Arrivals and Departures was created by sited theatre experts, Imitating The Dog as part of the Made in Hull opening celebrations when Hull became the UK’s City of Culture in 2017. A film projected onto The Deep, a spectacular aquarium whose striking shape made it onto a Royal Mail postage stamp, it shares a potted history of Hull in just under 14 minutes. Part film, part installation, part outdoor theatre extravaganza, it drips with stately gravitas and simultaneously celebrates the human endeavour that the city is built upon.
The title sets the tone for the piece. Kicking off in 1800, the film charts significant dates in the city’s history. An inventive mix of graphics, maps, photography and stop motion animation (check out the birds, butterflies and sea creatures) spins the story before our eyes. Simon Wainwright’s script makes it clear that the city was shaped by international events but its character was formed by the eclectic mix of people who made Hull their home.
The combination of Rob Turner’s sound design and Terry Dunn’s soundtrack must have sounded spectacular in situ – with headphones on, you can almost imagine it! The final minutes of the film are accompanied by the majestic naval hymn, ‘Eternal Father, Strong To Save’ – though you’re possibly more likely to recognise the end line of each verse: ‘For Those in Peril on the Sea’.
In a time where many of us might be feeling pretty cut off from our communities, this is a salutary reminder that people make places – and people working with other people, can make magic.
Arrivals and Departures can be streamed online here