“The Adhesion of Love” announced as 2019 national heritage premiere

LGBT History Month is thrilled to annouce Inkbrew Productions “The Adhesion of Love” as the 2019 national heritage premiere for LGBT History Month. The play will be touring venues in Greater Manchester & Lancashire from  9 February to 31 May.

Written by multi-award winning playwright Stephen M Hornby, The Adhesion of Love tells the extraordinary true story of how an architect’s assistant from Bolton crossed the Atlantic in 1891 to meet the visionary queer poet Walt Whitman. The production builds on previous National Heritage Premiere successes: The Burnley Buggers Ball & Burnley’s Lesbian Liberator (2017); Mister Stokes: The Man-Woman of Manchester & Devils in Human Shape (2016); and A Very Victorian Scandal (2015).

In 1885, John W Wallace, a working-class man from Bolton, sets up the Eagle Street ‘College’, a book group that celebrates his love for Walt Whitman’s poetry. Attracting a small group of like-minded men, Wallace embarks on a journey of spiritual and sexual self-discovery through Whitman’s words. When Wallace arrives in America six years later and meets his literary hero face-to-face, he is forced to confront the true nature of the intimacy the college members are seeking.  On his return to Bolton, Wallace is unsure how to express his new sexual and spiritual awakening within in the conservative confines of Victorian England.

The Eagle Street College 1890 (Bolton Library & Museum Service)

Stephen M Hornby, playwright in residence to LGBT History Month, Artistic Director of Inkbrew Productions and writer of The Adhesion of Love says:  “Bolton’s connection with Walt Whitman, whilst surprising, is documented and celebrated in Lancashire. But the true nature of the intimate meetings of men at the Eagle Street College has been kept hidden from view. The Adhesion of Love attempts to reclaim ‘comradely love’ as what I believe it really was – men attempting to express their true desire for one another in a sexually repressive society – as well as posing the question: if LGBT people had been able to write their own history, what would it look like?”


IN REHEARSAL: Billie Meredith as Walt Whitman.

Matt Cain, writer of The Madonna of Bolton, patron of Bolton Pride and LGBT History Month, journalist and author says:  “The Adhesion of Love is a gripping and fascinating play about a group of characters whose stories aren’t widely known but very much ought to be. It’s vital that this play is performed in Bolton, the town in which it’s largely set, not just to reclaim the area’s LGBT past but also to make all parts of the UK more LGBT-inclusive places to live in the present.”

IN REHEARSAL: Gareth George as Dr Johnston. Conor Ledger as Wallace

Professor Sue Sanders, Chair and founder of LGBT History Month UK says:  “George Orwell said: ‘The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.’  I founded LGBT History Month as LGBT people in all their diversity were still invisible, especially in the past.  Theatre is a crucial part of LGBT History Month and enables people to learn, through the heart as well as the head. I’m thrilled that Stephen is back dramatising new and surprising LGBT history for our celebrations in 2019.”


2019 is also the bicentennial of Whitman’s birth and this full-length play offers an amazing new insight into his work and influence on the UK.

The Adhesion of Love is supported by Arts Council England, Superbia and LGBT History Month.


Saturday 9 February, 2pm.  Burnley Central Library, Burnley.

TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/inkbrew-productions-12859516882


Wednesday 13 February, 7:30pm.  ALRA North, Wigan.

TICKETS:  https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on?q=the%20adhesion%20of%20love


Wednesday 20 February, 7:00pm.  Martin Harris Centre, University of Manchester

TICKETS: http://events.manchester.ac.uk/event/event:ney-jpvc51xv-mjbf1c


Thursday 28 February, 7:30pm.  New Adelphi Studio, University of Salford

TICKETS: https://www.fatsoma.com/naac/6qs4l6i2/the-adhesion-of-love


Saturday 16 March, 2:00pm.  Bolton Museum, Bolton

TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-adhesion-of-love-tickets-54896214054


Thursday 21 March, 7:00pm.  Bolton Museum, Bolton

TICKETS: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/604130


Friday 31 May, 7:30pm.  Bolton Socialist Club, Bolton

TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-adhesion-of-love-tickets-54894567128


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