New LGBTQIA+ cabaret to shine in Aberdeen city centre

Left to right: Sally Reaper, Jennifer Louden, Colin Farquhar, Hanna Louise, Susan Whyte and Bart Grabski. (Photo: Claire Bruce)

A NEW LGBTQIA+ cabaret event called ‘Glory’ will take centre stage at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen on 22 June.

The artists who will perform as part of ‘Glory’ have been chosen by Look Again at Gray’s School of Art in partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts, RGU’s Art & Heritage Collections and Outer Spaces, as part of an innovative project to amplify the voice of queer artists in cultural programming in the city.

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Visual artists, musicians, poets, drag and cabaret performers and dancers, from across Scotland applied to take part in the project and were asked to use an artefact such as a fashion garments from RGU’s Art & Heritage Collections to inspire their performance.

The performers selected for the cabaret include Miriam Foy, a Graduate in Residence from Gray’s School of Art who will present a mixture of spoken word poetry and performance art to celebrate neurodivergent queer identities.

Kirsty Law from Edinburgh has also been selected and will use traditional Scots language, an acoustic guitar and shruti box, to present a cabaret act called ‘Widdershins’ that focuses on the taboos related to old Scottish fishing traditions.

Collaborative duo and Gray’s graduates, Claudia Sneddon and Joe Morris, who use the creative title ‘Olive & Anya’, have chosen clothing items from RGU’s Art & Heritage Collections to explore queer identities and will perform a live version of a teleshopping style experience in a surreal, satirical way. As part of their act, ‘Olive & Anya’ will poke fun at gender constructs relating to fashion and will demonstrate the idea that all clothing is ‘unisex’ if you simply wear it.

Jennifer Louden, Director of Library and Learning Services at RGU said: “RGU contributes significantly to the social and cultural development of the region. Our Art and Heritage Collections celebrate the creative culture and talent formed in the North-East of Scotland and include artworks created by our alumni as well as objects which reflect methods of teaching and study throughout our university’s history. I am thrilled that items from our collections have inspired such diverse and innovative performances by creatives from the LGBTQIA+ community and am excited to be working in partnership with Look Again and Aberdeen Performing Arts as part of ‘Glory’.”

Sally Reaper, Director for Look Again at Gray’s School of Art said: “We are delighted to be working with Aberdeen Performing Arts and RGU’s Art & Heritage Collections to deliver this unique project and can’t wait to present ‘Glory’ to members of the public at Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree in June. Each of the artists selected have been inspired by an item from RGU’s Art & Heritage Collections and will use the artefacts to celebrate queer identities and experiences as part of their performance.

“This is a really important project that celebrates performers of all backgrounds and creative disciplines and showcases the RGU Art & Heritage Collections through the lens of the LGBTQIA+ community. It also demonstrates the close partnership with Aberdeen Performing Arts, and Gray’s commitment to supporting arts and culture in the North East.”

Susan Whyte, Head of Creative Engagement at Aberdeen Performing Arts said: “This project is such a fantastic reflection of how inspiring our heritage and culture is here in the North East.

“It has been wonderful to work collaboratively with our friends at Look Again and RGU to create space for such a vibrant and diverse range of creative LGBTQIA+ talent and we can’t wait to see it all come to fruition on the Lemon Tree stage.”

Miriam Foy, an artist commissioned to perform said: “This commission is an opportunity for me to explore the intersections between disability and queerness and the overwhelming sense of otherness that these identities can create. It allows me to highlight how we create spaces for others to exist in the places we carve out for ourselves.

“My time at Gray’s has prepared me for this opportunity because Gray’s gave me the space to explore performance art as a medium and allowed me to explore the relationship between disability, intimacy and queerness through my performance practice. My current artistic focus is on the significance of queer-disabled friendships and the spaces we create to celebrate our identities.

Audiences can expect a performance on 22 June that embraces queer disabled joy.”

The project is funded by Aberdeen Performing Art and RGU Art & Heritage Collections supported by Look Again at Gray’s School of Art.

For more information, and to buy a ticket visit Aberdeen Performing Arts.

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