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Hull celebrates Freedom for UK City of Culture 2017 third season

Wednesday 19 Apr, 2017


Following a successful start to Hull's year-long UK City of Culture 2017 celebrations, programme details have been unveiled for its third season, Freedom, which runs from July to September and honours the legacy of Hull-born anti-slavery campaigner, William Wilberforce MP.

The concept of freedom will be explored through mediums including art, music, theatre, film and dance. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of Hull's annual Freedom Festival, which will feature local talent alongside more than 200 artists from over 30 countries.

Here we round up some of the top cultural highlights for the Freedom season.



Until 13 August: SKIN, at Ferens Art Gallery

Major new exhibition SKIN explores the human body and how artists like Lucian Freud have depicted the nude form, plus the anticipated photographic work Sea of Hull by Spencer Tunick, created last year when 3,200 people stripped nude and were painted in shades of blue.

30 June - 9 July: Look Up: Paper City, at Humber Street Gallery and Fruit Market

This ten-day celebration of colour will feature installations using specialist coloured paper, by some of the most exciting creative figures in contemporary art, design and architecture. The result of international survey, the World's Favourite Colour, will also be announced.

26 September - 7 January 2018: Turner Prize 2017, at Ferens Art Gallery

The Ferens Art Gallery will host the world's greatest contemporary arts prize.



20 July: Tarantiseismic by the National Youth Dance Company, at Middleton Hall

This new work from guest artistic director Damien Jalet features 40 young dancers from the National Youth Dance Company (run by Sadler's Wells), addressing themes of melancholia, ritual, control and abandon.

31 Aug - 9 Sept: The Suitcase UK premiere, at Hull Truck Theatre

The Market Theatre of Johannesburg, known internationally as ‘Theatre of the Struggle', has been a powerful voice for emancipation. The Suitcase follows a young couple from the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal who seek a better life in the city, but soon realise that urban life is cruel and unwelcoming. This will be its UK premiere before touring Northern England.

16 September: Opening The New, at Hull New Theatre

After a £16 million transformation, Hull New Theatre will reopen with an extraordinary evening of classic and modern dance from The Royal Ballet, curated by its Hull-born director Kevin O'Hare and starring local Hull talent and principal dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Joseph Caley.  



1 July: Jeff Lynne's ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), at KCOM Stadium

A special headline concert from Jeff Lynne's ELO, the English band renowned for epic live shows. Its distinct style blends rock, pop and classical, and has sold over 50 million records worldwide.

11 - 15 July: Hull Jazz Festival Summer Edition, various venues
The 25th Hull Jazz Festival will feature some of the freshest names in UK jazz alongside internationally renowned artists. British Jazz giant Courtney Pine CBE will join soul legend Omar for the first time.

20 to 23 July: Hull Folk and Maritime Festival, various venues around the marina and Old Town

Now in its 27th year of celebrating Hull's rich folk heritage, the 2017 festival will feature more than 80 free events and activities, including a real ale festival, historic vessels moored in the marina, folk dancing and traditional crafts and folk art.

5 August: Humber Street Sesh, at Hull Marina

This award-winning grassroots music festival celebrates the diversity of regional musicians and artists, and returns in 2017 with hundreds of artists covering all music genres, playing across 14 stages.

1 - 3 September: Freedom Festival, across Hull

This milestone annual event will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a huge, diverse cultural programme, including a new visual arts commission from Brazilian sculptor Néle Azevedo exploring modern day slavery, plus the British premiere of Cie Bistaki's The Baïna Trampa Fritz Fallen. Full programme details will be announced soon.

23 - 24 September: Hull Trinity Festival, at Zebedee's Yard and Princes Dock Street

Two music-filled days of live performances, inviting audiences to enjoy a vast line-up of local musicians and special guests in Hull's city centre.



5 July - 1 October: Larkin: New Eyes Each Year at the University of Hull

This biographical exhibition at the University of Hull - where Larkin spent three decades as librarian - will lift the lid on the life of one of Hull's most influential creatives, featuring unseen letters, photography and personal possessions.

28 September - 7 October: Contains Strong Language, across Hull  

This major new national spoken word and poetry festival celebrates new and existing word craft by local, national and international poets. Starting on National Poetry Day, there will be world premieres, special gala readings, events and concerts. At the heart of the festival will be The Hull 17 - an ensemble of 17 artists commissioned to create new work.



4 and 14 July: BP Big Screens - Puccini's Turandot, at Zebedee's Yard

Free opera and ballet outdoors on the big screen, including Puccini's Turandot on 4 and 14 July.



22 - 29 July: LGBT 50, Hull city centre

LGBT 50 in Hull will be at the forefront of national events to mark 50 years since the start of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain. This week of exhibitions, social events, parties and debates will celebrate freedoms gained, LGBT heroes past and present, and solidarity for global LGBT equality.

22 July: Pride in Hull 2017, city centre

The Pride in Hull parade and party will kick off LGBT 50 in exuberant style, featuring a celebration of 50 years of LGBT+ icons led by avant-garde queer collective Duckie, plus a performance by Marc Almond.

27 July - 24 September: The House of Kings and Queens, at Humber Street Gallery

An exhibition of specially commissioned photography by Lee Price as part of LGBT 50.

29 July: Duckie Summer Tea Party, Queen Victoria Square

Bringing café culture to the heart of the city, with tea and cake alongside dancing and surprise performances.

1 - 4 and 28 - 29 September: Freedom Talks at University of Hull

The University of Hull's Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation invites internationally-renowned speakers to explore the notion of freedom.

For more information contact:

  • VisitBritain Media Team

Related Images
The Freedom Festival  - Crowds gathering for the Freedom Festival in Hull
The Freedom Festival - Muscian playing at the Freedom festival in hull
Freedom Festival  - Girl dressed as butterfly at Freedom Festival 2016
Ferens Art Gallery - Ferens Art Gallery displaying the Hull city of culture 2017 banner.
The Museum of Club Culture - The Museum of Club Culture's display of badges