LGBTQIA+ work coming to ARC

Free To Be Me mural, with trans colours and a placard illustration stating 'This is a safe space'. Text on the mural reads 'Any one of us can be discriminated against because of who we are. Until we are truly free to be ourselves, we will never create the safer, more inclusive society that benefits us all - #FreeToBeMe' - Ellie Lowther FRSA

This Pride Month, we wanted to share some of the fantastic shows that are heading our way very soon from some brilliant LGBTQIA+ artists.

Tommy, the Queer Historian, spent time at ARC (and exploring Stockton) earlier this year during the creation phase of his show, My Dear Aunty Nell, which comes to ARC on Wednesday 14 June at 7pm. Made in collaboration with members from the LGBTQ+ charity, Opening Doors (a charity that provides support to those in the LGBTQ+ community over the age of 50), this show explores how LGBTQ+ history is recorded by local gossip and hearsay, is a love letter to memories and asks how can you grieve for someone who isn’t dead?

On Saturday 1 July, musical comedian and LGBTQ activist Eppie Brilliant brings their brand new show, What’s Your Favourite Song?, to ARC. Middlesbrough-based Eppie, described by Notts Comedy Review as ‘refreshingly talented’, will take you on an odyssey through popular music, reimagining all your favourite hits from the 1950s to today. An accomplished guitarist and songwriter, no genre is left untouched. The Beatles to Black Sabbath, boy bands to the blues, all come under hilarious attack. Expect singalongs, audience requests and massive laughs in this amazing show!

And following a sell-out run on its hugely successful debut at last year’s Stockton International Riverside Festival, Ricky The Itch is coming to ARC in July. You can see Audrey Cook’s queer modern folktale (‘The Itch’ is a well-known and commonly feared local cryptid that one day emerged from the River Tees) on Saturday 29 July as part of the Stockton Pop-Up Pride programme.

Stockton Pop-Up Pride 2023 sees ARC partner with Curious Arts (producers), Stockton Globe and Wellington Square, supported by The Wilan Trust and Tees Valley Community Foundation, for a pilot event that will celebrate and represent the Tees Valley’s LGBTQIA+ communities.

In addition to these shows, Cleveland Transit is a safe, peer led space hosted at ARC on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month by Ellie Lowther FRSA – Inclusion Specialist. If you are trans or non-binary and would benefit from meeting people for friendship, community or advice, come along (accompanying allies also welcome)! The Cleveland Transit group also offers support and advocacy. For more information, please email [email protected] or text 07484 190950.

And when you’re passing ARC, don’t forget to check out the new Bright Minds Big Futures wall art (pictured above), supporting International Transgender Visibility. The Free To Be Me mural was created by young people of Stockton on Tees in collaboration with Ellie Lowther, and we are proud to have this on the outside of ARC’s building for all to see.