First-ever Chichester Pride: "it’s time to party!”

After years of planning plus postponement in 2020, the first-ever Chichester Pride is finally happening.

Dawn Gracie
Dawn Gracie

Co-chairman Dawn Gracie is promising an exciting celebration of Chichester’s LGBTQ+ community on Saturday May 28, setting a marker for years to come.

“After many obstacles, including a global pandemic, the team of volunteers behind Chichester Pride are forging ahead, bringing a hugely entertaining and celebratory Pride festival to life.

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“This will be the first large-scale Pride event to ever happen in the city, and the hope is that it puts Chichester Pride firmly on the map alongside similar events that happen across the south coast.

“Chichester College has shown enormous support for the project and donated the use of its premises and many facilities for the big day. A feel-good and inclusive afternoon is being planned from Drag Queen story time for children, to a full stage show involving some of the region’s top drag acts along with a colourful array of performers.

“Acts have been carefully chosen to reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ+ scene as well as showcasing some local performance groups who wholeheartedly support the need for LGBT+ visibility in Chichester.”

Dawn added: “Pride historically was originally a protest that started about equal rights but over the years for many people it has become a celebration.

“Chichester Pride has been a long time coming. We are the only city in West Sussex.

“We were going to do this in August 2020 and everything got put on hold. It was going to be quite a small thing at that time but now we really want to get the whole community behind us. We've had some lottery funding and we've got some great sponsors on board and Chichester College have gifted us the venue and it is going to be a great event.

“Chichester is not well known for the visibility of its LGBTQ+ community, but through my cabaret shows the community has started to become more visible and has started to find a space to be themselves. So we do feel that Chichester does have a LGBTQ+ community but before when people came out as trans they would be encouraged to go to Brighton or Portsmouth so really Chichester needed shaking by its ankles. The whole journey of getting a Chichester Pride together has taken three years but it is going to be fantastic.”

Drag performers who have already been booked include award-winning, south coast favourite Cherry Liquor; female drag artist and singing sensation Clare Deloon; ukulele playing starlet Amber Sands; and the UK’s premier drag prince, Alfie Ordinary.

“Ticket holders can expect a hugely entertaining show as well as enjoying lots of activities and stalls around the College site.

“The Pride event will close at 6pm, but the party will continue at several official host venues in the city centre where, those who wish, can dance into the night at events themed to coincide with Pride.”

Dawn added: “The day has been carefully planned by the Chichester Pride committee and lots of consideration has gone into the event being inclusive of all ages and abilities, as well as reflecting the whole LGBTQ+ community. The focus is very much on providing all the fun and excitement expected at Pride events whilst balancing this with the promotion of Chichester Pride’s core values of education and inclusivity.

“Tickets, at only £5.50 (+ booking fee), have been priced as low as possible but are needed to help cover the costs of bringing a large-scale Pride event to life.

“The committee, who are all volunteers, are also delighted with the support shown from local businesses, many of whom have joined the growing list of official sponsors alongside The Chichester College Group.

“We really want this to be a day to remember and have gone to huge lengths to get it right in our debut year so that we have a solid foundation to build on for years to come. I urge everyone from our LGBTQ+ community and allies to come along and show the world what we can do in our beautiful city with the right support and involvement from those who really care. Chichester, it’s time to party!”

To book tickets and for more information about the event and organisations, visit www.chichesterpride.co.uk