Category : Hull New Theatre

The Royal Ballet returns to Hull to reopen city’s New Theatre following multi-million pound rebuild

The Royal Ballet returns to Hull for the first time in 30 years this Saturday, when some of the world’s finest dancers take to the stage at Hull New Theatre following a £16 million rebuilding programme that has transformed it into a world-class venue for dance, theatre and performance.

Curated by the Company’s Hull-born director Kevin O’Hare the show, Opening the New is one of the highlights of this City of Culture year. An unparalleled line-up includes Royal Ballet Principal Dancers Edward Watson, Thiago Soares, Steven McRae and Zenaida Yanowsky. They are being joined by Xander Parish, who was born in North Ferriby, first learned to dance in Hull and was the first British dancer to be employed by the Mariinsky Ballet in St Petersburg. Also performing are Xander’s sister Demelza Parish, a First Artist of The Royal Ballet and fellow Hull-born Joseph Caley, who was recently announced as joining English National Ballet from Birmingham Royal Ballet, where he began his career, rising through the ranks to Principal.

The multi-million pound investment in Hull New Theatre is made up of £11million from Hull City Council and £5 million funding from the Government via Arts Council England. It is part of the council £100m capital investment programme designed to regenerate the city’s economy, securing lasting benefits for the people of Hull and the region.

Almost two years on from its closure in January 2016, the newly extended and transformed theatre has received a total revamp from new state-of-the-art technical and backstage infrastructure, including a significantly larger 27m fly tower and front-of-house enhancements, to a new, easily accessible entrance and foyer, lift access to all floors and bigger, reconfigured seating layout including offer of premium comfort seats, new-look restaurant and bars and additional, flexible spaces for businesses, community and social use.

The work means the theatre is now one of the most advanced in the country, ensuring that theatre goers will be able to see some of the best shows on offer and enjoy a significantly enhanced experience. [MB1]

Leader of Hull City Council, Councillor Stephen Brady, said:

“This is an incredibly exciting week for the city as Hull New Theatre, one of our key cultural venues, re-opens. To have The Royal Ballet returning to Hull for the first time in three decades is a fantastic accolade and testament to the transformation the theatre has seen.

“The city is already reaping the rewards of our investment in our cultural venues and infrastructure, with record visitors to the newly refurbished Ferens Art Gallery and thousands enjoying the new city centre public realm. We hope to see this continue in the years ahead with the Hull Venue opening next year and, in the longer term, our Yorkshire cruise terminal in the city centre.

“This investment will be a catalyst to ensuring the theatre is in the best possible position to cement its reputation as one of the best receiving theatres in the UK , ensuring we secure a lasting legacy from our year as UK City of Culture.”

The programme for Opening the New includes excerpts from Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet and works by the internationally renowned choreographers Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon.

Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, said:

“I’m thrilled to be bringing The Royal Ballet to hull for this special gala. I’m so proud of my home city, a city that has produced so much dance talent over the years and continues to do so. Working with local dance schools too has been a rewarding experience and I can’t wait to see the Take Flight performance in Trinity Square.”

A live relay screening of Opening the New is also taking place in Queens Gardens, with up to 5,000 ticketholders attending the outdoor event organised by Hull 2017 with support from Hull Culture and Leisure, which runs the theatre on behalf of Hull City Council.

Councillor Terry Geraghty, Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure said:

“Following its £16m revamp, Hull New Theatre is set to take centre stage as a world-class venue for the best awarding-winning productions including dance, drama, opera, West End musicals and more for generations to come. The support for this opening event has been incredible with thousands of people looking forward to enjoying the performance at the theatre and the live screening in Queens Gardens.

“We also welcome the first of the theatre’s touring productions – the critically acclaimed National Theatre’s Jane Eyre – on Monday. The world premiere of John Godber’s new comedy, The Kings of Hull, then follows as part of the theatre’s  autumn season which also includes Northern Ballet’s The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas, hit West End show Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and the Carole King musical, Beautiful.”

Earlier in the day, two free performances of Take Flight, a newly commissioned dance piece by The Royal Ballet and Hull 2017 is being presented in Trinity Square, with Hull Minster as a backdrop. Based on Swan Lake, the new work by the Company’s learning and participation team, choreographed by Rachel Attfield, is being performed by pupils from four local dance schools, the Lyn Wilson and Heather Shepherdson School of Dance (LWHS), McKeown Irish Dance Academy, Northern Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) and Skelton Hooper School of Dance and Theatre. This performance is supported by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts programme.

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said:

“We are thrilled to be welcoming The Royal Ballet for an extraordinary day of dance. Opening the New kicks off an exciting next chapter for Hull New Theatre and the city’s future as a centre for culture and creativity. With some of the world’s finest ballet stars taking part, several with roots in Hull, and 100 aspiring dancers from across the city also performing on the day, it underlines its reputation for this major artform. “

Hull Esteem appointed as Lead Developer for Hull New Theatre Refurbishment

Hull City Council is delighted to announce the appointment of the Esteem Consortium to carry out the full design and refurbishment of Hull New Theatre.

Leader of Hull City Council, Councillor Stephen Brady, said:

“We are delighted that the full refurbishment works can now get underway at the theatre and I am confident that Esteem will be able to deliver a high-quality finish on one of the city’s key cultural venues.

“The renovation of Hull New Theatre is critical to ensuring that Hull secures a lasting legacy from its year as UK City of Culture 2017 and this investment is part of our long-term plan to regenerate our economy, securing lasting benefits for the people of Hull and the region.”

Richard King, Chair of Hull Esteem said:

“We’re extremely proud to be supporting Hull City Council on this iconic project that will, once opened, attract new touring shows to the city and in turn, inward investment.”

This follows last month’s announcement of £5m towards the Hull New Theatre project from the Chancellor’s Budget in order to ensure that the works can be completed in 2017.

Hull New Theatre project boost following cash injection

Following the warmly welcomed announcement in the Chancellor’s Budget of a direct £13m contribution to Hull’s UK City of Culture, with £5m specifically allocated to Hull New Theatre, this project will now progress and help to deliver on the Council’s ambition to become a world-class visitor destination.

Since its closure in January, specialists have been working at the theatre removing areas of asbestos and undertaking numerous technical surveys to provide a further detailed assessment of the building. This work could only be done when the theatre had closed and further surveys were needed to determine what structural and refurbishment work is required.

A crucial part of this scheme is to build a new 27m fly-tower, which is both incredibly challenging and needs specialist equipment available from a very limited number of suppliers. Due to the complexity of this work, further ongoing flood prevention planning work and the delay whilst he funding position was clarified, the planned re-opening of the theatre is confirmed for Summer 2017.

Once completed, the theatre will be one of the best and most advanced in the country, ensuring that theatre goers will be able to see some of the best shows on offer and enjoy a significantly enhanced experience. New café bars, a restaurant a will also be added to accommodate extra visitors.

Councillor Steven Bayes, Portfolio Holder for Visitor Destination said:

“As a Council we are making the biggest investment the city has seen in many years, both for 2017 and as part of a long-term plan to regenerate our economy, securing lasting benefits for the people of Hull and the region.

“We have now secured funding to undertake the improvements required which will result in the theatre reopening in the summer of 2017. The end product will be an excellent facility and something that will be a major attraction to residents and visitors to the city for many years.

“Investing in Hull’s cultural assets is a top priority for the Council and this project is a key element of the city’s lasting legacy of 2017, alongside improvements already underway at the Ferens Art Gallery, to our public realm and, in the longer term, the development of the Hull Venue and the city centre cruise terminal.

Martin Green, Chief Executive of Hull 2017 said:

“I am delighted that the full refurbishment of the theatre can now go ahead, offering the people of Hull and visitors an experience that is second to none.

“All of Hull’s cultural venues are an integral part of 2017 and we are working with the theatre to ensure that it plays a core role in our year-long events programme”.

Facelift for Hull New Theatre to start soon

The work to get Hull ready for its year as UK City of Culture is set to continue following the closure of Hull New Theatre for a major refurbishment.

Renovation works will soon begin at the theatre, which will include improved backstage areas and structural work along with a new fly tower, enabling the theatre to bring more ambitious shows to the city.

Hull City Council has today confirmed that the renovation of the theatre will move ahead despite an unsuccessful bid for funding from Arts Council England towards the project.

Councillor Steven Bayes, Hull City Council portfolio holder for UK City of Culture and Visitor Destination said:

“As part of our wider programme of investments in the city’s cultural infrastructure, the renovation of Hull New Theatre is critical to ensuring that Hull secures a lasting legacy from its year as UK City of Culture 2017.

“Whilst the news from the Arts Council is disappointing, the Council remains committed to the refurbishment of the theatre. The venue is very important to the city and is absolutely critical to our plans for 2017 and beyond.

“With any project of this scale and ambition, there will be setbacks from time to time, however, we are actively exploring other potential funding options.”

After one of the most successful panto seasons in its history, the theatre has now closed its doors to allow preparatory work to begin.

During the closure, where it is possible, a number of shows will transfer to Hull City Hall to ensure there is still a comprehensive programme offer during 2016.  The refurbished theatre will be open by Easter 2017.