Hull Truck Theatre

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Hull Truck Theatre
Hull Truck Theatre.jpg
Hull Truck Theatre, Ferensway, Hull in 2012
Address 50 Ferensway, Hull, HU2 8LB
East Riding of Yorkshire
Coordinates 53°44′46″N 0°20′47″W / 53.746200°N 0.346500°W / 53.746200; -0.346500Coordinates: 53°44′46″N 0°20′47″W / 53.746200°N 0.346500°W / 53.746200; -0.346500
Capacity 437 main house, 135 studio
Production Visiting and own productions

The Hull Truck Theatre is a theatre in Kingston upon Hull, England which presents substantial drama productions.[1] It also tours its productions on a regular basis.

The theatre was founded in 1971 by actor Mike Bradwell when he could not find work. He placed an ad' in Time Out magazine saying, "Half-formed theatre company seeks other half". The first production, "The Children of the Lost Planet" was a success though, like many new companies, it had meagre audiences. This experience led the company to fall back on performing plays for children. They started to get a good reputation for children's theatre. However, in 1974, the play "Knowledge" was performed and, although over half the audience had walked out, the critical acclaim of Guardian reviewer Robin Thornber led to the Bush Theatre becoming interested and staging the production.[2]

John Godber became artistic director in 1984 although at first he was unaware of how much the Hull Truck Theatre was struggling financially. He had been making a good living as a teacher but the idea of being able to produce some of his own works led him to accept the post. He decided that the best way to improve sales and the success of the company was to write a play relevant to its audiences. He wrote "Up n' Under" a play about the rugby league in Hull which proved to be a success.

One of Hull Truck's most performed and famous plays is John Godber's "Bouncers". This celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2007 and was the final play to be performed before moving to the new venue.[3][4]

From 1983 the company was based in its venue in Spring Street but a new 440 seat theatre has been built for the company, as part of the St. Stephen's development. This has cost £14.5 million and opened on 23 April 2009.[4][5][6] The opening production started its run on 25 April 2009 and was the premier of the John Godber play Funny Turns.[5]

Hull Truck was the venue chosen to host the launch of Hull's Larkin 25 Festival in June 2010.[7]

In July 2010 Andrew Smaje was appointed chief executive to develop its programme and to entice new audiences.[8]

In September 2012 the company were nominated for The Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre at TMA Theatre Awards. This was for its touring productions of The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett, DNA by Dennis Kelly and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde adapted by Nick Lane.[9]

In October 2012 Hull city centre was awarded Purple Flag status for the quality of the city's nightlife. The Association of Town Centre Management praised Hull Truck Theatre in particular "for its outstanding contribution" to entertainment for city centre users.[10]

In January 2013 Hull Truck Theatre were nominated for Best Visiting Production at the Manchester Theatre Awards for DNA by Dennis Kelly.[11]

In April 2013 Mike Bradwell returned to direct for the company for the first time in over 30 years, directing the world premiere of Queen of the Nile by Tim Fountain.[12]

In May 2013 Mark Babych was appointed Artistic Director of the company.[13]

In April 2014, it was reported that the theatre had received £400,000 in grants from Arts Council England and Hull City Council because of a financial crisis at the venue.[14]


  1. ^ "Hull Truck Theatre:About Us". Hull Truck Theatre Company. 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  2. ^ "Hull Truck Theatre:About Us:History". Hull Truck Theatre Company. 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Hull Truck Theatre:About Us. John Godber". Hull Truck Theatre Company. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Hill, Charli (10 September 2008). "Keep on Truck-in'". BBC Humberside. BBC. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Truck announces opening programme for Ferensway". 10 March 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  6. ^ "Hull Truck Theatre: New Building". Hull Truck Theatre Company. 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2009. 
  7. ^ "Festival to celebrate Philip Larkin's life kicks-off". This is Hull and East Riding. Northcliffe Media Ltd. 14 June 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  8. ^ "Smaje to Join Hull Truck as Chief Executive". The Stage. The Stage Media Company Limited. 27 July 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Nominations announced for 2012 Theatre Awards UK". Whats on Stage. Whats on Stage. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Hull city centre gets Purple Flag award". BBC Humberside News. BBC News. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Manchester Theatre Awards 2013 the Nominations". Manchester Confidential. Manchester Confidential. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  12. ^ "Back to Hull for a Fun Night Out at the Theatre". Yorkshire Post. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Mark Babych Announced as new Artistic Director". This is Hull and East Riding. Northcliffe Media Ltd. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  14. ^ Youngs, Ian (23 April 2014). "Hull Truck theatre gets £400,000 bail-out". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 27 April 2014. 

Other sources[edit]

  • Meyer- Dinkgrafe, Daniel. The Professions in Contemporary Drama. Bristol : Intellect Books, 2003.
  • Kershaw, Baz. The Politics of Performance: Radical Theatre As Cultural Intervention. London : New York Routledge, 1992.
  • Bennett, John. “Three careful owners: Divergent methodologies and shifting critical perceptions of the Hull Truck Theatre Company.” Studies in Theatre and Performance 26.3 (2006): 273
  • “Review: Arts: THEATRE: For the love of Godber: Hull Truck hits 30, the Globe dons his pyjamas but Gagarin keeps his boots on at the Barbican.” The Observer 15 July 2001
  • Hickling, Alfred. Thirty years ago it had no home and next to no audience. Now Hull Truck is a national institution, responsible for some of Britain ’s best- loved plays.” The Guardian 27 June 2001
  • Shannon, David. “The people’s choice; John Godber. (Features).” Sunday Times 23 January 1994

External links[edit]