REYTA Finalist
Dave Rotheray.

Local unsung heroes honoured in new Godber play "Ocho"

Ocho tells the story of eight men from Hull who went to fight in the Spanish Civil War. Jane Thornton, BAFTA – winning playwright, has worked with local historians and relatives of the eight men to weave together this fascinating tale, not only of the men but of the wives they left behind. Beginning in Hull in 1936 and set against the background of the Depression, the play evokes memories of picnics in East Park, the tannery, the docks and the joy of washing day!  Facing the challenge of unemployment and the rise of Fascism, James Bentley and Robert Wardle decide to take a train from Paragon Station in Hull and travel to London, through France and over the Pyrenees on foot to fight with the International Brigades in Spain. They leave behind, their wives; Kitty and Maggie and three small children who despite the struggles of the time remain optimistic and hopeful for their husband’s return. 

The play features specially composed songs by Dave Rotheray of the Beautiful South (I Need a Little Time, Don’t Marry Her) and is designed by Lucy Weller (National Theatre, Royal Court) 

Ocho is performed by the Spotlight Ensemble from Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull With ever increasing cuts to the Arts and severe lack of support from the Government at a time when young people need it most to help deal with academic pressures and self-belief, pursuing a career in the Arts can seem unachievable for young people from a disadvantaged area. The Spotlight Scholarship programme was set up at Archbishop Sentamu Academy in September 2016 to encourage gifted and talented pupils in the performing Arts. Pupils from year 10-13 are selected for the programme due to their outstanding talent and raw potential. Each week they have an additional 75 minute lesson on their timetable to develop their performance skills enabling the school to teach more advanced techniques and bring in professionals from the arts industry to conduct workshops.

Having worked with John Godber and Jane Thornton on projects in the past the school approached them to help with an idea to launch the Scholarship programme. They had been told the story of the eight men by musician Gary Hammond (Drummer with the Beautiful South and The Hut People) who was seeking a platform to honour them and their achievements. Thus, the two ideas came together and Jane set about writing a play that would give the Archies’ students an opportunity to work with professionals on all areas of the production and the chance to perform not just in school but in professional spaces across the city. Through his connections as a fellow at Liverpool John Moore University, John Godber was able to organise taking the play to the Institute of the Arts in Barcelona. Eighteen pupils will travel out to Spain on the 10th July and as well as performing; they will enjoy cultural tours of Barcelona and areas relevant to the Spanish Civil War

Jane Thornton has given her time freely to write and direct this project as has David Rotheray and Gary Hammond to compose the music. Other creatives are working at vastly reduced fees. This project has only been made possible by the generous donations from Companies and individuals in Hull who have been inspired by the talent of these wonderful young people.  We would particularly like to thank Sewells, Lord Prescott and John Godber, the City Council and the Lord Mayor of Hull, the Unite Union and others who wish to remain anonymous for making this all possible. 

There is a small plaque in the Guildhall in Hull that commemorates the bravery of the eight men who went to Spain. The Hull International Brigades Memorial group are currently fund-raising in order to build a permanent memorial in the city.

Ocho will be performed at: 

Archbishop Sentamu Academy,  27th to 30th June 2017 -

Howden Shire Hall 5th July 2017 -

East Riding Theatre, Beverley  6th July 2017 -

Institute of the Arts, Sitges, Barcelona, 11th July 2017



Latest from Arts and Culture

ERT tells the world about its Autumn Season.

ERT tells the world about its Autumn Season.

East Riding Theatre has released its exciting and packed Autumn/Winter brochure to complement Hull U.K City of Culture 2017’s forward programme. As Hull U.K City of Culture 2017 sets out in i...
'Classically Yours' brings top musicians to Pocklington, Withernsea and Beverley this autumn

'Classically Yours' brings top musicians to Pocklington, Withernsea and Beverley this autumn

Classically Yours – one of the key events in the East Riding’s celebration of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 – continues this autumn with more events across the area. East Ridi...
Meet Our Poet

Meet Our Poet

If you like the poems printed in each issue of Just Beverley by our poet in residence, John Fewings, there is a chance to meet him coming up later this month.  Local rhymester John will be signin...


Todays Events

Sunday - 20th

Morning Campers! The British Holiday Camp.

Treasure House, Champney Road, Beverley

Beverley Polo Club Tournament Day 3

Beverley Polo Club

Treasure House Children's Trail

Treasure House, Champney Road, Beverley

Animal Agents Summer Reading Challenge

Beverley Children's Library

Upcoming Events

Monday - 21st

Family Fun Mondays - Happy Holidays

Armstrong Social Club

Friday - 25th

Freedom Five FriYay Movie and Quiz

Parkway Theatre, Beverley

Saturday - 26th

Method in Madness Coffee Morning

Walkington Methodist Church Schoolroom

Easy Ladies Breeze Cycle Ride

Beverley Leisure

Sunday - 27th

A Sunday Hop - Bank Holiday Family raceday

Beverley Racecourse

Saturday - 2nd

Easy Ladies Breeze Cycle Ride

Beverley Leisure