Outset, Somerset’s first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender theatre festival, kicks off loud and proud at The Brewhouse between Friday 11 and Saturday 12 February, with a fantastic programme of theatre, comedy, creativity and community arts.
The second LGBT performance festival in the UK, the jam-packed weekend showcases emerging and established gay talent from across the country and also platforms LGBT community arts taking place within the South West.
The festival opens with a lesbian double bill (Fri 11 Feb 7.15pm) from Tallulah Theatre and Pretty Good Girl Dance. Tallulah, Bristol’s lesbian community theatre group, perform their new play Reading Ruby Fruit which takes eight strong women on a wiggly, not so straight, journey through fiction, fact and fantasy and is a quirky wonder-world of love stories, coming-out tales and the ups and downs of lesbian life. Lexy Long, one of Tallulah’s artists says:
“I love how we’ve started with the impossible goal of creating something that comes truthfully from different women and all of our different lives. We’ve thrown ‘impossible’ out of the window and are actually doing it.”
The second act within the double bill, I’d Give You My Pulse by Pretty Good Girl Dance is a series of Sapphic dance duets to get the festival in full swing. With a backdrop of stunning music from the Indigo girls, Ani Di Franco and added fresh, female choreography, it promises to evoke thought about everything that Outset stands for. Louise Bartlett, Director of Pretty Good Girl says
“I am excited to be making new work for Outset. It is vitally important and essential that we present new opportunities for people across the country who are making diverse work. Outset demonstrates that Somerset has diversity, acceptance, tolerance and celebrates the creative individuals who live here”
Outset aims to create new opportunities for visibility and affirmation in relation to existing and emerging gay artists and theatrical works. It aspires to be an annual event produced by The Brewhouse, so that Somerset can celebrate the contribution of gay people to theatre, past, present, locally, regionally and nationally.
Also on Friday night, lesbian stand-up, writer, actress and singer-songwriter Clare Summerskill (Fri 11 Feb 9pm) performs an original cocktail of stand-up and comedy songs, bringing lesbian humour and alternative comedy to the stage. Clare is supported by Rosie Wilby who will also perform at the Late Lounge in The Brewhouse Café Bar afterwards.
The second day of the festival sees The Brewhouse open its doors for a number of free events including musical theatre and dance workshops plus open mic for any budding poets, supported by professional lesbian performance poet Sophia Blackwell. Throughout the day, The Brewhouse Café Bar will become awash with stalls from different regional community support groups. Bethan Fisher from MIND charity in Taunton says:
“OUTSET is a great opportunity for community groups and individuals to get together to show support for LGBT people, and recognise their valuable contribution in all aspects of society including the arts. It is a groundbreaking event for Taunton, and will have a huge impact on the lives of local LGBT people and also the wider community.”
Other events include The Big Gay Debate where local arts organisations, councillors, community members and artists panel a discussion that enables LGBT opinions to be shared and to change the shape of LGBT arts and future Outset festivals.
Outset ends late Saturday night with gay activist David McAlmont (Sat 12 Feb 8pm) who, in response to requests from his fans to appear live, presents his first national tour in years.
Participation and attendance is open to all who wish to witness and acknowledge the immense contribution of gay people to the arts in all its forms.