We challenged festival blogger Michelle Dee to tell us why she is kickstarting her cultural year in style, with the twelfth Heads Up Festival March 27-31.  After initially being struck by the international flavour of the festival – with representation from Iceland, Syria and Palestine as well as the UK – she found Five Really Good Reasons and they are: Two Premieres: Two Free Events: the welcome return of two innovational and totally unique companies: an Icelandic male vocal group and a meeting with Macbeth inside Hull Minster.   


After the huge success of The Odyssey in the big top at Freedom Festival in 2013 (can it really be that long ago?) I simply can’t wait to see how Macbeth  by The Paper Cinema, is to be brought magically to life inside Hull Minster. The company’s live shows have a dreamlike quality reminiscent of early European cinema, which has seen them accrue accolades and awards from the humble village hall, to the sparkling international festival. I just love the hands on nature of the various elements: paper, light, shadows, the soundtrack performed live: it is classic storytelling that takes you right back to childhood. (Hull Minster 29 & 30 March)


The first of season 12’s premieres is The Orchidian, a brand new work by Hull filmmaker Dave Lee. Lee is an ever-present recalcitrant voice on Twitter, who has switched his attentions to writing and directing this story set in the fictional parish of Abbiston Fosset where, the vicar, a self acclaimed expert on orchids, is just about to confess a deep, dark secret… I’ve got all manner of things running through my mind… All will be revealed 8.30pm 27 March at Kardomah 94.

Is He On The Line…? What I know about Icelandic queer culture could be written on the back of a Höfn postcard, so I am intrigued to see the debut performance of a brand new music theatre piece, exploring the suppression of sexuality and queer identities, from a country I’d always thought of as progressive. A notion supported by the fact that Iceland in 2009 voted in Johanna Sigurdardottir who happens to be the first openly gay head of state in modern times. Iceland have a rich tradition of producing incredible voices take Björk, Sigur Rós, Of Monsters and Men for starters, so this one is likely to be rather special and get everybody buzzing.

Is He On The Line…? by Einkofi Productions receives it premiere here in Hull 28 March at Kardomah 94. (Free event –  booking required)

Sound Art meets Theatre

Do you recall a very curious work, somewhere between sound art installation and theatre performance called Aviatrix, commissioned for the Amy Johnson Festival three years ago? From the same team that brought you Aviatrix comes The Land’s Heart Is Greater Than Its Map which is described as an alternate guided tour, revealing truths and legends about the twice-visited mythical city known as Yaboos. This seems to me akin to psycho-geography art, something about journeys and boundaries, both physical and spiritual and I’m ready to be transported to wherever, whatever, whenever Yaboos is. (29-30 March various times)   

Screen Time  

This is the one that grabbed me the minute I saw it in the programme. Now is The Time To Say Nothing, a sound and video installation by Caroline Williams and Reem Karssli, explores the role of screens on global conflict. I did my journalism dissertation on a related subject: the potential for 24 hour news to obscure and mystify the truth, so I am really interested to see how these questions are tackled and also the extent to how the proliferation of news sources in the past six/seven years has influenced the way we consume news.  This event has multiple showings from 28-30 March with daytime shows also. With an age limit of 13+ this is screen time parents can really get behind.


The second free event is a timely and acutely political installation created by artist Selina Thompson.  Race Cards asks participants to engage with difficult questions about race and nationality, racism and freedoms. This interactive, participatory work will continue to challenge audiences as it develops over three days starting on the 28 March finishing on the 30th. As we have seen in recent times language and saying the wrong thing is often the first barrier to understanding diversity within our communities.

Get the Launch Party March 27 at Kardomah 94  in your diary now and don’t miss the opportunity to meet and talk with artists, programmers and producers

CLICK HERE For Show Times and Tickets (including booking for Free shows).