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Get Curious As The LGBTQIA+ Festival Returns!

Image: Fatt Butcher


Throughout July venues in Newcastle and beyond will be given a splash of colour as they welcome the fantastic LGBTQIA+ Curious Festival back to their spaces. Festival organisers Curious Arts have pulled together their biggest event yet, running from July 1-23 and featuring all manner of artists, creatives and communities who unite to celebrate and explore LGBTQIA+ culture through the arts.



Phil Douglas, the festival’s executive producer and CEO of Curious Arts says: “The political and social landscape has shifted since we were last able to share Curious Festival with audiences in 2019. Nowmore so than ever, visibility for Trans, Non-binary and Queer artists of colour is essential to increase understanding and safety for under-represented communities. We’re delighted that Curious Festival is back to create Queer positive spaces, platform exciting new work and enable us to be with communities across the North East again."

BALTIC kicks proceedings off on Friday 1st with Home With The Noir Narrative, which will champion Black LGBTQIA+ creatives and artists and their work, from music and art, to performance and crafts. Later in the evening audiences can watch a thought-provoking series of short films by women and non-binary people and enjoy an exhibition of performance, image and sound from Anders Duckworth, whose Mapping Gender piece looks at the parallels between clothing and cartography.

The venue also serves as the location for the Curious Families Day on Saturday 2nd, where youngsters are invited to join a colourful workshop based around family portraits with artist Amy Langdown. There’s also zine making with artist Melody Sproates and a drop-in sculpture workshop with artists Richard Bliss and Bethany Stead, inspired by the love story of Emperor Hadrian and Antinous.

A particular highlight of this year’s festival will be showcases for emerging LGBTQIA+ artists and young people to share new work. Live Theatre’s The Future Is Queer event on Sunday 3rd celebrates the life and voices of 11 to 25 year olds as part of Curious Arts’ Queer Creative Challenge.

Things get funky on Saturday 9th as Dance City’s Curious Vogue Ball returns and where community members, allies and professional vogue houses take to the catwalk to vogue the night away. A fierce night is promised!

Sage Gateshead’s evening of Queer cabaret on Wednesday 13th will see performances from acclaimed local musician Beccy Owen and cabaret ‘queen of disco’ Fatt Butcher, alongside Gladys Duffy on DJ duties.


Northern Stage’s offering is pretty ace this year too; with yet more emerging talent on display across Thursday 14th and Friday 15th July. Among the delights on offer are Joy Cruickshank’s fast-paced stand-up/spoken word/drag artistry show How To Be A Hot Mess and Farrell Cox’s autobiographical tale Ambivalence, which uses aerial acrobatics to depict her emotional journey; local artists Jade Sweeting and Jenni Mac’s durational reading of I’m A Cliché toys with stereotypes; Mo Svendson’s Tits To Tats focuses on the trans-masculine experience through a fun mixture of memes, infographics and performance; Alex Billingham’s Milk And Honey celebrates ‘misfired misfits’; while Nite Life explores bisexuality in the LGBTQIA+ community.

Also at Northern Stage on Saturday 16th, Sound Cistem is a verbatim show set in a nightclub about the cisgender gaze on the transgender body.

On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July, Curious will take part in the glorious celebration of Pride on the Town Moor, which will feature live performances from the likes of Melanie C, Louise, Choriza May and many more. Join in with a placard making workshop at Dance City on Saturday 16th to proclaim your hopes for change ahead of the march on Saturday 23rd.

Also on Saturday 23rd, NE1’s own Screen On The Green gets in on the action with a day of colourful arts, crafts and story times as part of Mini Pride.

No matter how you identify, the festival provides a great way to see some original talent across all kinds of platforms. As Phil Douglas says: “The world is changing, get Curious and get involved!”


Image: Amibivalence, Farrell Cox

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