Celebrate LGBTQ + arts with annual Pride in Trafford Festival

Trafford’s five day annual exploration and celebration of LGBTQ + arts is back for 2022 running from Tue 17– Sat 21 May.

Now in its third year, Pride in Trafford brings together an exciting and diverse range of performers and performances, from comedy and cabaret, storytelling and solo shows to photography and physical theater. All events take place in venues and spaces around the borough, including leading arts venue, Waterside.

Award-winning photographer Allie Crewe’s moving and poignant exhibition Your Own Light – featuring a series of striking portraits of trans / non-binary subjects – is one of the undoubted highlights of this year’s Festival. Shortlisted for the prestigious BJP Portrait of Britain Award in 2017, it was Crewe’s stunning portrait of Grace, a transgender woman, which won her the award in 2019. Grace is part of Crewe’s Your Own Light exhibition which will open at Waterside for Pride in Trafford and run until July and is part of the year-long photography program at Waterside, curated by Castlefield Gallery and supported by Arts Council England. Whilst on display in Sale, Crewe aims to add to her exhibition with new photographs of LGBTQ + people living in Greater Manchester.

Challenging perceptions about gender construction and performance, Your Own Light finds a tender beauty in the vulnerability and resilience of its subjects. Described by Magnum – the internationally acclaimed photography cooperative – as “highly rated, sincere, poignant and classical”, this emotive and authentic exhibition is filled with heart and empathy. It sheds a vital and timely spotlight on one of society’s more marginalized groups – a key component demonstrated throughout all of Crewe’s work as an artist compelled to capture the portraits of people who desire transformation and explore the stories of those who grow.

The visual arts element of Pride in Trafford continues with Interstice – a digital display and autobiographical embodiment of artist Paul Scott Bullen’s experience of homophobic resistance.

Live cabaret and comedy also features prominently throughout this year’s Pride in Trafford celebrations with highlights including musical theater diva Vivienne de Vil. In her brand-new show With One Look Vivienne sings through life’s ups and downs, embracing the future one show tune at a time.

Laugh Riot returns for 2022 – an evening of the best in alternative comedy. This year fabulous line-up includes MC Jonathan Mayor – a huge cult figure in comedy; comic and improviser Kate McCabe; and stand-up, drag queen and live streamer Red Redmond. The evening will be headlined by critically acclaimed stand-up Bethany Black – a stalwart of the scene who can be seen performing up and down the country, as “one of the UK circuit’s finest night-time storytellers” (British Comedy Guide). This event will be raising money for the life-saving and life enhancing charity, the Proud Trust.

Events for younger audiences sit at the heart of this year’s program, with leading local groups – Gorse Hill Studios, Rainbow Reflections and Cooking Club – coming together to create a fun and free special Pride event for young people in Trafford. There’ll be cooking sessions followed by loads of activities, including quizzes, music, arts activities, all curated by and for young people.

Avid younger readers and lovers of all things gothic and vampire (y) are invited to a very special Meet the Author event with Emmy Clarkewriter of Vampire Hunter Jessa funny and heart-warming short story for children. Inspired by her own personal experiences growing up with autism, Clarke’s protagonist Jess is also an autistic girl, who is determined to find proof that her neighbor is a vampire.

At this special one-off event, Clarke, who turns 26 in September, will read excerpts of her new book. Told through a mix of prose and unanswered text messages, it covers light LGBTQ + themes, and explores grief, friendship, and found family. It is also one of eleven new cautionary tales featured in Stories Of Care’s upcoming children’s anthology, Tales of the Brave, the Bold, and the Beautiful. This Manchester-based writing co-operative, founded by comedian and BAFTA-winning writer Sophie Willan, is a dynamic and rebellious writing and outreach organization, who works exclusively with exceptional new writers, from diverse backgrounds, whose voices need to be heard and whose stories need to be told.

Pride in Trafford is not only a real celebration of the diversity and broad range of queer arts and artists currently on the scene, it also offers a much needed outlet and platform on which to support new and up and coming LGBTQ + artists. Waterside and Creative Industries Trafford’s Making Waves program, which celebrates epic theater-makers and performers who are making a big splash with new work, will launch a queer edition for Pride, with an evening celebrating new work by LGBTQ + artists around Greater Manchester.

Professional dancer and choreographer, Rowena Gander presents her experimental, thought-provoking new work through contemporary pole dance fusion. In her one woman show Barely Visible she brings together dance and the spoken word to shed a light on common issues that queer women face, including sexualisation, (fe) male gaze and what it feels like to live in the shadows.

Two lovely and immersive outdoor events conclude this year’s Pride line up: Wildflower is a fun and floral pop-up performance that celebrates being your vibrant, colorful self even under the harshest conditions. Presented by the producers of the award-winning Curious Arts Festival, this joyous promenade show will see Wildflowers ride by on their flowery trikes, handing out and creating a welcoming environment where everyone can thrive. Throughout the afternoon, Pride in Trafford and local eaterie Mano a Bocca will host a free outdoor celebration on Waterside Plaza, with family friendly activities and a chance to find out more about some local organizations.

Producer for Pride in Traffford and Manager of Waterside Darren Adams comments, “We are really thrilled with this year’s line-up for Pride in Trafford. There is a real sense of ‘coming together’ weaved throughout the program – not just because all the events are live in person, but in terms of the themes, the artists and the collaborators involved.

Through their work, all our performers celebrate inclusivity, love, diversity and togetherness and one thing that really stands out and encapsulates this year’s program is that our differences can unite us and that it is something to embrace and celebrate. We can not wait to see the community back celebrating Pride in Trafford for five days of queer joy, fun and pride. ”

Pride in Trafford runs from Tuesday 17 May until Saturday 21 May. Launching this year’s festival is the annual Flag Raising at Sale Town Hall at 11am on the Tue 17 May to coincide with and mark The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. We will be joined by the Leader and Chief Executive of Trafford Council, along with pupils from local schools.

Tickets are on sale from Thursday 31 March here.

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