An old man writes

10 April 2017

Festival veteran Kieran Balfe reminisces about the last time NSDF was in Hull


I’d like to warn anyone new to the festival that it can become addictive. This is my 30th – my first and second being its previous visits to Hull in 1981 and 1982 when I was a drama and English student here. Some of those 30 were fleeting visits. Many were spent working for NOFF during its Wacky Phase in the mid to late 80s and its Imperial Reign in the 90s. After I left NOFF for the final time in 2001, I brought students or just myself but I’m beginning to flag now – missing the last two festivals completely – the first time ever. Couldn’t turn down a return to the old alma mater though.

There’ll be differences, although for most the experience will be just as life-changing (hopefully). Everything’s a lot more organised now. There are laminated things. You can no longer go to the rigging deck in the Gulb and smoke during a show. I no longer write Kieran’s Catering Tips for NOFF.  There is no cowgum in NOFF. But all around you are people you’ll boast later that you met – Stephen Jeffreys, Charlotte Keatley, Bill Alexander, John Godber for me in 1981/82. Shows that will make you go wow. The Tech Team still in black. Sadly Clive Wolfe’s not here anymore and neither is Lon David. You are, though, so go for it. See you for another 30 festivals.