Hull launches its £32m year of culture

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“Hull has always had a unique cultural voice and in 2017 it will roar” declared the year’s director, Martin Green, beneath a sign saying “Everyone back to ours in 2017”.


He was launching the first quarter of Hull’s year as UK City of Culture 2017 yesterday – with the suclutre of Hul poet Philip Larkin in the station comcourse suitably clad for the celerbation.


Since the city won the title in 2013 there has been a £1 billion business investment in Hull, and £100m investment in cultural infrastructure is under way to kick off what Green said was to be a ten year development programme. He has raised £32m for the programme, almost twice the £18m target, and he was launching little more than a quarter of the year’s offerings, with the spring and summer season not to be published until February and the autumn’s in September.


The year will see the reopening after refurbishment of the Ferens Art Gallery, whose highlight will be the revealing for the first time its acquisition, the exquisite 1320s painting by Pietro Lorinzetti, Christ Between the Saints Paul and Peter after four years of conservation and research. The Ferens will also have an exhibition of the work of sculptor Ton Mueck, Francis Bacon’s Screaming Popes paintings and the first showing of Spencer Tunick’s photographs from his 2016 Sea of Hull commission in which Hullensians in their hundreds posed nude.


Hull playwright Richard Bean has written a new play, The Hypocrite, about Sir John Hottam, an historical Hull personality who played a major role at the start of the Civil War, which will have its world premiere at the Hull Truck Theatre.


Sadly Hull’s £36m new concert and events venue will not open until 2018, but one of the most extraordinary musical events will need no concert hall. In April the orchestra and chorus of Opera North take to the iconic Humber Bridge to present a new piece by Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen and collaborators Jan Bang and Eivind Aarset, with the sounds of the bridge itself caught by Hull-based sound artist Jez Riley, all experienced by the audience through earphones during a walk across the 2,200 metre bridge, the longest single span suspension bridge in the world.


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