Wykeland supports hip hop family musical at Stage @TheDock

Wykeland Group is supporting Middle Child Theatre to stage an original family musical to be performed at the Stage @TheDock amphitheatre in Hull’s Fruit Market.

‘There Should Be Unicorns’ is a family adventure from Middle Child Theatre and Beats Bus, about a Hull schoolgirl called Jasmine, who sets out to make the world a better place through the power of imagination.

The free show from Middle Child is a mash-up of hip hop, musical theatre and dance that premieres in Hull in May, before heading on a nationwide tour of outdoor festivals.

Actor Emily Gray leaps off the steps at the amphitheatre
The free show is a mash-up of hip hop, musical theatre and dance that premieres in Hull before heading on a nationwide tour of outdoor festivals.

In the show 11-year-old Jasmine is about to move to senior school and feels pressured to conform and put herself first, until her dad inspires her to rebel.

Paul Smith, artistic director of Middle Child, said: “The world could really do with a reason to come together to celebrate joy and kindness right now and this free event will do just that for families in the city.

“Stage @TheDock is such a brilliant venue and we can’t wait to perform in front of a home audience before we head to festivals across the country.”

The production is backed by regeneration company Wykeland Group, a leading supporter of the arts and culture scene in Hull.

Wykeland created Stage @TheDock, investing £750,000 to transform the former Central Dry Dock into an outdoor performance venue.

Wykeland Managing Director Dominic Gibbons said: “We met with Middle Child pre-pandemic and asked if they would write an outdoor piece to be performed in the amphitheatre.

“Paul and his team agreed and blew us away with their creative ideas, passion and drive. We agreed to fund the production and for it to be performed at Stage @TheDock in the summer of 2020.

“Then the pandemic hit and all plans were halted, so we’re delighted to now be able to go ahead and support Middle Child with this exciting and original new production.

“The venue lends itself to creative and cultural events, as it’s such a unique space, with a stunning waterfront setting.”

From left, Middle Child's Artistic Director Paul Smith; Wykeland's Culture and Events Manager Natalia Cleary; lead actor Emily Gray and Wykeland's Managing Director Dominic Gibbons, pictured on the steps at the Stage @TheDock amphitheatre
From left, Middle Child’s Artistic Director Paul Smith; Wykeland’s Culture and Events Manager Natalia Cleary; lead actor Emily Gray and Wykeland’s Managing Director Dominic Gibbons.

Four performances of There Should Be Unicorns will take place at 11am and 2pm on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May.

Wykeland Culture and Events Manager Natalia Cleary said: “We’re very excited to support Middle Child’s latest production to be performed at our wonderful outdoor venue, Stage @TheDock.

“It’s wonderful to see the amphitheatre being used for a wide range of cultural and artistic events.

“The location is ideal, with a great socialising scene in the Fruit Market for audience members to visit before or after the performances and a multi-storey car park just yards from the venue.”

The show has been created in association with Hull charity Beats Bus and is inspired by the story of co-founder Steve Arnott, who was the subject of Sean McAllister’s 2018 documentary, A Northern Soul.

Beats Bus deliver hip hop workshops to school children in Hull and Steve also stars in There Should Be Unicorns, as Jasmine’s dad.

Steve said: “To work with Middle Child to create a theatre piece and also star in it is just mad.

“Their creativity is amazing and it makes me proud and humbled they want to tell my story in a Middle Child way.

“Expect the unexpected. Beats Bus meet Middle Child – it’s about to go off.”

Wykeland's Culture and Events Manager Natalia Cleary and Managing Director Dominic Gibbons, pictured left, with lead actor Emily Gray and Middle Child's Artistic Director, Paul Smith, pictured at Stage @TheDock.
The production is backed by regeneration company Wykeland Group, a leading supporter of the arts and culture scene in Hull.

All performances include integrated audio description and both performances on Sunday 8 May will be BSL-interpreted.

Families are also encouraged to grab refreshments from one of the many local eateries in the Fruit Market and enjoy a picnic in their seats before the show.

Tickets are free and go on-sale on Wednesday 30 March, via www.middlechildtheatre.co.uk or through Hull Truck Theatre, who are managing ticket sales, on 01482 323638.

Click here for more information.

Four performances of There Should Be Unicorns will take place at 11am and 2pm on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 May.

There Should Be Unicorns is supported by Wykeland Group, Without Walls, Freedom Festival Arts Trust, Hull City Council, Foyle Foundation and Garfield Weston.

Venue: Stage @TheDock
Dates: 7-8 May
Times: 11am and 2pm
Tickets: Free
Age: 6+

Pictures: Tom Arran Photo