Manchester gets cultured for LGBT month

By Will Astbury

MANCHSTER is celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month with a series of cultural events.

During February 2010 the city will be playing host to a number of arts based activities to celebrate the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities and individuals.

Events kick off on Thursday 4 February with a poetry reading from Cathy Bolton, Manchester Literature Festival director, and Suzanne Batty at the Central Library.

Bolton and Batty are both founding members of Manchester’s A6 Poets. Bolton will be launching her Ictus Prize-winning pamphlet ‘A Fool’s Height Short of Heaven’ and Batty will be reading from her first full-length collection ‘The Barking Thing’.

If you would like to catch their set go to Central Library Committee Room Second Floor to at 1pm.

On Saturday 6 February Harry Cocks, lecturer in modern British history at the University of Nottingham, will be giving a talk on the Bolton Whitmanites.

The Whitmanites were a remarkable group of men who, united by their admiration of the American poet Walt Whitman, and a shared interest in socialism, also became interested in what they called ‘the love of comrades’.

In the 1890s, they tried to envisage a new world without the divisions of class, and one populated by loving comrades. The Whitmanites offer us not only a lost history of socialism, but also an insight into the intense bonds between ordinary men which could develop at this time.

To see Cocks talk visit the Working Class Movement Library in Salford at 2pm.

On Tuesday 9 February Regie Cabico will be hosting his free performance masterclass Queer Contact.

Held at Contact Theatre, Oxford Road, from 7pm to 9pm, New Yorker Cabico, of TV comedic fame, will be helping emerging performers to develop their talents ahead of Wednesday 10 February’s Outspoken event.

Also on Wednesday 10 February James McSharry will be giving his talk Military Pride: The personal testimonies of gay military personnel.

The lecture begins at 6pm at Central Library Committee Room Second Floor.

Wednesday 10 February also plays host to Dominic Berry’s very special night of spoken word as part of Contact’s celebration of LGBT History Month 2010

It features a performance from Cabico and much much more. The event starts at 8pm and tickets £6 or £10. There are a limited number of tickets available to FreeAct members.

As well as this the Contact theatre is also hosting a free jam night with a difference on 10 February.

Musicians, MCs, vocalists and beatboxers will get the opportunity to jam with our house band Ajah UK for one night only as part of LGBT History Month.

Comedians, actors, poets, dancers and anyone else who is game for a laugh are invited to get involved. The jam starts at 9:30pm.

On Thursday 11 February there will be a special screening of the film adaptation of Rikki Beadle-Blair’s anti-homophobia play ‘FIT’ at Contact.

The play was first developed at Contact in 2007. It is set in an inner city sixth form college that follows the lives of six 17-year-olds who are on their last chance A-level before getting excluded for various reasons.

Out and proud flamboyant but-firm dance and drama tutor Loris Dawes, played by writer/director Beadle-Blair, helps the struggling teens to find their own identities and to accept each other.

FIT will be shown at 8pm and tickets cost £5. Certificate; PG.

Looking to Satuday, Cabico will be joining forces with Joey Hateley on 13 February from 2pm to 4pm to put on a free writing and performance workshop.

No experience is necessary so make your way down to Contact theatre and give writing a try.

Following the sell-out success of last year’s alternative Valentine’s extravaganza – Love For All – the inimitable David Hoyle returns with his unique take on love and its trappings.

Also at Contact on Saturday 13 February, David and his guests will be offering the audience an anarchic alternative Valentine’s cabaret. Tickets cost £6/£10 and the show starts at 8pm.

At 6pm on Wednesday 24 February Jeff Evans will be presenting his talk ‘That’s Gay!?’ at Central Library Committee Room Second Floor.

Evan’s talk addresses stigmatisation and punishment of human difference in Victorian Manchester and the invention and development of stereotypes in the past and present.

Finally, on Saturday 27 February Jon Atkin will be leading people through the ‘LGBT Heritage Trail of the City Centre’ with a visit to Manchester Archives and local Studies.

The tour starts at central library at 2:30pm.

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