Earlier this month, the wonderful people at Bradford 2025 invited us to take over their social media for a day as part of LGBT+ History Month. We grabbed the opportunity to share insights from some of the talented queer artists we are proud to work with, and reflect on the hidden or rarely-discussed queer histories that are important to them. In case you missed it on Bradford 2025’s social media, we’re delighted to be introducing those artists to you here…
We were so excited for Nathaniel J Hall to bring his award-winning solo show to Theatre in the Mill last February as part of Right Queer Right Now. This festival showcased performances from an array of fantastic queer theatremakers and artists and Nathaniel is no exception. His solo show First Time shares a hilarious and heart-rending account of Nathaniel’s experience growing up HIV positive, and is a gorgeous (and award-winning) piece of storytelling.
Nathaniel positions queer history centre stage in this production: “the triangle that forms the basis of the set for First Time is inspired by the upside down pink triangle that the Nazis used to brand gay men destined for the concentration camps. In the 1980’s ACTup Activists in New York reclaimed the triangle, flipping it the right way up and emblazoning it with the slogan Silence=Death as a clarion call to homophobic western Governments that refused to take action on HIV/AIDS, a disease that appeared only to be affecting gay men.”
The play text for First Time is available now on Nathaniel’s website – we highly recommend it. And if you haven’t already, check him out in the brilliant Channel 4 miniseries It’s A Sin.
Bradford artist Kafayat Adegoke makes bold performance full of guts and humour and heart. Her most recent project, Per-So-Na, discusses clashing identities and what it means to be a not-so-typical Yoruba Nigerian girl: tough, vulnerable, woke, traditional, queer. eHShe debuted the brilliant show at Right Queer Right Now festival, and we’re so excited to be working with her on a new project.
Kafayat has this to share on the subject of identity: “Perfection is a buffet, not a set menu – so why not live and let live? Why is everyone treading on eggshells at the mention of certain social groups, or perhaps when around them? This shows that LGBTQ identity is still considered inherently absurd. There is also multilayered evidence of Drag and Queer imprints in pre-colonial Black History unlike what the popular media perpetuates and relays within western pop culture. Dispell the myth of queerness and African identity being mutually exclusive!”
Follow Kafayat to find out about the projects she is involved in across Bradford and to find out where next to see her perform – you won’t want to miss it.
Vijay Patel ’s beautiful autobiographical show Pull The Trigger also joined us at Right Queer Right Now, bringing his family’s corner shop to our Gallery studio to explore queerness, migration, work and family.
Vijay would “love for people to continue to uplift voices of queer migrants (first, second and future generations). As a second generation migrant with a family who came from Uganda in 1972, I value this within my queer identity. It has allowed me to write a heartfelt story of migration and combining that with my fun, camp queer narrative. There’s a lot we can learn from those who came before us. Being a second-gen migrant (and holding that within my family history), has taught me something beautiful about my queer identity.”
Click here to find out more about Vijay’s fantastic work.
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Next up is Bradford’s own Kirsty Taylor – poet, teacher, activist, artist, and all-round brilliant human being. We were so delighted for her collaboration with Martha Kean, #HereCoz, to be shared for the very first time at Right Queer Right Now last February. #HereCoz follows the story of 14-year-old Bradford lass Aisha struggling to find time, space and a sense of worth in a broken ‘one-size-fits-all’ school system & austerity-affected home. Combining film and spoken word, it’s a deeply moving and galvanising piece.
Kirsty is a “super fan of Anne Lister” and reckons more people should know about the 19th Century diarist and West Yorkshire lesbian icon known to locals as Gentleman Jack. You can read about her life here.
Follow Kirsty on Twitter to get updates on all the exciting projects Kirsty’s working on across Bradford.
Finally, I want to introduce you to the luminous Sonia Sandhu, who graced Right Queer Right Now with her vegan catering last February.
Sonia would like to “shine a little spotlight onto a queer hero of mine, Catherine Duleep Singh. Born in 1871, a goddaughter of Queen Victoria, and daughter of the last Maharaja of the Punjab – Duleep Singh and his Egyptian wife Bamba. Despite her aristocratic upbringing, she became a suffragist & had a life-long romantic relationship with her former governess, Lina Schafer. They moved to Germany where not even World War One would separate them, and Catherine risked being branded a traitor by staying with Lina. They helped many Jewish families escape during the war. Catherine requested her ashes to be buried by Lina’s coffin.” Sonia learned about her in the book about her sister Sophia (another badass), and found it “so affirming to hear these stories about fierce Punjabi women, especially queer Punjabi women who have always existed but we rarely see represented, even now.”
Sonia is currently working with the charity hft, setting up a befriending scheme for South Asian adults with learning disabilities in Bradford. She’s also partnering with BEACON Bradford, running online cooking classes with asylum seekers. Check out more on Instagram – we cannot recommend her food highly enough, either.
These are just some of the talented LGBTQ+ artists and makers who we love and who helped us make Right Queer Right Now such an unforgettable Weekender this time last year. We may feel a world away from the buzz of our crowded café-bar and a sold-out studio performance, but we’re still supporting talented artists as they navigate making art in a pandemic and are looking forward to sharing their work with audiences in our theatre again soon.
We’ll leave you with this gorgeous video capturing Right Queer Right Now last Feb. Here’s to being back in the same room soon, and to LGBTQ+ History Month!