Paul Taylor-Mills and The Turbine Theatre have announced a new festival to celebrate LGBTQ+ voices and stories. Rally Fest will run at the Battersea venue from 6 to 13 June.
Setting out to promote allyship within the creative industries, and encouraging artists to take up space with LGBTQ+ work, the festival will include 12 shows.
Rally Fest aims to promote ways in which recognising the craft of under-represented voices can make society a richer, more cohesive and dynamic place to live. The festival will feature both new work and re-energised classics that mark important moments of our history.
Paul Taylor-Mills said, “The opportunity to mount a festival of new work from under-represented voices has been an ambition of mine for some time. Over the last year we’ve had a huge amount of time to reflect about our practice, to think about the kind of work we want to create, encouraging artists to tell the stories of today. My hope is that #RallyFest provides us with a platform to do this, as well as allowing us to look back on some seminal moments in LBGTQ+ theatre.
During the curation of the festival, I’ve come across artists who I didn’t previously know existed, and have learned a huge amount about what is and isn’t out there for under-represented theatre-makers.
We hope the festival allows for conversation and for change. I believe so strongly in the power of theatre to unite people and to educate and to learn, including myself. I look forward to sharing our varied programme with our loyal audience and can’t wait to re-open our doors on 17 May.”
Shows include Queens of MT at 6pm on 6 June, an evening of showtunes with drag queens, featuring Misty Van Cartier (Priscilla Queen Of The Dessert), River Medway, Samantha Stone and host Tiana Biscuit (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bugsy Malone).
Join these Broadway babes for “One Night Only”, as they sing some of your favourite showtunes.
Wreckage takes place at 2:30pm on 7 June, and sees Sam’s life completely devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of his fiancé Noel. Left alone with his fractured mind, Sam works tirelessly to keep Noel close to him as he wrestles with his guilt and anger at the world. But when Sam stumbles upon new scientific theories about consciousness and our very existence, he is convinced there is a way to really see Noel again.
Harlow Playhouse presents this reading of new work by emerging talent Tom Ratcliffe (VELVET, Circa) directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair. Wreckage is a touching and emotional two-hander about learning to live with a loss that can never be resolved.
Safe Sex is a collection containing the following three plays by Harvey Fierstein, taking place at 8pm on 7 June. Manny and Jake, which sees two young men meet in a bar. Manny is literally praying for sex; Jake is only too eager to oblige. What the latter does not know is that Manny has AIDS.
Safe Sex, which sees two recently reconciled male lovers confront the challenge of their on-again, off-again relationship in the time of AIDS. Ghee, an aging, congenial gay man, may be using guidelines for safe sex as an excuse for his fading sex drive. This dismays Mead, a virile and no-nonsense blue-collar type. The emotional seesaw of their interactions creates the compelling dynamics of this fascinating short piece.
On Tidy Endings follows a man who has died of AIDS, leaving behind a son, a male lover, and an ex-wife. She still loves him and accepts the fact that he was gay, and that he died in the arms of his male lover, who selflessly cared for him right up until the end.
Steenie by Ian Hallard follows George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who was a Seventeenth Century celebrity. He was beautiful, charismatic, and his lust for power led to him becoming the favourite of not one, but two, English kings. It’s is a sexy, comedic, historical romp, and tells the true story of Villiers’ rise and fall, and of his infamous love affair with King James I. It runs at 2:30pm on 8 June.
Blowing Whistles takes place on 8 June at 8pm, and is from Matthew Todd, the award winning author of the hit LGBT mental health book Straight Jacket, described by Elton John ‘as an essential read for every gay person on the planet’. His first play, Blowing Whistles, last seen in London in 2008, is a painfully honest and funny drama about the complications of aspects of modern gay life.
It follows Nigel, who loves his hedonistic lifestyle – he has a long-term partner, goes clubbing and has lots of sex in their open relationship. Jamie, isn’t sure things are so great… The night before Pride in London, the couple make contact with a stranger on the internet, a mysterious young man that seems too good to be true. They make plans for a night of casual sex, but their young guest has a very different agenda…
Obsession, a debut play by Sophia Murphy, is a 1920’s gothic-horror romance about a young, black, American paranormal debunker who travels to England to find his Sceptics Society’s long absent founder but instead discovers the woman he left behind, intent on reliving their relationship in ways that will challenge this sceptic to his core. It takes place on 9 June at 2:30pm.
Boy Out The City is a brand new intimate autobiographical one man show written and performed by Declan Bennett (Once, Jesus Christ Superstar). A story about moving in and moving out of the Big Smoke and the love loss and sexuality that showed up in the most unexpected places, it is directed by Nancy Sullivan and takes place 9 June at 8pm.
Work In Progress Showing: Oh We Do Like To Be will be presented by HighTide, in a work in progress extract of a new play by commissioned writer Sonia Jalaly. A stack of postcards, a trail of secrets and an innate curiosity leads Beth to Blackpool where the lights flash and the rain glistens.
On a journey to find out who she is, Beth encounters all of what Blackpool has to offer from ballroom dancers to drag queens to organists to tribute acts. Someone must have the answers she’s looking for.
Oh We Do Like To Be tells an intergenerational story about nostalgia, identity and the good old British seaside through the eyes of a woman who longs to know who she is, featuring appearances from the likes of Bonnie Tyler, Celine Dion and Bucks Fizz (kind of..) The show takes place 10 June at 2:30pm.
Heterophobia runs on 10 June at 8pm and sees a world where gays are the majority. Straights are illegal. Thanks to a population explosion, the UK government began to actively encourage gay relationships. Decades later, being gay is the law, babies are born only by government sanctioned IVF and anyone found harbouring heterosexual tendencies is punished severely in a correctional facility.
We follow the story of Loretta Devlin, a woman in prison for having a heterosexual relationship. Heterophobia is a battle of wits between Loretta and her interviewer Doctor Kane. He has been tasked with sourcing specific information about Loretta’s ‘crimes’… but Loretta will only give the answers if she gets some answers herself, answers to questions like ‘who outed me?’ and ‘what became of my straight friends and lover?’
And then… we learn the terrifying instruction Doctor Kane has been tasked to perform before he leaves the room. Heterophobia is a two-hander for actors in their 70s, which, through its ‘flipped’ viewpoint, shines a light on modern-day homophobia.
This performance will be a rehearsed reading and is written by Ross Berkeley Simpson (Olivier Award-nominated Warheads), directed by Scott Le Crass.
Fister Act is the world premiere of Fatt Butcher’s autobiographical musical about their inability to get past the knuckles. It takes place on 11 June at 8pm.
A life-affirming queer fantasy adventure through time, space, bodies, and brains. Join intergalactic sexpot and non-binary drag icon in the making, Fatt Butcher, as we journey beyond the knuckles, battle our demons, and free ourselves from shame with the help of an enchanted bottle of poppers and the disembodied voice of Liza Minelli.
With an original score of synth-pop electro musical theatre (think Bohemian Rhapsody in space) and kaleidoscopic visuals, Fister Act is a cult classic in the making. Oh, and it’s strictly BYOP – bring your own poppers!
Showtune Disco Bingo is not your ordinary bingo – it’s a FULL ON PRODUCTION BABES! And this time we are bringing you an all musical theatre special, so get your tits and teeth on and jazz hands at the ready. It runs on 12 June at 8pm.
Join Birmingham’s queen of [bingo] balls, statement earrings and sausage rolls, Fatt Butcher for an unmissable night of outrageous performance, powerhouse vocals, games, pastry, poppers, and prizes, with an unforgettable soundtrack from DJ Sophie Ellis Bisto.
A critically acclaimed artist & winner of many awards, Fatt’s Butcher has been described by NME as ‘ramshackle’ and by trolls on twitter as ’the accelerating decline of humanity’ (accolades of which they are understandably proud). See you there babes!
A Brief History Of Drag takes place at 8pm on 13 June and sees audiences join international multi award winning Cabaret star Velma Celli as she celebrates the most iconic drag moments of film, stage and popular culture, many of which helped cultivate and shape her into the living drag legend she is today!
From David Bowie, to Priscilla and every drag queen remix in between, be wowed by Velma’s triple threat of heavenly vocals, theatrical swagger and razor-sharp wit as we remember those trail blazing cross dressing legends who paved the way for equal rights, no matter the sexual orientation.
Known as “The UK’s Queen of live vocal drag”, Velma has been charming audiences across the globe for the past 10 years. The alter ego of West End star Ian Stroughair who has appeared in hit musicals Cats, Fame, Chicago and Rent, to which he received critical acclaim.
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