Hello! Or should I say Hull-O?
No probably not, I’m not that funny and after three years of living here, the joke is completely lost on me. One thing I’ve learnt is that a classic Hull pun will never go far, yet we all try bring them into casual conversation no matter where in the world we are, and trust me, we’ll be all the way around the world before you know it. We are the #hullmafia.
Born and bred in Lancashire, I’m not going to deny that I’m a true Lancs girl but being at the other end of the M62 living, working and studying in Hull has enlightened me in many things. One being that mafting is a word. I am still yet to use it. I just can’t bring myself to. Another being that the red salt we have in Preston (and a lot of other places around Lancs) actually has a name and that’s American Chip Spice. I feel like a lot of people will argue with me about that but it’s true! It tastes the same, it’s used for the same purpose and therefore I will continue calling it red salt. I can’t get that part of my Lancashire out of me and to be fair, red salt is easier to say. All that said, American Chip Spice, the company are “top notch”, forever providing the university students with freebies, particularly us graduates! The third main thing I’ve come to realise is that it is 100% true that the #hullmafia (for some reason you can’t just type out Hull Mafia - it doesn’t have the same ring to it), are everywhere! We usually consider them to be those of us who are the University of Hull graduates but more and more have I noticed that it is just anyone who has lived or studied in Hull. I was in Mexico last week and whilst I was sat around the pool doing a sneaky bit of people watching I spotted two Hull FC towels. Typical!
Notable Hull Alumni include, but are not limited to:
Anthony Minghella CBE, Olivia Lomenech Gill, Dame Jenni Murray, Rosie Millard OBE, Tom Atkinson among many others.
What do these people have in common?
THEY ALL STUDIED DRAMA AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HULL!
The Gulbenkian Centre has been known to have housed many absolute greats throughout the years and those many have all gone on to do great things. Some chose their line of theatre and ran with it and some began their own arts companies!
Anthony Minghella was an incredible filmmaker best known for his Academy Award winning The English Patient in 1996.
Olivia Lomenech Gill is now a printmaker, artist and illustrator known for her works with Michael Morpurgo, one of my all time favourite childhood writers, and of course her illustrations in the illustrated edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! Being a big Harry Potter fan (just generally books really) I was in awe to have been able to meet her this year at the Prague Quadrennial. Unfortunately I’m not much of a morning person so my brain wasn’t working enough for me ask questions. Hopefully I shall have the opportunity to meet her again some other time! Olivia was lovely to meet and so inspiring, particularly for a designer as I like to sometimes consider myself.
Jenni Murray is now a famous journalist and broadcaster, best known for presenting Woman’s Hour, on BBC Radio 4.
Rosie Millard is also a journalist and broadcaster. In 2014 she was Chair of Hull City of Culture 2017 and given her OBE in the 2018 New Year Honours list due to her services within the arts. She is now Chair of BBC Children in Need. She works with the most famous bear in the country!
Tom Atkinson. What a man! We recent drama students and graduates have so much thanks and appreciation for this man as he co-organises our Gulbenkian Fest each year, alongside Pavel Drabek and Alex Brook. Drama graduate of 1976, Tom has been a television producer and director working for ITV in Cardiff and Southampton as well as becoming a researcher and then making more TV for us all to enjoy.
At this point, I think it is incredibly important to mention that so many Drama graduates have gone on to make successful theatre companies, most of whom are currently touring or performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year as part of the Absolutely Cultured #hulltakeover!
Middle Child, The Roaring Girls, Silent Uproar, Just Club, Concrete Youth, Thursday’s Children, 1Upstarts to name just a few once again. (Those who aren’t in Edinburgh are working on their upcoming shows!)
The #hullmafia are everywhere and we continue to grow with more of us graduating each year and more of us starting again in September (come and join me! If you haven’t applied already you can still apply through clearing! I’ll be a masters student so feel free to say hello to us oldies! P.S. You can whatever age to do any degree)! Since starting in 2016 and graduating in July this year I never thought I’d be this eager to stick around for that little bit longer to do my Masters degree and carry on living in the Newland area and working across Hull. This Lancs girl is pretty happy being a Yorkshire lass for a little while longer!
To live in Hull is predominantly cheap, but for us theatre folk we have an abundance of affordable theatre, particularly for students. Many theatre companies in the area do shows as pay-what-you-want and it is not uncommon for us to get regular emails offering £5 tickets. Not to mention the increasing amount of professional productions being performed in our own on-campus theatre, the Donald Roy! In the past year we’ve seen Silent Uproar’s A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) and Theatre Conspiracy’s Foreign Radical, amongst all of the incredible undergraduate and postgraduate shows that have been put on! I know for a fact that we shall be seeing much more in the coming months.
I truly believe it is not my time to leave Hull just yet. Hull has so much more to offer and is continually surprising us everyday with it’s incredible arts and culture scene and being a Drama student, that’s all I could ask for of a city, and probably so much more! Having the opportunity to live here surrounded by such incredibly creative people inspires me everyday to keep working, keep studying, and keep making theatre. Now is the time to be here in Hull. Especially if you’re looking for a career within the arts. The Gulbenkian Fest and Futures Week are both invented to literally push you in the right direction offering workshops and networking events to help you get your foot in the door from very early on! I am honestly not exaggerating at all. Each day we have more and more opportunities and for me to now be considered a part of the alumni, I feel honoured and forever included into the extraordinary and inevitable #hullmafia!
Here’s to being a Hull drama student once more in September!
And to those waiting for results - best of luck! I will hopefully see you in September at the University of Hull!
Side note: This post was not at all what I expected it to be as I started writing. My full intention was to reflect on my personal experiences as a Hull Uni student, something more of a general post regarding the whole uni. Alas, I was whisked away thinking about the amazing people of the drama community, especially with my social media feeds being full of Edinburgh Fringe advertisements. In the run up to the start of the next academic year, look out for further posts covering more general things about the university and university life! I don’t just talk about drama and theatre!