Turn On to Manchester festival

Published: 27 December 2020
Reporter: David Upton

Turn On Fest 2021

Turn On Fest 2021—the annual LGBTQIA+ festival in partnership with Superbia, Manchester Pride’s programme of arts and culture—will spread over two weeks from January 17.

Headlining the festival, at the city's Hope Mill Theatre, will be an evening in conversation with theatre patron Russell T Davies hosted by Julie Hesmondhalgh and streamed live on January 23. The evening will look at Davies’s career writing for film and television, including the ground-breaking Queer As Folk, most recent Years and Years starring Russell Tovey and his newest Channel 4 drama, It’s A Sin, which premières the previous night.

Another highlight will be Queer Musical Theatre Cabaret: All That Drag, a celebration featuring musical theatre singers and well-known drag stars in performance on January 29–30.

Superbia will also host two key events:

  • Fat Roland: Seven Inch: Set in the last record shop still standing, the Manchester comic re-examines his life through not-so-teenage kicks.
  • Make A Scene: Quizabella Rossellini: Manchester's big queer film club hostesses Gary James Williams and Grace Oni Smith bring a comedy game show that takes a romp through camp itself!

Manchester-based company Green Carnation Theatre will also be screening four monologue plays made into films available online on January 22.

Further programming includes: We Kiss In a Shadow, a gay cabaret with Tony and Olivier nominated composer / lyricist / orchestrator Jason Carr; première of a new short documentary commissioned and produced by Hope Mill Theatre, Our Street, featuring interviews and insight into Manchester’s Gay Village.

Hope Mill Theatre has also offered grants worth £1,000 as well as mentoring to four Manchester-based queer theatre makers Maz Hedgehog, Suriya Aisha, Finley Letchford-Dobs and Emma Hinds.

The venue will also host open forums, discussions and Q&As with Manchester-based queer groups including Manchester Pride and LGBT Foundation.

The venue will be operating with strict COVID guidelines. This will include 50% capacity per show with audience rows 2 metres apart and a transparent safety screen separating bookings. Events will rehearse with social distancing and a secure environment.