TURN ON FEST – Hope Mill Theatre and Superbia’s annual LGBTQIA+ arts festival – returns with live events next year, following the 2020 launch and the online festival in 2021.
The headline event is a rehearsed reading and concert of The Regulars, a new US folk music musical about identity and self-love which is being produced and developed by Hope Mill Theatre.
Hope Mill Theatre Artistic Director Joseph Houston, said:
“We are thrilled to be bringing Turn On Fest back to live audiences in 2022. While we were glad that we managed to go online with this year’s festival, we felt the loss of not being able to bring artists and audiences together, especially within the LGBTQIA+ community, that we serve.”
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. During his first day at work, he befriends Dani Thompson, a Black queer woman who is opening her own gay bar. Over time, these two very regular people form and find chosen family in one another and their community.
The Hope Mill will be bringing the team over from America to work with a company of 10 actors on a preview concert showing of the musical, which will then go into workshop and development in early 2023.
Director of ‘The Regulars’, Miss Hazel Jade, said:
“I am unbelievably thrilled to showcase Shish’s (Will Shishmanian) beautiful songs at Turn On Fest and continue developing ‘The Regulars’ with Hope Mill! It is a dream to share the world of Amberland with Manchester audiences.”
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.
Whilst The Regulars is the headline event, the festival has a number of other exciting events that might take your fancy.
The event kicks off The Festival Launch night on Saturday 22nd January with Dungeness by Chris Thompson, directed by Esther Dix, the show will feature a cast of young performers, from Hope Mill Theatre School.
Next up is Turn On Fest Scratch Night, presented by Hive North and Hope Mill Theatre. The event will be a bumper evening of LGBTQ+ live theatre dedicated to developing ideas, sharing sparks of creativity with audiences and asking for your feedback.
The Story of Derek Jarman, written and performed by Mark Farrelly, is a physical, poetic and moving
piece about the English film director and gay rights activist.
The venue will host a Turn On Queer Social in their bar area on, creating an opportunity to bring together likeminded creatives and individuals from the city. The venue will also be working with DIBBY theatre and The Proud Trust, offering artist development opportunities and workshops.
Hope Mill Theatre will also be opening up a call out for Queer Artists to receive £250 and a slot as part of an artists development opportunity, which is looking to support a variety of artists who have a piece in development and want to try it out in front of an audience.
Turn On The Mi, will be an evening of LGBTQIA+ song, featuring singers from the community coming together to celebrate queer music from pop and musical theatre. This evening will be hosted by musical theatre performer Duncan Burt.
The penultimate event will be The Regulars.
The festival will close with Turn On – The Prom, “a queer friendly prom for everyone, allowing people to come together and celebrate being their true selves”. The 18+ prom-style event will feature live performances, a DJ and special guests. The event will be in the spirit of recent successes such as Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Ryan Murhpy’s The Prom.
Joseph Houston added: “We have an extremely exciting line up of shows and events this festival and as always we are happy to be working with an array of partners including Superbia, Trans Creative and Hive North. Hope Mill Theatre has become known for its musical productions and championing new work so we are truly honoured to be working alongside the creators of a new trans musical, The Regulars and can’t wait to start the journey of bringing this show to life.
“Since launching the festival in 2020, so many amazing queer artist have already gone on to really exciting careers in the arts, we built this festival both as a spring board for new creatives as well as an opportunity to showcase the best queer art the region has to offer, and I can tell you, there’s an abundance. So Turn Up and Turn On!”
TURN ON FEST 2022 runs at Hope Mill Theatre from 22nd until 30th Janurary.