Man of the moment, Russell T Davies, writer of Cucumber, Queer as Folk and Doctor Who has been announced as a patron of A Very Victorian Scandal. Russell said:
It’s a delight and an honour to support these wonderful shows. Three new gay dramas about Manchester and they’re not mine. Hurrah! You lucky people.
A Very Victorian Scandal (#AVVS) is a new theatre project being performed over St Valentine’s Weekend 2015 in Manchester. The project has been commissioned by LGBT History Month as part of their tenth anniversary celebrations, and is written by their national writers in residence, Ric Brady and Stephen M Hornby. The production is being supported by a grant from the Arts Council of England.
The project will recreate scenes from the biggest police raid of an LGBT venue in British history. Manchester’s famous Victorian detective Jerome Caminada led the raid on an all-male fancy dress ball in Hulme, Manchester, and created a national sensation in a scandalised press and public. This was the UK’s Stonewall moment, and it happened in 1880.
The theatre events will take place across Manchester City Centre as part of The First National Festival of LGBT History.
Friday 13th February 2015, 8pm, Via, Canal Street
In the first of our series of performances, you will be invited to a reimagining of the fancy dress ball at Via on Canal Street. Mingle with the fancy dress ball attendees, learn a little about their lives, and watch them sing and dance to Music Hall songs. Manchester’s finest Victorian police officers will rudely interrupt the evening’s proceedings.
No tickets required – just turn up!.
Saturday 14th February 2015, 12.15pm, Manchester Central Library
An intimate performance at Manchester Central Library takes a fresh look at the motives behind the police raid. Secrets and politics combine to make some men, and ruin others. Detective Caminada courts the press, but can he keep control of the story?
Sunday 15th February 2015, 1.00pm, People’s History Museum
In the concluding part of the series, you will discover what happened to the fancy dress ball attendees. Original newspaper accounts have been used to dramatise the infamous court trial. Will all the prisoners maintain their vow of silence, or will the threat of prison force someone to speak out?
Russell T Davies said:
The whole thing seems so brave and so right – by exploring Manchester’s rich LGBT past, we can discover who we are, right now, and how we came to be. I know Ric and Stephen are approaching the project with great vigour and huge imagination – they’re a powerhouse, getting amazing talent on board with great energy and joy. I can’t recommend this project highly enough, I think it will be a cultural milestone for the North-West, and an inspiration for all ages.
Visit our Schedule page for full information on the festival lineup. A Very Victorian Scandal is on Twitter as #AVVS. All of the theatrical events are free. The project is sponsored by Via on Canal Street. The official partners are Manchester Central Library, People’s History Museum, Via on Canal Street and LGBT History Month.