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27 November 2014

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The Village

Kiki & Herb
Kiki & Herb

It’s here and it’s queer!

Fancy a festival with a twist? Look no further than Queerupnorth, the international gay, lesbian and bisexual arts festival that arrives in May for three weeks of music, dance, drama, laughs, film, books, and, of course, cabaret!


  • The festival runs from Sunday 7 to Sunday 28 May
  • Venues include Library Theatre, Contact, the Green Room, the Royal Exchange Studio and the RNCM
  • Prices vary - for more details, check the festival website

Featuring a staggering array of queer stars, be them local, national or, in some cases, international, the festival has highlights a-plenty and something for every taste.

Heads will undoubtedly turn to the arrival of Kiki & Herb, a washed up, boozed up chanteuse and her piano battering, life-long accompanist who’ve been entertaining audiences across the globe and stop in for two nights on their way from the Sydney Opera House to Broadway!

Armistead Maupin (pic: Annie Leibovitz)
Armistead Maupin (pic: Annie Leibovitz)

Equally notable, though at the other end of the entertainment scale, is Armistead Maupin. The writer of Tales From The City is the world’s most successful gay author and makes a one-off UK appearance. The novelist is the central point of the Big Gay Read Literature Festival, the first national event of its kind in the UK, but by no means the only attraction, as Jackie Kay, Stella Duffy, Jake Arnott and Patrick Gale will all be reading and discussing their work around the city.

The choice is almost endless. Theatre-wise, the brilliant Quarantine, the company responsible for last year’s Grace, present Susan & Darren, the story of a partying mother and son, at the Contact, while former child star David Page tells the story of his somewhat turbulent life at the Library Theatre.

Kathe Izzo
Kathe Izzo

The inspirational artist Kathe Izzo is bringing her Love Shack project to life at the Contact using the contributions of people who come to see her. It’s an investigation of love and home from the artist that has been on a one-woman mission to teach the world to love.

Jackie Kay pops up again in a show with the angelic-voiced David McAlmont at Matt and Phreds. An excellent combination of jazz, blues and spoken word, the pair will be undoubtedly impressive, and it also works as a precursor to Kay’s play Trumpet, which closes the festival at the Contact.

David McAlmont (pic: Robert Taylor)
David McAlmont (pic: Robert Taylor)

Elsewhere, you can find edgy and languid dance at the Lowry, explorations of Asian homosexuality in Sackville Park, performance art on depression in a room at Malmaison, slam poetry and the unstoppable Chloe Poems at the Green Room, and an exhibition of pansies at the Art Gallery!

As smorgasbords of entertainment go, you don’t get many more diverse or impressive, and it all ends on May Bank Holiday weekend, so you’ll have an extra day to recover! What better excuse do you need to come out and enjoy it?

last updated: 02/05/06
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