New play ‘Lads & Lasses’ commissioned especially for LGBT 50

A new play that has been specially commissioned by Pride in Hull explores what it means to be a young LGBT person in the city. Based on real-life, local stories, Lads & Lasses has been written by Aidan Thompson-Coates of Hull-based ApposArts and will be performed for the first time on Monday 24 July at Fruit in Humber Street as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s LGBT 50 programme, a celebration of LGBT+ culture across the arts to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK. The play was developed through discussions with over 30 members of the local LGBT+ community who came forward to share their stories and experiences. The discussions were then developed into the plot of the play, with many of the stories that were told featuring as dialogue in the play in the teller’s own words. Aidan said:

“The discussions we had not only shaped the story, but also the characters themselves. Although none of them are based on one individual directly, I took certain characteristics from the people I talked with that helped bring the characters to life.”

The play looks at how a person’s experience of coming out, or being outed, can vary dramatically and have a huge impact on their personal development. Colin Wilson, Trustee at Pride in Hull, said:

“It was really important for us that anything we commissioned told the real stories of local people and with Lads & Lasses, Aidan has achieved that. I think there will be scenes in the play that everyone in the LGBT+ community will be familiar with, from living a double life and hiding who you really are, to gaining the courage to come out, these are situations many of us have been in and conversations many of us have had at some point.”

Aidan continued:

“The whole idea behind the play is to demonstrate that sexuality as a means by which to judge and confine people to boxes and stereotypes is outdated and boring and that sexuality should complement identity, not constitute it.”

Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said:

“The LGBT 50 programme is going to be one of the highlights of the year and will stretch across the arts to celebrate LGBT culture in all its forms. I’m so pleased that this new piece of theatre will explore what are often untold, but widely shared experiences. 2017 is a great opportunity to think about the different experiences of young LGBT people today, what it was like in 1967 and how much life has changed for LGBT people since the process of decriminalisation began.”

Presented in association with the Sewell Group, LGBT 50 opens in sensational style on Saturday 22 July with the Pride in Hull parade featuring 50 representations of LGBT+ icons created by the celebrated queer collective Duckie that will lead revellers into Queens Gardens for the Pride event and concert culminatingin a headline performance by the legendary Marc Almond. The week-long festival will close on Saturday 29 July with “A Duckie Summer Tea Party” featuring “Into the Light”, a new work by award-winning choreographer Gary Clarke and Yorkshire Dance, followed by a concert broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 presented by Scissor Sisters’ front woman Ana Matronic and BBC Radio 1’s Scott Mills. Throughout the week there will also be exhibitions, socials, debates and more, offering an opportunity celebrate Hull’s LGBT+ community and heroes past and present, freedoms gained, and to show solidarity with continuing struggles for LGBT equality in the UK and around the world. Humber Street Gallery will host The House of Kings and Queens (27 July – 24 September), a specially commissioned exhibition of photography by Lee Price. Captured in Sierra Leone, where homosexuality remains illegal, Price’s powerful images offer a glimpse into The House where inhabitants can live without oppression, exposing what it means to be gay in Hull’s sister city Freetown. The Hull LGBT+ community have also been getting involved in an exhibition of their own during the week-long celebrations. Titled “A Moment in Time”, the exhibition will reflect 50 years of change in attitudes and lifestyle told through the eyes of the LGBT+ community.

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