Episodes

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Hull City Of Culture: Take Flight20171106

Four Hull dance schools bring the Royal Ballet's Take Flight to the city's streets.

Hull has for many years and with little fanfare been producing a disproportionately high number of top ballet dancers through its dance schools - the Skelton Hooper alone claims to have sent more dancers to the Royal Ballet school than any other institution, and stars such as Xander Parish, Joseph Caley, Demelza Parish and the Royal Ballet's Director, Kevin O'Hare, all hail from Hull.

When the Royal Ballet decided to perform at the opening of the Hull New Theatre, it also wanted to celebrate the city's cradling of talent for the benefit of a wider audience, and created the 'Take Flight' project. Over one hundred dancers from four schools are being tutored by members of the Royal Ballet, and will join forces in September to present a free, open-air performance of a specially-commissioned piece of choreography inspired by Swan Lake. The dance will be challenging and reflect the Royal Ballet's own desire to embrace other forms and overturn preconceptions of what ballet might be (one of the four schools specialises in Irish dance).

We hear from the composer of the newly minted score as well as the choreographer teaching the young dancer their moves. Kevin O'Hare explains what it is about the city that makes the dance tradition there is so strong - and make clear his ambition "to create new links with the young talent of Hull'. Before attending the performance itself, we eavesdrop on the training sessions in Hull and hear from the young dancers who will be taking part - as well as their teachers who have for decades been producing so many quality performers.

I Wish To Communicate With You20171030

Kofi Smiles visits the lighting installation bringing colour to a Hull housing estate.

The Thornton Housing Estate is five minutes walk from Hull City Centre, but is isolated both physically - by the arterial roads around it - and socially, thanks to a long-standing reputation for anti-social behaviour. It's a reputation the residents feel is unjustified, and as part of the City Of Culture they have sent out a message to the rest of the city in the form of a lighting installation called 'I Wish To Communicate With You'. Modelled on maritime flags used by local mariners for centuries, the project has seen the white lights in the walkways and public areas of the tower blocks transformed into various colours through the use of simple plastic filters - but that simplicity belies the impressive overall impact of the hundreds of lights seen together. Kofi Smiles, the BBC's face of Hull 2017, follows the fortunes of the project from January through to the Autumn, and watches as it spreads into other locations across the city. He hears from residents about the impact of the project and the extent to which is has made them feel - unexpectedly - like a vital part of the year long artistic celebrations.

Presenter: Kofi Smiles
Producer: Geoff Bird

Photo Credit: (c) Sean Spencer.

I Wish to Communicate with You20171030

Kofi Smiles visits the lighting installation bringing colour to a Hull housing estate.

The Thornton Housing Estate is five minutes walk from Hull City Centre, but is isolated both physically - by the arterial roads around it - and socially, thanks to a long-standing reputation for anti-social behaviour. It's a reputation the residents feel is unjustified, and as part of the City Of Culture they have sent out a message to the rest of the city in the form of a lighting installation called 'I Wish To Communicate With You'. Modelled on maritime flags used by local mariners for centuries, the project has seen the white lights in the walkways and public areas of the tower blocks transformed into various colours through the use of simple plastic filters - but that simplicity belies the impressive overall impact of the hundreds of lights seen together. Kofi Smiles, the BBC's face of Hull 2017, follows the fortunes of the project from January through to the Autumn, and watches as it spreads into other locations across the city. He hears from residents about the impact of the project and the extent to which is has made them feel - unexpectedly - like a vital part of the year long artistic celebrations.

Presenter: Kofi Smiles
Producer: Geoff Bird

Photo Credit: (c) Sean Spencer.

The City Speaks20171023

Laura Elsworthy tests out the interactive artwork that is learning to speak Hullensian.

At the estuary's edge, where the city meets the mouth of the Humber River, actor Laura Elsworthy joins acclaimed artist Michael Pinsky next to his gigantic interactive artwork. 'The City Speaks' uses voice recognition software to captures the public's words and transcribes them into huge text. The speaker can then watch their words scroll twenty metres overhead across the Humber's tidal surge barrier. Michael wanted to create a platform for the city to raise its voice, but to do that, first it has to 'learn' Hullensian. Laura tests out some of her best Hull slang into the artwork.

In this programme Laura premieres her response to Pinsky's artwork, a monologue in which she reflects upon growing up in Hull. Laura remembers people telling her she would never make it as an actor with an accent, especially from somewhere so disconnected and remote. Joined by some of Hull's heroes and artists; Jean Bishop aka The Bee Lady, Yvonne Blenkinsop, the last of the 'Headscarf Revolutionaries', and the award winning young playwright Tom Wells, Laura discovers why being from Hull has made her the unique and determined actor she is today.

Presenter: Laura Elsworthy
Producer: Claire Press.