RIBA Awards put Hull Truck on Architectural MapDate: 3 November 2009
Hull Truck’s new theatre, which opened in April of this year, has beaten off competition from several other Yorkshire projects, including Harrogate’s Royal Hall, to win Building of the Year at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) White Rose Awards. The theatre also won a gold award for architecture and the Sustainable Futures Award for its environmental achievements.
Paul Marshall, Hull Truck theatre operations director, hailed the venue’s “remarkable year” and believes the awards confirm the theatre has achieved its goal of being “a striking piece of city centre architecture” that is “accessible and welcoming” for audiences.
The theatre, which cost £15 million and was designed by Wright & Wright Architects, is the culmination of a forty-year journey for the company, which was founded by Mike Bradwell in 1971. From humble beginnings in the back of a truck, the company moved into its first permanent home in Spring Street in 1983 and closed its doors in February 2009 ahead of the move to Ferensway. The new building incorporates a 440-seat main theatre, 134-seat studio theatre and an education space.
According to Geoff Sargieson, chair of the Hull Truck Enterprises Board, the venue “was designed and built to provide a place that actors and audiences alike want to visit”. It has certainly proved itself successful with audiences, with nearly twice the number of tickets sold for its first season at Ferensway compared to the same period last year. This also reflects the increased capacity of the new facility that allowed 51 events to be staged. The current programme includes an adaptation of Macbeth by Gareth Tudor Price and Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus staged by Hull Playgoers.
Given its success with audiences and its varied programme, Sargieson believes the “architectural vote” from RIBA now gives the theatre a “triple A” rating. In winning its prizes, Hull Truck beat off significant competition from, among others, the award-winning Royal Hall in Harrogate, which re-opened in 2008 after a successful restoration.
According to RIBA, the White Rose awards, now in their 23rd year, celebrate “design excellence in architecture and the built environment in the Yorkshire region”. Previous UK theatres honoured by RIBA include the Young Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company Courtyard Theatre.
- Hannah Giles