Since 2019, the New Writing South team of LGBTQ volunteers have been collecting stories from their community across South East England. Working with a company of performers, these autobiographical tales have been woven together to create a new, digital performance – a highlight of the Hear Us Out online programme of events taking place at the end of November 2020, celebrating LGBTQ elders.

The programme’s Artistic Director, Dinos Aristidou, has utilised new writing and verbatim speech to create Hear Us Out, a joyful, poignant and heartfelt digital performance. Using the ‘Hear Us Out technique’ performers of all ages listen to the collected stories of older LGBTQ people through headphones and perform them “live” to camera, exactly as they hear them. There is no attempt to copy accents but the personalities of both performer and storyteller form a distinctive bond. The pauses, sighs, laughter, stutters and stumbles of the original recordings are embraced and preserved.

This digital celebration of LGBTQ life has been created with Brighton filmmakers My Genderation and composer Angèle Veltmeijer. The performance features memories of teaching during the Section 28 years and drag alter-egos, same-sex weddings and obtaining Gender Recognition Certificates, the impact of AIDS and ongoing LGBTQ activism – and joy. Lots and lots of joy!

Rehearsing and recording the LGBTQ cast in their own homes has added a compelling intimacy to the Hear Us Out digital performance.

“Each performer transformed their personal space into a rehearsal room, stage, set and wardrobe…” explained Dinos Aristidou. “We could not have planned for the closeness, the warmth, or the playfulness this glimpse into real LGBTQ life would add in our new digital world.”

Hear Us Out – the digital performance – is part of a wider programme of online events, celebrating the stories of older LGBTQ people, that will run from 26-29 November

Photos by Rosie Powell