Story by Babbie De Derian
Photos by Octovision Media, Neil Holmes Photography, Thomas Arran,
Hull, England - Â City of Culture, 2017
Vibrant and Intriguing
In 2013, Hull, England, won its bid for “UK City of Culture 2017” a day hailed as “changing the city forever”. It is the second city in the world to hold this title; the first in England.Â What has followed is the regeneration of a city, and the development of an ambitious global plan to host some of the world”s largest cultural events.
The Hull Culture Company for 2017 will deliver 365 days of transformative culture through a range of diverse high profile art integrated happenings and imaginative public installations - including: large scale projection illumination of buildings and sculptures turning the Humber Bridge into a piece of music - .and a spectacular fireworks display. The spotlight will be on poets, visual artists, photographers, actors, musicians Oscar nominated composers and film makers.
The Hull Truck Theatre, dedicated to producing high quality theatre, has partnered with The Royal Shakespeare Company to present the World Premiers of “The Hypocrite” and “Mighty Atoms”. The recently refurbished Ferrens Art Gallery will host Bacon, Manet, Rembrandt and Lorenzetti Exhibitions, and the Royal Philharmonic will present a series of concerts.
Divided into four seasons: “Made in Hull” (January - March) “Roots and Routes” (April - June) “Freedom”(July - September) and “Tell the World” (October-December), the ambitious schedule of events will draw on Hull’s rich maritime history, bring the whole community together, welcome the world; and transform the city into an exciting place to live, work, study, visit and invest... a place people are proud to call home.
Hull’s architecture tells its story as one of the wealthiest port cities in Europe at the turn of the century, and its bomb devastation during World War II. The city is an eclectic mix of medieval buildings, 17th and 18th century Dutch influence merchant homes, Victorian civic buildings, Edwardian townhouses, the Georgian Grandeur of Trinity House and the modern addition of The Deep, the city’s iconic Submarium, home to over 3,500 fish, sharks, rays and penguins. What was once the Humber Street Fruit Market has been transformed into a burgeoning arts quarter of galleries, breweries, and restaurants.
September, 2016 : My Delta flight from JFK to Manchester is met by Visit Britain representative Rmishka Singh; we overnight at Motel One; board the train to Hull in the morning, and upon arrival, check into The Holiday Inn Marina Hotel.
We gather at Hull Truck Theatre for the official launch of Hull City of Culture 2017.Â There’s an excited buzz in the lobby as cocktails and canapés are passed. Once seated in the theater, the presentation gets off to a moving musical start when fifty singers take the stage to sing “Are You Ready”. A video of artists sharing their philosophies is projected, followed by a panel of creative and dedicated supporters and sponsors, focusing on events for the first season.
Martin Green, Director of City of Culture 2017, tells the audience: “It”s about liberation and tolerance around the world. We are changing the way people experience our magnificent city. We are committed to making our artistic voices heard around the world. Hull has always had a unique cultural voice, and in 2017 it will roar”.
Tony Wall, head of the BBC, commits to “Hullcentric” coverage and support: “we are inspired and excited by what is being done to bring together a rich mix of artists, performers, and live events. This year- long festival is all about partnerships; it”s all about legacy”.
While in town, we discover the secrets and history behind, the walls of Trinity House (Hullâs best kept historical building), explore the wonders of the Deep and follow a walking tour through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Old Town, Hull Marina and gentrified Humber Street. We visit the Streetlife Museum of Transport, Hull School of Performing arts, the Museum of Club Culture (the only one in the world), Hull and East Riding Museum ((where 235 million years of history is brought to life), the Maritime Museum, and Wilberforce House that tells the story of the slave trade. We arrive at Furley’s Pub, hungry and thirsty; a lunch buffet has been set up at the end of the bar, and we pile our plates high. As a special surprise, I am served their 2,000 calorie milkshake concoction which is topped with a donut, hot fudge and butterscotch.
Lord Mayor Sean Chaytor, and his charming wife Claire, who is a renowned actress, host us for a warm welcoming evening of cocktails and a sit down dinner. Later that evening, we pub hop at Lion and Key, Sailmakers and Ye Olde Black.
Kardomah 94 transformed a city space into a quirky and intimate restaurant and club venue that hosts theatre, film and spoken word festivals and art exhibitions. Owner Malcolm Scott is a vital partner in the city”s rebirth, sees “cultural activity as an economic driver”, and sits on Hull 2017 City of Culture’s Trustee Board as the regional representative of Local Enterprise Partnership. After munching on a delicious mix of pizzas and pastas, we move into the club where Martin Sephenson (one of the UK’s best-loved musicians) is performing.
At 1884 Dock Street Kitchen, General Manager James Birch and Chef Laura wow our palates and tantalize our taste buds with a memorable 6 course tasting and wine pairing feast that James personally serves, with great pride and passion. My favorite courses: the forest mushroom ravioli and loin of farm venison.
Art has the possibility of changing the world; it is that thing you can’t turn off; it can connect you to the place where you are... as does every meal shared. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. Hull, emerging from the shadows into the cultural sunshine, is ready to be back on the map, as one of the greatest art cities in Northern England, and I can’t wait to revisit this beautiful city in 2017.
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© October 2016 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.