I was born in Hull. There are three council houses next to Albert Ave swimming baths. I came bawling into the world in the middle one, number 90. Growing up involved a lot of time in the outdoor pool next-door-but-one and swimming lessons with Jack Hale, the Olympic swimmer who revolutionised the butterfly stroke.
Our house was a creative one. My dad was a signwriter, responsible for all those fluorescent posters that used to fill the windows of Jacksons supermarkets. When he wasn’t working he was painting. He painted our bedroom walls with caricatures; our favourite cartoon characters, sporting heroes, whatever we wanted. The house was full of books. My sister was always wearing holes in the carpets with her dancing.
I write for a living now but I went the long way round to get here. I worked for ten years in the construction industry and filling notebooks with words, writing short stories, sketches and plays wasn’t anything that I could tell the lads at work about. The full story is too tedious to share but I ended up working as an arts journalist for all kinds of publications, including The Stage, Big Issue in the North and Emap. Then I started discovering outlets for my creative work and got more involved than is healthy in writing for the theatre. I’ve done some stuff with Hull Truck, including Sully back in 2006.
Hull is an exciting place to be able to do this. We’ve got a blank canvas, in essence, and there’s a chance that we could invent the future of theatre right here in this city. For me, that would be theatre a million miles away from the stuffy confines of traditional spaces, diverse work that appeals to people that might not, otherwise, go anywhere near theatre.
The Changing Face Exhibition preview event is happening on April the 2nd you can book tickets for it by following this link:
Photo © Quentin Budworth