“Queers Up Front is a direct response to the absurd amount of times that queers have to sit in a theatre audience and hear a phobic joke about a queer character – a character who usually doesn’t even make it on stage. They then have to sit in the laughter that follows. This isn’t a laugh of solidarity and recognition, but one of permitted disgust and ridicule, encouraged by an artwork made by cis-het people for cis-het people. In the current climate of increased phobia towards our community each pointless, cheap joke adds up. So, from feeling unseen and small, this week, we intend to go big and loud” - Vinnie Heaven and Debbie Hannan
For the second week of Takeover, the Bunker will champion queer voices front and centre. Every evening, work by a wide variety of queer artists will take the stage - and this time, the jokes will be told by the queers themselves. A series of scratchy, sparky nights, with first drafts, re-workings, daring ideas, autobiography, comedy, fiction and more, mixing together to celebrate queer-led work. And of course, a bit of music and dancing at the weekend too!
Alongside this week, curator Debbie Hannan will be making a short series of podcasts as a goodbye to The Bunker - and each Queers Up Front evening will include a live podcast section, where Debbie will speak with an invited guest on a different aspect of all things queer.
“We will not be the cheap joke for a cis-het audience anymore. We are here, we are big, we are valid.”
Showcase OneLiv Wynter, HOUSEFIRE
HOUSEFIRE is a Brechtian monologue about a woman whose house burns down repeatedly, and is an allegory for how domestic abuse survivors are treated. Originally commissioned by Wysing Arts Centre, this work has been performed in Cambridge, Italy, Rotterdam and France, but never before in London.
Liv is an artist, educator, activist and writer from South London who has become a notable voice within the political art scene.
Benedict Hudson, The River
The River is an abstract exploration of what death can do to the queer sense of self, utilising spoken word, documentary and sound.
Benedict is a queer writer and performer, specialising in story telling. Coupled with sound and tech he creates abstract moments, conflating the beautiful, with the morbid. The banal with the bizarre.
Nicole Latchana, Dutty Wine
When Saarah starts flirting and wining up on men at Carnival, her girlfriend Edi suspects something’s wrong – Is Saarah really having a good time, or is there something that she’s trying to cover up?
Nicole is a queer, neurodiverse woman of colour and rarely sees work that reflects their experience. Nicole wrote Dutty Wine to explore what it’s like to be a queer woman of colour at carnival.
Harris & Maryam, Rainbow Socks
A gay Muslim man is getting ready for his first pride parade. During which, he considers whether he is truly “out and proud”. Rainbow Socks looks at the expectations of coming out, challenging the concept of liberation and asking what it truly means to be free.
Maryam Noorhimli and Harris Albar are Singaporean theatre makers; Maryam is currently studying at East 15 while Harris is at Central School of Speech and Drama. Both of them are Muslim, and have different connections to queer identity.
Showcase TwoSebastian Angelique, The Soldier
The Soldier combines burlesque with spoken word to capture the experience of those who still fear to be themselves in situations where it’s consequence is verbal and physical abuse.
Sebastian is an LGBT+ burlesque performer; a cheeky harlequin angel with an audaciously neo twist. Their career so far has seen them perform internationally and featured on BBC News for ‘Why Men are Owning Boylesque’. Their style of burlesque incorporates surprises with slick choreography and most importantly a unique view-point and a story to tell.
Amelia Stubberfield, Bonkers
Bonkers is a show combining big standup-style laughs with a nuanced and honest account of living life “on the edge” and trying not to fall off. Navigating mental health and queer identities, it treads the line between belly-laugh comedy and realism, exploring the power of labels on the human experience and asking the question what is “normal” anyway?
Amelia is a theatre maker, actor, comedian and writer, with a great passion for mental health and well being, LGBTQIA representation and inclusion across communities. She has been listed as “One To Watch” by the Funny Women awards.
Beth Watson, Hasbian
Hasbian: noun a former lesbian who has “become” heterosexual or bisexual / an autobiographical coming-of-age comedy.
Beth is a performer, deviser and workshop facilitator, who also co-runs Bechdel Theatre.
Lettie Precious, REFLECTION
REFLECTION is about a non-binary butch black person struggling with what it means to be black and non-binary, how that relates to acceptance by society and society’s standards of beauty. Can one be beautiful being their authentic self, or do they have to conform as a means of survival?
Lettie is a writer and a 2018 alumni of the Graeae Write to Play, who’s passionate about telling unheard queer stories on stage. Lettie was also part of the writing group for ‘Queer Upstairs’ at the Royal Court in 2019.
AfterpartyFriday: Christy Hanmer
Christy is a non-binary queer music artist who uses music to confront and express their queer experience and feelings.
Juha began as a hip hop crew in Hawaii and is now a sonic stewpot of alternative pop music based in London… or, “The sound of Prince and Manu Chao kissing” as they were recently described. Every Step You Take Is A Migration is the Juha anthem, and it embodies their musical vision of a world without borders. The mission of every Juha gig is that when you leave you’re even more in love with yourself than when you came in.
Monday - Zachary Hing
Tuesday - Jennifer Dixon
Wednesday - Vinnie Heaven
Thursday - Omar Phillips
Friday - Roz Whiteley
Saturday - Michelle Tiwo