Words: Steve Brown
The UK’s foremost LGBT arts and culture festival is back in Liverpool at the end of the month.
As 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots – which kickstarted the modern gay rights movement – Homotopia is getting into the spirit with this year’s festival theme Resist! Resist!
This year, the likes of Travis Alabanza, Fantabulosa, Rachael Young, Oozing Gloop, Amy Lamé, Harry Clayton-Wright, Split Britches are just some of the names performing at the UK’s longest running LGBTQ arts festival.
Travis will be this year’s artist in residence and follows on from a sellout, award-winning Edinburgh run of their show, Burgerz.
On why protest is important, Travis said: “Why is protest important? Art as activist and protest and change is important as I believe it creates the possibility for an accessibility theory and books don’t always give.
“Onstage and in performance we have 10 minutes, 30 mins, an hour to change someone. That challenge and potential excites me.
“I think art, for me, when it is working well, is seeing people and bodies and histories retake a mic they’ve had taken from them.
“Retell their truths. Process out loud. Resist the urge to be simple.”
Harry Clayton-Wright will bring his play Sex Education to Unity Theatre where he reflects on sex and past sexual experience, education and gay porn.
He added: “We are living through precarious times and it couldn’t be more important right now to resist.
“To take a stand in the fight for equality for all. To use our platforms, positions and privileges to protest, fight and make noise.
“Art is an incredible tool and a festival like Homotopia with these amazing shows allows us to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are and what we need to remember on the road to where we’re going.
“Coming together to celebrate, dance, laugh, cry, share in the joy of collective healing and be energised to move forward, with even more power and purpose, is an incredible act of resistance that is not only political but vital.”
Describing what they believe resistance is, Oozing Gloop said: “Resistance has never been an option for me, as in my existence is steeped in it; as is everyone else’s.
“The difference is our cognition of it, clothes are a resistance, toilet paper a resistance, work a resistance.
“The main issue facing us today is the idea of the profit imperative to our systems of existence that people seem to think is fine when in reality; it is crushing us and our biosphere into something that we must resist or cease to exist.
“People who’ve never had their gender the subject of law, their ethnicity evidence of their commodity, their sexuality raided by police or their spontaneous behaviour diagnosed and destroyed by medicine or therapy methods don’t always get this.
“Worse some people who have don’t. So, shine a light into someone’s life today and resist the darkness that swells the systems uplifting Boris Johnson and Donald Trump to supreme political authority.”
Homotopia launches in Liverpool on October 31. The festival runs at venues across the city from November 1-9.
For the full festival programme and for tickets go to https://www.homotopia.net/