Our Street our stage: the project
So what is Our Street Our Stage?
Well, it’s a lot of things!
Our Street Our Stage, or OSOS as we call it, is a project exploring Newland’s heritage. It celebrates the history of the area and the diverse community in which the festival has found its home.
OSOS is a collaboration between us, a local researcher, artists, volunteers and residents of Hull. Together, we embarked on researching and learning about Newland’s origins, it’s forgotten traditions, the areas links to WWI, it’s cultural history, and more.
We shared our findings through the development and staging of a free accessible evening event which took place along the avenue itself on 3rd June 2017. The research carried out is now available online as a digital archive and soon to be heritage information board installed on Newland Avenue itself.
Sounds like a good idea! Why now and why Newland though?
Speak to anybody who lives on or near Newland Avenue and they will tell you it has a vibrant community spirit second to none. It has a unique cultural standing within Hull which can be seen through the variety of independent businesses - from Egyptian cafes to the Adelphi Club - and the Residents Association’s floral displays and planters.
The Newland ward is home to over 11,000 residents; though it is common to find families who have lived in the area across multiple generations, Newland has a large transient community of students and renters which does mean a lot of people moving to or living in the area are unaware of is heritage.
Although Hull as a city has a well-documented history, not much can be found about Newland. In a year where Hull is taking the cultural spotlight, we saw an opportunity to explore, celebrate and inspire!
Hull City of Culture 2017 was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate this unique street together with its people. It's a moment to celebrate an area that has existed since the 12th Century and that forms part of the Hull experience - to those who are born and live here and to the multitude of students and visitors to the area.
OSOS allowed us to create a moment of cohesion between communities, residents, traders, and visitors, raising pride in and knowledge of the local area.
What the project involved
The project was developed and directed by Assemble Fest's Director, Madeleine O'Reilly, and was managed by the Festival's Producer, Bex Phillips. We were lucky enough to work with the brilliant Dan Dearing who came on board as our Heritage Research Coordinator. The following artists, organisations and schools collaborated with the team and performed in the event element of the project:
- Broccolily Theatre and St Nicholas Primary School
- Daniel Bye and Boff Whalley
- Jon Beney and Loc:us Dance
- Freedom Choir
- Hull Samba
- Hull Cadets
Our Street Our Stage: The films
Below you can watch two short films about the project; the first was commissioned by Assemble Fest to capture why learning about the heritage of a place is important, and how we shared it through a live event for the whole community. The second is a short film by Hull City of Culture 2017 about the project, focusing on Freedom Chorus' involvement with interviews from Musical Director Boff Whalley and writer Daniel Bye.