis and removing financial and social barriers to change.
We kick-off with the premiere of Modest at Hull Truck Theatre, our electrifying new play about Victorian artist Elizabeth Thompson, produced in collaboration with the wonderful Milk Presents, with support from the National Theatre’s Generate programme.
Written by Middle Child co-founder and Hull writer, Ellen Brammar, with music by Rachel Barnes, Modest tells the story of the artist who fell two votes short of becoming the first woman elected to the Royal Academy, in 1879.
See it in Hull from 23-27 May before it heads on tour to Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Ipswich, Scarborough, finishing with a two-week run in London at the Kiln Theatre.
Our people’s panto, as chosen by our audience, returns to Social on Humber Street this Christmas with Red Riding Hood. Expect an anarchic, rock’n’roll take on the classic fairy tale, with tickets going on-sale (already!) on Tuesday 4 April. Plus, we are very, very excited to announce that Red Riding Hood will return in the February half-term of 2024, for a mini-tour of Hull with the good people at Back to Ours.
A year-long project with the residents of Gipsyville, commissioned by Absolutely Cultured, culminates with a free outdoor performance of This One’s For Us on Saturday 3 June. Written by Rachael Abbey, this sparky and uplifting show brings together protest and celebration in the heart of the community.
Out Loud, our scratch night for new writing in association with Silent Uproar, returns in July following its first time out with Casino at the Humber Street Gallery a year ago. This year we host a double header over three nights at our rehearsal space in the Old Town, with Shit Life Crisis by Olivia Hannah and 1988 by Hannah Scorer. A second edition follows in October with Cuckoo by Chris Pearson. Both Hannah Scorer and Chris Pearson came through our Writers’ Group, while Olivia Hannah has taken part in Silent Uproar’s Making Trouble programme.
Elsewhere in the city, young people from the Warren Youth Project will see monologues, inspired by ideas shared in a series of creative writing workshops about mental health, staged for the first time in Three Minute Monologues at Freedom Festival, funded by Comic Relief.
The Middle Child Theatre Library, featuring over 2,000 scripts and reference books free-to-borrow to residents of Hull and the East Riding, continues to grow and further comes to life with the start of a monthly Book Club and series of regular Library Talks about hot topics in the theatre industry and wider world.
Similarly, Take Your Seat is a series of fully funded group excursions to see productions of exciting new writing at Hull Truck Theatre and discuss it over coffee the following day, starting with Too Much World At Once in April.
Elsewhere in our development programme, the annual Writers’ Group returns in the autumn, with introduction to playwriting workshops led by Hull playwright Tom Wells leading up to a first-time sharing of scenes in January 2024.
Our ever-popular Acting Gym is also back this year, with a focus on monologues providing performers with a place to flex their acting muscles in-between jobs. Literary manager, Matthew May, also continues to offer notes to writers on draft scripts through our 1:1 Script Support programme.
Bond 31, our creative hub on High Street in Hull, featuring a rehearsal space, writing room and hot desking space remain available and free to use, subject to availability, throughout the year. We look forward to welcoming local artists into our old warehouse to use the space, including Belle Streeton and Jamie Potter with an R&D project about pirate radio in Hull, Jack Chamberlain with a further R&D project looking at AR and VR in performance and the NYAT Youth Theatre every Monday afternoon.
We also continue our efforts to improve working conditions in theatre and advocate for change by implementing a four-day week for our core team and the wider company during rehearsals and production periods. Artistic director Paul Smith has written a separate blog post about our experience so far and why we’ve made the switch.
Finally, the next 12 months will also see us pilot a new financial access rider scheme with Classroom, asking the freelancers we work with what adjustments we can make around payment schedules to help people from lower socio-economic backgrounds to make a career in theatre.
This is Middle Child in 2023 (and a bit of 2024…) We can’t wait to have you join us.
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