Artists such as Natalie have an extraordinary ability to pose questions, stretch our imaginations and create a space for considering new possibilities. We’re delighted to collaborate with the University and The Intercom Trust on this project enabling us to present new voices in our programme and offer new opportunities for participation.
Daniel Buckroyd, Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Exeter Northcott Theatre
Mistreatment and exclusion from society has meant LGBTQIA communities have created their own spaces for solidarity, creativity, and dialogue. Dr Charlotte Jones and Dr Fred Cooper from the University of Exeter will work with organisations and individuals in Devon and Cornwall to discuss and investigate the issues LGBTQIA people are facing. Playwright Natalie McGrath will write the new play together with LGBTQIA communities, through a series of creative workshops held in collaboration with the Intercom Trust, the main charity in the South West supporting LGBTQ+ people through training, activities, and legal issues.
The performance will be part of a week-long festival, with corresponding events, workshops, discussion forums, and stalls.
To be able to move forward with a major project about LGBTQIA loneliness at a time like this is hugely significant, and can only have a positive impact for queer people in Devon and Cornwall. As an artist I am incredibly excited to be leading on the creative vision for this project by writing a new play, whilst also contributing to new research in this field through a socially engaged practice. It is vital that LGBTQIA lives and stories are recognised, recorded and honoured.
Natalie McGrath, Playwright
Dr Jones and Dr Cooper have already been researching loneliness in Britain and have identified numerous poignant reflections on LGBTQIA experiences of loneliness over the past 70 years. They have also led various other initiatives around loneliness, including a website called Lockdown Blues, which allows people to record their experiences of living through the coronavirus lockdowns in different formats, including writing, images and music. The performance will feature a series of historical vignettes of queer stories from the past 150 years, based on their research.
LGBTQIA loneliness is a complex form of injustice, and it manifests in very different ways, some of which are not always directly labelled as ‘loneliness’. Through this project, Fred and I will share what we’ve found out about histories as well as current experiences of LGBTQIA loneliness and marginalisation, and provide collective spaces for reflection, creativity, and sharing.
Dr Charlotte Jones, Project Leader and Researcher