Ground-breaking LGBTQIA+ storytelling key to this year's Brighton Festival

Ground-breaking LGBTQIA+ storytelling using theatre, opera and music is one of the themes at this year’s Brighton Festival.
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Andrew Comben, chief executive at Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, said: “A 400-year-old unapologetically queer tale, Galatea, is revived in an ambitious outdoor production and Derek Jarman’s BLUE is reimagined 30 years after its release at Brighton Festival, running May 6-28.

"Elsewhere, renowned vocalist BISHI collaborates with the UK’s first trans+ choir, Trans Voices, for an exclusive performance and the critically acclaimed Abomination: A DUP Opera offers up hilarious political satire.

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“A Brighton Festival Commission and world premiere, Galatea is a story of love, joy and the importance of welcoming outsiders. Written by John Lyly, Galatea was first performed in front of Queen Elizabeth I more than 400 years ago and became the inspiration behind Shakespeare’s comedies. Now the subject of a major collaboration between award-winning theatre maker Emma Frankland; LGBTQIA+ culture catalysts Marlborough Productions; acclaimed Cornish landscape theatre company Wildworks and leading theatre historian, Andy Kesson, staged outside in Shoreham from May 6 to 21. Set in a world where gods walk among mortals, two young trans people escape oppression, a shipwrecked migrant searches for his family and a teenage Cupid sets hearts on fire, in a remarkably resonant story for modern times. Brought vividly to life by a vibrant, mixed deaf and hearing cast in both English and British Sign Language.

Akaashé Svar Celestial Voices_BISHI feat Trans Voices by Frederic ArandaAkaashé Svar Celestial Voices_BISHI feat Trans Voices by Frederic Aranda
Akaashé Svar Celestial Voices_BISHI feat Trans Voices by Frederic Aranda

“In a Brighton Festival Exclusive, vocalist and composer BISHI will partner with Trans Voices for Celestial Voices {Swargiya Awaz} on May 26. Celebrating Bishi’s recent album, the voice and electric sitar-led Let My Country Awake, choral pieces are arranged especially for the choir. The evening will also include the world premiere of a new piece inspired by Herculine Barbin, the 19th-century memoirist whose birth date marks Intersex Day of Remembrance.

“A Queer Collision (May 19-20) is a thought-provoking and humorous collaboration between dance maker Stuart Waters and actor Willie Elliott, hosted by cabaret artist Ebony Rose Dark. Co-created with blind and partially sighted people, the piece features life-affirming audiological stories embedded with audio description and draws on Waters’ experience as a neurodivergent, queer man."

Meanwhile, Homophobia On The Orient Express comes to this year’s Brighton Fringe. The first play written and produced by Alex Scarrott, it will debut at The Actors Theatre on May 11 and 12. The play features Alex as Edward and Krista Jay as Caroline. Tickets are available through the Brighton Fringe website. Alex describes it as a “murder-mystery themed stage play on how suppression can lead to death, which explores important LGBTQ+ issues through a humorous yet serious heart-to-heart that climaxes in a who-did-what style revelation. Traditional Caroline and frustrated Edward are both headed to Istanbul but for different reasons. After they initially bond over their love of Dame Agatha Christie, they continue to find out more about each other. They discuss Hercule Poirot’s moustache, debate pronoun etiquette and consider situations that force LGBTQ+ people back in the closet.

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