On stage, on screen, on the page and on art gallery walls — GLASGAY! is splashing out all over. The List offers a complete guide to Glasgow’s lesbian and gay festival and picks out
some of the highlights.
IF YOU LIVE IN GLASGOW AND you‘re gay. you realise there is an amazing creativin around.‘ notes Louise Scott. board member of the city‘s lesbian and gay festival. Glasgayl. 'A lot of the public have the idea that being gay is
just about going out to the clubs
or being on the scene. Actually there are a lot of people who never do any of that. but might want to participate in events or meet other gay people.’
(ilasgay! is a ten—day excuse for those people to soak in a long hot bath of gay and lesbian culture. Theatre productions. writers' workshops. film screenings. art exhibitions. talks and a gala day — all this and more. spread across Glasgow. mixing work by professional artists with input at a community level.
‘People love doing things that are creative] adds Scott. ‘and so it‘s a fun way of bringing people together. We‘ve tried to give gay people who live here the chance to express themselves — but without creating a ghetto for gay art or gay people.‘
The festival provides an opportunity for Glasgow’s gay and lesbian community to ﬂy the flag and remind the rest of the population how active they are in the city. Much of this profile- raising element comes down to the strong support Glasgay! enjoys at a political level.
‘We’re really fortunate that there is now a city council that isn’t prejudiced and doesn’t discriminate,’ notes fellow board member and theatre director John Binnie. ‘I remember years ago. when I put up posters for my ﬁrst play. you used to have to be so furtive. you used to sneak into a library. get the blu- tack out fast, put it up on the corner of a board. then run out without asking permission. Of course. people do still make decisions that discriminate. The library will put up your poster, but not in the children’s book section.’
Obviously there’s some way to go yet. But Glasgay! ‘98 takes a big leap in the right direction. (Alan Morrison)
Femme to femmez The Dyke 8. .
Sign of the times: lesbian stories in Fingerlicks
26 THE “ST 22 Oct—S Nov 1998
Self-styled Glasgow dykes are set to take over The Arches at Glasgayl, telling their own personal tales - including those of ill-fated former marriages — in a unique new project. Fingerlicks, produced by mct theatre company, is the result of an outreach project formed this summer by respected director Natalie Wilson.
'lt's the only lesbian drama group of its kind in Scotland, possibly in the UK,‘ Wilson enthuses. 'It will be the first time in my ten years in Glasgow that I'll get to see some lesbian drama.’
The innovation does not stop with the project itself, however: the women involved have little or no experience of the theatre. Wilson agrees that taking a group of inexperienced actors to The Arches is a risky move, but sees it as expanding the sometimes pretentious vision of theatre. ’T hose who argue that theatre can only be achieved with experience limit the whole process.‘ she argues. ’Drama should belong to whoever wants it.’
The tales themselves are sometimes harrowing, sometimes comic, but always diverse and, above all, honest. Wilson argues that the integrity of the work more than compensates for the cast's relative lack of experience. 'I want to push the honesty,’ she says, 'because that is what will engage the audience. These women are playing themselves, and that is something that every member of the audience — whatever their sexual persuasion — will understand.’
There is also a strong political element to the piece, albeit in its concept rather than content. Wilson sees lesbian and gay theatre as vital to eradicating the butch/femme/camp stereotypes often portrayed in straighter plays, but stresses this is not a crusading piece. ’This achieves so much just by making lesbian stories visible,’ she explains. 'lt confounds expectations of who they are and what they want, and the visibility of using a stage is vital to that.’ (Nicky Agate)
I Fingerlicks is at The Arches, Mid/and Street from Wed 4 Nov. See Listings opposite.