THE LILLIAN BILOCCA STORY.Inspiration for a new play, and a new drama company based in Hull.
Lillian Bilocca is an Icon of Hull. In 1968 at the time of the infamous triple trawler tragedy, she spearheaded national 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.
Above: A Pathé Newsreel from the time, featuring a rare clip of Lil.
Playwright Val Holmes
Some of our Community Players & Volunteers LIL’S LASSES!
Helping to share the story throughout the city.
The new Drama Co. Logo
ABOVE: An early script read through of LIL, with the help of local actors.