Marketing Assistant Rachel Bower shares her views on what Assemble Fest means to the city.
In 2015 I performed in Assemble Fest with my company PinUpRound. Our show was called Frocks, Fake Locks and Two Smoking Lasses. I was thrilled to have been selected as an act that year, as it is clearly an amazing opportunity to have your work seen by many people. However, this isn’t what I took away from Assemble Fest, it was much more.
On the day of the festival we performed the show five times to audiences made up of people in the arts and the local community of Newland Avenue. Our topic was hard-hitting, looking at body image and how this has/hasn’t changed over time, alongside using the unusual style of physical theatre. Naturally I was nervous of the reaction from the audience, but I shouldn’t have been.
Show 1: An elderly woman and resident of Newland Avenue. ‘’That was wonderful and It made me think about how I’ve been viewed my whole life. Well done!’’
Show 2: Two 30-year-old women from east Hull. ‘’We loved it! Truly a unique show.’’
Show 3: A middle-aged man and resident of Newland. ‘’This made me question how I am viewed as a man and I’ve never felt that before. Stunning performance.’’
Show 4: A secondary school girl around 16. “I feel pressure to look a certain way every day at school and this show reassured me that other people feel this way too.’’
Show 5: A mid-20s man attending Hull University. ‘’I’m glad I came to watch this show. I was nervous knowing the topic; however, it was done beautifully’’.
It is these people that showed me how open and supportive our community is, and that is truly something to celebrate.
We have great shows on at Hull Truck and Hull New Theatre but it is harder to push the local theatre companies’ work and spread the word to people not in this circle. Sometimes it can feel like the arts and the local community are disconnected, but Assemble Fest is proof that this isn’t true. We must all work to bring local businesses, residents and the arts together, all year round.
The reaction Assemble Fest gets each year is why I want to make sure everyone hears about these events, why I am the festival’s Marketing Assistant, and why I will start my MSc in Marketing in September.
So cheers, Assemble Fest, from me and everyone else you’ve supported over the years!