Business community backs the arts with Pale Blue Dot funding

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 14 Sep 2018

HULL’S business community has backed a theatre festival launched in Hull on Wednesday, as it becomes the first recipient of a new Chamber of Commerce fund.

Heads Up Festival will run until September 22 at venues across the city and has been supported by the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce’s Culture Fund. 

The fund was set up to mark the chamber’s 180th anniversary, as well as Hull’s year as UK City of Culture. 

Phil Ascough, the chamber’s immediate past president, said the number of bids the fund received for support with arts and culture events highlights the sector is booming.

He said: “The fund was only launched last year, so it’s still early days. It will grow in the years to come and we will be able to increase the value of the awards more quickly if we can get direct support from businesses. 

“The number of bids we received indicates there is great demand for funding for the arts and culture in the Hull and Humber region. We know from having studied the bids that many of the projects are based on great ideas, but the people behind them need money and expert guidance to develop their work.

“We urge more businesses to come on board and to go along to Heads Up Festival to see some of the excellent work that is being produced in our region.”

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The opening production of Heads Up Festival, Pale Blue Dot, secured £3,000 of backing from the new chamber fund.

The judging panel reviewed more than 40 bids from across the Humber region before making the decision that Heads Up Festival would be the first to benefit from the fund.

The next round of bidding will be announced in the coming weeks.

Pale Blue Dot, written by Dave Windass and directed by Andrew Pearson, combines live performance, original music by The Broken Orchestra, animation and graphic novel artwork, the latter being created by  
illustrator and E52 collaborator Gareth Sleightholme.

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It will be performed at Kardomah94 in Hull by Sarah Brignall and is set in a future when the next ice age is hitting Earth and humanity looks set for extinction.

Director of E52, Andrew Pearson, said: “Having the support of the chamber has been invaluable for the development of Pale Blue Dot. 

“Because of the generous funding we are now able to produce a short run of the show as part of the Heads Up Festival and be able to offer it to schools free of charge.”

For information about sponsoring or applying to the Chamber Culture Fund, please email Phil Ascough at

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