Pride in Trafford is five and fabulous, commissioning brand new work for the 4-day festival, with more than half of the events free to either attend or participate in. Carmel Thomason caught up with Waterside Arts Centre Manager, Darren Adams to find out what’s coming up.
Pride in Trafford is now in its 5th year. How has the festival developed over that time?
Darren: “We had somewhat humble beginnings as small hyper-local festival, but we hopefully remain loyal to being a place to explore and celebrate identity and LGBTQ+ life.
“The festival is very different to more traditional Pride festival formats and art and creativity are really at the heart of what we do here in Trafford. We’ve built up some brilliant new elements including some brand-new commissioning of new work by theatre-maker Sam Danson, we’ve also grown our Pride on the Plaza family day following the inauguration last year, this year we will loads of interactive performances, plenty of information stalls and Mini Pride with Curious Arts in Sale Library. For the first time this year we’ll have an outdoor exhibition created by and for young LGBTQ+ people and a celebratory cabaret night to close the festival”.
The festival launches on The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. What is the global outlook of the festival?
Darren: “Whilst we can celebrate the change and advancements we have made here in the UK with regard to acceptance and inclusivity, there still remains so many inequalities across the world and indeed we can never take equal rights for granted, as the dangerous rhetoric that continues can and will have a detrimental impact on the lives of our community.
“Whilst of course our festival doesn’t have global reach, we believe that by increasing awareness and challenging stigma at a local level, this contributes nationally and shows solidarity internationally.
“We’re really proud that our festival focuses on children and young people and giving them an opportunity to celebrate and have their voices heard”.
Launching on the festival’s opening night and running across all four nights, is the world premiere of BI-TOPIA. What is it about?
Darren: “Bi-Topia is a brand new piece of work that is semi-autobiographical. The show explores the links between sexuality and mental health while also challenging societal norms.
“The piece has been commissioned by Pride in Trafford/Creative Industries Trafford and is being developed here in Trafford specifically for our festival audiences. The work is by Sam Danson, an amazing local artist who is taking their first steps into a solo show and follows in the footsteps of previous artists we’ve supported such as musician Minute Taker, theatre-makers, Dibby Theatre with First Time and the brilliant Girl Gang’s Millennial Pink.
“Supporting queer artists has and always will be a key ambition of our work at Pride in Trafford”.
What do you hope people will take from this event?
Darren: “Well, we hope everyone has a great time for starters.
“We want the community to celebrate just how brilliant and diverse our borough is and help us build resilience in the community and with our allies.
If we help one person to see their place in the world through the work we do, then we’ve done what we set-out to do!”
What else can people expect over the four days?
Darren: “Always a popular part of our festival programme; Laugh Riot, is an evening of alternative comedy talent (Stephen Bailey, Rosie Wilby, Marie Goulbourne and Jonathan Mayor on the bill).
“As mentioned, children and young people are at the heart of our celebrations and young LGBTQ+ people of Trafford have created a special youth pride event over at Gorse Hill Studios – activities include cardboard catwalk and drag race, screen printing, banner making and LGBTQ+ film screenings.
“We know that Pride events have the power to change hearts and minds, whilst raising awareness through activism. Emergency is a project based around young queer voices, culminating in an outdoor exhibition, highlighting the matters that are important to them around sexuality and gender identity.
“Jesus, Jane, Mother and Me – a twisted coming-of-age story by award-winning playwright Philip Stokes (Heroin(e) for Breakfast) that explores family dynamics, who our idols (a well known Yorkshire songstress) are, and just how hard life can be when you’re a little bit different.
“The final day of the festival we have a bumper programme of free activity, specifically for children and their families. High Tea with a Twist; a camp, glittery outdoor show. MiniPride – including story-time, arts and crafts with the brilliant Curious Arts team, Compact Disco; a mobile disco (complete with glitter ball) roaming the streams, plus loads of information stalls and activities for all ages.
“The festival will close with a party at Mano a Bocca featuring pizza, comedy, cabaret, and disco, as well as an appearance from legendary Manchester drag queen, Belinda Scandal”.
What is Mini-Pride and how can people get involved?
Darren: “Mini-Pride is new to the festival this year, we’re working with Curious Arts to deliver a celebration specifically for children in conjunction with Sale Library. There’ll be crafts and arts based activities, badge making and story-time sessions. Mini-Pride is a drop in event on Saturday 20 May from 12:00 – 16:00 and is open to all families of all ages”.