Blackpool is one of the UK’s most visited seaside resorts with a vast and rich history in entertainment including circus, variety, cabaret, magic and ballroom dance. For over 100 years, Blackpool has been synonymous with some of the biggest names in entertainment and was known, in its heyday, as the Showbiz Capital of the North.
The resort has a strong LGBTQ+ community formed of people born and bred here (Sandgrownun’s), those attracted by its bright lights who have moved here and an ever-changing transient community of seasonal workers. Over the years the town has had a significant number of LGBTQ+ venues, however, there is little to no alternative programming of LGBTQIA performance or visual arts like you would expect to find in major cities throughout the UK.
Supported by local ACE CPP LeftCoast and Art B&B CIC, we were able to partner with New Queers on the Block – a touring programme created by Marlborough Theatre in Brighton. The partnership allowed us to test bed and present an existing programme of high quality queer live and visual art in the resort and begin to build and unlock a new audience for it.
It might be early days in Blackpool for the development of a Queer Culture scene, but our town has a long-standing, simple and bold motto – ‘progress’. The taste for it is real and so is the desire to make it happen and we look forward to collaborating with Marlborough Productions to build on our successes to date in the very near future.
Check out the photographs below taken during a NQOTB workshop created in collaboration with Artist and Curator, Garth Gratrix during his fantastic exhibition of ‘Shy Girl’ at The Grundy Art Gallery. We worked together to create question boards that explored themes of queerness and what that means to the Blackpool community who were invited to write their thoughts on the art works in a pre-show activity ahead of the performances in February 2020.
I will be adding more photographs from the performances soon.