watch this space

14May11

This week marked the 70th anniversary of the first (and worst) nights of Hull’s wartime Blitz and I’m in the city supervising a site-specific theatre residency with students from the University. Watch This Space is a promenade performance taking in several sites along Hull’s Fruitmarket (aka. Humber Street). Students’ research for the project incorporates a range of subjects which illuminate the rise and fall of Humber Street; be it the transmigration of European emigrants en route to America, street low-life, the fruit trade, theatre/music hall or the devastation of the city during WWII (An extraordinary bomb map shows the exact location of the fallen bombs on the site, explaining away some of the dereliction which is still evident a lifetime later).

Despite the best efforts of the city council to entertain designs of a cultural regeneration in this richly historic (and now isolated) fragment of the city, cash cuts have seen the recent dismantling of its great hope – the development agency, Hull Forward – and only after all the resident fruiterers had been relocated away from The Fruitmarket. Its chief raison d’etre may be gone, but never mind – there’ll always be artists and performers on the lookout for empty, cheap space with plenty of character, no power and a leaking roof… Meanwhile here comes another downpour upon this ancient place…

Watch this Space appears later this evening, 14th may. Yesterday’s dress rehearsal, after a mere 5 days of work, was a huge morale boost and I’m very much looking forward to the final event, rain or shine. Soon afterwards, like the spectres who populate our Humber St. stories, all will be consumed to the muddy river of History. (further pics of Humber St. and the docks)

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