THE LILLIAN BILOCCA STORY.Inspiration for a new play, and a new drama company based in Hull.
LIL the PLAY
…received standing ovations and packed houses for its six day run at Jubilee Central, Hull. in November, 2017.
2018 marks the 50th year since the original tragic events took place. Due to the tremendous audience turnout and interest from Hull people, The LIL DRAMA COMPANY are thrilled to be able to once again share LIL’S story and legacy with another theatrical run in the same venue from 20th March – 24th March 2018.
We hope that many people who couldn’t make it or perhaps booked the more widely publicised City of Culture event ”The LAST TESTAMENT OF LILLIAN BILOCCA” by Maxine Peake, in that same week, will once again have the opportunity to see our production.
Lillian Bilocca is an Icon of Hull. In 1968 at the time of the infamous triple trawler disaster, she spearheaded changes in trawler safety. All this in the glare of media attention unknown at the time.
For this she paid a price. Her job, her friends and her privacy.
When Hull Playwright Val Holmes, wrote this play in 2011 about Lillian Bilocca, she felt the power of the sacrifice and life changing effects that Lil’s actions took. Researching her life through personal interviews with Lil’s family and friends, she believed that her courage, stoicism and downright unwillingness to give in, could be the inspiration for a new generation.
A generation who live more naturally in a media conscious and celebrity obsessed culture, yet still lack the role models depicted by this down-to-earth woman from Hull, who decide to ‘stand up’ to some of the most powerful men of the time. For those with some memory of that time, the play reflects the progress made by women’s rights in both the workplace and wider society.
“This play was the culmination of a period of writing and exploring the humour that often occurs when people are faced with tragedy. As a retired Nursing Ward Manager, I witnessed the same bravery and fortitude in patients facing life changing illnesses and the death of loved ones. It is not a solely Hull trait, but it exists here in a unique and poignant way.
In three weeks the triple trawler tragedy took it’s fishing community into the depths of despair. Yet out of that, arose a powerful, emboldened reaction not to be quashed. Where humour and despair became the vaudevillian double act, to a shocked audience. This play attempts to illustrate both points. This at a time when the pressure of media attention had it’s cruel price to pay. I hope both men and women will appreciate being witness to the actions of this extraordinarily strong, Hull woman.”
After a meeting with Paul A Dennis, who agreed to act as creative producer for Val’s work. Both set about revising the script to its present form, which is now seeking production funding. The idea then arose to create a small drama company to explore the voices of other strong Northern Writers, especially women, and so THE LIL DRAMA COMPANY was formed. Both for the production of this play and many others waiting in the wings. Calling mainly on a core of local actors and crew.
The Legacy: To create a lasting structure for the creation and production of successful touring theatre projects, made in Hull.
The project will be fully supported by this website and across social media. The project includes exploring the further development of the script into a musical theatre production and film adaptation.
Rare footage of Lil talking about the campaign.
Above: A Pathé Newsreel from the time
REMEMBERING THE ACTIONS OF SOME STRONG HULL WOMEN IN 1968.
For the original new Hull play “LIL” written by Val Holmes, we took our LIL’S LASSES out on the street to remember what some of the original campaigners, led by LIL BILOCCA, did in 1968. Namely, a 500 woman silent march down Hull’s famous Hessle Road and a protest at St. Andrew’s Dock to stop trawlers leaving without a radio operator. Following their actions, it is estimated that thousands of lives, from fishing dependent communities were saved. But Lil Bilocca paid a price.