Standing on the edge of a new year, I spent much of December promoting and working on a small piece I’m performing at Rich Mix, with artist Mary Price-O’Connor (of The Moving Theatre Lab) and directed by Stella Duffy, in January.
I’m an artist. And I’m also gay. A lot of the work I make is about my life, my experiences and things that matter to me and although I’m incredibly keen for my work to not only be about being gay, this, of course, is a theme that pops up in my work frequently. Love and sexuality appears in nearly all theatre and arts, whether as a sub-plot, or a key theme. For the majority of human beings love is a driving force behind many of our actions, so naturally it becomes a driving force behind our plots, storylines and creative ideas – all reflected in our arts.
In trying to promote my show, I wanted to ensure I reached an LGBTQ audience that may be interested in my work. I tried messaging Stonewall about it. (They haven’t yet replied, but I imagine it’s because it’s been Christmas and they have much more important work to do than promote my little theatre show.) I contacted Dattch, the lesbian dating app, they offered to run an article for me – but really, they’re a dating app, not an arts website. I researched Polari magazine, but discovered it was going quarterly and in to print (also, it’s contributor section shows it is written by nine men to one woman. I of course don’t hate men, but I like to see companies that have a fair representation of the sexes. Especially in theatre where men still dominate both behind the scenes and on stage.) Basically, there seemed to be no particular LGBTQ theatre website for me to list my work on – so The LGBTQ Arts and Culture Review was born. An online space for theatre and arts listings for work created by and about the LGBTQ community.
How YOU can help the LGBTQ Arts and Culture Review:
Firstly, this site is not exclusively for the LGBTQ community. By no means. I think the current term is ‘straight allies’ – which doesn’t sit quite right with me as a phrase, because we’re just all people with varying sexualities, but, as that’s the current term, I’ll roll with it. So whoever you are, whoever you do or don’t love, what’s most important is that you have a life long love affair with the theatre and the arts, hopefully there’ll be a little bit of something on here for everyone. For this to take off, the network and community of LGBTQ arts needs to build. Ways you can help this happen:
- Share our Twitter handle: @lgbtqarts , why not give us a #ff, or share our handle with any friends you know that may be interested in us?
- Share our Facebook page, you should be able to invite your friends to like the page too. That way, whenever we publish articles / reviews / listings, people will get them direct to their newsfeed.
- Spread the word, so that LGBTQ artists and those making work with these themes can get in touch with us. We can offer them coverage, promotion and support.
- Become a contributor. We’re currently putting together a team of writers to blog / review / research – to bring what they feel they can to the website. So whether you fancy applying to become a contributor or know someone else who may be great for this, get them to email: firstname.lastname@example.org to express an interest. (Please note all roles are currently unpaid, even and especially mine.)
Why this is important to me:
In December I got Netflix for the first time and began binging on The L-Word (Lesbian TV series set in LA), it’s actually nothing like real life, but I’ve loved getting lost in that fantasy world, because for once it represents (in some way) me and my life. I realised that I wanted more of that from the arts and culture I consume. I imagined others in my position may want to also. I wanted to find a way to make it easier for people to access this work. To have as many listings as possible all in one place.
I’m also very much up for getting LGBTQ work and stories in to the mainstream -existing more than just a token performance during LGBT history month, which is happening. Hurrah. But audiences that aren’t familiar with doing all of the research in to finding this work may need a pointer in the right direction, once they’ve actively made the decision to seek it out. The website aims to do just this.
Mostly, I hope, this site will be a celebration of LGBTQ arts and culture. There’s some wonderful stuff on offer out there. Please bear with us as we get the website up and running, learn the best ways to do things and to share this work. Do follow us, there’ll be lots of exciting things happening over the next few months on the website, it’ll be great to have you on-board for the ride.
All best wishes,