Statement from Turn On Fest: “Delivering the best festival we possibly can, that has the safety and wellbeing of our artists, performers and audiences, as well as our technical and theatre staff, at its heart is of paramount importance to us. With that in mind, we have made the decision to postpone TURN ON FEST 2021 so that we can allow everyone involved to create and share their art in a safe environment”.
Following the success of the first-ever Turn On Fest in 2020, we’re thrilled that the festival will return for 2021. The LGBTQ+ theatre festival will run for two weeks this January at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre. Turn On Fest is the result of an exciting collaboration between Hope Mill and Superbia, the masterminds behind cultural programming at Manchester Pride.
Featuring a fabulous blend of live events and online content, Turn On Fest promises to be a fabulous showcase of LGBTQ+ arts and culture. With a full programme of theatre, conversations, musical theatre, drag, screenings and lively discussion, the festival looks set to brighten up the start of 2021. Hope Mill is already recognised as a thriving space for LGBTQ+ work – it seems fitting that Turn On Fest is hosted by the venue.
Headlining this year’s festival will be an evening in conversation with Hope Mill Theatre patron Russell T Davies streamed live on Saturday 23rd January 2021. Hosted by actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, this online event will examine Davies’ incredible writing career, which includes the groundbreaking TV series Queer As Folk, the more recent Years and Years, and his upcoming Channel 4 drama, It’s A Sin premiering on Friday 22nd January 2021.
Further festival highlights include a celebration of musicals and drag in Queer Musical Theatre Cabaret: All That Drag; a screening of four monologue performances: Queer All About It by Manchester-based Green Carnation Theatre, exploring 30+ years of HIV, LGBTQ+ families, LGBTQ+ immigration, and faith and sexuality; Fat Roland: Seven Inch and Make a Scene: Quizabella Rossellini are also two key events within the festival.
Additionally, Hope Mill have commissioned and produced a short documentary to premiere at the festival. Our Street features interviews and perspective into Canal Street and Manchester’s Gay Village. And cabaret lovers should check out We Kiss In a Shadow, by the Tony and Olivier nominated composer/ lyricist Jason Carr.
Hope Mill Theatre has also offered four development commissions to four local LGBTQIA+ creatives who will showcase their work at the festival: Let Me Count the Ways by Maz Hedgehog uses poetry and monologue to illuminate intimacy, boundaries, the ways we love; Suriya Aisha’s Dead Certain examines the effect of deceit on a relationship; Finley Letchford-Dobbs uses dance, music and video to explore his journey as a trans person in a world which tries to silence him; Pure by Emma Hinds examines sexuality and gender in the Christian church.
Do check out the full programme listings. We think that Turn On Fest makes another impressive and much-needed addition to the LGBTQ+ cultural calendar.