By Emma Joliffe

Queer arts have always enabled LGBTQ+ communities to deal with the particular bigotry of the age, either by creating visible, joyful acts of resistance or work which interrogates and challenges that bigotry. And in Hastings, with its burgeoning and exciting queer scene, we can look forward to an exciting summer of LGBTQ+ arts. 

One reason is Hastings Pride, which went from a small event in 2016, through sun and rain, to an impressively big, colourful and energetic one in 2019. Last year, they made the difficult decision to cancel, but this year, they’re planning to come back with a bang. 

Loud Proud Spirit

A 1980s themed event will bring Hastings communities together in loud, proud spirit on August bank holiday. For all its fun and fancy dress, the theme also reflects some echoes of the age being felt now. Says organiser Natasha Scott, “On the main stage you can expect a mixture of local acts and 80s legends, as well as some fantastic big names, and we are also hoping to have a revitalised and exciting Arts Tent., plus, for the first time, a Youth Tent.” Hastings Pride has always been an inclusive Pride, so it is important to the organisers that it remains a free, non-ticketed, event. This year they have launched a Crowdfunder to ensure the event goes ahead,
so to support it, please visit Hastingspride21.com

Another reason for the flourishing of arts is the number of queer venues in the town – or rather LGBT-friendly venues, which are open to everyone but cater for the queer community with performances, quizzes and arts events. Wayne Shires and his team, including the amazing Gina, run The Fountain on Queens, the Sovereign in Bexhill and now the Trinity Townhouse on Claremont.     

PICTURE: Alice Denny

Queer on the Pier

Last year was the inaugural Queer on the Pier, an outdoor festival celebrating the diverse and eclectic LGBTQ+ scene. It’s back this year, restrictions lifted and dancing now allowed, with an incredible lineup including UK Drag Race royalty as well as local legends. With only a few tickets left, make sure you snap one up. 

Participation in the arts is also hugely important. Home Live Art is an LGBTQ+ led charity based in St Leonards dedicated to supporting live performance and bringing queer communities together through creative actions. Supported programmes include Good Stuff in St Leonards, who are currently recruiting for two projects. The first, Re:Create, is a small, friendly and free LGBTQ+ performance group looking for actors, writers, designers and technical support for a brand new production called Dreamland. The second is All Choired Up, a welcoming LGBTQ+ choir for all abilities, led by Carol Prior. From June 7th they’ll meet weekly at 7pm at St John’s Church Hall in St Leonards. To join either, visit goodstuffinstlens.com. Home Live Art is also bringing some amazing performances to our town, including Duckie, Lucy McCormick and Katy Baird at the Stables Theatre, Queer performance party Salty and Birmingham Drag Queens doing disco tea parties. (homeliveart.com). 

It looks as if we have an exciting summer of Queer arts ahead. 


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