City of Culture team members launch their own company

City of Culture team members launch their own company

Two members of Hull’s City of Culture team have chosen the city as the home for their new start-up events business.

As joint managing directors of Dock Street Events, Chris Clay and Jenny Hutt will offer their creative and organisational expertise for indoor and outdoor arts, entertainment, sports and corporate events.

They are based at The Deep Business Centre and one of their first projects will be the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival which takes place this summer.

Although this event takes place in South London, the pair knew that basing their operations in the capital wasn’t a good strategic option.

Chris explained: “People have been asking whether we’re going back to London but there is no back to London for us.

“We live in Hull now and it feels like a very positive time to move forward rather than back.”

Jenny added: “Coming here transformed my perception of Hull – this is a city which gives people great opportunities.

“We have made some really good contacts here and it’s a city of the scale that enables you to build on that very quickly. Why would we go to another city?”

Chris, whose contract as technical & operations director ended at the end of January, immediately began working on Dock Street Events.

Jenny, who still works as head of artistic administration and events manager, will join the company when her contract ends in March.

Martin Green CBE, chief executive of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, said: “Chris and Jenny have fantastic ability and such a wide variety of experience and they offer so much to the industry.

“I can’t wait to see what they come up with and I’m thrilled that two key members of our team are staying in Hull to take the next step in their careers.”

Chris said: “We have worked on a lot of things together and we have been talking about the idea of launching our own company for about 10 years.

“It just seemed like the perfect storm, both finishing on a big project at roughly the same time and now being able to achieve a long-held ambition.”

They will draw on experience gained around the world – Chris has worked in more than 30 countries during his three decades in the industry.

Their collective CV includes In With A Bang, Made in Hull, Blade, LGBT 50, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, the Royal Ballet in Queens Gardens, the Turner Prize and successive season launches. And that’s just in Hull.

Jenny said: “We offer tailored, bespoke services – we will bring together the people who are right for a project and, using our extensive network of freelancers, contractors and collaborators, will build a team that works for an individual event.

“Our business plan involves expanding the core team over the next three to five years and we hope to offer opportunities in the industry to local young people and graduates.”