The award-winning Middle Child Theatre company are gearing up to stage their most ambitious production yet: All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, epic gig theatre at the Welly nightclub, commissioned by Hull UK City of Culture 2017.
Written by Luke Barnes with original music by James Frewer, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything follows the lives of two Hull families over three decades as they try to realise their dreams against the backdrop of an asteroid heading for Earth.
Middle Child describe the production as a gig that tells a story, with the seven-strong cast both acting and performing with instruments throughout the show. That gig feel is given extra oomph by being held in Welly, one of Hull’s favourite nightclubs and venues.
“We’ve long been interested in how we help to make people feel less alienated by the idea of going to the theatre,” says director, Paul Smith. “Allowing them to come to a space they associate with having a great time means breaking down those barriers is easier than ever before.”
The music links don’t end there. Each night will feature support from a different Humber Street Sesh band, who will take to the main stage throughout the night, playing mini-sets before each of the three acts in the play.
“We’re also lucky enough to be collaborating with a number of brilliant Hull bands and musicians, thanks to Mak at the Humber Street Sesh,” adds Paul.
“We have the likes of The Hubbards, Chiedu Oraka, Endoflevelbaddie and many more, including a relaxed performance on Saturday 10 June by Emily Moulton, her final solo acoustic gig before she starts on her new EMBRS project.”
James Frewer’s music in the show will reflect the changes in genres, tastes and style over thirty years, making for a trip down memory lane for many in the audience, as will the costumes, many of which have come courtesy of Poorboy Boutique.
Meanwhile, the set design features two scaffold towers on the heart of the Welly dancefloor, with the audience able to move freely around them and head to the bar when they feel.
“The space will feel familiar in that it’ll be live, loud and there will be dancing,” says Paul, “but it’s going to feel fresh and unique as there’s a cracking story at the heart of the event.“
That story touches on the themes of shame, legacy and distraction. The main characters, Leah and Chris, come from different walks of life in Hull but both share dreams to do something special with their lives.
Yet as we see over the three acts, each set ten years apart – from 1997’s Cool Britannia to 2007’s Broken Britain and 2017’s Brexit Britain – they must compete with family expectations, their own mental health, the glare of social media and wider changes in society.
“It’s a story about the same of daring to dream,” says Paul. “It’s about the world we inherited and the one we’re leaving behind. It’s a story about a million beating hearts and an asteroid with other plans.”
Middle Child’s previous gig theatre work includes Weekend Rockstars and Ten Storey Love Song, shows which both went to Edinburgh Fringe, winning awards and rave reviews. Their new show will also travel to Edinburgh this summer, after trips to Latitude Festival and Reading Fringe in July.
All We Ever Wanted Was Everything opens at Welly on Tuesday 6 June with a sold out performance featuring support from Bud Sugar and runs until Saturday 17 June.
Tickets are on sale now at £12 (£10 concessions) from HullBoxOffice.com.
See allweeverwanted.co.uk for more details on the story, the music and the bands.