Stage@thedock is one of the stops on the maritime guided walks delivered by volunteers who are White Badge tour guides.
Here's an insight to Stage@thedock by Don Knibb, Hull Maritime volunteer.
The South End Graving Dock – or Central Dry Dock - which now houses Hull’s iconic amphitheatre known as Stage@thedock existed by 1784 and was rebuilt in 1843/4. It was built for Gleadow's Shipyard and used for the construction of new wooden boats, later being extended for the repair of larger iron ships. It was awarded Grade ll listed building status in 1998, although it fell into disuse and disrepair and for some years was a serious eyesore in the old town.
The old dry dock and surrounding area are now at the heart of a major regeneration project in Hull known as @thedock which has become a prime location for digital innovation and excellence. Led by the developer Wykeland, the C4DI (Centre for Digital Innovation) and the surrounding campus have created a hotbed of business activity in Hull in part of the old fruit market area.
As an integral part of their @thedock development, Wykeland invested £750,000 to create our stunning outdoor amphitheatre. It was the only permanent new venue constructed for Hull’s inaugural year as UK City of Culture in 2017. It can hold around 350 people and has been used for a wide range of cultural and artistic events, in particular for the Hull Freedom Festival and for the Humber St Sesh. It can be hired for events by private or amateur groups.
During 2017, the BBC broadcast a Promenade Concert with a water-themed programme direct from Stage@thedock
In 2021 Stage@thedock partnered with Hull Truck to produce Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with a married couple from Hull playing the lead roles.
Also in 2021 the venue staged a production of Faustus which combined comedy, flaming sword fights, acrobatics, pantomime and fire poi spinning – an ancient dance using weighted balls on ropes or chains used to spin fire.
Text by Don Knibb. Images by Olwen Evans-Knibb