Hull’s newest blue plaque announced to mark special 50th anniversary

March 10, 2022 celebrates 50 years since the first performance by Hull Truck Theatre.

The Company was founded in 1971 by Mike Bradwell, when he and a group of fellow actors moved into 71 Coltman Street, Hull, to improvise and rehearse a new form of theatre that put real people and real stories centre stage.

In partnership with Hull City Council and Coltman Street Community Association, a blue plaque will be placed at No.71 to mark the anniversary of the theatre’s first show.

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The plaque will read: “In 1971 Hull Truck Theatre was formed in this house by Mike Bradwell.”

Hull Truck Theatre has always been known for championing new voices and telling recognisable, human stories.

The theatre draws in audiences from Hull and East Yorkshire as well as further afield.

The original Hull Truck theatre company at 71 Coltman Street
The original Hull Truck theatre company at 71 Coltman Street

From its revolutionary origins in the 70s and early 80s, Hull Truck Theatre presented a mix of improvised hard-hitting drama, children’s theatre and cabaret, as well as touring shows out of the back of the infamous truck.

Through the 80s and 90s, the theatre was under the leadership of world-renowned playwright John Godber, a tenure that culminated in the development of the stunning £15 million theatre we see today on Ferensway.

71 Coltman Street as it appears today
71 Coltman Street as it appears today
(Image: Google)

’71 Coltman Street’ is the title play to kick off Hull Truck Theatre’s 50th Anniversary, a hilarious and irreverent comedy by Richard Bean, that will take audiences back to the 70s and Hull Truck Theatre’s origin story.

It is a roaring combination of comedy, cabaret, farce and drama that is set in a freezing cold house on Coltman Street, with a motley crew of unemployed actors who gather to improvise a play with no name, no plot, no budget and no bookings.

A promotional image from '71 Coltman Street'
A promotional image from ’71 Coltman Street’
(Image: Hull Truck Theatre)

It is at the real version of this address that the blue plaque commemorating the theatre will be placed.

Helen, the current owner of 71 Coltman Street, said: “We have owned 71 Coltman St for 20 years and had no idea of the history of it till recently. To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement!

“I’m absolutely delighted there will be a blue plaque on the house to mark the history of Hull Truck Theatre and our house, especially as it is 50 years exactly since Hull Truck Theatre began.”

The Spiders From Mars blue plaque in Hull Paragon Station
The Spiders From Mars blue plaque in Hull Paragon Station

Speaking about the new show, Mike Bradwell, Founder of Hull Truck Theatre, said: “I’m amazed that Hull Truck is still going strong after 50 years. I was surprised when we lasted for five.

“I’m flattered that anyone would want to write a play about me, let alone see one, and I’m excited that Hull Truck continues to provide provocative entertainment after half a century. Keep on truckin.’”

The blue plaque will be placed outside 71 Coltman Street on Wednesday, March 3.

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