Hope Mill Theatre announces programme for LGBTQIA+ theatre festival ‘Turn On Fest’

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Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre announces today an exciting programme of live and online content for their annual LGBTQIA+ theatre festival Turn On Fest which will return between 18th and 31st January 2021.

Headlining the festival will be an evening in conversation with Hope Mill Theatre patron Russell T Davies which will be streamed live on Saturday 23rd January 2021. The evening will be hosted by actress Julie Hesmondhalgh and will look at Davies’ incredible career writing for film and television, including the ground-breaking Queer As Folk, most recent Years and Years starring Russel Tovy and his newest Channel 4 drama, It’s A Sin which premieres on Friday 22nd January 2021.

Another festival highlight will be Queer Musical Theatre Cabaret: All That Drag, a celebration of both Drag and Musicals, featuring musical theatre singers and well-known Drag stars in performance on Friday 29th Saturday 30th January 2021.

Superbia, the venue’s partnering organisation, will also host two key events within the festival:

Fat Roland: Seven Inch: Set in the last record shop still standing, Manchester comic Fat Roland re-examines his life through not-so-teenage kicks, surrounded by forgettable (and unforgettable) pop music. Originally a five-star, one-idiot commission for The Lowry, this special adaption for the Edinburgh Fringe is making its Manchester premiere.

Make A Scene: Quizabella Rossellini: Make A Scene is Manchester’s big queer film club renowned for their hysterical and loving tributes to camp and LGBT+ cinema and TV. In a Make A Scene first, hostesses Gary James Williams and Grace Oni Smith bring a brand-new show to Turn On Fest – a new comedy game show that takes you on a romp through camp itself! Quizabella Rossellini (named after the iconic star of beloved gay fave Death Becomes Her) celebrates your film, TV and internet knowledge from Wizard of Oz to Chanel the Parrot via Nighty Night through a series of increasingly chaotic and ridiculous rounds.

Manchester based company, Green Carnation Theatre will also be screening four monologue plays made into films – Queer All About It, a celebration of diverse queer stories and new perspectives by four emerging LGBTQIA+ writer exploring: 30+ years of HIV, LGBTQ+ families, LGBTQ+ immigration, and faith & sexuality. These will be available online on Friday 22nd January 2021.

Further programming includes: We Kiss In a Shadow, a gay cabaret with Tony and Olivier nominated composer/lyricist/ orchestrator Jason Carr; premiere of a new short documentary commissioned and produced by Hope Mill Theatre, Our Street, featuring interviews and insight in to Manchester’s Gay Village, Canal Street

Hope Mill Theatre has also offered DEVELOPMENT GRANTS worth £1,000 as well as mentoring to four Manchester based queer theatre makers Maz Hedgehog, Suriya Aisha, Finley Letchford-Dobs and Emma Hinds. These four local LGBTQIA+ individuals will showcase and develop their work whilst receiving marketing support, mentorship and rehearsal space:

Let Me Count the Ways by Maz Hedgehog

Maz Hedgehog uses poetry and monologue to examine intimacy, boundaries, the ways we love and the ways we can heal.

Dead Certain by Suriya Aisha

How much weight will your love allow? A white lie? Uncertainty? Overt deceit? They’ve the queer relationship many only dream and read about. What happens when their perfect planned life is put to the test in ways unimaginable? ‘Dead Certain’ a new short play by Suriya Aisha.

Voyage by Finley Letchford-Dobbs

In Voyage, Finley Letchford-Dobbs regains control of his journey as a trans person through dramatized contemporary dance, music and video, a bold reclamation of power in a world that desperately tries to silence him.

PURE by Emma Hinds

PURE is an exploration of sexuality and gender in the Christian church, amplifying the true stories of real women from inside these communities. Written by Emma Hinds, directed by Katie Mitchell.

The venue will also host open forums, discussions and Q&As with Manchester based queer groups including Manchester Pride and LGBT Foundation.

Hope Mill Theatre will be operating with strict covid guidelines in place in line with the Government guidance for the performing arts.

This will include operating at 50% capacity per show with audience rows spaced 2 metres apart and a transparent safety screen separating bookings.

The events will rehearse with social distancing in mind and in a Covid19-Secure environment.

The venue will be clearly signposted with essential information and will put in place hand sanitising stations, extra toilets for patrons, staggered arrival times and temperature checks on arrival.

The theatre space will be fully sanitised before each event and audiences will be asked to wear face coverings during the show or visors for those who are exempt.

In line with current guidelines the venue will not allow groups of more than 6 people per booking and must be in the same household or social bubble. Hope Mill Theatre will be collecting audience details to comply with the NHS Test & Trace scheme.

Social Media: @turnonfestmcr

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