Turn On Fest 2021

Hope Mill Theatre's annual LGBTQIA+ Arts Festival returns for its 3rd year! Take a look at this year's lineup:

Saturday 22nd January :

The launch of Turn on Fest 2022! 

Join us for our launch party, including a showing of Dungeness by Chris Thompson performed by Hope Mill Theatre School students.

An opportunity to meet this year’s festival performers and curators,

Dungeness is a play for young people by Chris Thompson, originally commissioned by the National Theatre. It’s a funny, moving, honest story about love, protest, and commemoration.

In a remote part of the UK, where nothing ever happens, a group of teenagers share a safe house for LGBTQIA+ young people. The group must decide how they commemorate an attack that happened to LGBTQIA+ people in a country far away. How do you take to the streets and protest if you’re not ready to show the world who you are? 

Tuesday 25th January: 

Jarman by Mark Farrelly 

A mighty spirit is about to reawaken. Yours.

Derek Jarman: film-maker, painter, gardener at Prospect Cottage, activist, writer…his influence remains as strong as it was on the day AIDS killed him in 1994. But his story, one of the most extraordinary lives ever lived, has never been told. Until now.

This vibrant new solo play written and performed by Mark Farrelly (Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope, Howerd’s End) brings Derek back into being for a passionate, daring reminder of the courage it takes to truly live while you’re alive. A journey from Dungeness to deepest, brightest Soho and into the heart of one of our most iconoclastic artists.

Directed by Sarah-Louise Young (Julie Madly Deeply, An Evening Without Kate Bush).

Saturday 29th January:  

The Regulars – Live in Concert

With a passionate score and a familiar story, The Regulars is a captivating original musical about identity and self-love — reminding us that despite our differences, we are all deserving of acceptance for who we are.

Mark Howard moves away from his West Virginia home to a rural, upstate town in search of a new type of family. When he picks up a stockroom position at the town’s local orchard, he’s met with toxic masculinity and comes to terms with his newfound male privilege. And during his first day, he befriends Dani Thompson, a Black queer woman who’s opening her own gay bar. Over time, these two very regular people form and find chosen family in one another and their community

Hope Mill Theatre will be collaborating with Trans Creative to double bill The Regulars alongside new Trans writing. This event will be a Trans Social event.

Run by Trans Creative, Trans Social Club is a space for trans and non binary people and allies to come together, socialise and share work in a safe trans friendly space to tell our own stories. Come and be part of the first 2022 Trans social club. Look out for the call out for new trans writers mentoring for this performance . Featuring Maz Hedgehog, Taylor Le Fin and more.

Sunday 30th January:

Scratch Night with Hive North 

Hive North and Hope Mill Theatre present the Turn On Fest Scratch Night, a bumper evening of LGBTQ+ live theatre dedicated to developing ideas, sharing sparks of creativity with audiences and asking for your feedback.

Scratch Nights are all about taking risks and removing boundaries to let artists try something completely off the wall and see what works and what goes down like the proverbial lead balloon.

Prepare to be entertained, excited and invigorated as the region’s best LGBTQ+ comedians, writers and performers take to the stage.

We’ll also present three pieces from Hive North’s annual OutStageUs new writing event. These beautifully written and performed pieces will give audiences an insight into the world of trans-identity, toxic masculinity and relationships.

Our Scratch Night will be followed by a networking event in the Engine Room bar, where audiences can talk directly to artists and creatives, pass on their thoughts and play a part in shaping some exciting new LGBTQ+ performance.

Thursday 3rd February:

If Not Then When Now 

In collaboration with Creatures of Catharsis, Gertrude Schmixon presents a visceral blending of performance art and physical theatre.

In an artistic amalgamation of previous on-stage experiences, Gertrude brings their club-based physical artistry to a theatre space. Claiming new ground, through delving into the depths of their ideas and dragging up any dregs of emotion and intention that remain. A showcase of sorts, their process and presentation of this piece explores the parameters between entertainment and catharsis; beginning a new chapter in their performative story.

Drawing upon their experiences of living, the truest test of endurance, they present themes of confinement, embrace and release. Working with other North West based Queer creatives on costuming and sound design, this piece acts as a debut for Gertrude Schmixon’s journey into a new artistic realm.

Friday 4th February:

The Reason For Geese

by Elizabeth Gisbon 

Join April – or is she December? – as she time-hops over different months in a year of chaos and change.

She is searching for someone, around the canals and wetlands of Manchester, and time is running out. On her journey, she enounters strange creatures, from a haughty goose to a wise bee to an invisible dog. Their surreal conversations help her to tackle dilemmas in her life, and choose her next steps. Elizabeth plays all characters using her body and voice, in this gentle, reflective spoken-word show.

Monday Sunday 6th February :

Development Grant Evening & Queer Social

4 Queer Artists will receive £250 and a slot as part of our Turn On Fest: Development Evening for LGBTQIA+ artists.

For the last 2 years we have supported various artists through these grants to take a piece of work they are developing to the next level and a chance to perform in front of an audience.