After 30 years in a church hall, John Godber (and Hull) will have a theatre

The Hull Truck Theatre Company, whose plays about ordinary working lives are among the country's most popular modern productions, is to get its first purpose-built home in its 30-year history.

John Godber, the playwright who is the company's artistic director, still needs to raise about £1m towards the total cost of £13.6m. But work is now scheduled to start this year on a replacement for the converted Methodist church hall from which it currently operates in a back street in Hull.

Support for the venture has come from the city council, the regional development agency and Europe as Hull attempts to follow Glasgow, Liverpool and Bilbao in Spain in using culture as a catalyst for regeneration.

Godber, who wrote the plays Teechers and Bouncers, said: "We do extremely well considering this venue, but we hope that when we have a level playing field - a theatre that doesn't leak in a place that people don't feel they will get mugged going to - it will be even better.

"Hull deserves to have a purpose-built theatre in the same way as most other cities do - Scarborough, the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, the Crucible in Sheffield, the Alhambra in Bradford." But the plan still needed support, he added. "We're inviting the great and the good and the wealthy to help us raise the shortfall."

Plans for a state-of-the-art building in a prime spot in the city began five years ago when the Arts Council pledged a grant of £4m. The regional development agency in Hull was keen to come on board with broad plans to change the town's image. The city council pledged another £4m and £1.5m more came from the European Regional Development Fund. A private company, ING Real Estate, is giving £1.6m.

"Hull has dragged its feet a little bit in realising the importance of the cultural industries, but that seems to be changing. We're part and parcel of the notion of Hull becoming more cultural," Godber said.

The new home will be in the giant St Stephen's development and is being designed by the architects Wright and Wright, who were responsible for the Women's Library in London but who have not produced a theatre before. "We were very surprised by the Women's Library. It's very robust, but very stylish," Godber said.

It is hoped the building will be opened in April 2007. It will have 455 seats, compared with the current 294, in a configuration inspired by Greek theatre under a low roof - "which is great for comedy," Godber said. There will also be a 140-seat studio theatre, corporate hospitality facilities and space for education programmes.

Hull Truck was set up as an improvisation company 30 years ago by Mike Bradwell, who now runs the Bush Theatre in London. Over the years, it has won support from actors such as Bob Hoskins and writers such as Alan Plater and has become well known through its constant national tours. Touring supports its core activity in Hull by generating 35 per cent of its income.

Godber, who was formerly a drama lecturer working at the University of Hull with Anthony Minghella, now a film director, will mark his own coming of age with Hull Truck next year after running it for 21 years. "Most people go to London to seek their fortune. I only came 36 miles from Wakefield. But it changed my life and completely changed me," he said.

He beat rivals including Danny Boyle in his pre-Trainspotting years to win the top job, only to discover when he arrived in 1984 that the company was insolvent, "which was a bit of a blow".

His solution was to write Up'n'Under, a story about rugby league, which proved a massive hit. His new show, Going Dutch, which will tour after its run in Hull finishes on 22 January, is a comedy of bad manners about two couples on a cruise to Amsterdam.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones