Having secured its future for another three years with renewed Arts Council support, Homotopia has announced its 2014 programme, starting this week and packed with national premieres (DV8), regional firsts (Andy Warhol and Catherine Opie exhibitions) unique collaborations (Fenella Fielding and Le Gateau Chocolat) and exclusive appearances (Terence Davies) that appeal to audiences gay and straight.
Faith and sexuality will be up for discussion, in conversation With Liverpool-born director Terence Davies, and Vicky Beeching and Peter Tatchell in the Diva Debate. The festival also looks to Africa, where several nations have passed or are considering anti-gay legislation, with performers Le Gateau Chocolat and Mojisola Adebayo.
There is also a look back to celebrate queer history with U.S. company Force/Collision (Jarman) and former Bloolips performer Nick Phillips (Ecce Homo).
Full festival listings can be found at homotopia.net, but here’s a taste of some dates and places worth noting:
DV8 presents ‘JOHN’ – UK premiere, October 23 and 24, Liverpool Playhouse
A new verbatim dance-theatre work based on over 50 interviews with men about love and sex, conducted by creator/director Lloyd Newson. Arriving in Liverpool from Europe ‘John’ has its UK premiere at Homotopia before going on to the National Theatre and a UK tour. Contains adult themes, strong language and nudity. Suitable for 16 years +.
Lloyd Newson, artistic director of DV8, pre show talk, October 24, John Foster Building, LJMU, Mount Pleasant
Join Lloyd Newson in a free pre-show talk about his working methods, as his latest production, JOHN, visits the Playhouse. Lloyd Newson has led DV8 Physical Theatre since its inception in 1986. His work has had a dynamic impact on contemporary dance and theatre. Newson’s work, be it for stage or film, has won more than 50 National and International awards and he was recently cited by the Critics Circle as being one of the hundred most influential artists working in Britain during the last hundred years. In 2013 Newson was awarded an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen for services to contemporary dance.
David Hoyle presents David’s Place, November 1 to 22, Fall Out Factory (Dale Street)
Performer and artist David Hoyle presents a new exhibition exploring addiction, gay culture and mental health which premieres at Homotopia. He has created a series of paintings and collages reflecting his own life experiences. He’ll be there on November 1, 2 and 8 at pm, for ‘David’s Drop In’, exploring his artistic practice and background to this new collaborative exhibition.
Rainbow Jews, November 1 to 25, Unity Theatre foyer
An oral history and archive project exploring the intersection of Jewish and LGBT identities. Discover how the stories and experiences of LGBT Jewish people have shaped British culture from the 1950s to today. Explore the truly diverse range of Jewish voices: Ultra-Orthodox lesbians, bisexual rabbis, gay Holocaust survivors and transgender activists.
Force/collision presents Jarman (All this maddening Beauty), November 4 and 5, Unity Theatre
With text by Obie-winning US playwright Caridad Svich, and film and audio content featuring more than 40 performers, Force/Collision founder John Moletress performs a “sensual meditation on beauty, love, sex and mortality”, attempting to capture the essence of artist, film-maker and queer cult figure Derek Jarman.
Le Gateau Chocolat presents Black, November 6 and 7, Unity Theatre
A Homotopia commission last year, Black returns after a successful run at the Soho Theatre, London. Classically trained opera baritone and cabaret legend Le Gateau Chocolat presents his life story from Nigeria to Brighton via the Sydney Opera House stage. With a repertoire ranging from Wagner, and Purcell to a Whitney Houston, the production exudes warmth, humour and pathos. It was one of the best shows MADEUP saw last year (read the review here).
Polari Salon featuring Jonathan Harvey, November 6, Unity Theatre
Author Paul Burston hosts an evening with VG Lee and Liverpool favourites, playwright Jonathan Harvey, Clare Campbell and poet Gerry Potter.
Fenella Fielding in My Scouse Voice, November 7, Unity Theatre
Fenella’s career has stretched over seven (!) decades and encompassed Carry On films, Ibsen plays, stage musicals and the Morecambe and Wise show. Now she returns to Homotopia to lend her instantly recognisable seductive vocal tones to poetry by Gerry Potter. A night of unique collaborations and conversations is promised, as Le Gateau Chocolat joins Fenella and Gerry on stage.
Terence Davies in Conversation, November 8, The Black-E
Liverpool-born Terence Davies talks about his long illustrious career as a filmmaker, growing up in post-war Liverpool and the conflict between his homosexuality and faith.
Scars On Sunday: A Honky Tonk Mass, November 9, Fredericks (Hope Street)
A night of cabaret, worship, song and dance starring David Hoyle as Noele Gordon as ‘herself’. With special guests, comedians David Mills and Debs Gatenby.
Dance Triple Bill, November 11, Unity Theatre
Body of Light by Darren Pritchard, uses the Microsoft Kinnect sensor to mix human movement with computer imagery. My Empty Closet by Connor Quill focuses on the emotional struggles of a gay man raised by lesbian parents. O Maria by DeNada Dance Theatre is “a tale of ham and bondage”, where a divine apparition unleashes a torrent of unquenchable passions for an oddly paired couple in 50’s Seville.
David Mills presents Gimme Some Sugar, November 13, Unity Theatre
American comic David Mill’s sharp suited cocktail swagger and hilarious rants come to Liverpool. An hour of jokes skewering celebrity, the gays and modern life. Equal parts witty banter and salty sarcasm.
Nick Phillips in Ecce Homo, November 14 and 15, Unity Theatre
Described as “an intimate epic cabaret, with touches of 30’s Berlin, music hall and Broadway”, ‘Naughty Nickers’ dishes up tales of his time with the legendary Bloolips, how he left his heart and much more in San Franscisco. His personal recollections become not only a love story but a testament to the social history of the gay movement from the late 1970s to the present.
Mojisola Adebayo Retrospective, November 15, Unity Theatre
Performer and playwright Mojisola presents excerpts from her work including I Stand Corrected, which was created with support of the British Council South Africa as a response to so-called ‘corrective’ rape of lesbians.
Debs Gatenby presents Hi Anxiety, November 20, Lantern Theatre
Thurs 20 Nov @ Lantern Theatre
Hi, Anxiety explores one person’s (actually, two people’s…) experience of mental illness. With one in four of us estimated to experience mental illness, Debs Gatenby’s one woman show is a look at how mental illness affected her. And her mum. As Deb says: “It’s two breakdowns for the price of one, an emotional meal deal.”
Truant, Homotopia and Oldham Coliseum presents Still Ill, November 21 and 22, Lantern Theatre
Ulster. The Troubles are over. Police stations are closing down. Sex shops are opening up. Tommy can’t believe all the changes, but then he bumps into Gary, his old friend and fellow fan of The Smiths. The two men start a dangerous affair that pulls Tommy back into a world of violence he hoped had disappeared. A tragic gay love story between ‘the jumped up pantry boy’ and ‘the boy with the thorn in his side’, written by Billy Cowan and directed by Joyce Branagh.