Theatre

Gypsy Queen at Hope Mill Theatre

Andrew Anderson
Posted
© Hope Theatre Company

Gypsy Queen at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester, 25–30 September 2017, from £10.00 - Book now

Depending on which statistic you read, roughly 2-5% of the UK’s population identify as gay. But how many openly gay athletes are there – can you name any?

The problem of homosexuality being closeted in sport is one that has been around for a long time, and doesn’t look like going away anytime soon. Take the Premier League, the world’s richest football competition. It has around 1,000 footballers in its teams, but not a single one of them is ‘out’.

Why? That’s the question actor and playwright Rob Ward wants to find answers to. In Gypsy Queen he uses boxing – perhaps the sport most plagued with false ideas about what it means to be a ‘real man’ – as the base for his exploration, following the story of two athletes coping with the backlash that being gay can bring.

The play, which has already toured the UK including a stint at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, starts slowly, but builds round by round into a thrilling encounter. Ward is excellent as Gorgeous George O’Connell, a bare-knuckle fighter looking to turn pro ­– he’s engaging, funny and threatening. His developing love for fellow boxer Dane Samson (played by Ryan Clayton) warms your heart, until a stiff uppercut to the guts reminds you that in boxing it’s not okay to be gay.

Ward has carved out a niche for himself in this subject – his previous work Away From Home focussed on a gay footballer and was one of the highlights of the 24:7 Theatre Festival in 2013. It remains a topic that is fascinating yet sad, and one only hopes that societal norms around gays in sports change soon – with pieces like this playing a small part in the process.

Gypsy Queen at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

25–30 September 2017
From £10.00

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Cinema 17–23 November 2017, from £5.00

Thelma at HOME

Theatre 31 October–25 November 2017, from £12.00

The Hound of the Baskervilles at The Kings Arms

Theatre 3–25 November 2017, from £10

Uncle Vanya at HOME

Cinema 17–30 November 2017, from £5.00

Good Time at HOME

Writer Michael Symmons Roberts.
Festivals 1 November–8 December 2017, FREE

RAH! Research in Arts and Humanities Programme

Theatre 9 November–9 December 2017, from £20.00

Little Women: The Musical at Hope Mill Theatre

Music 4 October–11 December 2017, FREE

RNCM Autumn Season

Exhibitions 23 October–15 December 2017, FREE

Material Remains at Holden Gallery

Theatre 20 September–20 December 2017,

Contact Autumn Season 2017

Exhibitions 23 June 2017–1 January 2018, from £4.00

Wyndham Lewis: Life, Art, War at IWM North