BARRIE Rutter OBE returns to his home city of Hull to star in Hull Truck Theatre’s mini-film season, Miracle On The Humber, appearing online in Aquarium from 5pm today (22/12/2020).
The Ferensway theatre has joined forces with KCOM to present four festive short stories, written by Maureen Lennon and Sam Caseley expressly as a magical digital experience for families, in particular children aged five upwards, to enjoy for free.
Rutter, founder and former artistic director of Halifax theatre company Northern Broadsides and now Hull Truck patron, recorded Caseley’s tale Aquarium at The Deep, home to 3,000 creatures, from sharks to sawfish, in Tower Street, Hull.
“It’s a little Christmas story set in The Deep, where we filmed it last Monday,” says Barrie, 74-year-old son of a Hull dockworker. “It was brilliant because we had free rein as no-one else was there, filming with the Blacktip Reef Sharks, the big Rays and the Sawfish behind me and these massive tortoises above me. I’m delighted to be taking part in this project; the films are just five minutes each and they’re fun.”
Aquarium forms part of a series spun around the themes of kindness, joy, family and love, linked by the simple idea of performing or experiencing a Christmas miracle and filmed at such Hull and East Riding locations as The Deep, Ferens Art Gallery and DoubleTree by Hilton Hull.
The mini-films are being released on Hull Truck’s YouTube channel from December 21 to 24, with Rutter, Channel 5’s Milkshake presenter Amy Thompson, Middle Child Theatre regular Josie Morley and Emmerdale, War Horse and Remould Theatre Company actor Matthew Booth each narrating a story to “celebrate our unique region while instilling local pride”.
The series opened yesterday with Lennon’s re-telling of Cinderella, followed by Aquarium today, The Christmas Kitten tomorrow and The Christmas Lights on Christmas Eve. Each can be watched on Hull Truck’s YouTube channel, accessible to online audiences in the East Riding and beyond, free of charge.
Janthi Mills-Ward, Hull Truck’s executive director, says: “We’re delighted to be working with KCOM to deliver this fantastic project for our communities this Christmas. Born from the idea of KCOM’s ‘Father Christmas line’ in the 1950s. the idea was to bring magical storytelling back to life for the digital age.
“This project celebrates Hull Truck’s experience in great storytelling and KCOM’s digital expertise of connecting friends, families and wider communities. We live in a really special corner of the world, and these short films really bring this home.
“All of the venues featured in the films have had a hard year and have been in some way affected by the pandemic. It’s extra special to be able to bring these spaces back to life again, especially at this time of year.”
John Rooney, managing director of KCOM Retail, says: “We’re thrilled to join forces with Hull Truck Theatre for this fantastic online experience this Christmas. After what has been a very challenging year for many people, we hope that our festive-flavoured short stories bring some Christmas magic into homes across our region as parents and children settle down to watch them together.
“Hull Truck Theatre has pulled together a brilliant cast list of local talent to bring these original tales to life, from writers to actors and filmmakers, and I’m sure, after all the trials and tribulations of the past 12 months, these can herald a positive new chapter for the area and the brilliant people who live here.
“Happy Christmas from everyone at KCOM and we hope you enjoy our heart-warming Yuletide stories.”
Each film will be available online from 5pm on its allotted day to be enjoyed as a bedtime story experience.