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#MoreToTheStory - Rich Sutherland

Meet Richard Sutherland.

When he isn’t organising the marketing efforts for the Assemble Fest- which sees theatrical shows staged in shops, bars and even taxis, he is also running the marketing agency Sobananapenguin. Find out why he thinks Hull is going through a ‘mini renaissance’...

20th September 2016

Hull's annual Assemble Fest – a theatre festival which sees shows staged in shops, bars and even taxis – has been held up as one of the reasons for the success of the city's bid to be the 2017 UK City of Culture.

Organisers work with local business owners and theatre groups to put on the one-day festival, which takes place each May on the city's Newland Avenue.

It is a combination of the festival's quirky spirit and those behind-the-scenes partnerships that moved 2017 CEO Martin Green to say: "Assemble Fest is a prime example of why Hull won the bid to become City of Culture in 2017."

Over a single day, specially commissioned shows are performed multiple times in surroundings that range from hair salons to cafe bars.

The task of promoting the event to the outside world lies with marketing manager Rich Sutherland, a University of Hull graduate who is also the director of sobananapenguin, a digital marketing agency.

He said: "I love it when cultural activity takes place in unexpected and unconventional places and Assemble Fest – which I help organise – is just one of Hull’s avant-garde events.

"During the festival, plays pop up inside businesses, shops and restaurants around the Newland Avenue area.

"You can't beat the looks of surprise and delight as people experience something creative whilst doing their shopping; it's incredibly motivating and makes everything completely worthwhile."

Sutherland feels that Hull is definitely ready to step up to the plate for its big year in 2017.

He said: "As a city, we've always encouraged arts and creativity and Hull's cultural scene has developed enormously. I feel that it's never been easier to go out and enjoy something new here. There’s a real shared pride in local heritage and artistic innovation.

"I think Hull being the UK’s City of Culture couldn't have come at a better time. Hull has been going through a mini renaissance in recent years, especially in terms of theatre, literary events and street art.

"Becoming the UK City of Culture gives us the ability to fortify and expand on something at which we already excel – then deliver it on a far bigger stage."

"You can't beat the looks of surprise and delight as people experience something creative whilst doing their shopping; it's incredibly motivating and makes everything completely worthwhile."     

"As a city, we've always encouraged arts and creativity and Hull's cultural scene has developed enormously. I feel that it's never been easier to go out and enjoy something new here. There’s a real shared pride in local heritage and artistic innovation."