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Brontë, Larkin & Godber Make a Truck Stop

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Autumn 2010 is a time for theatre companies to be looking over their shoulders, pondering just how unkind the cuts will be. However, Hull Truck’s launch of the Autumn season, boosted by a near-capacity first night audience for A Passionate Woman, was a pretty confident affair.

The Studio programme of short runs and one-nighters is comprehensive and highly varied. Festivals include three productions (October 18-25) for Black History Month, five events in the Larkin 25 Festival (November 15-27) and the Hull Comedy Festival (October 26-November 7) shared with the Main Theatre and featuring such diverse styles as Jeremy Hardy and Joe Pasquale. The Larkin 25 events include a rehearsed reading of Sweet Sorrow on November 15, also in tribute to its author, a great champion of Hull Truck, the late Alan Plater, plus a foray into the Main Theatre (November 14) for Tom Courtenay’s Larkin compilation, Pretending to Be Me.

However, the main focus is on the five full-scale productions in the Main Theatre. As usual there’s a mix of new plays, classic adaptations and raids on the copious Godber back catalogue. The theme this season seems to be the successful deployment of talents honed on television: A Passionate Woman, itself recently adapted for television, even saw the stage debut of Stuart Manning of Hollyoaks, nine years after his first appearance in television drama.

From October 7 to 23 the focus is on Emily Bronte’s classic Wuthering Heights, brought to Hull Truck by the husband and wife team of John Godber (director) and Jane Thornton (adapter), with the roles of Cathy and Heathcliff taken by former Coronation Street stars Gaynor Faye and Rupert Hill. Then, returning from a national tour, it’s time for early Godber: Teechers (November 9-20), with former Hollyoaks star Zoe Lister. Given the changes in education since 1987 when it was written, it’s not surprising the programme promises nostalgia as well as mischief and mayhem.

Then it’s a Christmas double-header: Nick Lane’s latest adaptation, A Christmas Carol (December 9-31) for the 5-plusses during the day, John Godber’s festive celebration, The Christmas Office Party (December 2-January 15) in the evening.

A busy Autumn – and that’s leaving out an Ian Dury tribute, a couple of dance events, a top-class monthly series of Comedy Sundays, and much more.

– Ron Simpson


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