YORK actor Andrew Dunn did not experience any of Hull's year as the UK City of Culture on account of his own commitments.

"I didn't get across to see anything because I was in The Full Monty, touring that forever," says Dunn, who is now very much in Hull, starring in the world premiere of James Graham's The Culture: A Farce In Two Acts, at Hull Truck Theatre, until Saturday.

Graham's play is set in January 2018 in the Culture Company offices on Lowgate on the day of the ceremonial handover to ambassadors from Coventry, the next UK City of Culture. The monitoring and evaluation team have to present The Audit, a measurement of the impact "the culture" has had on the city, but can their logic models, outcome evaluations and statistical analyses really measure its effect on the people of Hull?

The visiting Minister from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport certainly expects so. Enter Dunn's hapless character, Dennis, an average citizen who wants to register a complaint but accidentally finds himself at the centre of events.

"The play asks: how do you measure 'culture'; why do you measure 'culture'; what does culture mean to everyone," says Andrew. "James has written quite a complex piece in a traditional farce format. It's very dense with words, very funny and very insightful too.

"It's an interesting time to be in Hull because part of the company that ran the year will be continuing to carry the torch for the next three and a half years and the community volunteers in their blue outfits will be continuing too. It's quite odd coming to the city, if you're not expecting them, because you see them everywhere: at the railway station; on the buses; at the Hub."

York Press:

Andrew Dunn, right, in The Culture

Andrew can sense how Hull's year as the UK City of Culture has benefited the city. "It's helped, and not just at somewhere like Hull Truck, because all the big events sold out and the number of people coming to Hull for the first time vastly increased. There was an event in Hull every day and the number of people going to the theatre in Hull has gone up, so hopefully that will continue, especially if people who'd never been to the theatre before want to come again," he says.

"The year also seems to have helped to break down the 'Them' and 'Us' divide. There's an awareness that something significant has happened in Hull; that something has changed, and that's been brought out in the play by James through my character, who's an ordinary Hull bloke, who was a big sceptic of the whole thing, but ends up saying what 'culture' has done to Hull, regardless of politics and the language used by the organisers."

"Culture" is itself a divisive tern. "It's one of those words that forms a barrier, with people saying, 'oh no, it's not for me'," says Andrew. "But culture is not high art; it's about the community."

He is working with a James Graham script for the first time and has enjoyed the experience. "He picks interesting subjects, such as the turmoil of 1970s' British politics in his play This House, where he gives a snapshot of the politics of that time, and it's the type of subject where most people wouldn't have a clue about it, but he not only makes it understandable, he makes it heartfelt and human," says Andrew.

"He has done the same with The Culture. When we visited the Culture Company offices, it felt like you needed six degrees to understand all the things written on the walls, but James has made sense of it all."

The Culture: A Farce In Two Acts runs at Hull Truck Theatre, Hull, until Saturday. Box office: 01482 323638 or at hulltruck.co.uk