Episode 3 Britain's City of Culture

Episode 3

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Hello, and welcome to Hull, the UK city of Culture.


Hello, and welcome to Hull, the UK City of Culture.


Showcasing the brightest and the best


of contemporary culture has brought us here to Hull's Cemetery


for a circus performance with a difference.


And continuing our celebration of difference, we meet Matt Fraser


who will be putting his disability centre stage to play


I'm a deformed actor playing a deformed character


for the first time in Britain, which is extraordinary that it


should be the first but it's exciting that I get to do it.


We will meet the army of 2017 volunteers giving


# There's a star man, waiting in the sky...


And go on a trip down memory lane with a Spider from Mars.


Hello, I'm Anne-Marie Tasker, and I'm the arts and culture


correspondence for the BBC here in Hull and this is Kofi Smiles.


I'm the face of Hull, chosen by the BBC with a mission,


to bring you culture whenever and wherever it happens.


Today, we are taking it quite literally because we are not


in a concert hall or in a theatre, we are here in a graveyard.


It's a setting for a performance which is quite difficult to sum up


It's part-circus acrobats, part music, part dance and it


all takes place under the cover of darkness.


Areialists, acrobats, video artists, singers.


Coming together to tell the story of an ancient Greek


"Depart" explores the tragic love story of Orpheus when he descends


into the underworld and tries and fails to bring his dead wife,


The audience happens upon the action as they wander


We are trying to find the right trees, and battling


the British weather has been challenging.


Performing outdoors definitely has its challenges like that.


Quite often you will find yourself quite drippy, and wet.


It's also kind of really exciting in the outdoors because it's not


often in the outdoors that you get the chance to perform in a tree,


What's magical about it is that the audience is in the outside


in the wilderness with you, so that you get to share


an experience a lot more than in a theatre


The show is by the world-renowned Australian company Circa who only


arrived to rehearse a few days before the first performance,


and although this graveyard closed in the 1970s,


the choice of venue has caused some controversy.


If you approach something with respect and with care,


and if your intent is to help bring a community to this place,


to improve this place and a great deal of nurture has


been given to this site, then I think you are


The show premiered last summer, but for these performances,


Circa are working with one of Hull's community choirs.


More than 100 members of the Freedom chorus have spent months rehearsing


and add an ethereal soundtrack to the performance.


It's absolutely brilliant to be part of the city of culture,


but to be able to perform alongside Circa as well is really incredible.


It's not a venue that anybody knows is a venue, of course.


Of course, great respect will be paid because of where we are.


Well, it's getting dark now and everyone is here waiting


It's Friday night, walking around a graveyard, so I thought


it was brilliant the way they brought out a different


I've only got one difficulty, how do you describe it


The setup, where it was, where it is held, the performers,


Captivating. Enthralling, absolutely brilliant.


And after Hull, the play moves from Brighton to Blackpool.


"Depart" is just one of hundreds of events taking part


In fact, an event has been promised every day of the year.


And when you make a promise like that, you are going to need


a lot of people to help with the staging and that's where


They've given up their free time to lend a hand.


There are more than 2,000 of them, ranging in age from 16 up to 84.


Caroline has been to meet some of them.


They are the blue-coated army, an army of volunteers


from all backgrounds, ages, from all over the UK.


From greeting people at events to performing as extras in plays,


the 2017 volunteers are the engine that is helping to drive this


In much the same way as the games makers did at the London Olympics,


Hull's volunteers of the welcoming face of this city


There's no way I was going to miss this year volunteering.


There's no way I was going to miss this year's volunteering.


Sue caught the bug at London 2012 and she was one


Tonight, the blue jacket is being left at home.


The green tabard is the uniform for this event in one


Sue, and other volunteers, have been collecting


We are finding in most of the activities we do


there are people from all over the world coming.


Are you here to join the search for the seven...


Well, you can't say the job of a volunteer isn't varied.


At this one event alone, they have been directing all these


people to where they need to be, collecting their data


and some are even part of the performance itself.


We wanted to be city of culture volunteers because we couldn't


resist being involved in such a fantastic opportunity.


The toilets are downstairs on the ground floor.


Mum of two Louise also works full-time as a teacher.


She is squeezing in her volunteering shifts on evenings and weekends.


When you put that jacket and it gives you license


to strike up a conversation with absolutely anybody.


Even out of the uniform, I'm finding that I'm more likely


to start a conversation with people who I don't know that I was before.


Volunteering for her is stepping completely out of our comfort zone,


but today, she is helping out at a stress test for


Well, this is a rehearsal of a performance due to take place


in a couple of weeks' time and it will involve live ands and require


the audience to move around the performance space,


so the volunteers are being used to put it to the test and make sure


It's been interesting to see how a theatre company works on its first


Talking to people, strangers, but I feel now I'm


I've seen already in the first few months that she has just flown


She is one of the welcoming faces of Hull and for me,


that's a gift that the city of culture has given


At first, I didn't think we would be able to be involved.


Enid and Jason have also thrown themselves out of their comfort zone


Some people see us as visually impaired and we should be


in a corner, but we have been put out the front because it's nice.


You feel more engaged with what is going on with this


process in general, but it gives you a little insight


in things that you thought you couldn't do which you can,


with that support network going on in the background.


I think we should give something back to our communities.


And this has given people such a massive opportunity to do that.


I think it's that it's absolutely wonderful that I have been


Hopefully, at the end of the year, we will have a huge army of people


then in a position to volunteer for all sorts of organisations


and really lift the community life of the city.


The city of culture goes global with celebrations


in Hull's Twin city, Freetown.


We remember David Bowie and the spiders from Mars


But first, here's my guide to some 2017 highlights and a little look


North Atlantic Flux took us on a four-day journey of musical


discovery bringing in Icelandic and Scandinavian musicians to Hull.


On the Orchard Park estate, local residents collaborated


with artists to put on a vibrant parade around the neighbourhood.


The Ferens Art Gallery has an amazing new exhibition called


Skin, which features work by Ron Mueck, Lucian Freud


and the Sea Of Hull photographs taken by Spencer Tunick of over 3000


And I don't care if anybody sees me or not.


We are looking forward to Assemblefest which takes over


an ordinary shopping street, turning unlikely places


Nearly 30 years ago, the beautiful South performed


in Hull, and in June, Paul Heaton and Jackie Abbott


East Park will be transformed to the fictional Malarkey


Park for Hull's first childrenchildren's


Park for Hull's first children's literature Festival.


And in July, the BBC Proms will come to Hull for a day


of outdoor concerts, the first time recently that this


British institution has travelled outside of London.


Well, from a circus performance in a graveyard to something more


traditional. We are talking Shakespeare, Richard III to be


precise. But Hull being Hull, it's with a difference. We are sitting in


with the lead actor, mat Fraser. He is returning to his theatrical


roots, after role in American horror story. Can you imagine a mark on


this normal body? I could have ruled the world. Mat Fraser has been in


rehearsals for three weeks now. And for him, it's one of the toughest


roles he's ever had with 685 lines to learn. Director, Barry Rutter


started Northern broadsides 25 years ago with the aim of making


Shakespeare access the ball to all. His success means others are sure to


follow. You have done lots of theatre, but never any Shakespeare.


Why now? I did Puck, in a chaotic version of a Midsummer night 's


dream. The reason why now is because I was intrigued to be asked to


audition and I'm what we might call a mid-term career artist, and each


time you do something it is less shocking dangerous the next time you


do it. It had been a long time since I had been scared of something and


just the notion of doing that wonderful, eponymous character. It's


not the easiest of Shakespeare's plays, is it? It's one of the most


famous plays, it's done more than Hamlet, even. And it is the only one


where the character talks directly to the audience and they are in on


his secrets of evil, he's one of the most famous villains and famous


disabled people. I think I'm one of the first people to say I'm a


deformed Akhtar laying deformed character. It's extraordinary that


it should be the first but exciting that I get to do it. It must be a


big deal for you, isn't it? It wasn't from me, I didn't push to get


it. I was offered it. Although we could say it's about time, Barry


offered it to me and not anybody else, so I'm going to run with it


and see what we do. I'm fascinated to see what audience members make of


it. He horrible to everyone. He was stabbed you in the back by any means


necessary. As a disabled person, I camera late to having to think round


the corners, -- I am used to having to think round the corners. I can't


really relate to the murder and decay that he causes though. For me,


the challenges to step up to playing one of the biggest characters. I've


never played the lead before. You have two on that. I'm very much a


team player. I have any go, obviously. I wouldn't be an actor


otherwise, but I don't have a monstrous ego that wishes to be the


star. So owning the lead, that's my challenge. In terms of challenges


for the audience, it is whether my deformity Pauls out of the play. But


Lenny Henry doing their low... There's been a lot of boot polish


going on over the years, so now, let's go!


-- Lenny Henry playing Othello. Hull is twinned with Freetown in Africa.


It started with William Wilberforce trying to abolish the slave trade.


Hull and Freetown were twinned many years ago and it's a relationship


being celebrated in 2017 with a concert later this summer. Surely


Henry has been finding out more about Freetown and how it's being


involved with the City Of Culture. A message from Freetown to Hull. This


is the capital of Sierra Leone and as its partner enjoys its year as


the city of culture, expectations are growing as to what this will


mean for Freetown. I expect people will want to see a treat coming from


Freetown. All the stuff we've got going on, I'm sure it's true. They


don't have a choice but to be treated. That the many people,


Sierra Leone is not known for its culture, but that this, Ebola. It's


impact still resonates. 50,000 people also died in a civil war in


the 1990s. Sierra Leone's Refugee All-stars was formed during the


crisis. People were killed in front of my eyes. I saw people burned in


front of me. I lost my brother, my sister, my friends. It was too bad.


The All-Stars translated their suffering into lyrics that inspire


and uplift. As part of the city of culture celebrations, they have


travelled to Hull to spread hope, joy and faith. Culture means a lot.


Good connections between Freetown and Hull City, so I'm excited. This


year is not just about showcasing talent like this, but building


educational links and letting people know that Freetown is open for


business. To cement their future relationships, the Twin cities are


now building connections through education. Pupils at schools can


share cultural links via Skype. Your pen pal wants to know what your


favourite food is. This is not just for the children, but it is for them


to access more information to develop more creative thinking. I


like school, because when I go there, I can express myself and I


like many books. When I finish, I want to become a lawyer. This is


Freetown's version of the promotional film that propelled


Hull's place as the city of culture for this year. Freetown now wants


the world to know it is open for business.


It's one of rock music's most celebrated partnerships, during the


1970s, David Bowie and the spiders from Mars changed the face of music.


The spiders from Mars had a very different musical apprenticeship.


They honed their skills on the club pub circuit from Hull, playing as


the Rats. Sadly, only one of them is left, Woody Woodmansey. We went on a


trip down memory lane with him. # There's a star man, waiting in the


sky. # He'd like to come and meet us...


David Bowie introduced Britain's music fans to cities that are dust


-- the spiders from Mars. Woody Woodmansey is the only surviving


member of the group and he has come back home to visit some of the


places where he hung out before he was famous. The spiders were


originally called the Rats. I recorded with the Rats with Mick


Ronson. He'd been in with the Rats with another drummer and they done


the rise and fall of Bernie Gripplestone. I don't think


that would have worked for David Bowie. As the Rats played their


first gig is in a Hull and East Yorkshire, from pubs clubs. We were


in the Duke Of Cumberland in 1969. How much has it changed since then?


Directed noise anything. Different net curtains! -- I don't recognise


anything. We would come back to Hull and we would come here. We would


have a night out, watch bands. It doesn't look like you would fit on


there with your drum kit. M it would fit on there but the band would not.


-- my drum kit. The rise and fall of Ziggy stardust and the spiders of


Mars was the album may play. But there was one place they never


performed it, Hull. Finally, coming to play here. It was the biggest gig


in Hull, so it was with my dream to play here. How does it feel to be up


here. Getting ready to play. It's great. It's somewhere that David


wanted to play himself because he knew we were from Hull, so it was


always on our wish list but it just never happened. To come back now,


Hull, the city of culture, it's amazing. To be able to celebrate


David's legacy and do it for Mick and Trevor. It would've been nice


for them to be here in their city to be playing.


More than four decades since that talk, with the Tony bus and he


performance the full album the first time ever, live as part of the


celebrations. -- Tony Visconti. Woody buzz dream


of playing the album in Hull has finally come true. That is it from


Hull's General Cemetery and our latest look at the highlights from


the UK city of culture. We will be back in the summer, but you can get


your cultural fix on our website. Goodbye. Goodbye.


All the energy being stored up in the atmosphere is going out with a


bang in parts of England. Severe thunderstorms about. Flashflood in


being reported, and a


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