Adventures, LGBT, Other, Theatre

We made a Fun Palace!

Fun Palaces:

  • is an ongoing campaign for cultural democracy
  • promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture, making the most of local spaces and local skills, empowering people to create
  • is led by local people for local people – which is what makes it all so different! There’s no central theme, no central idea, nothing that everyone does the same

About a month after the second Fun Palaces weekend, Stella Duffy came to talk to the students at my school about it. I went along, and was delighted to see how interested and focused the students were. I wanted to get involved, but wasn’t really sure how. So, for a while, I watched people making Fun Palaces all over the place, doing all kinds of things, and told people about it, and I waited.

Fast forward four years, and I’ve just made a Fun Palace! My friend Megan came down from Manchester to join in, too, which was truly wonderful. I was very much an accessory – writer and theatre-maker Amie Taylor was the genius behind it – but I think I was useful and I definitely had a wonderful time. Our Fun Palace was hosted by the Pleasance Theatre in Islington, and although many many makers are queer, and it’s a queer phenomenon in many ways,ours was the first specifically LGBTQ Fun Palace. We had workshops on creative writing, mental health, activism, and burlesque, and drop in sessions to write poetry, decorate biscuits, dress up, and make drag queen/king puppets. Everyone – makers and the people who joined us – wore pronoun badges. I helped with the puppet-making and I really enjoyed helping people – mostly children, but some adults too – have a play with making something that I had only tried myself that day. It felt shared and special, even though – or perhaps because – it was so far out of my comfort zone.

I have been involved in something huge and important. I spend so much time deferring to other people, people who know better, when it comes to creating something new, that I find it hard to identify what I can do. I’m already thinking about what I can do next year, how I can improve on what I brought to the day.

I feel empowered, and I feel hopeful, and I feel a strength in my community that I didn’t really know I’d been missing.

Books, LGBT, Theatre

A theatre review, by me!


I reviewed A Curmudgeon’s Guide To Christmas Round Robin Letters for The LGBTQ Arts Review last week. I really enjoyed the play (letters! lesbians! audience participation in a good way! hats! a small cry!), the venue is fantastic, and I felt all Christmassy and wonderful afterwards.

Read my review and get yourself a ticket – it’s on until 23rd December at the Hope Theatre in Islington.

Adventures, LGBT, Theatre

The Night Watch at the Royal Exchange Theatre

When I heard, earlier this year, that the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester would be staging my favourite Sarah Waters novel (so far, at least – I haven’t read Affinity or The Little Stranger yet), I was delighted. Then I remembered that my mum really liked it, too, so we eventually got round to booking tickets for a Saturday matinee, and planned a daytrip to see it.  Continue reading “The Night Watch at the Royal Exchange Theatre”


The Threepenny Opera at the National Theatre

Yet another National Theatre production that I knew nothing about before seeing it, and what a delight! Also, yet another surprise musical! This says a lot about me, probably.  Continue reading “The Threepenny Opera at the National Theatre”

Adventures, Books Are My Bag, Theatre

Shakespeare Saturday, in which I took the Bard for a muddy walk, and he nearly got eaten by a goose


On Saturday, which was Shakespeare Saturday, I had plans for pizza and Star Wars with Chloe in the afternoon, so I couldn’t go to any bookshops for Events. But in the morning, I had no plans, so my mum asked me to go and buy some bread for lunch. We have a few supermarkets near us, and they’re all very quick to get to by car, but I thought a walk would do me good, so I set off across the park to Tescos. When I stopped at one point to watch the swallows, a woman asked me about my bag, so I told her all about Books Are My Bag and Shakespeare Saturday. Then I put it down to take a photo and this goose was very very interested indeed. Continue reading “Shakespeare Saturday, in which I took the Bard for a muddy walk, and he nearly got eaten by a goose”

Adventures, Books Are My Bag, Independent Bookshop Week, Theatre

Shakespeare Saturday is almost here!

This Saturday, 23rd April 2016, is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Books Are My Bag are running a lovely campaign to celebrate the Bard, featuring their latest excellent tote bag (mine has elicited many odd looks). Check here for your nearest participating bookshop – there’s a map, and a search feature specifically for Shakespeare Saturday events.

I’ve put up a bunch of posters and banners around the school library where I work – with any luck, the banners between the shelves will make it easier for the countless pupils who ask where the Shakespeare books are…

Continue reading “Shakespeare Saturday is almost here!”

Adventures, Theatre

The Pitmen Painters – Oldham Coliseum

I’ve just spent a wonderful weekend in Manchester, visiting my friend, Megan. We planned a quiet time of mostly nothing, but it didn’t quite turn out like that. I sprained my ankle on Wednesday, but we still managed to walk two dogs (Megan has recently signed up to BorrowMyDoggy), cook lots of Chinese food, eat an amazing roast, and see a play. Continue reading “The Pitmen Painters – Oldham Coliseum”

Adventures, Theatre at the National Theatre


The National Theatre’s Entry Pass scheme offers £5 tickets – for every performance of every production – to people aged 16-25. This means that I have seen a lot there. It also means that I have seen a lot there while knowing very little about it beforehand, because £5 and a couple of hours of my time is a very low risk indeed. Continue reading “ at the National Theatre”

Adventures, Other, Theatre

King And Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings – Barbican

Last week, Lauren emailed me and asked whether I wanted to “see a whole load of Shakespeare” – four plays, on three consecutive days, for £20. Of course, I said yes please, and looked it up.

The RSC is concluding its residency at the Barbican with King And Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The cycle we saw began with Richard II on Tuesday 12th January, followed by Henry IV Part I on the 13th, Henry IV Part II as a matinee performance on the 14th and ended with Henry V that evening. Continue reading “King And Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings – Barbican”