Middle Child and Hull Libraries to tour pop-up plays collection

Award-winning theatre company Middle Child are teaming up with Hull Libraries to bring a pop-up version of their script library to residents across Hull this autumn, called Plays Aloud. 

Middle Child’s Theatre Library, based at their rehearsal space on the Thornton Estate, stocks over 1,000 plays by contemporary and classic writers, in association with their publishers Oberon Books.

They are now working with Hull Libraries to tour a collection of modern plays around Hull in a specially designed flight case, bringing them closer to theatre fans in the city.

The Plays Aloud project, which is funded by the James Reckitt Library Trust, will also promote Hull Libraries’s extensive collection of playscripts.

The project also includes a pay-what-you-can workshop that will bring scripts from both collections to life with a DJ and performers at Hull Central Library on Thursday 17 October.

The interactive workshop is open to the public and will take place from 7pm until 9pm, followed by an after hours social in the library.

The pop-up collection will be available at Hull Central Library from 14 October until 2 November, before setting off on a seven-week tour of the city’s libraries, where people will be able to borrow plays to enjoy at home.

Middle Child artistic associate, Matthew Butchers, said: "Middle Child are so excited to be teaming up with Hull Libraries to share our mutual love of plays with all of Hull.

"We’re really looking forward to bringing some Middle Child vibes to written words and we hope that as much of the city as possible will get the chance to explore our travelling library."

"We would also like to thank our publishers, Oberon Books, for being such fantastic supporters of our library here in Hull and making our pop-up collection possible."

Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, chair of Hull Culture and Leisure, said: "As well as receiving rave reviews all over the country for their ground-breaking gig theatre, Middle Child also engage with local communities to promote theatre and the written word. 

"It’s fantastic that part of their library is going to be toured across the city, opening up the magical world of theatre to new audiences." 

Hull Libraries’ Ellen Bianchini said: "Hull Libraries has a fantastic collection of classic and contemporary plays, and many play sets that users can borrow for group readings.

"The Plays Aloud initiative is a fantastic opportunity to showcase both the classic and modern collections available to everyone in the city who loves theatre.

"We hope it will inspire a new generation of play-readers to get stuck into some great works."

Middle Child’s Theatre Library was launched in 2018 with the support of Oberon Books to make contemporary playwriting, including big hits from London’s West End and elsewhere, available to people in Hull who might not be able to see shows outside the city. 

It can be accessed Monday to Friday at their rehearsal space and creative hub in the former Darley’s pub, on Porter Street on the Thornton Estate.

Plays in the collection that will tour Hull Libraries include hits such as The Believers Are But Brothers by Javaad Alipoor, Dance Nation by Clare Barron, Barber Shop Chronicles by Inua Ellams, Emilia by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and The Lovely Bones by Bryony Lavery.

The pop-up library also includes scripts by Hull writers including Maureen Lennon, Tom Wells, Ellen Brammar and Richard Bean.

Hull Libraries’ plays collection can be accessed via the online catalogue on Hull Libraries website.

More details about the pop-up library tour can be found in the Hull Libraries ‘What’s On’ brochure for October-December. 

To book pay what you can tickets for the interactive workshop and after hours social, visit hulllibraries.eventbrite.co.uk

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