A ground-breaking play that tackles inclusivity in sport will be performed at Hull Truck on Friday 28 July. The play was developed through an innovative research partnership with the University of Hull and local LGBTQIA+ rugby club, the Hull Roundheads.
The 50-minute play, Safer, written by Dr Sarah Jane Dickenson, researcher and former reader at the University of Hull, has already seen great success in other cities. It has been described by audiences as ‘thought-provoking’, ‘powerful’, ‘uplifting’, ‘sad’, ‘really dynamic’, ‘funny’ and ‘fresh’. It is also – at times – disconcerting and touch to watch.
Founded in 2018, the Hull Roundheads is the first LGBTQIA+ specific sports team in the city. Since the start, the rugby club has focused on offering an LGBTQIA+ friendly community to enjoy sport and compete.
The club’s founding member Dr David Eldridge, who is a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Hull, applied for the new research grant launched by the British Science Association and funded by the Wellcome Trust – named ‘The Ideas Fund.’
Dr David Eldridge said: “This project is remarkable on so many levels. Not only is the way the research was conducted innovative and new – thanks to the British Science Association’s vision – but the results of the research have produced a play that is really taking the conversation about inclusivity forward.
“By interviewing members of the club – both past and present – about their experiences, we have been able to raise awareness of what people have had to face in sporting environments. We also realised that one of the barriers was that people didn’t know, didn’t share the stories and experiences of what they’d faced before – and how inclusive clubs strived to do things differently.
“I hope that as more and more people watch the play, it will become a catalyst for changing cultures within team sports and an opportunity to learn from each other better ways of forging safer, fully inclusive spaces.