Well, this is not really about both festivals going against each other – Humber Street Sesh and Freedom Festival share similar qualities, but are completely different. Both share a common quality – it gives Hull the heartbeat once a year and we all look forward to the August and September.
This year I wasn’t fully employed or involved for neither. And it isn’t good or bad, it is just a fact. But I still made small contributions to both festivals and now it is the perfect time to celebrate and say goodbye to crop tops, cold cider in the sunshine and busy streets in the city.
HAPPY EASTER, HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY[yesterday], HAPPY DAY TO BE ALIVE.
AND WELCOME TO THE MARCH EDITION OF MY CULTURE IN HULL 2018.
I must admit that it is hard to write and focus on work today, I am in a 100% long weekend mood. So I will try.. and if by accident I publish it only on the 2nd April [today], you’ll know that I gave in on chocolate eggs. And a nap.
March brought some lovely culture experiences and quite a tense works schedule at times. I have been in and out of “busy” and running low on fuel reserves from winter season. We are ready for spring!
Since 2018 unfolded as the year after an amazing year of 2017, I can easily make my own rules of how I will culture myself, I feel no pressure. Everything is in a relaxed manner. So in March I tried to combine personal interests with must-see’s and bit of good old Hull walks with camera. That applies to the need to witness the change and progress and see where do we go from 2017.
Collecting photographs and stories in March has been the easy part. Writing can get tricky.
I try to have some one-to-one time with the city, get on the road geared up with camera and in March I soaked up one day of spring in an hour long walk through derelict area of Hull [kind of].
Some of the “edgelands” is up for a development soon, so maybe it is worth catching few photographs of the land, before it changes.
I was invited to be their photographer this year and that rolled me straight into a number of cultural events. Hull based company E52, in conjunction with renowned venue and producer Battersea Arts Centre, presents some of the most exciting contemporary British and international theatre at venues throughout the city of Hull.
The festival takes place twice a year, with Spring and Autumn seasons, and also includes locally-curated and produced work, workshops, new productions, networking events, talks, art events, school projects, and exhibitions.
First one was UGLY CHIEF – artist and performer Victoria Melody teams up with her dad, TV antique dealer Mike Melody, for her most ambitious show yet. Ugly Chief is a comedy based on true-life events, performed by a real-life father and daughter. As I can create any spoilers – it is about setting up a funeral by Victoria for her dad, who was falsely diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given five years to live. In the show, they preform two funerals – one that Victoria wanted for her dad, and second funeral that dad wanted to have for himself.
The show was wonderful, witty, clever and emotional at times. And the fact that it was another take on taboo subject such as death, funerals really made it my cup of tea.
Both brought me some new knowledge about different art forms, I got to know Lyn Acton and Pearls Cab Ride , not just as one of the bands playing at Freedom Festival, but as culturally important figure in Hull and jazz music scene in Yorkshire.
She laughed, cried, shared and cherished her stories and musical influences and favourites.
That was ultimate kids show using sponges in various shapes, forms, colours and sizes, that will be stuck in my memory as a nightmare light change to capture in photographs.
The last event of the festival, I was taking photos of was the DARK WINTER by David Mark.
I was present at the last of the dress rehearsals and only stayed for 30 min. And in that short time I witnessed some serious theatre. Set in Hull and based on the thrilling crime novel by bestselling author David Mark, E 52 bring Aector McAvoy’s first case to the stage in a stunning adaptation by award winning writers Richard Vergette.
And hell yeah, it was mind blowing. The level of acting and theatre performance was high standard and having Hull as main characteristics made it to be my favourites. The sound and light was to match the high standards of performance. One word – gutted not seen the full performance.
Photos above: Production team, E52 crew and stage manager.
Million thanks to Heads Up team for having me on board. Great pleasure, great pleasure.
In March there was an important note in my diary – to see Jason Whilsher-Mills with my own eyes in his artist talk about currently displayed Unexpected Engagement at Artlink. I rarely get to see artist gatherings and talks, as I am working evenings, so this was real treat for my brain on Saturday, 13th March.
Jason Wilsher-Mills is Square Peg’s artist-in-residence for 2017.
Square Peg, the user-led diversity and disability arts programme from Artlink has teamed up with Jason to bring the stories of diverse communities in Hull to everyone’s attention.
New technologies have helped Jason give life to his ideas on disability, childhood memory and popular culture, creating new narratives. We met to discuss this and his upcoming exhibition Unexpected Engagement at Artlink.
More than anything, I took away Jason’s story of how he embraced digital technology, instead of sticking to what he was used to. He stepped out his comfort zone, embraced the change and it took him to the highs of a success. And for someone like me it is the best lesson to learn. Change is scary,but change is good.
The talk itself was wonderful, I really liked Jason’s sense of humour, honesty and the event was a great experience to see his other work.
At the end of it, I joined the rest for a second look at the exhibition and helped others to get their heads around the 3D experience with sculptures and tablet.
The end of the month got a bit distracting and I kind of ditched the culture for a bit. I had few little culture things on my mind, but instead I went for a nosy at newly refurbished Trinity Market and have the famous Cone Queen – Cone Pizza.
The space is very “fresh” at the moment, but I could already see the potential and Hull’s own stamp on the units available. Hull people have turned in proper foodies and I am really liking it.
The Cone Queen – Cone Pizza was very pleasant and most importantly – we had a little tour behind the process of making it.
During the last days of March, I also wanted to make it to BLUEBEANY’S talk at GROUND GALLERY HULL Ground Gallery is one of my favourite discoveries in 2017 and Anna Bean with her exhibition is definitely a very good news to have for the gallery.
I was very late [cos of work], so I had no hopes of seeing the talk and I kind of made it to the very end. Just as I got to the gallery, I realised that it is fully packed with people and that brought a big grim on my face – for Anna Bean and for the Ground.
The last few days of the month of course went a bit mad – Easter, all the excitement of nationally long Bank Holiday weekend and unfinished business.
But I had to see one last thing – Artist Take Over at Queens House Showcase last day with cakes, tea and artists themselves.
The space gives a good ground start to artist to exhibit, have the experience of sharing their work and running workshops and in the future we are about to see more work exhibited.
So… the more the spring, summer is mentioned, the more culture we are going to see – good news for me and exciting times for Hull. Hull Street Food Nights are back in April, Humber Street Gallery has some exciting exhibitions already on display, Studio Eleven is providing us with some high end and super quality sculpture-work and so on…
I have some of the above on the menu, Auschwitz and work in April. Yaass!