Hull is a great place to live. There's plenty of activity going on and lots of artists working in the city. All across Hull there are plays, events and projects being made all year round. Things are happening in pubs, clubs, music venues, sheds and disused office spaces. Work is being made and shared by innovative and inspiring people who believe that Hull has something to offer. And it does.
One day, talking to a director friend, Jake Smith, about Hull, he had a suggestion: “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a festival on Newland. To bring theatre into a community.” It reminded me of another conversation with Rich Sutherland, a freelance marketing manager and Newland resident, about how it would be good to have an event on Newland Avenue. To create an event that could unite a community and celebrate its own culture and individuality.
I brought them together and the last six months have been a whirlwind of talking to theatre companies, industry professionals, funders, councillors and partners. Mungo Arney, a producer, and Sarah Davies, a freelance theatre maker, also came on board to make Assemble Fest a reality. We ran a pilot of The Little Match Girl (pictured) inside The English Muse and Zoo Cafe in December 2013 and found the experience of making theatre within businesses both challenging and extremely rewarding.
We are delighted that Hull Truck, the City Arts unit, Hull University and the Newland Traders Association have welcomed the idea with open arms and would like to thank them for their support. Assemble Fest is to be a forum and a celebration of all the great work being made here in Hull; we hope that you will join us.
Author: Madeleine O'Reilly, Festival Director