The 2024 Festival – 15th – 17th March 2024

Despite receiving no funding this year, SAND and our partners have managed to put together  a very lovely programme of events

Friday 15th March 2.30pm – 4.00pm @ The Hive, 5 Belmont SY1 1TE
SEE Me – Feedback Focus Group
With SAND, Grain Photography
If you have seen the See Me exhibition with images by Award-winning photographer Ming de Nasty – or have plans to see it, then come along and join in this discussion. We’d love to know what you think about it. Perhaps it has prompted some ideas or memories; do you feel it brings any particular value to our county? Does it make you feel a part of something? Does it make you feel proud? Or perhaps you have questions about it. There will – of course – be cake, so drop us a line to let us know
if you plan to join us for this FREE event.

Friday 15th March 5.00pm @ The Hive
The Welsh Sappho:
The Romantic Life of Poet Katherine Philips and Her Society of Friendship

Queer Tales from Wales present a new performance piece about Katherine Philips, the 17C Anglo-Welsh poet and playwright also known as the Welsh Sappho or the Matchless Orinda.
At just 18 Katherine wrote to her friend Mary, to whom she had given the more poetic name of ‘Rosania’:

What angry star then governs me
That I must feel a double smart,
Prisoner to fate as well as thee;
Kept from thy face, link’d to thy heart?

Find out how Katherine’s life played out against the backdrop of the English Civil Wars and how she coped when her intense romantic connections with women were interrupted by the various marriages of herself and her beloved friends.

Performed by Queer Tales from Wales with Jane Hoy as Katherine Philips and Helen Sandler as Narrator. Written and researched by Norena Shopland.

This is a work-in-progress performance of approximately 30 minutes. Tickets £2.

Tickets HERE or phone 01743 234970

Queer Tales from Wales are a Machynlleth duo who have appeared at previous Shrewsbury History Month events as the Ladies of Llangollen, the poet Cranogwen and other surprising women-loving-women from our shared heritage

Friday 15th March 6.00pm – 6.30pm at The Hive
Shrewsbury LGBT+ History Festival Exhibition Private View
SAND, Grain Photography and Ming de Nasty join The Hive
Welcoming the full the See Me Exhibition to the gallery
FREE event

Friday 15th March 7.00pm – 8.30pm at The Hive
Remembering York Lesbian Arts Festival
Authors Manda Scott and Jane Traies with former festival director Helen Sandler
An evening to celebrate lesbian stories and histories… and imagine a better tomorrow.

Author Jane Traies will open the evening with a fascinating illustrated talk that provides a peek into her new oral history project.

Jane is currently researching the history of York Lesbian Arts Festival (YLAF), which grew out of Libertas! bookshop a quarter of a century ago. She has begun interviewing the writers and musicians who appeared at the festival as well as some of the women who flocked to the festival to hear them. These interviews will feed into a film called Three Thousand Lesbians Go to York, directed by Rachel Dax, and an accompanying book, to be published by Tollington Press.

Created by lesbian bookseller Jenny Roberts (who happened to be a trans woman), this ground-breaking festival ran for ten years. Jane appeared there as a writer before joining the organising committee and briefly becoming the Festival Events Manager – or ‘FEM’ for short. Her own memories have fed into her research.

After Jane’s talk, we go back to the future as one-time YLAF director Helen Sandler invites both Jane Traies and Manda Scott to the sofa, to read from their recent or forthcoming novels and talk about how fiction can recreate queer pasts – and dream up speculative new futures for all.

Both special guests have serious visions for their work. Jane Traies works to uncover the hidden histories of marginalised women. Her best-seller Now You See Me is a collection of older lesbian life stories; while Free to Be Me captures the stories of lesbian and bi women seeking asylum. With Jacky Bratton, Jane is also half of the writing duo known as Jay Taverner, whose Brynsquilver series of sapphic historical novels are all linked to the rich Shropshire countryside. The latest, Liberty, is a thrilling cross-continent adventure set at the time of the French Revolution.

Manda Scott is an acclaimed author who appeared at the very first Libertas! festival with her lesbian crime novel Hen’s Teeth. Her current work is deeply engaged with building a better world, and her forthcoming novel Any Human Power (out soon from September Publishing) asks the question: ‘How do you help the people you love to create a future you are proud to leave behind?’

Manda will provide a taste of this intense and visionary thriller, which weaves together myth, technology and radical compassion, asking us all to dream deeply and act boldly.

Best known for the ‘Boudica: Dreaming’ series, Manda has been shortlisted for the Orange Prize, the Edgar and the Saltire Award, and won the McIlvanney Prize. She hosts the chart-topping Accidental Gods podcast and is co-creator of the Thrutopia Masterclass. She was born in Scotland and lives with her wife on a smallholding in south Shropshire.

Helen Sandler is the publisher at Tollington Press, bringing out new books by women, including Jane Traies. In the past she has run YLAF, co-programmed the arts strand at L Fest, worked for Diva, and written lesbian novels. Helen and her partner Jane Hoy perform as Queer Tales from Wales and are part of the team that produces Aberration – LGBTQ+ arts events in Aberystwyth.

This event is both a recreation of the kind of panel that took place at YLAF and a thoughtful examination of where we are in 2024.

All welcome. Running time approx. 90 minutes. Bring cash to buy signed copies of the authors’ latest books for yourself or for gifts.

Tickets HERE by phone: 01743 234970

Friday 15th March 9.00pm – 11.00pm at The Hive
Festival Disco
Courtesy of Revolution Grooves

Celebrate the 9th Festival with a shimmy (we looked up ‘shimmy’ and it said “to effortlessly glide with a flowing motion!”) as the ever popular and very lovely Revolution Grooves team spin the discs. It’ll be a blast back to 2016 and 2017 when we held those totally wonderful SAND Discos – anyone remember those?
Donations on the door will go to support this year’s Shrewsbury LGBT+ History Festival.

Saturday 16th March 7.30pm – 9.00pm at The Hive
Mark Farrelly returns after his sell-out solo performance last year as Quentin Crisp – this year his solo play celebrates the life and works of Derek Jarman.
Derek Jarman: film-maker, painter, gardener at Prospect Cottage, activist, writer… his influence remains as strong as it was on the day AIDS killed him in 1994. But his story, one of the most extraordinary lives ever lived, has never been told. Until now. This vibrant solo play by Mark Farrelly brings Derek back into being for a passionate, daring reminder of the courage it takes to truly live while you’re alive. A journey from Dungeness to deepest, brightest Soho and into the heart of one of our most iconoclastic artists. Jarman’s works include taboo-breaking films like Sebastiane, Jubilee and Caravaggio, pop videos for the Pet Shop Boys (It’s A Sin and Rent), his extraordinary borderless garden in Dungeness, his shocking last paintings, and his unforgettable final film Blue, consisting of a single continuous frame of blue and chronicling what it’s like to lose your sight…but never your artistic vision.
Tickets HERE  by phone: 01743 234970

Sunday 17th March 3.00pm at Old Market Hall, Shrewsbury
Caravaggio (1986)

Derek Jarman’s most profound reflection on art, sexuality and identity retells the life of the celebrated 17th-century painter through his brilliant, nearly blasphemous paintings and his flirtations with the underworld.

CARAVAGGIO incorporates the painter’s precise aesthetic into the movie’s own visuals, while touching on all of Jarman’s major concerns: history, homosexuality, violence and the relationship between painting and film.

Tickets HERE  by phone: 01743 281281

A reminder of the 2023 festival