New documentary explores Doncaster’s LGBTQ+ community

(left to right) Donny Lad, Anna Phoria, BiPolar Abdul, Miss Naomi Carter and Eboni White

DONCASTER film maker Wayne Sables is exploring a little known or seen part of the town’s life in his new film about the LGBTQ+ community.

Fluidity is Doncaster’s only drag group, created to provide a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.

Doncaster-born Wayne, the dancer and choreographer who retrained to become and film maker, admits that he had no idea the group even existed until he worked on a project for Doncaster Pride and was introduced to the Fluidity team.

But from that introduction came an interest that led to him asking the group if they would let him film them and explore their world.

And the aim is that the finished documentary, provisionally simply called Fluidity, will eventually play at documentary festivals both in the UK and internationally.

“From the very start Fluidity were absolutely up for the idea of the film, even though it was a world I know nothing about,” says Wayne.

“I grew up in Doncaster, I still live in Doncaster and I am really interested in the non-conventional social history of the town.

“I am from a very working class background – my father was a miner – and I have to admit that I had a very set idea of the town’s heritage.

“When I became a dancer I was exposed to a whole new world that was very alien to me at that time but still it never occurred to me that Doncaster might have its own LGBTQ+ world – the only gay person I’d met still hadn’t officially come out even though he’d lived with his male partner for 40 years.”

Meeting Fluidity has, Wayne admits, made him look with fresh eyes at the wider community around him.

“They’re a great group of people providing a friendly space where people can be themselves without any labels,” he says.

“You can turn up on your own and within minutes you will have met lots of people who are in the same position.”

Fluidity – the founders are Donny Lad, Anna Phoria, BiPolar Abdul, Miss Naomi Carter and Eboni White – hold regular meetings in a back room at the Old Castle pub in Doncaster town centre.

Wayne has filmed in various locations, from one of the drag artist’s house – where the group get ready – to the newly open Wool Market and the group’s new home, The Old Castle, getting to know the five core members of the group as he interviews them about their lives and their reasons for choosing drag.

“I’m turning 40 this year and I decided that I wanted to work on four different projects to mark that anniversary, with this film being one of the most important,” Wayne says.

“There’s been no funding for the Fluidity film but I knew that shouldn’t stop me because this is something I feel needs to be shared.”

The intention is to see the completed 30 minute film playing at events like Doc/Fest – Sheffield’s influential annual International Documentary Festival – and York’s Aesthetica Film Festival.

Wayne also hopes the documentary will be picked up by international events like the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

“My aim is to create a documentary that reflects their art and their way of life and be totally uncompromising in what it shows,” Wayne says.

“It’s like breaking down a wall and finding something that to me is genuinely interesting, a world I had no idea existed even though it is on my own doorstep.”