News - February 2013

Huddled Together: 50 Years of Hull University Drama Department

21 February 2013

From performers to directors and technicians, writers to broadcasters and film-makers, designers to choreographers and musicians, University of Hull Drama alumni continue to make their mark.

Not Yet production

A collection of memories about their alma mater, and how their time at Hull shaped their varied careers, is now being published as part of the Department’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Hull was only the third university in the country, after Bristol and Manchester, to have an independent Drama Department beginning with a single member of staff in 1963.

The book, entitled ‘Huddled Together: 50 Years of Hull University Drama Department’ is edited by Emeritus Professor J. Michael Walton, and gathers the thoughts of Hull alumni including broadcaster Dame Jenni Murray, playwright James Graham (whose play This House is currently wowing critics at the National Theatre), the president of Equity and actor Malcolm Sinclair, casting director of the Royal Shakespeare Company Hannah Miller, and MP David Hanson.

Prof Walton said: “We are still very close to many of our alumni, a testament to how valuable they feel their time was at Hull. I simply invited those with whom we were still in contact to put down their thoughts and memories for a single publication to mark our anniversary year and they have created a history of the Department since 1963.”

One of 138 contributors for ‘Huddled Together’, Dame Jenni Murray, recounts how she discovered her calling in broadcasting whilst studying at Hull, and her gratitude for starting a career that would see her take the helm of Women’s Hour on BBC Radio Four, [among many prestigious roles]. Closing her reminiscence, she says: “I thank the Drama Department for three of the most entertaining and productive years of my life.”

Other endorsements include:

“I wrote my first very play, A Pleasant Rhyme, in Hull; it was staged in the Gulbenkian Minghella Studio. I became a writer there... Standing on the shoulders of giants and all that.”
– James Graham, National Theatre playwright

“You never leave Hull University Drama Department....Some of us call graduates of HUDD the ‘Hull Mafia’.”
– Hannah Miller, Head of Casting Royal Shakespeare Company

“Thank you, Hull University Drama Department – I was lucky to have the chances you gave me. I shall forever be in your debt.”
David Hanson, MP for Delwn.

“The Drama Department permeates my professional and private life. My agent once said that my going to Hull was the best thing I ever did for my career, as so many directors, casting people, etc, are alumni.”
– Ruth Gibson, actress.

The book will be launched on 28 February with a reception in the Arts Cafe, Middleton Hall, on the University’s Hull Campus. Several Drama alumni will be speaking at the launch, and all those with an interest in Drama at Hull are welcome. Please contact Marianne Lewsley-Stier if you would like to attend.

Drama 50 will be commemorated throughout 2013 with a series of events, including performances and alumni reunions from June to October. From Monday 25 February to Friday 1 March there will be a series of performances by third-year students starting at 7.30pm looking at what it means to be British and focusing on class and the role of women in society over the last 50 years. For more details about Drama 50, please visit the University of Hull’s Drama 50 website.

‘Huddled Together: 50 Years of Hull University Drama Department’, published by Barbican Press, is available to buy at the launch event or via email.

Back to top