Ensemble 52 was created in 2007 following a commission to create a centrepiece for the William Wilberforce centenary commemorations. The result was a large-scale site-specific project dealing with contemporary slavery – Disposable People. The play was staged in the Marina Boatsheds in Hull to popular and critical acclaim.
The following year director Andrew Pearson and writer Richard Vergette took their production of An Englishman’s Home to the 24:7 Festival in Manchester and the following year it transferred to the Library Theatre as part of the Re-Play Festival.
Vergette’s plays, Nice and As We Forgive Them also played successfully in Manchester before touring to Bristol, Cardiff, Bolton, The Young Vic as well as becoming the inaugural production at the Arcola’s new Studio 2. This production won 6 awards including a Manchester Evening News and Off West End Award.
In 2010 Pearson co-founded the warehouse venue Fruit in Hull and Ensemble 52 became the resident theatre company producing Vergette’s The Last Soldier, Three Plays by Gill Adams, and An Evening with Mike Bradwell.
Writer Dave Windass joined the company in 2011. From 2011-2013 E52 produced the regular scratch@fruit nights – a platform for the development of new writing for the stage, compered and curated by Windass.
In 2012, Windass wrote Firestarter, which was produced for the 24:7 Festival, directed by Pearson. In the same year we produced Euphoria – a multi-venue promenade production co-written by Dave Windass and Morgan Sproxton and again directed by Andrew Pearson. Euphoria was the first recipient of the Larkin25 Arts Award.
The company continues to create new theatre works, often in found spaces in Hull and beyond. In 2013 they took over an office building in the centre of the city – The Other Space. E52 performed City Sketch, co-written by Vergette and Windass, at The Other Space in 2013 and in December 2013 the venue was the home of the company’s festive production Hull’s Angel, by Janet Plater.