A small bonfire in the middle of a field at night. Text overlay: Signal Fires

Middle Child to light a Signal Fire in Hull in November

By | News, Shows

This autumn, fires will light up across the UK with people sharing in one of the original forms of theatre: storytelling around a fire.

The Signal Fires will signal the vibrancy of touring theatre – and the threat our industry continues to face.

From spectacular bonfires to digital blazes, the nation’s leading touring theatre companies, including Middle Child, will present a series of performances across the country, in celebration of our fundamental need to tell stories.

  • See the full list of participating companies on the Signal Fires website.

Our Futures is Middle Child’s contribution to the project, a collection of eight short plays, written during lockdown in the spring, to be told beneath the stars at Humber Street Gallery, in Hull, on Bonfire Night (Thursday 5 November).

Our Futures is eight shots of hope that draw on the transformative potential of rage, family, lentils and stopping to draw breath.

Tickets are free but limited, so we’re holding a ballot to ensure that everyone who would like to see the work has a fair chance of doing so.

See our Signal Fires event listing for more details about the performances and to enter the ballot for tickets.

The Darley's pub with an auction house sign on the outside

Darley’s to close as we search for a new home

By | News
The former Darley's pub in Hull

After nine years of making a racket, shaking the floorboards, routinely tripping the burglar alarm and welcoming the people of Hull through our draughty doors, Darley’s, our home, is to close permanently from October

The building on Porter Street, which we lease from Goodwin Development Trust, is to go up for sale at auction in September, to find a new owner. 

We have therefore decided that now is a good time to move on and, importantly, find a new space that captures the spirit of Darley’s as a creative hub for Hull’s theatre-making community. 

While this news may come as a surprise, we had already been considering our future at Darley’s before we were informed of its pending sale, as we imagined what an alternative, Middle Child space might be that better fits our aims as a company. 

Our version of Darley’s was always very much cobbled together from scratch, figuring out how best to make use of a space that fell into our lap when we moved into an upstairs room in 2011 for a fortnight and never left. 

Over the next nine years our housemates, West Hull FM and Goodwin’s youth club, relocated and we found ourselves with an entire building, not just the one room, and promptly set about turning it into a creative hub for Hull theatre makers.

We managed this not only with the creativity and ingenuity of our staff and company members, but also the generosity of the Absolutely Cultured volunteers, who transformed the beige walls into a riot of colour, plus the countless artists and audience members who brought joy to rehearsals, sharings, workshops and visits to our script library alongside, of course, the endless support of Goodwin.

Such enthusiasm can only take us so far though in a building that was never made to host artists, especially as our own work expands in scope and ambition and, quite literally, outgrows the rehearsal room.

So while the doors to Darley’s may be about to close, we want to make clear that we are committed to finding a new space and opening a new set of doors to artists and audiences in Hull. We know that public spaces are disappearing left, right and centre, and having a place where we can bring people together is an important part of what we stand for as a company. 

In that respect, this move, strangely, couldn’t have happened at a better time. 

While the coronavirus continues to limit what work we can do physically, it also gives us room to find that perfect space in the city, and to bounce back in a better position than when we closed our doors, for what we thought was temporarily, in March. 

Now the for sale sign is up on the wall and the auction will take place on 9 September, if anybody is in the market for an old pub lovingly looked after by an upstart theatre company. 

In the meantime we are arranging interim storage and office space and Darley’s remains closed to the public, while we consider long-term options, and welcome any thoughts from Darley’s users on what that should look like. Get in touch on Twitter, Facebook or by email

We remain eternally grateful to Goodwin Development Trust, who have been incredible hosts during our tenure at Darley’s, and we honestly wouldn’t be where we are as a company today without their support.

Big up also Silent Uproar, who became our first company-in-residence last year, using office space upstairs. It’s been fantastic to share the building with the company and we hope they will continue to feature in our future plans.

We’d also like to thank everyone who has set foot in Darley’s over the past nine years and given us their brilliant minds and bodies to make it what it has become today. It’s as much your building as ours and we look forward to seeing you again wherever we end up next.

Middle Child x

Crisis funds available to Hull artists

By | Artist Development, News

If you are a freelance artist from Hull who has lost income because of the coronavirus outbreak, we are now making one-off grants of £200 available from the pot raised by our crowdfunding campaign.

Thanks to the kindness of the general public, we have now raised over £4,000, having smashed through our initial £2,000 target within 24 hours. We are now keeping it open and aim to raise £6,000, which will provide 20 artists with £200 each.

How to apply

Any artist from Hull, whether you work in theatre, dance, art, music or any other form, who has lost income through cancellations and shutdowns from venues, can ask for money, no questions asked. Simply email our artistic director, Paul Smith, to make a request.

We are offering grants on a first-come, first-served basis. GoFundMe lets us withdraw from the fund on a weekly basis, so we will let you know if we can help you and when to expect to receive the money.

Ellen Brammar

Ellen Brammar joins BBC Writersroom programme

By | Artist Development, News
Ellen Brammar

Middle Child founding company member Ellen Brammar has joined the BBC Writersroom Northern Voices programme for 2020 – and we couldn’t be more proud!

Ellen, who wrote I Hate Alone in 2017, joins 16 other exceptional writers on a year-long development programme to write for television, with expert masterclasses, pitching opportunities and introductions to the industry.

“In January I was delighted to find out that I had a place on the BBC Writersroom Northern Voices programme, where I’d have the opportunity to write my first TV treatment and speculative script,” said Ellen.

“On the first day, I arrived in Salford feeling exhausted (blame the baby and a stupidly early train), was handed a BBC lanyard (I’m a sucker for a lanyard) and firmly told to banish all thoughts of any imposter syndrome – I absolutely, probably, definitely shouldn’t be here. And then we cracked on!

“I’m loving it so far, there’s a lot to learn and I head home with my head aching at the end of the day, but in the best possible way. I’ve always fancied myself writing for TV so I’m doing my best to grab this excellent opportunity with both hands and learn as much as I can from the course. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.”

Ellen’s writing credits in theatre include I Hate Alone (2017) with Middle Child, Walk in the Park (2019) with Back to Ours, Ten (2019) with Hull Truck Theatre and Ordinary People (2016) with Middle Child and Leeds Playhouse. She is currently writing a new show for Middle Child, to be produced in 2021.

Ellen was also longlisted for the BBC Comedy Script Room in 2016 with Cultured and shortlisted in the same year for the CBBC sketch show, Class Dismissed.

Over the past year, Ellen has mostly had a baby attached to her boob and is now excited to get back to writing and seeing what her sleep-deprived brain can create.