Wykeland Group, the Freedom Festival Arts Trust and Hull 2017 have announced the creation of a new venue ahead of the city’s year as UK City of Culture. Hull-based Wykeland is investing £700,000 to create the new open-air performance space, named Stage @The Dock, in Hull’s Fruit Market cultural quarter.
The 350-seat amphitheatre will be managed and operated by Freedom Festival Arts Trust, the organisation behind Hull’s premier annual arts and culture event. It will be the only new permanent venue created in the city before Hull’s year as the nation’s capital of culture.
Stage @The Dock’s redevelopment is due to be completed by this Easter, when organisations can begin booking the venue for performances this summer.
Commenting on the announcement, Dominic Gibbons, managing director of Wykeland, said: “We believe passionately that physical, cultural and social regeneration go hand in hand and, together, create the conditions for truly sustainable development.
“As a long-standing sponsor of Freedom Festival, we are delighted to have forged a partnership with the Freedom Festival Arts Trust to ensure Stage @TheDock will be managed by a highly credible pillar of Hull’s cultural community.
“The @TheDock development is transforming a long-neglected site into a thriving hub of business, innovation and creativity. We believe it will be a major asset and opportunity for the city as a whole and make the Fruit Market a place where people love to live, work, visit and spend their leisure time.”
Mikey Martins, chief executive and artistic director, Freedom Festival Arts Trust, said: “The initial plans for the Central Dry Dock were for it to become a high-quality area of public realm. Wykeland saw its further potential, however, and, working with us and with the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 team, it soon became apparent we could go beyond that to create a new artistic space that can have real impact.”