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Why You Should Go See Northern Ballet: The Nutcracker This Weekend

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Ballet lovers young and old have a treat in store at Hull New Theatre this week. Northern Ballet are visiting with their superb production of The Nutcracker. It’s a classic enjoyed by ballet lovers the world over and I was lucky to be in the seats for opening night.

Northern Ballet are not known for their classical and traditional ballets however, their magical production of Nutcracker really is a ‘must see’ for ‘Nut’ lovers.

Choreographed in 2007 by David Nixon OBE and Director of Northern Ballet, this production is set in Regency England. It tells the story of Clara, a young girl who receives a present of a Nutcracker Doll at Christmas. Clara goes on an adventure with the nutcracker doll. But, first the Nutcracker Doll must defeat the Mouse King and his army, and a toy battle commences. The audience really has to keep an eye on the Mouse King as he hilariously performs a ‘Floss’ on stage. Surely a first for the ballet world. As a character the Mouse King is a brilliant comic character who keeps the audience amused with his antics. The Nutcracker defeats the Mouse King with the help of Clara and is transformed into the Nutcracker Prince.

On opening night, the Nutcracker Prince was played by local lad, Ashley Dixon.  (Hull has such a wonderful history of producing dancers) and the Prince escorted Clara through the snow and dancing snowflakes into the Pavilion from the East. Here the audience were treated to a superb Spanish divertissement by Kevin Poeung, an evocative Arabian dance, a Russian dance and a super Chinese dance with brilliant choreography and exciting moves. This dance really stood out for me with its springy movements all performed slickly by Riku Ito and Matthew Koon.

Of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier make an appearance which is always a favourite of the audience.

All too soon, morning approaches and Clara has to return home and is seen being carried by her father as she wakens from her dream.

I must specially mention Mlindi Kulashe who danced Herr Drosselmeyer, the toymaker and magician.  He skillfully wove his magic and brought together the dances in both acts. His ‘cape-ography’ (as those who watch Strictly will know) was fantastic. He was expressive and for me the star of the show.

I have seen several productions of ‘Nut’ over the years and this one has to be among my favourites. It has that familiar score from Tchaikovsky (like putting comfy slippers on) and great versatile scenery and costumes. Clara (Rachael Gillispie) is a delight with light dancing and a tender portrayal.  In fact, the whole production is a delight on the senses.

It’s a great Christmas Treat for all ages so don’t miss your chance to see it at Hull New Theatre this week until Saturday and don’t forget the souvenir programme.

Tickets start from as little as £9.00!

Everything You Need to Know About Hull’s First Polish Film Festival

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Artlink on Princess Avenue is hosting Hull’s first Polish Film Festival in conjunction the Polish Community Centre to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence.

The festival will show 3 independent Polish films in one day, all for free on Saturday 17th November.

The programme has been organised by the Polish Community Centre Hull and co-financed by the Big Lottery Fund and Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Manchester.

Hull’s first Polish Film Festival, is a free event to open to everyone of all ages, offering films suitable for everyone.

The three films showing are:

1. Tarapaty (Double Trouble), dir. Marta Karwowska

Showing at 1:30pm

Running time 1hr 25mins

Friendship is not just an easy thing, Julia knows it well. 12 year old girl, who attends the boarding school, has never had a real friend yet. Summer holiday starts, and with it big trouble. Julia instead of visiting her parents in Canada, spends time at her auntie’s in Warsaw. She meets Olek, a young boy living in the same block. The real adventure begins, when children find a way to get a hidden treasure. On there path to success, they meet many obstacles – robbery gang, crazy nanny and sweet addict. To come out of this situation alive, Julia has to start trusting others and believing in friendship.

2. Botoks (Botox), dir. Patryk Vega

Showing at 4pm

Running time 2hr 15mins

Patryk Vega’s dark action comedy about Polish medical professionals, had 711,906 admissions during the opening weekend, becoming the best premiere in 2017 for Poland and the second best Polish production premiere in the last 30 years. Botox follows the paths of four female medical professionals: a surgeon, an ob-gyn, an emergency doctor and a pharmaceutical rep. The script written by Vega is based on the darkest and most dramatic stories and urban legends connected to Polish medical services. The film was shot in June 2017 on location in Warsaw, Paris and Copenhagen produced by Vega Investments.

3. Zimna Wojna (Cold War), dir. Pawel Pawlikowski

Showing at 7pm

Running time 1hr 25mins

Pawel Pawlikowski, eminent Polish filmmaker, recipient of Oscar (“Ida”) and BAFTA (“Last Resort”, “My Summer of Love”) introduce his new and already internationally-acclaimed film Cold War. Cold War is a passionate story of a woman and a man who met among the ruins of post-war Poland. Almost everything divides them, especially their origin and temperament. They seem to be tragically mismatched right from the beginning. But it turns out that despite all the differences and adversities they can’t escape being together or bring themselves to part ways. Every time politics, character faults or misfortunes separate them, while cold war Poland of the 1950s, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris become the backdrop to their love story happening in unfavourable times.

Hull’s first Polish Film Festival will be taking place on Saturday 17th November at Artlink on Princess Avenue. For more information and to book your Free Ticket click here.

Evita Is Live at Hull New Theatre This Week- Here Is What To Expect

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Hubsters, if you love Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice productions then you should make your way to Hull New Theatre this week as Evita is showing and I was lucky to be in a packed auditorium to see it on opening night.

This international award-winning musical is touring with Lucy O’Byrne as Eva Peron, Mike Sterling as Eva’s husband and dictator of Argentina Juan Peron and Glenn Carter as the revolutionary leader Che Guevara.

The story tells of the rise of Eva, from working class actress to almost sainthood as the manipulative but emotive wife of the President Peron of Argentina. Eva worked her way through many lovers in a manipulative way which bettered her status and life with each lover. Eventually meeting Juan Peron and later becoming his wife and First Lady.

The songs in this production are all so familiar. ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’ being the most famous and I thought the pitch of this was best for O’Byrnes voice (I found some of her higher pitch songs a little screechy but that’s just my opinion.)

Che sang ‘Oh What a Circus’ joined by a great supporting chorus was excellent and Carter acted this part with gusto all night.

A couple of my particular favourite songs were High Flying Adored and also Another Suitcase in Another Hall we’re beautifully sung.

My feet were moving most of the night with the evocative rhythms of the Argentine Tango which weaves through the music and I found it hard to sit still and not join in

The set for this production was busy but not distractingly so. Columns appeared and were lifted, larger sets for the cast to use, climb and sing from were well utilised too.

The choreography for this production is excellently performed by a slick and well-rehearsed chorus who were well used in most scenes.

It was emotional towards the end when Eva was dying. The scene with her husband brought tears to some of the audience seeing the portrayal of the death of such an enigmatic character who died aged just 33 years old.

It was not my favourite show of the year, but it is still worth watching especially if you love Evita and the songs which are so well known.

Evita runs until Saturday so be quick, tickets start from £15. Don’t miss this classic Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical.

First Details of This Year’s Santa Parade and The Opening of Santa’s Grotto!

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Hull’s Santa Arrival Parade is returning to the streets of Hull on Sunday 18th November.

Now in its 8th Year The Santa Parade, in which we will see Santa on his famous Sleigh, and a procession of choirs and floats, take to the streets to bring the festive season in with style.

Santa will be turning on Princes Quay’s festive lights and opening the doors to Santa’s Grotto, and putting his Christmas Elves to work.

Starting at 11am The Santa Parade will start at Hull New Theatre.

The parade will be led by Prestige Security followed by the amazing All for One choir and a procession of local and community partners of both the city and Princes Quay.

Acre Heads School will join the parade and will be leading the decorated float carrying the Elves and Santa himself.

Once Santa has arrived at Hull New Theatre, the parade will then work its way through the city centre, where you catch a glimpse of Santa in real life!

Making a quick stop in Queen Victoria Square at around 11.20am and will include a performance from the All for One Choir and Acre Heads Primary School. Santa will also address the crowd before heading towards Princes Quay.

The Parade will then move onto the Princes Quay Shopping Centre where Santa will open his Grotto at 12 noon.

On the bottom floor of Princes Quay Acre Heads School will perform and then Santa will arrive to turn on the Centre Lights and officially declare his Grotto open!

Bringing up the rear of the Parade, Prestige Security will be at the back of the parade ensuring road closures are then re-opened.

The full Parade will last 1 hour and is the perfect family event to start of this festive season.

Line the streets with your little ones to see Santa and his Elves and listen to the beautiful choirs that will be performing along the parade route.

Santa’s Arrival Parade is free to attend, simply line the parade route from 11am to see Santa.

Santa’s Grotto will be open from Sunday 18th November to 24th December. Take your children to meet Santa and get the true Christmas experience!

Tickets cost £6 per child and tickets include the entrance of two adults.

Trinity Market – A Hidden Treasure in Hull’s City Centre

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After undergoing a facelift worth £3 million back in 2017 Hull’s Trinity Market has been given a new lease of life.

Trinity Market’s Food Hall has been growing over the past year, with its brilliant new food stalls it has become a firm favourite with tourists and office workers alike.

Located in Hull’s old town, Trinity market has an extensive variety of locally produced goods: with products like fresh meats and handmade sweets, chocolates and jewellery, there is truly something for everyone.

But why come here?

Whilst there is a plethora of outstanding eateries in Hull, Trinity Market supports local businesses whilst offering a range of unique tastes all in one place. It is a rising food hub for the lunch time bustle of city workers and locals looking for a flavoursome snack between shopping and exploring what Hull has to offer in its ever-changing city centre.

Falafia – a stall that sells healthy snacks and falafel is most definitely worth a look. With its unique flavours and beaming staff that are keen to lend you a helping hand, it is an experience not to be missed by locals or tourists alike.

Another place that truly stands out is the Indian street food stall (Tapasya Indian street food). Perfect for workers in a rush on their lunch break, the stall offers lunch and snacks that are great to eat in the market area (in the new seated area available) or on the go. Trying something new is always appealing and the Indian street food stall at Trinity market should be the first on the list of places to try.

Sweet Tooth? After trying a ‘chocolate Nutella brownie’ at one of Trinity’s many bakeries and coffee shops, you will be hooked. I cannot recommend anything more than paying a quick visit to the Coca Bakery here as all produce is homemade and delicious.

But it doesn’t just stop at food. If you’re a lover of music Trinity has a vast collection of vinyl’s and CDs for you to browse and purchase. No matter what your taste in music they will have what you’re looking for. A prepossessing flower stall also fills the market with beautiful scents and alluring colours all year round, changing its produce with the seasons, you can always find something to brighten your home or loved one’s day.

Keep an eye out for events that take place here (this can be done through their facebook page that offers friendly reminders of brilliant events that are organised). Past events include: dry ice and bath bomb workshops for younger children and acoustic street food night for all age ranges.

So, whether you’re looking for a spot to eat your lunch during the week, wanting to explore different flavours or simply looking for a place to take the family – Hull’s very own Trinity market is the place to be.

Written By: Eve Thornes.

Don’t Miss Opera North: Tosca At Hull New Theatre This Weekend

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Opera North opened its 3-night run at Hull New Theatre with its first performance of the tragic and visually stunning opera: Tosca. This was my first ever introduction to what some might say is the ‘acquired’ world of opera. I entered the theatre with an uneasy mind as to whether this would be my ‘thing’, but instantly I was captivated. Drawn in by the sounds of a live orchestra warming up in the pit before the stage and feeling the music swell around me I took my seat ready, waiting in excited anticipation.

Written by composer Puccini and first performed in Rome in January 1900. Tosca is a tragic tale of passionate love, jealousy, an escaped prisoner, deception, and murder. Set in a prepossessing Roman Catholic church with the eyes the Virgin Madonna watching over the stage as the tragedy unfolds before her. The opera opens with the flight of Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner. Seeking refuge in a church where he is protected by Cavaradossi, a local artist who is also the lover of the famous and beautiful singer Tosca.

As the opera began, a single beam of light fell from the ceiling to the orchestra pit, lighting up the conductor. Suddenly the music boomed, and the curtain was up. For me, the live orchestra stole the show. Scoring and driving the story forward with complex and emotionally charged pieces of music, that you could really feel in every part of your body.

Throughout this production, Susannah Glanville portrayal of the passionate and courageous lover Tosca was captivating. Glanville portrayed Tosca’s competing emotions brilliantly. She was the jealous lover in the first act, the calculating and passionate woman trying to save her betrothed in the second act, and finally the heart-broken lover who succumbs to suicide to in the tragic third act. In contrast, Roberts Hayward performance as the Baron Scarpia was dominating and powerful. His voice combined with his cold, yet threatening stage presences was a thrill to watch; especially when he met his gruesome end at the hands of Tosca.

The set design of this production was incredible. The huge dome of the church loomed over the stage, with a hand-painted mural of the Virgin Madonna watching over the actors. It was fascinating to watch as the dome moved positions for each act. Initially suspend up high in the heavens of the theatre before falling lower and lower between each act, mirroring the downfall of the lovers. Alongside this, the traditional music, language and set was married with contemporary costumes, laptops, torches and guns that brought an interesting juxtaposition to the production overall. I found it particularly interesting to listen to the old language and original music as the production was brought to a contemporary audience with the use of modern costumes and props.

Opera North’s performance of Tosca, was a spectacle to watch and listen too. The orchestra, the powerful acting and the beautiful ornate set created an emotionally charged and captivating performance. Having entered the theatre weary of what to expect, this 3 Act performance of Tosca was truly spectacular, emotional and dramatic!

Don’t miss the final performance of Opera North: Tosca on Saturday 3rd November. Tickets start at just £15.

4 of The Best Bonfire Events Happening in Hull and East Yorkshire

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It’s finally November, which means Bonfire Night is only a few days away.  We have picked some of the best bonfire events happening over this weekend and on Bonfire Night just for you. So, let’s wrap up warm and enjoy an evening under the sky this Autumn.

1. East Park Firework Spectacular

East Park is hosting a brand-new bonfire event this year. On Saturday 3rd November, don’t miss their massive firework display starting at 8pm, which is sure to light up the sky. This really is the perfect family event, with tonnes of attractions for the whole family to enjoy, including: a funfair, street food stalls, stilt walkers and even fire breathers! Gates open at 4.30pm.

Tickets are £5 or £15 for a Family Ticket.

2. South Cave Bonfire and Firework Extravaganza

For something a bit smaller why not head out of the city to South Cave Primary School on Saturday 3rd November. Put on your hats and gloves and warm up next to their huge bonfire, which will be lit at 5.30pm followed by a firework display at 7pm.  There will also be lots of food stalls with some tasty treats on offer too!

Adult tickets are £3 and Children tickets are £2. (Under 2’s go free)

3. Mercure Hull Bonfire Extravaganza

Head down to Mercure Hull for their Bonfire Extravaganza on Sunday 4th November, to see the biggest bonfire in Hull.  Their huge bonfire will be lit at 7pm, followed by an amazing firework display. The event will also have a funfair and lots of tasty food stalls. All proceeds from this event will be given to two local charities, Hull4Heros and Viking FM’s Cash for Kids.

Tickets £5 and under 3’s go free!

4. Beverley Westwood Lions Club Bonfire & Fireworks

Fancy something free? Take a trip to Beverley Westwood on Monday 5th November. Celebrate Bonfire Night in style, with a massive bonfire lit at 6.45pm and an incredible professional firework display from 7.30pm. The event is free to attend, but donations are welcome to help cover costs of the fireworks.

Put on your coats and hats, grab a warming hot chocolate, get your sparklers lit and enjoy all the amazing firework displays Hull and East Yorkshire has to offer.

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