Tag Archives: performance

Middle Child return to the stage with a cabaret in Queen’s Gardens, as part of Creative Hull

Eighteen months after their last live performance, Middle Child will return to the stage this month with a brand-new cabaret, performed outdoors in Queen’s Gardens.

we used to be closer than this is a cabaret of songs about reconnecting, written by Natasha Brown, Angelo Irving, Tabby Lamb, Jay Mitra, RashDash, Leo Skilbeck, Kobby Taylor and Tom Wells, with original live music by James Frewer.

  • we used to be closer than this celebrates reconnecting after lockdown
  • The outdoor show runs from 16-18 July, as part of Creative Hull
  • Pay what you can tickets are on sale now through Absolutely Cultured

The show will celebrate people coming together again, in-person, after the series of lockdowns that have closed many performance spaces and moved much of theatre online.

It will be performed at Absolutely Cultured’s Creative Hull festival, from 16-18 July, with BSL-interpreted performances on Saturday 17 July.

Paul Smith, Middle Child artistic director, said: “we used to be closer than this brings together a diverse group of writers, from a variety of backgrounds, to stage a summer cabaret that asks how we can reconnect with each other.

“We have all gone through different experiences over the past year, and this is our way of sharing some of those stories, while celebrating what we love most about live performance – bringing people together, in the same space.

“Lockdown took this away from us, but now we’re back and we can’t wait to celebrate with a Hull audience in-person.”

Middle Child last took to the stage with The Canary and the Crow at London’s Arcola Theatre, in February 2020.

The show, written by Daniel Ward with music by Prez 96 and James Frewer, has since earned its writer and cast multiple awards, including the George Devine Award for most promising playwright.

The cast of we used to be closer than this start rehearsals today in Princes Quay and pay what you can tickets are available now, from the Absolutely Cultured website.

Capacity is limited with socially distanced tables seating four people each, so audiences are encouraged to attend with their household, family or with friends. 

See absolutelycultured.co.uk for more details about the show and to buy tickets, or visit middlechildtheatre.co.uk for more information about the company.

we used to be closer than this is supported by Absolutely Cultured, Arts Council England and the Cultual Recovery Fund.

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Third BBC Contains Strong Language festival takes place in Hull September 27th-29th 2019. Tickets for BBC Contains Strong Language are available to book via Hull Truck’s website from Friday 23rd August at 10am. Most events are completely Free!  Continue reading

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Female- led Festival celebrates local artists this July

East Riding Theatre’s Company in Residence, She Productions, are hosting their first festival She Fest this summer, creating a platform for other local female talent. Continue reading

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“Listen to me! Voice in the poetry performance space” by Dr. Karen Simecek

Yesterday evening I attended a talk on Poetry at Hull University by Teaching Fellow Dr. Karen Simecek from Warwick University. The event organised by the Philosophical Dept introduced by Professor Nick Zangwill, at Hull University. The event was described as follows:


“Listen to me! The value of voice in the poetry performance space”

What happens when words are spoken/performed by another? When does this enable different voices and perspectives to be heard? When might such performance of words have a silencing effect? 

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See Unseen Beings at Freedom Fest 2018

Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in a sheet’ The promotion for Unseen Beings community dance project – commissioned by Hull City Arts supported by Arts Council England – is attracting heaps of love and attention… but what about those times when you are not getting love or attention? What about when the world doesn’t see you at all?  What happens then? Continue reading

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Heads Up Festival back with theatre that makes a difference

Heads Up Festival’s autumn 2018 season will take place from September 12 – September 22 at various venues, including Kardomah94, the University of Hull and Hull Central Library. Continue reading

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Fighting 4 Queerz Participant Blog pt.2

With just 12 hours before showtime the Fighting 4 Queerz project has continued to gather pace with all the sessions taking place at St Paul’s Boxing Club in Hull. The training sessions have been hard-going: there is no question as to whether the two Mikes have been easy on us: they have not. Continue reading

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Unseen Beings Community Dance Project

Unseen Beings Community Dance Project Choreographers Jo Ashbridge and Tamar Draper are looking for participants aged 16+ to take part in a vibrant, thought provoking and innovative dance-theatre project throughout August, culminating in a performance at this year’s Freedom Festival. Absolutely no dance experience is necessary.  Continue reading

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Fighting 4 Queerz – Participant Blog

Queer is as queer does

‘Queer’ What is it? What defines it? Is it a subject matter or theme, a code of behaviour? In art does ‘queer’ refer to something inherent in the work or something inherent in the artist? 


In recent years it has, within some more cosmopolitan LGBT communities, been used as a coverall term for those individuals and groups not covered by binary notions of male and female, straight or gay.

In the opening session of the Fighting 4 Queerz project I stated that the word ‘queer’ was about a different way of viewing the world, that it had multiple interpretations for people, and that the term was in constant revision and undergoing a process of reclamation.

I can say from experience that calling somebody queer or a queer was seen as an insult and used as such and is still used here in Hull. It was all I could do last year during LGBT50 to persuade the community cast to proclaim with me ‘We’re here we’re queer we’re showing no fear’ It proved very difficult for the group because of all the previous negative, injurious connotations the q word had for them.

In certain geographic places I might identify as a queer writer, when responding to certain criteria for applications and projects, I may self-identify as a queer artist. This shift came about after visiting the big smoke and meeting a wide variety of folk all unifying, under this one term regardless of their sexuality or gender expression. Relieved and enthused by not having to categorise myself in these terms, I embraced the word and proceeded to immerse myself in and write about all manner of queer performance and art. Interestingly Even though I wanted to escape the accepted views, the hetero and homo-normativity, break free of patriarchy – systems where men hold the power – I still felt the need to align myself to a group to feel part of a ‘family’.

Background to Fighting 4 Queerz

Fighting 4 Queerz commissioned by Back To Ours for Pride in Hull is a movement project incorporating boxing, led by Gareth Chambers a Bransholme-born artist whose practice occupies the space between dance and performance art.

‘Fighting 4 Queerz is about a taking over of public spaces, as well as a defiant show of Queer strength that challenges stereotypes of the LGBT community.

‘I’m particularly looking for queer, non binary and trans folks of all genders, who feel a connection with communities largely centred around experiences of misogyny, homophobia and transphobia.

It is my opinion that by asking participants to first self-identify as ‘queer’ in order to meet the criteria is a barrier to participation. I have met very few folk in this city who would self identify as queer especially within the LGBT community.

Some people view ‘queer’ solely as political, harking back to times when self expression and self-determinism was criminalised by the laws of the land. Every act of creativity from a person denied the right to be who they are becomes inherently political. The personal is seen as political.

In order to challenge traditional LGBT stereotypes as is the stated aim of the Fighting 4 Queerz, project you have to first be inclusive to attract people in whose ideas and perceptions, can be challenged through the process. Then that core message, mediated through the process can be broadcast via the performance, to the wider public in this case during the march at Pride.

Agression and strength

The first session began with a discussion around our own reasons for signing up; notions of visibility; defining queer; and exploring the role of aggression – it is about boxing after all – and how that might be channeled to affect a positive outcome.

Marginalised communities have every right to feel aggressive towards those individuals, groups and organisations who have wronged them. Fighting 4 Queerz looks to channel some of those aggrieved feelings into performance, that will allow the wider world and the individual to see them and their experiences in a different light.

Everyone has a hit list of transgressors to draw upon, to inspire the fight within them: I certainly do.

The second session took place inside St Paul’s Boxing Academy in the city centre, a place made famous by it being the gym of 2012 Olympic Boxing gold-medallist Luke Campbell. The space retains a masculine feel, the ring at one end, the punch bags and boxing ephemera lining the walls. It ought to be noted that St Paul’s does run training sessions for women.

I was more than a little apprehensive being in the space, I’m not a fighter. However I remind myself that fighting and strength can exist in different forms. The fight to live your life, to love who you love, to not be cowed by societies’ disapproving looks, takes a rare strength that few people possess. It is this strength that Fighting 4 Queerz is looking to build upon. By tapping into the sense of struggle both historical and present day, we may stake a place, stand up be counted, through the staging of a series of visually arresting interventions.

Boxing training

The participants gloved up and began learning from a professional boxing coach about defensive stances first, gloves protecting the chin and the side of the face, standing slightly to one side. You want to present the least amount of your torso to your opponent and keep your elbows tucked in.

We proceeded to go through a series of drills using both left and right to punch the pads held by the trainer. These drills became more complicated as combinations were added and footwork, stepping back and forward.

There’s a lot to take in and I found myself getting my left and my right mixed up an awful lot of the time. Despite the difficulty of getting to grips with the new skill, I found myself wanting to get it right, firstly to satisfy the trainer- he immediately took on a role of benevolence and authority – and much to my surprise, to please myself.

I don’t know whether it was the result of physical exertion, the satisfying impact of glove on pad, or just all that adrenaline buzzing around my system but, after completing each series of combinations I felt good. In fact I felt a sense of achievement buoyed by the praise and encouragement from Mike Bromby Jnr.

The line, ‘I’m not sure why but it feels good’ was echoed by some of the other participants at the end of the first session with the boxing coach.

There were other issues that came up surrounding the requirements and responsibilities of making the gym a ‘safe space’ . Also the question over whether we were just appropriating typical masculine behaviour, whether that could be seen as a legitimate way of challenging LGBT stereotypes, but I’ll look into these areas in later blog posts.

Fighting 4 Queerz takes place Saturday 21st July during the Pride in Hull Parade.

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Make a date for An Audience With the Girlfriends in May

Formed in 1965, Mandy and the Girlfriends are famed for being the first all-female, rock n roll group in the UK. In May ‘the Girlfriends’ are reforming for one final time, for a very special An Audience With the Girlfriends at the popular Kardomah 94 venue, in their hometown of Hull.

girlfriends and Geri

L to R Merle, Hilary, Lynda, Lesley, Geri, Karen at East Riding Theatre Beverley

In October 2017 the Hull group appeared on The One Show with Geri Horner, when the former Spice Girl met the group and celebrated their unique place in British Music History.


Original group members Hilary, Merle, Karen, Lynda and Lesley will be back together playing live, sharing stories and answering questions about how they blazed a trail across Europe, at the height of rock n roll.

The Girlfriends will be joined on stage with cast members of Different For Girls – the musical inspired by Mandy and The Girlfriends – as She Productions the all-female company behind the hit show, announce the musical’s forthcoming U.K tour.   

Where: Kardomah94, Alfred Gelder Street, Hull

When: 18th & 19th May

Start time: 7:30pm

Tickets: £7.00 ( reserved or bought on the door)

Tel: 01482 317941

Event on venue website:  http://www.kardomah94.com/event_single?e=1279


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