Writing Festival Theatre: “The Burnley Buggers’ Ball”

Stephen M Hornby, our National Playwright in Residence, looks back at writing “The Burnley Buggers’ Ball”, one of two pieces commissioned to make the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. I thought I was writing a play mostly about Ray Gosling, the famous broadcaster from the 1970s.  Jeff Evans and I had been discussing what to do to …

Writing Festival Theatre: “A Very Victorian Scandal: The Trial”

Ric Brady looks back on writing “The Trial”, part of a trilogy of plays that formed the first programme of Festival Theatre in 2015. ‘The Trial’ was the final piece in ‘A Very Victorian Scandal’: three theatrical pieces that were performed over the first National Festival of LGBT History in 2015.  ‘The Trial’ was a retelling of the Hulme Fancy …

OUTing the Past 2017: A resounding success – National Archives

On Saturday 11 February, we were proud to host an OUTing the Past: National LGBT History Festival event, exploring LGBTQ+ history that can be found in our collection and beyond. As one of the national hubs for OUTing the Past, and in the year that sees the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality, the event focused on the theme …

Arts Council of England supports LGBT History Month

We’re delighted to see this post from Arts Council England on 06 March 2017 about the national range of their support for LGBT History Month projects in 2017.  Here’s an extract with a link to the full blog: “February was LGBT History Month – 28 days dedicated to raising awareness about equality, promoting the benefits of diversity and helping to …

Festival Theatre 2017 – “The Burnley Buggers’ Ball” & “Burnley’s Lesbian Liberator”

This post by Stephen M Hornby, our National Theatre Coordinator, continues our catalogue of Festival Theatre. 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 2017, which partially decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales.  In 2007, the 40th anniversary saw two dramatisations to mark the ocassion, one about the Wolfenden Committee, and one about the Monatgu case.  Consenting …

Festival Theatre 2016 “Mister Stokes: The Man-Woman of Manchester”

This post by National Theatre Coordinator Stephen M Hornby continues our catalogue of Festival Theatre. “A Very Victorian Scandal”, the first piece of Festival Theatre in 2015, had been so succsseful that it invited further dramatisations of hidden histories.  However, some important lessons had also been learnt.  “A Very Victorian Scandal” was essentially three one act plays, all of which …

Festival Theatre 2016: “Devils in Human Shape”

Stephen M Hornby, our National Theatre Coordinator, continues his cataloguing of Festival Theatre with a look at Tom Marshman‘s 2016 piece “Devils in Human Shape”. When approaching working with archive to create drama, there can be an unspoken preferencing of stage realism, of trying to recreate and represent people and events “as they were”, or in as close an approximation …

Festival Theatre 2015: “A Very Victorian Scandal”

Stephen M Hornby, our National Festival Theatre Coordinator, continues his cataloguing of Festival Theatre with a look at the first example, “A Very Victorian Scandal”. “A Very Victorian Scandal”  (“AVVS”) was based on the events surrounding the largest raid on an LGBT venue in UK history.  It has been christened “The UK’s Stoneweall”, and yet it happened nearly ninety years …

Festival Theatre 2014: The Beginnings

This post by, National Theatre Coordinator Stephen M Hornby, looks at the genesis of what we now term “Festival Theatre.” In February 2014, I produced a night of political protest plays in Manchester called “To Russia With Love: Stage”.  To mark the opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Manchester’s LGBT+ theatre community presented 24 hours of protest and performance to …