Hull Truck Theatre was the first theatre project completed by Wright & Wright. Leading playwright John Godber was clear in his requirements for a new home for the Hull Truck Theatre Company: a building ‘rooted in Hull’ that would resonate with the context of the city and provide a relaxed and convivial environment for audiences. The firm’s fresh perspective on theatre design proved a distinct advantage as it allowed a freedom in design development without being inhibited by preconceptions.
Most theatres employ heavy air-conditioning systems that are both costly and unsightly. By contrast, Hull Truck is naturally ventilated. Performance spaces - the main auditorium seats 450 and the flexible studio theatre seats 150 - were designed to maximise passive means of environmental control and low energy heating solutions, making it one of the greenest theatres in the UK.
I certainly feel that they have a relationship with the building which is deep and personal. In short, they care; it’s an essential ingredient for making anything work, no less the case for a new theatre.
Conceived as a simple book end that reinstates a street edge and the corner of a city block, Hull Truck’s architecture is robust and unpretentious. Dark brick was used to situate the theatre amid the city’s grand industrial warehouses, while a foyer containing bars and a café forms an inviting shop window, designed to attract patrons. A glowing, graphic ‘billboard’ in theatrical red neon signposts the building from afar.
Wall of Light
Working with the artists Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, the space originally planned for a large replica of the distinctive Hull Truck Theatre sign was replaced by an interactive light sculpture, based on the idea of a theatrical curtain, recreated in red lights.
The spaces are deliberately robust and non-fussy, to create the atmosphere of a ‘found’ space, as if you had just wandered into one of Hull’s old brick warehouses to discover a space ready for performance. The auditoria are painted out black with tactile timber and acoustic linings. Looking upwards, one sees a matrix of technical gantries suspended from the monumental steel trusses.
- Civic Trust Award 2010
- Civic Trust Special Award for Inclusive Design 2010
- BCIA Award 2010
- BCIA Prime Minister’s Award 2010: Shortlisted
- RIBA Award 2010
- Best UK Public Building: Brick Awards 2009
- Building of the year: RIBA White Rose Award 2009
- Sustainable Futures : RIBA White Rose Award 2009
- Gold Award for Architecture: RIBA White Rose Award 2009