Year of Exceptional Audiences for Hull Truck Theatre

Hull Truck Theatre has released figures as part of its annual report, which highlights the overwhelming success of their Year of Exceptional Drama for Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Key findings include record figures on audience attendance, community engagement and financial activity.

Audiences from across the whole of the UK visited Hull Truck Theatre during 2017; the theatre had visitors from an incredible 97% of UK postcode areas. More than 20,000 people saw a Hull Truck Theatre production outside of Hull, from The Hypocrite at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon to The Market Theatre of Johannesburg’s The Suitcase on its tour of five northern venues.  

The theatre had an unprecedented number of visitors during 2017, 45% of whom were first time bookers. Overall visitor numbers went up 22%, from just over 69,000 in 2016 to more than 88,000 in 2017.

Hull Truck Theatre was committed to making their Year of Exceptional Drama as accessible as possible for everyone. An average ticket price of £12.17 meant that a visit to the theatre was affordable, and 3,253 people took advantage of the theatre’s Pay What You Can scheme, paying an average of £5.66 per ticket for world-class productions.

Community engagement was a key part of Hull Truck Theatre’s work in 2017. The theatre engaged with 5,000 local people through their Community Dialogues project, which encourages more people to visit the theatre from areas of low arts engagement in Hull. 245 children from disadvantaged areas of Hull saw A Christmas Carol as part of Hull Truck Theatre’s Give the Gift of Theatre scheme, supported by the theatre’s Spotlight partnership scheme and corporate sponsors. 2,610 people of all ages participated in workshops, inclusion groups and Discover events as part of Hull Truck Theatre productions.

The theatre produced 7 new commissions during 2017, working with internationally renowned partners including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Northern Broadsides and The Market Theatre of Johannesburg to bring world-class productions to Hull. They included sell-out shows The Hypocrite and The Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca, the two fastest selling productions in the history of Hull Truck Theatre’s Ferensway building. They also welcomed 55 shows from visiting companies and presented a total of 459 individual performances. 

The release of these impressive findings coincides with The University of Hull’s conference Cultural Transformation: The Impacts of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, which takes place at the University this Thursday 15 and Friday 16 March. 

Mark Babych and Janthi Mills-Ward, Joint Chief Executives, said: “Hull has become a place which is recognised nationally and internationally for its vibrant art and culture, following the overwhelming success of the city’s year in the spotlight. As a theatre we have benefitted hugely from the support and investment of Hull 2017, enabling us to raise the bar of our ambition to develop a programme of exceptional theatre for the widest possible audience.

“As we transition into our ‘new normal’, inclusion, innovation and integrity will drive our future artistic ambitions to build a theatre that reflects the diversity of a modern Britain. The pride and passion of artists, audiences and communities who turned out to support our work has been truly inspiring and renewed our determination to build on this spirit of optimism and ambition for the future.”

Al Dix, Chair of the Board, said: “Being a lead partner in Hull 2017 was transformative for Hull Truck Theatre and a year we won’t forget in a hurry.

“It gave us the opportunity to look afresh at our creative programmes and let our ambition loose. We came up with new ideas for rip-roaring shows that filled the theatre, we had standing ovations and fabulous casts, we took work to estates, community centres and event into the Guildhall.

Our ambition is stronger and more certain than ever and we have a vision for the future that will make Hull Truck Theatre a fabulous home for audiences, communities and artists alike.”

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