Homotopia (festival)

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Homotopia Liverpool logo.jpg
Festival logo
Frequency Annually in November, some activities all year
Location(s) Liverpool, England and international
Years active 13
Inaugurated 2004
Leader Gary Everett (director)
Official Homotopia website

Homotopia is an international LGBT festival held annually in Liverpool, England and across various parts of Europe. The festival takes place every November and features a mixture of theatre, dance, film, photography, art, cabaret and debate at numerous venues across Liverpool and in other European cities.[1][2]

Homotopia is a not for profit limited company with its headquarters at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre and is the only lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans combined arts organisation in the north of England.[3][4]


Homotopia 2004 Closing Party @ The Masque, Liverpool

Homotopia was launched as a pilot project on 1 November 2004, in response to Liverpool’s successful bid to become European Capital of Culture. The festival was commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company's Creative Communities project, and started life as a ten-day programme of film, theatre, photography, art, comedy, storytelling and heritage designed to bring together an assortment of artists.[5][6] Heavily supported by Liverpool City Council, the initiative was hailed as a sign of the city’s ‘growing maturity’ in the run up to Capital of Culture and as an opportunity for the gay and lesbian community to play a vital part in the region’s rich and diverse cultural life.[7]

The first event was attended by some 2750 people, but by the following year its visitor numbers had doubled, partly due to the high calibre of guests who had featured including prominent gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.[8][9][10]

By 2008, the festival had showcased the largest Tom of Finland art retrospective in the UK as well as the first ever North-West Grand Vogue Ball and visitor numbers had climbed to over 12,000. City leaders praised the celebration as a highlight of Liverpool’s cultural calendar.[11][12]

2009 marked a new chapter for Homotopia after a youth visit to Poland helped to forge new international partnerships and was instrumental in the development of the festival’s international arts programme and burgeoning social justice work.[13] The trip inspired an anti-homophobia documentary and education pack, which was rolled out to 100 schools and youth centres across Liverpool, gaining notable support from out gay Hollywood actor Sir Ian McKellen.[14]

Since 2010, in addition to offering its diverse Liverpool schedule, Homotopia’s work has expanded internationally and attracted audiences at various functions in Turkey, Finland, Sweden and Russia.[15][16][17]

In 2011, Homotopia was granted National Portfolio status by Arts Council England.[18]

Past Festivals[edit]

2011: "Cruising for Art"[edit]

World premiere of 'Savage Style' at Homotopia 2011. Exhibition of Lily Savage outfits

1–30 November 2011. Over 30 events including:

  • UK Premiere: Dykeotomy
  • UK Premiere: Berlin-Yogyakarta: From Hitler’s Terror To Human Rights Today
  • Cancerous Lipstick by Ben Youdan & No Narcissus by Dawn Brayford
  • Totally Frocked Up! An exhibition of photographs by Andy Green
  • World Premiere: Joseph Mercier Company – Cruising, Clubbing, Fucking
  • Rock Hudson: Dark and Handsome Stranger
  • Policing Sex Between Men: 1850 – 1971
  • World Premiere: Savage Style: costumes from Lily Savage’s wardrobe
  • World Premiere: PIN UPS
  • ‘The Male Species’ Dance Trilogy
  • Lavender Girls
  • A Taste Of Honey 50th Anniversary screening
  • Earthfall presents: At Swim, Two Boys
  • The Featherstonehaughs presents EDITS
  • In The Company Of Friends ‘Literary Night’
  • Face to Face: An Audience with David Hoyle
  • ‘Underclass Hero’ featuring La John Joseph
  • A Hard Rain by John Bradfield & Martin Hooper
  • Tranny Hotel – Liverpool
  • Alternative Miss Liverpool
  • The British Guide To Showing Off
  • Homotopia Short Film Night @ FACT
  • Tomboy (2011 film)
  • Live Loud & Proud
  • Youth Film Night at FACT
  • An Audience with April Ashley[19]

2010: "Love Conquers All"[edit]

1–30 November 2010. Over 50 events including:

  • Mother/Son by Jeffrey Solomon
  • Factory Floor - evening of new work by Clare Duffy, Abi Lake, Louie Jenkins and Carrie Whittaker, Caroline Wilson and Emily Underwood-Lee
  • Guillermo Gómez-Peña & La Pocha Nostra: Corpo Ilicito
  • Richard Haynes: Listen To My Secret Fetish
  • UK Premiere: Giselle, or I’m Too Horny To Be A Prince
  • Crotch by Keith Hennessey
  • The Factory
  • Manmade
  • Lavender Club
  • Call My Puff with David Hoyle, Doreen Kum Kwik, Margi Clarke. Compered by Terry Titter.
  • Planet Young – Gerry Potter & Jay Bernard
  • Stella Duffy - Reading from her new historical novel Theodora; actress, empress, whore
  • Afternoon Tea With Armistead Maupin
  • Gay Thursday: In Lust A Presentation by the Centre of Cultural Confusion
  • Getting Your Work Published with Gerry Potter, Stella Duffy, Jay Bernard and Claire Campbell
  • World Premiere of Pink: Past & Present - Documentary of Liverpool’s LGBT heritage
  • The Powerhouse Of Supermen: Does gay culture exclude ‘otherness’?
  • Midnight Mass: Peaches Christ presents International Premiere of ‘All About Evil’
  • Queering The Portrait
  • Right To Love – Youth social justice and anti hate-crime campaign, including Project Triangle
  • Big Gay Kiss exhibition
  • Sex, Drags, Rock’n’Roll
  • Big Gay Prom
  • Big Gay Night In[20]

2009: "Homotopia Not Homophobia"[edit]

An Audience with April Ashley @ St George's Hall, Liverpool, Homotopia 2008

1–30 November 2009. Over 30 events including:

  • Girls Go Down - lesbian evening of pop, electro, retro, indie, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s
  • My Turkish Delight By Stan Jones & Sarah Atkins-Navas
  • Insight Photography My World, My Story
  • Extraordinary Drawings by New York’s Laurie Lipton
  • Chris Von Steiner exhibition
  • Memories of Yankel Feather
  • Project Triangle - a unique arts & social justice initiative whereby 12 young people travelled to Auschwitz and Warsaw
  • Truant Company presents Caretakers by Billy Cowan
  • Sarah Waters: In Conversation
  • Lau your Luppers on the Strillers Bona: The rise and fall of Polari – lecture on the secret language of gay men
  • Charlotte Mendelson & Joanna Briscoe
  • Clare Summerskill: In No Particular Order!
  • Lavender Girls with Rosie Wilby, Jane Townend (both Nivea Funny Women finalists) Emma Bowley and local newcomer Norma KC.
  • UK Premiere: The Invisible Death of Michael - short film on homophobic murder of Michael Causer
  • Liverpool Is Burning, The Grand Vogue Ball (The Movie)
  • Pere Faura, Striptease
  • Music in the afternoon with Steve McFarlane
  • Little Boy Written by Tommy Kearney, Directed by Steve Miller
  • Gay Sunday @ FACT Cinema[21]

2008: "From Liverpool With Love"[edit]

1–30 November 2008. Over 50 events including:

2007: "All Things Bright and Beautiful"[edit]

1–19 November 2007. Over 70 events including:

2006: "A Queer New World"[edit]

26 October - 18 November 2006. Over 70 events including:

  • Launch of Queercore
  • Liverpool Lesbian & Gay Film Festival - over 30 screenings across the city
  • Nigel Charnock and Company
  • Fierce and Quarantine
Club Federation @ Homotopia 2006
  • Bare Bones - dance company performance
  • A new work by theatre company Truant
  • The Lavender Club - comedy, music and stand up
  • Super club Federation party night
  • Special appearance by Wimfest
  • Special event with Holocaust survivor Janni Kowalski
  • Our Story Liverpool - Liverpool LGBT archive
  • Announcement of new media sponsors Gay Times, Q-Soft and Gaydar, Out North West and Real Liverpool[25][26][27]

2005: "There's no place like Homotopia"[edit]

31 October - 12 November 2005. Over 50 events including:

  • Special retrospective exhibition by the Liverpool born artist TRADEMARK
  • Performance of ‘From Scottie Road to Harvard’ by Chloe Poems at Unity Theatre, Liverpool
  • The Lavender Club - featuring local, national and international artists
  • ‘Lavender All At Sea’ special event aboard Britain’s only touring theatre ship the SS Carroldo, which features the award winning play ‘Laramie Project’, an American story about the murder of Matthew Shepard which became a worldwide symbol of intolerance
  • Series of educational and topical events, collaborating with international artists Tim Miller and Bridge Markland
  • ‘Tales from Yester-Queer’
  • ‘Queer Conversations’ with guests from politics, literature and theatre including Peter Tatchell interview
  • Special all female production of ‘Entartete Muzik’ to celebrate lesbian and gay music during Nazi Germany
  • The Liverpool Lesbian & Gay Film Festival - over 20 film screenings including ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?’, UK premieres of ‘Straight Jacket’ and the German documentary ‘Men Heroes and Gay Nazis’.
  • ‘Queen’s Jewels’ in association with Black History Month[28]

2004: Pilot Festival[edit]

1–11 November 2004

Lady Sian @ Lavender Club, Homotopia 2004
  • "Gayzin’ Liverpool" – documentary by local film-maker Sandi Hughes
  • ‘It’s A Drag’ - exhibition documenting the lives of club performers and drag artists in Liverpool's gay scene
  • Hello Sailor exhibition - major collaboration of gay and lesbian artists including Sadie Lee, Trademark© and Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes To Hollywood)
  • ‘Tales From Yester-Queer’ – audio archive of Liverpool’s lesbian and gay past
  • Premiere of the Liverpool Lesbian and Gay Film Festival - 12 film screenings, workshops and master-classes featuring lesbian and gay filmmakers at various venues including the FACT, Unity Theatre, Liverpool University and The Stanley Theatre
  • The Lavender Club - Comedy, music and poetry with Lady Sian, Chloe Poems and Terry Kilkelly
  • Performance of Bent (play)
  • Stepford - Performance by Lady Sian[29][30]

Global impact of the festival[edit]

Stockholm's Kulturhuset cultural centre, host venue to Tom of Finland exhibition (Homotopia 2012)

Over the years, the Homotopia festival has forged links with groups and organisations around the world and its international work includes the following...

  • In November 2011, Tranny Hotel was held in Liverpool as part of the European-wide transgender arts festival. The city was one of only 11 cities in Europe to hold the event.[35]
  • In December 2010, Homotopia produced a series of interventions, debates and research culminating with the Pansy Project in Istanbul, Turkey as part of its European Capital of Culture year. Hundreds of pansies were planted to symbolize the ongoing international struggle for LGBT rights and equality.[36]
  • In 2009, 12 young people from Homotopia's Project Triangle went to Auschwitz and Warsaw to learn about the Holocaust. A group of young LGBTQ people from Poland’s KPH travelled to Liverpool to learn from Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Liverpool City Council. The visit inspired a training programme for Polish police.[37][38]


  1. ^ "Homotopia". Arts Council England. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  2. ^ "Homotopia 2007 – Opens November 1st". ArtinLiverpool.com. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  3. ^ "Company Details: Homotopia Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  4. ^ Peter Lloyd (27 October 2011). "Liverpool's Homotopia festival returns for 8th year". Diva Mag. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  5. ^ Louise Sardais. "Liverpool > Capital of Culture > Events > Homotopia". BBC Liverpool. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  6. ^ "Drag queens launch gayfest". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  7. ^ "City hosts first Homotopia festival". Southport Reporter. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  8. ^ "Record Audience for Homotopia". liverpool08.com. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  9. ^ "Homotopia festival to double in size". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  10. ^ "Queer Conversation". BBC Liverpool. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  11. ^ Christopher Brown. "Success for Homotopia". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  12. ^ Andy Green. "New high at Homotopia; Out & About". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  13. ^ "Homotopia: Tom’s Coming Home/Istanbul". Homotopia. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  14. ^ Staff Writer. "Ian McKellen backs Liverpool anti-homophobia effort". Pink News. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  15. ^ Staff Writer. "Homotopia and The Pansy Project go to Istanbul". Pink News. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  16. ^ Catherine Jones. "Liverpool’s Homotopia arts organisation takes Tom of Finland home for Turku’s Capital of Culture". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  17. ^ Andy Green. "Out & About". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  18. ^ Natalie Woolman. "LGBT group succeeds in challenge against ACE funding decision". The Stage. Retrieved 2012-06-20. 
  19. ^ "Homotopia 2011 festival listings". Homotopia. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  20. ^ "Homotopia’s seventh sizzling year". ArtinLiverpool.com. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  21. ^ "Homotopia 2009". ArtinLiverpool.com. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  22. ^ "LIVERPOOL’S GAY FESTIVAL HAS VERVE AND VOGUE". ArtinLiverpool.com. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  23. ^ Caroline Innes. "Queer Culture Festival aims to highlight city’s life of variety". Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  24. ^ Simon Moffatt. "Liverpool's Homotopia". BBC Liverpool. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  25. ^ Catherine Jones. "HAPPY GAYS ARE HERE AGAIN; Homotopia festival will be biggest ever". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  26. ^ "Hundreds celebrate queer culture". liverpool08.com. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  27. ^ "HOMOTOPIA BEGINS". Southport Reporter. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  28. ^ "Homotopia Festival 2". BBC Liverpool. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  29. ^ Andy Green. "Out & About: All hail to Homotopia". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  30. ^ Catherine Jones. "HOLLY'S BACKING OUR GAY FESTIVAL". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  31. ^ Andy Green. "Out & About". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  32. ^ "Home / Calendar / Tom of Finland". Kulturhuset. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  33. ^ "IDAHO UK: Liverpool". http://www.idahouk.org. Retrieved 2012-06-01.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  34. ^ "Kulturhuset Stockholm presents: Tom of Finland Retrospective". Tom of Finland Foundation. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  35. ^ "Liverpool opens Tranny Hotel for Europe-wide arts festival". Creative Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  36. ^ Staff Writer. "Homotopia and The Pansy Project go to Istanbul". Pink News. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  37. ^ Emma Marvin. "'First Prominent Polish campaigner is Homotopia's special guest". PinkPaper.com. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  38. ^ "Homotopia HMD Pink & Black Triangle Wreath Laying Ceremony". Seen Mag. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 

External links[edit]