Hull UK City of Culture 2017 today announces details of its fourth season Tell the World, which runs from October to December. The response to the year has exceeded expectations and the city’s thrilling journey as host to the nation’s cultural quadrennial continues with major new commissions and celebrated artists.

Working with a host of partners, including Hull City Council, which successfully bid to secure the title in 2013, Tell the World brings theatre and live performance, literature, visual art, festivals, spectacle and more. There are events and activities across the city to entertain, challenge and bring people together, cementing Hull’s reputation as a cultural destination, with a profile that is growing nationally and internationally. 


Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: “2017 has by any measure been a revelatory time for Hull and with season four, the thrilling journey continues. We’ve an outstanding programme to take the UK’s first cultural quadrennial into 2018, which will challenge as well as entertain, ask questions and bring people together. The city’s new found confidence and its growing reputation for culture and creativity help lay the foundations for Hull to take its place at the heart of the North and in the nation’s cultural future.”


Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “We’ve experienced a remarkable programme of events so far and it is set to continue into season four and beyond. It has had a huge impact on the city and the confidence it has unleashed is phenomenal. The way we have all come together as a city has been at the heart of our success as the UK City of Culture. My thanks go to all of you – the 2017 team, local residents, volunteers, businesses , nd visitors – for the creativity and belief you have unleashed in 2017. I hope you will all continue on this exciting journey into 2018 and beyond.”


“We do not hand over the UK City of Culture title to the next city until 2020 and over the next three years we have a plan to ensure this fantastic opportunity leaves a lasting legacy, ensuring the city is well placed to be recognised as one of the great UK cities. This not only supports our local economy but attracts more vital investments and jobs making Hull a great city to live and work.


  • Visual arts include Turner Prize 2017 at Ferens Art Gallery and Martin Parr and Olivia Arthur in new Magnum exhibition at Humber Street Gallery
  • New plays from Maxine Peake, Tanika Gupta and James Graham commissioned for Hull Truck Theatre
  • Artists heading to Hull include Will Self, Melvyn Bragg, Kathryn Williams & Laura Barnett, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Ben Okri, Jenny Éclair, Simon Armitage, Tracey Thorn & Ben Watt, Monica Ali, Alex Wheatle, Sara Pascoe, Reece Shearsmith
  • Major public art commissions include the RIBA backed A Hall for Hull and Jason Bruges Studio’s Where Do We Go From Here?
  • Technology and radical staging from Slung Low, Blast Theory, Marshmallow Laser Feast and curious directive
  • Hull New Theatre brings John Godber world premiere, Opera North, Northern Ballet and National Theatre following £16 million rebuild


Substance weekender examines Hull and the North’s future as dynamic cultural powerhouse


Highlights include…

Artist Helen Marten was announced this year’s Turner Prize winner.


Visual art, installations, exhibitions


Perhaps the most anticipated exhibition comes to Ferens Art Gallery when it hosts the Turner Prize, one of the best-known prizes for visual art in the world and one of the UK’s most exciting and high profile awards (26 September – 7 January 2018). The four shortlisted artists are Hurvin Anderson, Andrea Büttner, Lubaina Himid and Rosalind Nashashibi and the winner will be announced at a ceremony in Hull on 5 December.


Photo – Pezo von Ellrichshausen


The Look Up programme of public art commissions continues with A Hall for Hull (1 October – 11 November). The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Hull 2017, supported by the British Council and Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd, have jointly commissioned Chile-based architects Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Swiss artist Felice Varini to design an ambitious temporary outdoor structure in response to the historic heart of the city. A Hall for Hull will transform Trinity Square with sixteen galvanized steel columns arranged in a grid formation in front of Hull Minister to highlight the symmetry of its facade.


Another Look Up installation sees a further collaboration with The Deep, inspired by Terry Farrell’s iconic building (8 – 10 December). Created in response to the architect’s vision for this expressive building, this new commission will transform it and the riverside setting, through light, sound and digital media.


Photo – Olivia Arthur

Hull 2017 has partnered with international photography co-operative Magnum Photos, commissioning Martin Parr and Olivia Arthur to create the exhibition Hull, Portrait of a City for Humber Street Gallery (13 October – 31 December). The exhibition explores the culture and creativity of Hull and the qualities that have made the city stand apart in an unforgettable year of culture. Hull, Portrait of a City owns the discussion about where, what and how. How might we define Hull? How has culture changed our landscape and regenerated our city? What impact has it had on everything from the economy to civic pride? How do we record it?


Theatre and performance


Major new work at Hull Truck Theatre includes The Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca, written by award-winning actor and writer Maxine Peake and directed by Sarah Frankcom and Imogen Knight, with an original live score by Adrian McNally and folk’s finest The Unthanks (3-18 November). This site-specific production in Hulls historic Guildhall will take you on an unforgettable journey using music, storytelling, movement, and performance to celebrate an inspirational period in Hull’s history and a force for change that resonated far beyond the city. Audiences will follow Hull hero Lillian Bilocca and her crew of head-scarfed women through The Guildhall, joining them in 1968 as they dare to speak out and take action to improve the safety conditions for their men at sea.


The Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca, written by award-winning actor and writer Maxine Peake


2097: We Made Ourselves Over, a co-commission between Hull 2017 and Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017, from the internationally renowned Blast Theory. On 1 October at 2pm, every phone box across the city will ring and you are invited to begin an unforgettable journey into the future. At the end of the line, a voice asks who you are and a character from 2097 asks for your help. Featuring pop-up screenings of new sci-fi films that have been shot in Hull and Aarhus, 2097 is informed and inspired by residents in both cities as well as experts in different fields, including climate change, smart cities and community activism. A brand new app is being launched by Blast Theory, which allows people to have conversations with the rulers of the future hybrid city, Aarhull.



Hull creative company E52 in collaboration with Battersea Arts Centre are bringing the second instalment of this year’s Heads Up theatre festival, showcasing the best in international and locally curated talent that is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking (12-22 October). Productions include Motor‘s Ross & Rachel, Likely Theatre’s immersive and interactive show for young children Almost Always Muddy and Kid Carpet and Vic Llewellyn‘s Edinburgh smash The Castle Builder.




Major new poetry and performance festival Contains Strong Language (28 September – 1 October) starts on National Poetry Day, bringing over 50 events to the city, including Kate Tempest, John Cooper Clarke, Simon Armitage, as well as Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn, who are making a return to the city. Celebrating the spoken and written word in Hull and further afield, the festival features world premieres, gala readings, events and concerts. At the heart of Contains Strong Language is The Hull 17, a collective of 17 artists who will be resident in the city to create new work, including: Imtiaz Dharker, Kate Fox, Joe Hakim, Harry Giles, Helen Mort, Bohdan Piasecki, Jacob Polley, Louise Wallwein, Fred Voss and Dean Wilson.



Contains Strong Language leads into Hull’s annual Humber Mouth literature festival (2 – 8 October), which celebrates 25 years of bringing authors, poets, spoken word artists and musicians to the city, including the likes of Will Self, Melvyn Bragg, Kathryn Williams & Laura Barnett, Monica Ali, Alex Wheatle and Sara Pascoe. For its 25th anniversary edition, Humber Mouth is creating an innovative new digital project How Was Your Day? which will document the daily lives of inhabitants across Hull’s twin cities.


As well as being involved in Contains Strong Language, poet and Yorkshire native Simon Armitage goes on a journey inspired by God’s Own Country. Discussing the rich literary heritage and culture of Hull and Yorkshire, Simon, whose latest collection of poetry is The Unaccompanied, will also look beyond the region to larger global concerns.


Following on from the exhibition Larkin: New Eyes Each Year, which closes on 1 October, the University of Hull’s exploration of Philip Larkin’s legacy continues with a number of events, including Larkin Reflections, which features poets Dean Wilson, Joe Hakim, Vicky Foster, plus writers Martin Goodman and Russ Litten (25 October).



Celebrating its silver anniversary is the Hull Jazz Festival (11 – 18 November) with a special nine day edition. Headlining is Grammy award-winning guitarist Pat Metheny at Hull City Hall  as part of his world tour. Other highlights include GoGo Penguin who will perform their new live score to Godfrey Reggio’s acclaimed film Koyaanisqatsi at the same venue, and many other stars from the jazz world.


Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Last Night of the Proms, conducted by Hilary Davan Wetton (5 October), and Myths and Fairytales, with conductor Alexander Shelley leading a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Suite and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade (9 November). Hull Philharmonic Orchestra also presents 1917: Revolution!, an all-Russian programme to mark the centenary of the country’s revolution featuring Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Shostakovich’s Symphony No.12 (25 November). Other musical highlights at the venue are singer Jake Bugg (7 November) and another chance to see Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey‘s Holy Holy perform The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (5 December).


Middleton Hall at the University of Hull also presents a variety of music, including acclaimed pianist Yegevny Subdin (5,6 October), Nightports with Matthew Bourne, whose album features multiple pianists and live electronics (12 October) and jazz at the Whirlwind Recordings Residency, led by musician and producer Michael Janisch (16 November). The venue also features Hull Chamber Music presenting Tell the World, a recital from the Ellipsis Ensemble and internationally renowned tenor James Gilchrist, including Bach, Handel and Vaughan Williams (23 November).



Hull Comedy Festival (2 – 22 November) rings in a decade of entertaining the city with the laughs coming from Greg Davies, Katherine Ryan, Joel Dommett and more at Hull City Hall, Ken Dodd at Hull New Theatre and many others to be announced. And Hull’s popular Back To Ours festival (27 October – 5 November) will entertain the wider community again in October.




The British Film Institute, in partnership with Film Hub North and as part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network, continues its year-long programme of support for film activity as part of Hull 2017. This includes Aesthetica programming the film element for the Substance festival; a Hull Independent Cinema programmed horror film festival, Dead of Night; plus a film programme as part of Hull Noir.


The lovingly restored 1960s Vintage Mobile Cinema is also coming to Hull as part of the This Way Up film exhibitors’ conference (7-8 November), including documentary shorts  from the British Council/Scottish Documentary Institute Stories programme, which, since 2011, has trained filmmakers from countries as different as Jordan, Libya, Pakistan and Syria, in the art of creative documentary; First Acts: bold, daring expressions of creativity, delivered in short film form by young artist filmmakers. Commissioned by the Random Acts Network for Arts Council England and Channel 4; New Animated Shorts from the UK, curated by Abigail Addison; One Minute: artists’ films, curated by Hull based artist Kerry Baldry; Flare Films: from a British Council international touring programme in partnership with BFI Flare. 


You can Browse and download the Full programme online via this link: