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Theatre company launches new festival as Chamber confirms funding

A theatre festival which will focus on climate change and environmental sustainability is being backed by the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce with an award from its new Chamber Culture Fund.

The Chamber will make a donation of £3,000 to the E52 producing company to help them bring the national festival Seasons for Change to Hull and to support the production of a new play specifically for the event.

Phi Ascough, President of the Chamber, said the award was agreed after the judging panel reviewed more than 40 applications from across the Humber region. He also urged more businesses to support the fund.

Phil said:

The response from arts and culture practitioners indicated there is no shortage of creativity in the Hull and Humber region. We were inundated with ideas, some of which were very creative and of extremely high quality, and we may yet make a second award.

But that response also underlines the severe shortage of funding for arts and culture and that is something we would ask businesses to help us address. The City of Culture year was a great success and there are fantastic plans now to build on that, but many people and projects have fallen through the net and we want to try to catch more of them.

The business benefits of developing a strong arts and culture scene are many. If you didn’t understand that before City of Culture, just have a look at what’s been going on in Hull for the last couple of years. We want to strengthen those benefits, make them more durable and take them further afield.

Phil added that E52 was selected for the award for reasons including the company’s track record, a festival theme which resonates with the recognition of the Humber as the Energy Estuary, and an educational aspect which will see the new play, Pale Blue Dot, performed in schools in the region.

He said:

First and foremost our judging panel had to ensure that the Chamber’s investment was in safe hands. E52 are an excellent organisation and we have complete confidence in them to deliver a fantastic project. They are about to embark on their latest Heads Up Festival, which I recommend without hesitation.

The spring 2018 season of Heads Up is the 10th edition of a festival which E52 have developed in collaboration with Battersea Arts Centre, just one of the company’s many high-profile partners. Pale Blue Dot was written by E52’s Dave Windass and will be directed by Andrew Pearson, the company’s artistic director, specifically for Seasons For Change, which will take place in the autumn. For details please visit and

Andrew, said:

We’re absolutely delighted to have received financial support from the Chamber. It enables us to fulfil our artistic vision for this production, which will also see us creating an accompanying graphic novel as well as working with The Broken Orchestra in order to create original music. There are many pieces of work materialising about eco-disasters and end-of-the-world scenarios but we think that Pale Blue Dot looks at the possible consequences for the planet with a sense of optimism and hope. We’d like to thank the Chamber for their continued support.

The Chamber will invite bids during the summer for the next round of funding. Businesses interested in supporting the fund should contact Phil Ascough by email at

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