The Gaul at Hull Truck Theatre

Although I’ve only been living in Hull for 3 years, I feel a huge connection to the city. My Granddad taught first taught me to drive around the Humber Bridge car park when I was only young, years later I began studying history at the university, met my current boyfriend, and now live and work here.

Photos: Andrew Billington.

The Gaul celebrates Hull’s heritage, as part of a trilogy of productions at Hull Truck Theatre. Written by Janet Plater, who did a heap of research on Hull’s lost trawler ship, the play really hit me on so many levels.

Being a history graduate I truly enjoyed the historical nature of this play. The references to the politics of the decades from the 70’s to present day were cleverly placed, whilst the fun cameos of Carmen rollers and platform heels added a sense of light-heartedness to an otherwise heavily emotional piece.

FV Gaul went missing on the 8th of February 1974, and little has been discovered about the ship or its 36 trawler men since. There are still so many questions to be answered: was it human error that sank the ship, or were the men involved in Cold War spying? Plater adds to the debate with this excellent production, as the wives and daughters of the missing men discuss their own theories.

For a play surrounding the history of Hull’s trawlermen, it doesn’t half focus on the women. As a woman, and also someone who did many of her historical research on gender equality and feminism, I was pleased to see Plater pull this off. Huge focus was put on to “The Anchors” of Hull, the girls who got left behind and the women who held everything together whilst their men were out at sea. In the meantime, the grueling job of the men was not undermined, explaining their lives as ‘three-day millionaires’, whose shoulders Hull thrived on.

It’s a must see for any Hullian, as well as the perfect opportunity to experience the city’s heritage if you’re new in town.

Photography: Andrew Billington

The Gaul runs at Hull Truck Theatre until Saturday 29 October. For info and tickets, please or call their Box Office on 01482 323638. 


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