- The Stage - https://www.thestage.co.uk -

Royal Ballet to reopen Hull New Theatre after £16m revamp

Depart by Circa, which will be presented in Hull General Cemetery as part of the UK City of Culture 2017. Photo: Tristram Kenton

Hull New Theatre is to reopen following a £16 million refurbishment with the Royal Ballet’s first visit to the city in 30 years, as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture programme.

Curated by the Royal Ballet’s Hull-born director Kevin O’Hare, Opening the New will bring together local artists and a selection of principals and soloists from the Royal Ballet on September 16.

Hull New Theatre, which closed for the rebuild in January 2016 [1], has been transformed to include new technical and backstage infrastructure, a new easily accessible entrance and foyer, increased audience capacity, and additional catering and licensed bars.

Plans for the reopening of the theatre were announced today (February 28) at the London launch of Hull UK City of Culture’s seasons two and three.

Hull New Theatre will also have Opera North take up a residency, feature a touring production of the National Theatre’s Hedda Gabler [2] and a new play by John Godber called The Kings of Hull.

Martin Green, director of Hull 2017, said: “For Hull City Council to spend £16 million on the refurbishment of a theatre in these times is a bold move.

“This goes to show that culture is not something nice you do with the leftover money, but it is the fundamental part of the social and economic life of the city.

“The Hull deputy council leader has said culture funding will not be cut on his watch.”

Other highlights from the City of Culture programme include Slung Low’s Flood, which combines live performance with film and digital elements to tell a story over the course of the year. It will be performed live in Hull and streamed online and on the BBC.

Theatre company Dreamthinkspeak will take over an office complex in the city from September 1 to October 1 to perform One Day, Maybe, while Australian circus artists Circa will present Depart in Hull General Cemetery from May 18 to 21.

The National Youth Dance Company is set to come to Hull for the first time with Tarantiseismic, a new work from Damien Jalet.

Seasons two and three of Hull City of Culture include 42 new commissions and world premieres, 24 festivals and 13 exhibitions from April to September.

Further highlights include Transgression, a weekend of contemporary dance from Hull Dance, and the world premiere of Mighty Atoms by Amanda Whittington.

Hull Truck Theatre will have a production of Richard III from May 4 to May 27 and feature the UK premiere of Johannesburg’s Market Theatre’s production of The Suitcase.

Green said: “City of Culture helps cities to find their own voice, and goes to cities that need it.

“Every city in this country has something unique, and culture is the way to help a city find its voice.

“You also have to get young people involved in culture and listen to what they want.

“Hull is a young city, it has always had a vibrant arts scene and indie music scene, and we live in an age where it is more important than ever to celebrate diversity and collaborate together.”

Green added: “The response to our opening season Made in Hull has exceeded all our expectations and as we go into seasons two and three, we want people to continue to be excited, whether they live here or are visiting.”