Turn On Fest 2021

About the Festival

Hope Mill Theatre is delighted to present the second annual Turn On Fest in 2021, an annual LGBTQIA+ festival in partnership with Superbia, Manchester Pride’s year round programme of arts and culture.

The festival will spread over two weeks with an incredible array of online shows from March 17th – 28th.

Headlining the festival will be an evening in conversation with Hope Mill Theatre patron and creator of Channel 4’s new drama, It’s A Sin, Russell T Davies hosted by Julie Hesmondhalgh.

Superbia, Hope Mill Theatre’s partnering organisation, will host two key events within the festival. 

Hope Mill Theatre has also offered development grants worth £1,000 for 4 Manchester based queer theatre makers who will share new work in the festival.

Turn On Fest is an opportunity for artists to grow and elevate LGBTQIA+ experiences, and is committed to creating a diverse, inclusive and accessible environment. 

We are also offering a FESTIVAL PASS so you can enjoy as many events as you like, for 20% off. You can book this via our partners Stream Theatre. 

Turn on Fest Programme (digital)

March 17th, 7:30pm – Fat Roland: Seven Inch

Set in the last record shop still standing, Manchester comic Fat Roland re-examines his life through not-so-teenage kicks, surrounded by forgettable (and unforgettable) pop music. Originally a five-star, one-idiot commission for The Lowry, this special adaption for the Edinburgh Fringe is making its Manchester premiere.

Book tickets via Stream Theatre


March 18th, 7:30pm – Make A Scene: Quizabella Rossellini

Make A Scene is Manchester’s big queer film club renowned for their hysterical and loving tributes to camp and LGBT+ cinema and TV. In a Make A Scene first, hostesses Gary James Williams and Grace Oni Smith bring a brand-new show to Turn On Fest – a new comedy game show that takes you on a romp through camp itself! Quizabella Rossellini (named after the iconic star of beloved gay fave Death Becomes Her) celebrates your film, TV and internet knowledge from Wizard of Oz to Chanel the Parrot via Nighty Night through a series of increasingly chaotic and ridiculous rounds.

Book tickets via Stream Theatre


March 19th, 7:30pm – Queer All About It by Green Carnation Theatre

Manchester based company, Green Carnation Theatre will also be screening four monologue plays made into films  – Queer All About It, a celebration of diverse queer stories and new perspectives by four emerging LGBTQIA+ writer exploring: 30+ years of HIV, LGBTQ+ families, LGBTQ+ immigration, and faith & sexuality. 

Book tickets via Stream Theatre


March 20th, 8:00pm – An Evening with Russell T Davies

Join Hope Mill Theatre patron Russell T Davies for an evening in conversation with Julie Hesmondhalgh. The evening will look at Davies’ incredible career writing for film and television, including the ground-breaking Queer As Folk, most recent Years and Years starring Russel Tovy and his newest Channel 4 drama, It’s A Sin.

Book tickets via Stream Theatre


March 21st, 6:00pm – We Kiss in a Shadow 

Further programming includes: We Kiss In a Shadow, a gay cabaret with Tony and Olivier nominated composer/lyricist/ orchestrator Jason Carr; premiere of a new short documentary commissioned and produced by Hope Mill Theatre, Our Street, featuring interviews and insight in to Manchester’s Gay Village, Canal Street.

Book tickets via Stream Theatre


March 26th, 8:00pm – In Conversation with Ryan Jamaal Swain

Join us for an Evening with Ryan Jamall Swain, of ‘Pose’.

Swain’s breakout role as ‘Damon’ on Ryan Murphy’s “Pose,” has gained him much praise and acclaim for his portrayal of an ambitious aspiring dancer who after being kicked out of his home for being gay, becomes a part of self-selected family that provides him with the love and support he’d never received before.

Swain was recently honored by the Human Rights Campaign with the Visibility Award and received the Represent Pride Award at the Urban One Honors which recognizes African American luminaries. Ryan has been included on the prestigious Forbes “30 Under 30” List for his LGBTQA+ activism, was named by PAPER Magazine as “100 People Taking Over 2019” and has been featured in publications such as Vogue Online, Nylon, GQ, NY Times, Flaunt Magazine and WWD, to name a few.

Book tickets via Hope Mill Theatre


March 27th, 7:30pm & 9:30pm – An Hour with Divina De Campo

Join local drag queen and star of Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK, Divina De Campo for an hour of fun! 

Book tickets via Stream Theatre


Development Grants

Hope Mill Theatre has also offered DEVELOPMENT GRANTS worth £1,000 as well as mentoring to four Manchester based queer theatre makers: Maz Hedgehog, Suriya Aisha, Finley Letchford-Dobs  and Emma Hinds.

These four local LGBTQIA+ individuals will showcase and develop their work whilst receiving marketing support, mentorship and rehearsal space. All below development sharings will include live show Q&A events online. 


Tuesday 23rd, 7:30pm – Let Me Count the Ways

Maz Hedgehog uses poetry and monologue to examine intimacy, boundaries, the ways we love and the ways we can heal.

Book tickets via Stream Theatre


Wednesday 24th, 7:30pm – PURE

PURE is an exploration of sexuality and gender in the Christian church, amplifying the true stories of real women from inside these communities. Written by Emma Hinds, directed by Katie Mitchell. 

Book tickets via Stream Theatre


Thursday 25th, 7:30pm – Voyage

Finley Letchford-Dobbs regains control of his narrative as a trans person through dramatized contemporary dance, music and video, a bold reclamation of power in a world that desperately tries to silence him. 

Book tickets via Stream Theatre


Thursday 25th, 8:30pm – Dead Certain

How much weight will your love allow? A white lie? Uncertainty? Overt deceit? They’ve the queer relationship many only dream and read about. What happens when their perfect planned life is put to the test in ways unimaginable? ‘Dead Certain’ a new short play by Suriya Aisha.

Book tickets via Stream Theatre