It is all in the preparation

The countdown has definitely started to the National Festival of LGBT History in the Midlands and the team is busy with preparations.

The very first part of the Festival open to public viewing will be the exhibition at the Museum and Art 2015-12-29 12.33.07Gallery (formerly the Music Hall). We are currently scouring boxes and shelves of Shropshire-related lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans ephemera and memorabilia to go together with existing ‘history boards’. The aim is to illustrate and share some of the rarely seen and often ignored LGBT stories from Shropshire and beyond. These will form part of a unique exhibition, on show from Friday 12th until (and including) Sunday 14th February 2016.

We have already released and distributed 50 tickets for the Festival Launch Event on 12th February 2016. This is free to attend and entry is only permitted with a ticket. Another 50 tickets will be released on Sunday 3rd January alongside a big promotional campaign which starts next week – you can book your tickets here: Friday Launch tickets. The doors will BFC_LGBTQ_Logoopen at 6.15pm at the University Centre, Shrewsbury and we have a full programme planned, plus a nice refreshing break supported by Barefoot Wine! For more information about the evening have a look here: Friday programme.

International Human Rights Campaigners Stuart Milk and Peter Tatchell will be visiting local schools and colleges in the run up to the Festival and the team is currently working on the details of their itinerary. With these two inspirational activists as guests of the Festival, this really does feel like a unique opportunity to be part of something special!

Stuart Milk

Stuart Milk

Stuart Milk is an international human rights activist, LGBT rights speaker, government relations consultant, and youth advocate. He is the co founder and Board President of the all volunteer Harvey Milk Foundation. As the nephew of Harvey Milk, (the iconic civil rights leader, and first openly gay elected politician in San Francisco, who was assassinated in 1978), Stuart has taken his uncle’s message of authenticity, example of courage and the power of collaboration onto the global stage supporting local, regional and national human rights struggles and emerging LGBT communities on five continents.

Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell is an Australian-born British human rights campaigner well known for his work with LGBT social movements. He was selected as Labour Party Parliamentary candidate for Bermondsey in 1981. In the 1990s he campaigned for LGBT rights through the direct action group OutRage!, which he co-founded. He has worked on various campaigns, such as Stop Murder Music against music lyrics allegedly inciting violence against LGBT people. He attempted a citizen’s arrest of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in 1999 and again in 2001. 

Stuart and Peter will be talking about their visits to schools and colleges on Saturday morning, 13th February 2016. Doors will open round about 10am ready for a 10.30 start at the University Centre Shrewsbury. There is no need to book in advance for the Saturday daytime events although we suggest you arrive in plenty of time to assure a good seat!

It looks like there will then be a bit of a theatrical production over the lunch period – details to follow, before the presentations start. There are 10 presentations in all which run concurrently in 2 different rooms so you will be able to select 5 to go along to. These do not require tickets to attend – simply come along. The presentations last for half an hour each and begin at 1.15pm at University Centre Shrewsbury. For more details about each presentation click here: Saturday presentations.

All the Nice Girls

All the Nice Girls

With a few tweaks still to go, we are pleased to be able to share the

Helen Sandler

Helen Sandler

line-up for the Saturday evening entertainment. Programmed by Springout this will be an evening of laughter, song, drama and – of course – stories to share; with All the Nice Girls‘ theatrical tribute to real-life stars of music hall Gwen Farrah & Norah Blaney; Peter Scott-Presland joining us musical jollity and tales from his personal experience, growing up as a gay man; local musicians Beth Prior and Hannah Fermor and compere Helen Sandler. (Tickets in advance here: Saturday entertainment, and on the door)




And it is not over then. We have recently heard that Film Director, Stu Maddux will be joining us for the screening of his amazing, evocative film Reel in the Closet on Sunday morning 11am at the Old Market Hall cinema. This is one of those independently made films that are priceless and rarely screened,  so don’t miss this chance! Stu’s previous film was ‘Gen Silent’ which revealed the experiences of a silent generation of older and old LGBT people in Boston USA, heading back into the closet in later life as they accessed health and social care services. Screened by the Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival for History Month 2012 this proved inspirational and led to the development of a Shropshire based group to look at these very issues closer to home. Stu has been aware of this from the very start and is very excited about this opportunity to come to Shropshire. Tickets for Reel in the Closet are £5 and on sale here: Reel in the Closet tickets.



Rounding off the Festival in style is a revisit to the Harvey Milk story and a final chance to engage with Harvey’s nephew, Stuart at the film screening of the compelling documentary The Times of Harvey Milk at 2.30pm at The Hive. Harvey Milk was San Francisco’s first openly gay elected politician who held office for less than 12 months before being assassinated by his opposition opponent Dan White in 1978. This is a unique opportunity to watch the film and ask questions of Stuart who is also co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, along with Anne Kronenberg. Tickets for The Times of Harvey Milk are £5 and on sale here: The Times of Harvey Milk.

Throughout this post the word ‘unique’ is recurrent – perhaps this Festival illustrates one of the many ways in which Shrewsbury really is the original one-off!



Listing the links in this post (copy and paste into your website URL):

National Festival:

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery:

Friday launch tickets:

Friday programme:

Saturday presentations:


All the Nice Girls:

Beth Prior:

Saturday entertainment:

Reel in the Closet:

Shropshire-based group:

Reel in the Closet tickets:

The Times of Harvey Milk:

The Times of Harvey Milk tickets:

Shrewsbury really is the original one-off:

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One Response to It is all in the preparation

  1. sue sanders says:

    Just awesome so chuffed it will be a wow!


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