Join us for a Polish-described performance of The Little Mermaid this Christmas

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Middle Child are pleased to announce an integrated, Polish-described performance of our pantomime, The Little Mermaid, in Hull this Christmas. 

A Polish performer will join the cast on stage at Jubilee Central as a Polish-speaking fairy who narrates the show for the benefit of the city’s large Polish community. 

The performance follows Middle Child’s production of Us Against Whatever, in association with Hull Truck Theatre and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, which included Polish characters, dialogue and captioning. 

Paul Smith, artistic director of Middle Child, said: “We know there are many Polish families in Hull looking for theatre experiences to enjoy together and our pantomimes make for great nights out at Christmas. 

“We’re really excited to make our rock and roll panto even more accessible and welcome our Polish-speaking neighbours to the show.” 

Edyta Budnik, who starred in Us Against Whatever, plays the Polish-speaking fairy.  

Nastazja Somers, who collaborated with writer Maureen Lennon on Us Against Whatever, is working on the Polish parts of Paul Smith’s script. 

The performance will take place on Saturday 28th December at 6pm. Other accessible performances include BSL interpretation on Friday 27th December at 6pm and 10pm.

Tickets are on sale now via our website or by calling the box office, supplied by Hull Truck Theatre, on 01482 323638.

Little Mermaid Hull Pantomime Cast

Meet the cast of The Little Mermaid, our rock and roll pantomime

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Can you believe Christmas is next month? That means our rock and roll pantomime is too, so it’s time we announced the super talented cast of The Little Mermaid, performing at Jubilee Central in Hull from 19th-29th December.

Alice Beaumont - Hull Pantomime Cast

Alice Beaumont

Jack Chamberlain

Alice Beaumont, a Middle Child panto legend, turns to the good side this year to star as Ariel, our hero in search of adventure from beneath the Humber.

Jack Chamberlain, who starred as the Beast last year, plays Herman Hermit, a crab who is under strict direction to only move sideways throughout the show.

James Frewer

Marc Graham

James Frewer, musical director and composer, also appears on keys as James the Musical Mollusc, the shellfish who likes to tickle his ivories.

Marc Graham is, of course, our dame once again, this year playing Pattie Breadcake, the Queen of the Ocean and Ariel’s mam.

Josie Morley - Hull Pantomime Cast

Josie Morley

Andrew Ross - Hull Pantomime Cast

Andrew Ross

Josie Morley, another panto regular who also appeared in Us Against Whatever, plays Steve Prince, the cleaner of the Humber with eyes on royalty.

Why have one panto dame when you can have two? Enter Andrew Ross, long suffering stage manager, who plays Chips Breadcake, Pattie’s daughter.

Nigel Taylor - Hull Pantomime Cast

Nigel Taylor

Emma Thornett - Hull Pantomime Cast

Emma Thornett

Nigel Taylor (Prez 96) makes his panto debut as Flounder, the rapping fish, after catching the theatre bug in our Edinburgh hit, The Canary and the Crow, and being awarded our Career Kickstarter Fund.

And last but not least, Emma Thornett, the quickfire MC from Us Against Whatever, stars as the infamous villain Ursula, who longs to oust Pattie from her throne as Queen of the Ocean.

Tickets are on sale now for The Little Mermaid, including our Christmas Extravaganza on Thursday 19th December with a live Christmas set from The Hubbards and mass karaoke, and late-night, adult-only shows on select dates.

Book Tickets
The Canary and the Crow - Roundabout 2019 - The Other Richard

The Canary and the Crow transfers to London’s Arcola Theatre

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The Canary and the Crow - Roundabout 2019 - The Other Richard

Photo by The Other Richard.

Our Edinburgh hit, The Canary and the Crow, is heading to London’s Arcola theatre in January 2020.

This lyrical, semi-autobiographical piece from writer and performer Daniel Ward uses grime, hip hop and theatre to tell the story of the struggle between a new environment that doesn’t accept you and an old one that has no opportunity.

Featuring original live music by Prez 96 and James Frewer, The Canary and the Crow won the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

It transfers to the Arcola Theatre from Thursday 16th January to Saturday 8th February.

Middle Child artistic director, Paul Smith, said: “We are incredibly excited to bring The Canary and the Crow to London and the Arcola Theatre for an extended run in January.

“We’ve already had lots of fun sharing this show with audiences at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and on the Paines Plough Roundabout tour and know that London audiences will really take to it.

“Daniel’s story is an important one that needs to be heard by so many people and the Arcola is the perfect space for us to do that.”

The Canary and the Crow was first performed at Hull Truck Theatre in July. It then travelled to Latitude Festival and then the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, as part of the Hull Takeover, where it picked up rave reviews and sold out shows.

Arcola Theatre artistic director, Mehmet Ergen, said: “I am delighted that The Canary and The Crow is coming to Arcola for its first full-length London run in 2020.

“This electrifying story of a young man struggling to find his place in a divided society will resonate just as strongly in London as it did in Edinburgh. I am looking forward to sharing it with you next year.”

For more details about the London performances and to book tickets, visit Arcola Theatre’s website.

The Hypocrite writer Richard Bean backs new scratch night from Middle Child and Silent Uproar

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Photo by Sarah Beth.

Richard Bean, the Hull writer behind hit plays The Hypocrite and One Man, Two Guvnors, is supporting two Hull theatre companies to develop new writing in the city by funding a new performance night.

Out Loud will showcase the work of local playwrights, performed by professional actors in front of a friendly audience at Middle Child’s rehearsal space, Darley’s, in partnership with Silent Uproar.

Also known as “scratch” performances, these rough and ready sharings of scenes from early drafts help writers to see how their scripts work in front of an audience. 

Middle Child and Silent Uproar are working together to select writers, pair them with actors and directors and offer feedback and guidance, supported by financial help from Richard Bean. 

Richard said: “I am excited to support Middle Child and Silent Uproar in running scratch nights for new writers. 

“New Writing, not Shakespeare, is the lifeblood of our theatre, and it is so important for first time writers to understand how their words are said on stage in front of an audience and not read by their mates in their bedrooms.”

Middle Child artistic director, Paul Smith, said: “New writing is at the heart of our work and giving writers opportunities to see their scripts performed is an important step in honing their craft. 

“We can’t thank Richard enough for supporting those people who are working hard to create new stories here in Hull and we’re excited to see what people have to share.”

Silent Uproar artistic director, Alex Mitchell, said: “We believe at Silent Uproar that being able to test out new ideas in front of a live audience is paramount when you are developing a script. 

“We only need to look at a play such as Fleabag, which was born out of the Drywrite Scratch Nights, to see how helpful they can be to interrogate a new idea.

“These nights will offer artists opportunities to take risks and push themselves in a safe and supportive environment. We are thrilled to be launching this project with Middle Child and we couldn’t think of a better company we would want to do it with.”

The first Out Loud night, featuring the work of four writers, will take place on Friday 24th January. Applications are now open.

Middle Child’s Paul Smith added: “Anything goes in terms of style and subject matter, but we are particularly interested in seeing more stories about Hull and the north.”

Playwrights aged 18 and above, who are living in Hull and the surrounding area, can apply by sending in a 10 page sample of their script before Monday 25th November.

For more details on how to apply and what the scratch night offers writers, see the Out Loud page on our website.

Our Theatre Library is going on tour around Hull Libraries this autumn

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We’re teaming up with Hull Libraries to bring a pop-up version of our Theatre Library to residents across Hull this autumn, called Plays Aloud.

Our Theatre Library, based at our rehearsal space on the Thornton Estate, stocks over 1,000 plays by contemporary and classic writers, in association with publishers Oberon Books.

We are now working with Hull Libraries to tour a collection of modern plays around Hull in a specially designed flight case, bringing them closer to theatre fans in the city.

The Plays Aloud project will also promote Hull Libraries’s extensive collection of playscripts at the same time and is funded by the James Reckitt Library Trust.

The project also includes a pay what you can workshop that will bring scripts from both collections to life with a DJ and performers at Hull Central Library on Thursday 17 October.

The interactive workshop is open to the public and will take place from 7-9pm, followed by an after hours social in the library.

The pop-up collection will be available at Hull Central Library from 14-26 October, before setting off on a seven week tour of the city’s branch libraries, where people will be able to borrow plays to enjoy at home.

Middle Child artistic associate, Matthew Butchers, said: “Middle Child are so excited to be teaming up with Hull Libraries to share our mutual love of plays with all of Hull.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing some Middle Child vibes to written words and we hope that as much of the city as possible will get the chance to explore our travelling library.”

“We would also like to thank our publishers, Oberon Books, for being such fantastic supporters of our library here in Hull and making our pop-up collection possible.”

Hull Libraries’ Ellen Bianchini said: “Hull Libraries has a fantastic collection of classic and contemporary plays, and many play sets that users can borrow for group readings.

“The Plays Aloud initiative is a fantastic opportunity to showcase both the classic and modern collections available to everyone in the city who loves theatre.

“We hope it will inspire a new generation of play-readers to get stuck into some great works.”

Our Theatre Library launched in 2018 with the support of Oberon Books to make contemporary playwriting, including big hits from London’s West End and elsewhere, available to people in Hull who might not be able to see shows outside the city.

It can be accessed Monday to Friday at our creative hub in the former Darley’s pub, on Porter Street on the Thornton Estate.

Plays in the collection that will tour Hull Libraries include big hits such as The Believers Are But Brothers by Javaad Alipoor, Dance Nation by Clare Barron, Barber Shop Chronicles by Inua Ellams, Emilia by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and The Lovely Bones by Bryony Lavery.

The pop-up library also includes scripts by Hull writers including Maureen Lennon, Tom Wells, Ellen Brammar and Richard Bean.

Hull Libraries’ plays collection can be accessed via the online catalogue on Hull Libraries website.

More details about the pop-up library tour can be found in the Hull Libraries ‘What’s On’ brochure for October-December. 

To book pay what you can tickets for the interactive workshop and after hours social, visit


Mon 14 Oct-Sat 2 Nov – Central

(Inc. Thu 17 Oct – Interactive Workshop 7pm)

Mon 4-Sat 9 Nov – Greenwood

Mon 11-Sat 16 Nov – Ings

Mon 18-Sat 23 Nov – Bransholme

Mon 25-Sat 30 Nov – Fred Moore

Mon 2 Nov-Sat 7 Dec – East Park

Mon 9-Sat 14 Dec – Avenues

Mon 16-Sat 21 Dec – Western

Silent Uproar become our first company-in-residence

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Middle Child are pleased to announce fellow Hull theatre company, Silent Uproar, as our first ever company-in-residence. 

The company behind the award-winning A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) will work from Middle Child’s home, Darley’s, on Porter Street. 

Darley’s, a former pub on the Thornton Estate, is now a creative hub for theatre makers in Hull, as well as the home of Middle Child.

The building features rehearsal and meeting rooms, hot desking facilities and a free theatre library, open to all residents of Hull, that also doubles up as a small performance space. 

Silent Uproar took up residence earlier in the summer and have already begun using Darley’s to develop a new musical about climate change, coming in 2020.

They create ”theatre for geeks”, making working inspired by cinema, comics and pop-culture that playfully discusses big ideas to broker vital conversations.

Silent Uproar artistic director, Alex Mitchell, said: “We are thrilled to become Middle Child’s resident company. 

“The Middle Child team have always given Silent Uproar so much support over the years and we have always looked up to them like a big sister or brother. 

“We are really chuffed about getting to work in the same building as a company that is both inspiring and kind in equal measures.

Middle Child artistic director, Paul Smith, said: “We’re delighted to have Silent Uproar join us at Darley’s and to be able to provide them with a space to continue making excellent theatre.

Artist development is a huge part of our work and want this building to be a space that nurtures theatre makers in the city, with more and more writers, directors and performers using the facilities all the time.”

Paul Smith added: “None of this would be possible without the support of Goodwin Development Trust, who invited us into Darley’s eight years ago and continue to let us make the most of this fantastic building for artists in Hull.”

How the First Show Fund supported Just Club Theatre

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Photo by EHD Photography

Applications are now open for our 2019 First Show Fund, designed to support a Hull-based company or individual to create their first piece of work in the city. Just Club Theatre’s Jamie Nowell writes below how the 2018 fund supported them in the making of Standing Too Close On Our Own in the Dark.

When the three of us graduated from Hull University in 2018, we had aspirations of starting a theatre company, and a play to begin working on. We started to chat with various artists and theatre-makers in Hull and we quickly found the open arms of Middle Child, a company whose work we’d always admired and enjoyed.

Naturally, when they advertised the First Show Fund, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to get the show off the ground. What none of us had ever thought possible, however, were the benefits and opportunities that followed on from the reception of the award.

Initially, we used the fund to cover the cost of the venue hire for the first performance of the show; the company’s launch night in January at The New Adelphi Club. The event showcased the work of other artists from and outside of Hull, then finished with the show. 150 people attended, including artists and creatives from around the city who we hadn’t interacted with before. The fund gave us a platform to introduce ourselves and the work we create, and that performance has led to more success.

We applied for the National Student Drama Festival, and our selector came to the performance in January and that led to us being accepted. It also demonstrated our dedication and determination to make work to representatives of both Hull Truck Theatre and Absolutely Cultured, which helped us with the opportunity to take the show to Edinburgh as part of Hull Takeover, along with other companies, including Middle Child themselves.

For NSDF, we had two performances of the show in Leicester. We then managed to get a four-night run at Sheffield’s Local Theatre in June. Following this, we’ve had an Edinburgh preview in Hull Truck Theatre, as part of the Hull Takeover, in July before taking the show to The Roundabout at Summerhall for a special feature performance on  Monday 19th August.

The First Show Fund has helped us buy some much needed technical equipment for the show, which we’ve used in all these productions. Not only that, but the mentorship offered by artistic director, Paul Smith, and audience development manager, Jamie Potter, has meant that each time we’ve developed the show we’re working to the highest standard we can. This has been invaluable in our journey to becoming a professional theatre company.

We couldn’t have done any of this without the opportunity to book our launch night in January; the opportunities we’ve been given have sprung up from this. Furthermore, the artistic and marketing support has helped us to keep making work to a high standard. We cannot thank Middle Child enough for their valued support throughout our career so far.

You can see Standing Too Close On Our Own in the Dark at the Paines Plough Roundabout at Summerhall for one night only during the Edinburgh Fringe, on Monday 19th August.
Applications for this year’s First Show Fund close on Monday 9 September.
Photo by Holly Robinson

An introduction to directing, with Fiona Hope

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Fiona Hope took part in our RTYDS Introduction to Directing programme earlier this year and recently joined our board. Over the past few weeks she has also sat in on rehearsals for our new production, The Canary and the Crow. Here’s what she learned from those experiences. 

The Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme (RTYDS) is a programme that creates opportunities for people to learn new skills and gain real life experience to aid their journey in becoming a theatre director. I recently took part in the Introduction to Directing Course with Paul Smith, the artistic director of Middle Child. 

During the course, Paul shared with us his processes when directing a show, right from the moment the script is received. We discussed the importance of researching the themes of the play and getting to know the script inside out. We were also given tools and exercises that can be used in the rehearsal room and given the opportunity to try them out with professional actors. At the end of the process each person on the course had the experience of directing a 15 minute scene that was performed by professional actors in a public showing. 

An insight to the academic and practical side of directing was most definitely an experience I will value and use in the future, but the most important lesson from the week came after the discussion about ‘what makes a great director’ I was the youngest person in the room and before RTYDS I found it difficult to voice my opinions, particularly to groups of people older than me. I used to think authority and assertiveness were the key qualities to a director, neither of which I possess, but Paul proved to me that preparation, a clear vision and kindness are what make a great director.

Other words that the professional actor working in the room with us chose to describe a director included; approachable, honest, calm, supportive, adaptive and passionate. Paul didn’t tell us how to be a good director but he showed us how he does it and his rehearsal rooms are so lovely. 

I have also been lucky enough to be able to sit in the rehearsals of The Canary and the Crow and gain first hand experience of how a rehearsal room is run. This was my first time being in a professional rehearsal room from the start of the process and I began learning so much from day one. It was clear to me that wellbeing and communication is important to the company as well as creating an incredible piece of theatre. 

On the first day it was discussed what we were trying to achieve by creating this show, which is something I have never previously considered. I used to think we make theatre because it’s fun, but what is theatre without an audience? Why do they need to see it? And why do we need to make it? Once this is established, everyone in the room has the same goal, which allows for easy collaboration and creation. 

It has been incredible to watch how an artistic director, a musical director and a movement director all work together to contribute to the same end goal and the techniques the use to get the best out of the performers. Right from the start I noticed techniques that I learnt on RTYDS being implemented in a ‘real life’ setting and all the cogs started to fall into place for me about how a director brings a project together. 

The four week long rehearsal process has now come to an end, with the show about to go into tech before it previews at Hull Truck Theatre and Latitude Festival this week, and I was learning new techniques and skills right to the last day. It always seems difficult to understand anything until you’re thrown into that setting and I am unbelievably thankful for the lessons Middle Child have taught me.

Rozzy, Danielle and Matt

The Middle Child team has expanded

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Rozzy, Danielle and Matt

Rozzy Knox, Danielle Harris and Matthew May. Not pictured: Clare Storton. 

The Middle Child team has expanded and also appointed two maternity cover positions.
Rozzy Knox has started as maternity cover for executive director, Lindsey Alvis. 
Rozzy joins Middle Child after spending the last two years with the London Theatre Company, firstly as a production assistant then assistant producer. She was part of the inaugural team founding the Bridge Theatre led by Nick Starr and Nicholas Hytner; working on productions such as Alan Bennett’s Allelujah! and immersive re-imaginings of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Previously, Rozzy worked for the finance teams for Sonia Friedman Productions and the Ambassador Theatre Group. She’s a proud alumni of Birkbeck’s Business School and the University of Warwick. When not working, you’ll find Rozzy listening to a lot of pop music, and as many food-related podcasts as she can find.
Danielle Harris has started as production manager and co-ordinator (maternity cover) for general and production manager, Emily Anderton. 
Danielle studied a BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre Practice at the University of Hull, graduating in 2017 with the highest first class qualification of her year. While at University, Danielle volunteered as an Assistant Facilitator for Hull Truck Theatre and was a Venue Stage Manager for various theatre festivals, including Assemble Fest and the National Student Drama Festival, where she received an award for Outstanding Contribution to the Technical Team (2016).
Matthew May has joined as artistic associate, working in the rehearsal room with artistic director Paul Smith and on engagement and outreach projects with young people in Hull. 
Matthew is a founding member of Middle Child and has performed in Ten Storey Love Song, Modern Life Is Rubbish and Saturday Night & Sunday Morning. He has also performed in Silent Uproar’s Pig. Most recently he was the assistant director and dramaturg on Us Against Whatever.
Clare Storton has also joined as a part-time finance assistant, working with Middle Child for one day a week. Clare has worked in the finance sector for 15 years and has worked with Hull Truck Theatre for five years in the finance team, where she now manages all payroll and HR areas.

Find your voice as a critic

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Do you like to think critically about theatre and wider performance and start a conversation about what you’ve seen and experienced? Then our New Critics Programme, back for 2019, could be for you.

The programme features free half-day workshops with three of the UK’s most widely-read critics, plus funding to see and review work in Hull and the wider region, sharing criticism on the Hot Potato website.

Workshops run from Monday 15 July to Wednesday 17 July with Lyn Gardner, theatre writer for The Stage and reviewer for Stagedoor UK, Natasha Tripney, reviews editor at The Stage, and Alice Saville, reviewer for Time Out and editor of Exeunt Magazine.

We are especially interested in new forms of criticism and would love to see applications from people who use video and podcasting, as well as the written word.

How to apply

To apply simply send a review of something, anything, either published or unpublished, alongside a little detail about yourself and why you’d like to participate to

Any of this can be in the form of video or audio, as well as text. You can also arrange to come and speak with us face-to-face, if this is easier for you, although we would still like to see an example of your criticism.

Applications close at 10am on Monday 1 July.