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.

Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada