Hull’s Freedom Festival is set to be the biggest ever this year as outdoor arts experts Walk the Plank are appointed as directors.

Walk the Plank – which directed last year’s Freedom Festival – will programme the event for the next two years, in consultation with the Freedom Festival Board.

The appointment follows the phenomenal success of Freedom Festival 2013, which was viewed by many as a key indicator that Hull was ready to be UK City of Culture 2017.

Through Walk the Plank’s programming and guided by the Board’s vision fo Freedom, last year’s three-day event of theatre, dance, music, poetry, visual arts and comedy marked a strong return to the roots of the festival, celebrating Hull’s independent spirit and contribution to the cause of freedom as the birthplace of MP William Wilberforce.

Attended by more than 80,000 people during a weekend in September, Freedom 2013 opened with a 1,000-strong torchlight procession through Hull’s Old Town, followed by a dramatic reading of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech from poet and writer Lemn Sissay MBE, marking 50 years since Luther King’s delivery of the monumental rhetoric.

Freedom Festival 2014 will take place on September 5-7 across Hull’s Fruit Market cultural quarter and surrounding areas in the city centre.

The festival’s eclectic and largely free programme continued with a headliner set from indie chart-toppers The 1975; a UK premiere from French theatre pioneers TranseExpress; family entertainment from Polarbear and The Paper Cinema, plus much more.

With Hull gearing up to 2017, Walk the Plank’s strong credentials as creators and producers of major outdoor performance also include a landmark event for Hull’s UK City of Culture predecessor, Derry Londonderry in 2013.

Penned by celebrated author Frank Cottrell Boyce, The Return of Colmcille was heralded a huge success by national media and event organisers alike.

While details for Freedom Festival 2014 will be revealed in the coming months, festival organisers have already announced intentions to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela and provide an opportunity for visitors to pay tribute to his work at this year’s festival.

“Freedom Festival will continue to bring renowned national and international artists to Hull, as well as providing a platform for emerging local talent.”

Graham Chesters, chairman of Freedom Festival Ltd, said: “The Freedom Festival Board is delighted that Walk the Plank will be festival directors for us for 2014 and 2015.

“They did a superb job last year and we look forward to them building on key relationships forged locally last year to create another fantastic event. They’re full of creative ideas to make the Festival unmissable in the lead-up to 2017.”

Liz Pugh, creative producer at Walk the Plank, said: We’re thrilled to be returning as Freedom Festival Directors. Our work is all about bringing out the best in people and places through creativity.

HumberstreetA packed Humber Street pulsed with energy throughout the weekend as more than 80,000 visitors enjoyed the eclectic festival programme

IhaveadreamWriter and poet Lemn Sissay MBE delivers his spine-tingling rendition of Martin Luther King’s’ I Have a Dream’ speech, marking 50 years since Luther King’s pivotal address


Street theatre company Transe Express burst onto Humber Street, surprising and enrapturing crowds in a frenetic display of drumming and dance

Posted: 29/05/2014