30 June 2017

Curious Festival 5th-9th July - North East

As a self-confessed fag hag, lover of queer culture and champion of all things different, I couldn't not write about Curious Festival, coming to Newcastle and other culture venues in the North East from 5th to 9th July. The colourful graphics on the leaflet stood out on my weekly arts and culture leaflet hoard, and I was happy to see an eclectic mix of events happening over the course of the five day festival (successfully piloted last year).

Curious Festival aims to celebrate and explore LGBTQ culture through arts, and in turn to improve the quality of life of the LGBTQ community, as well as giving opportunities to artists and creatives to share their work. Expect thought provoking exhibitions, breathtaking dance performances and fun classes, educational talks, art and makeup workshops and showcases of northern creative talent.

After being blown away by Mandy Barker's thought-provoking Words Bare exhibition last year, I was pleased to see it included in the festival, this time at the Northern Stage (free, until July 26th). The colourful posters showcase comments and experiences that the LGBTQ community has faced and continues to deal with in society today.

Words Bare
The festival gets underway with Northern Stage is Curious on Wednesday 5th July (from 7pm, £7), a showcase of Northern writing and performance talent including a work in progress performance of PETRICHOR, a love story by Zendeh (their stuff is amazing), New Writing North's Proud Words, and an extract of 'Shorty' by Hester Chillingworth. 

Then on Thursday 6th July the action jumps to Arc Stockton for Mothers Ruin Is Curious, a queer cabaret night of dance, performance and comedy. Catch singer and comedian Charlotte Victoria Furness, spoken word guru Fat Roland, performance poet Ginger Johnson and a performance of 'A Blighted Life' by Gavin Coward, which explores attitudes towards homosexuality from around the globe. Unique three piece Aether provides the musical interlude, with everything held together by glamorous hostess Timberlina. 

Head to Dance City on Friday 7th July for Theseus Beefcake, a dance duet exploring topics as wide-ranging as masculinity, fantasy, Greek mythology and American Frat Culture. (£12.50, starts 7.30pm).

Theseus Beefcake 
There's lots going on on Saturday 8th July - arty types should head to Breeze Creative for a Curious Life Drawing (facilitated by Nicola Singh at 2.15pm and 4pm) and Queer Expression Makeup Masterclass with Grace Oni Smith (both £7.50). There are also two free talks happening on Saturday - Queer Space at Northern Stage (11.30am), discussing contemporary queer arts and culture, and Trans History North East at Baltic (3pm), an interactive panel will discuss how we can use the arts to raise visibility of North East Trans identity and history. And Madonna fans, don't miss the Curious Voguing Workshop at Space Six from 2pm to 3pm, then perform your new moves with the group at the Curious Vogue Ball later on that night (tickets £18, includes entry to the Vogue Ball). 

Curious Vogue Ball 
After you've feasted on culture, you can get out of your head and party at the Curious Vogue Ball from 7.30pm at Breeze Creative, combining a kick-ass party, live music, art and dance performances (tickets £6) then head to Community (in the same building) for the Poke Is Curious Afterparty, an LGBTQ club which will give the Drag Race Finale after party a run for its money (tickets £7).

For all the event info and to book tickets visit the Curious Festival website here 

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