Grow Festival: Helping Hull’s theatre scene to blossom


Hull Truck is welcoming artists at any stage of their career to a four-day festival of development and showcasing. We caught up with Tom Bellerby to find out more.

This year, Artist Development and Youth Theatre Director Tom is running the festival, a development programme for budding and experienced artists. Returning for its fourth year, this time the event focuses on the theme of Hull as the UK City of Culture.

“We do a lot of work throughout the year to support artists in the region and nationally,” Tom enthuses. “Grow is the time of year where this work takes centre stage.”

Grow takes place at Hull Truck Theatre from Wednesday 24 until Saturday 27 May. The programme will consist of a mixture of activities.

Audiences will be able to see new work from emerging artists. There will also be a range of skills workshops, discussions and debates about important issues in the industry.

“Grow is for absolutely everyone who is interested in theatre,” Tom maintains, “and we really do hope that everyone comes along to enjoy the fun.”

This year, audiences can see brand new shows by a lot of Hull-based artists:

“The shows are quite early in their artistic development, meaning that they’re innovative in the way that people are thinking about theatre.”

Several pieces will be shown for the very first time: “We really want to hear the audience’s feedback, as this helps the artists to grow and develop.”

Tom tells us that Grow is a festival for people at any stage in their career. Whether you’ve been doing it for years or just starting out: “You might have a real interest in playwriting, or never written anything before.”

“We’re now in the middle of City of Culture’s Roots and Routes season, and a lot of the work will explore the city and what it means to the artists,” Tom continues.

A highlight of the four-dayer is the set of 24-hour plays, which have been a huge hit in previous years.

“Thirty artists have 24 hours to create a brand new performance. There will be four shows in total, performed the following day to the general public,” Tom explains.

“It’s really exciting for the artists and creatives, as it is often the first time that they have worked together.”

Meanwhile, theater-goers will be able to experience something entirely fresh.

“What I would say is if you’re interested in the arts, theatre and culture of this city, come along to Grow. It’s a great chance to see new and exciting work,” says Tom.

“Plus, out of all of the events that you will see this year, Grow will feature the most collaboration between Hull artists.”

The full programme for Hull Truck’s Grow festival can be found here. For more information about tickets, please visit their website.

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