Superbia Spotlights: Turn On Fest

Now in its third year, Turn On Fest is Hope Mill Theatre’s annual LGBTQIA+ festival that explores themes of gender, sexuality and identity.

By Emma Davidson | 30 January 2022

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Turn On Fest began its journey back in 2020 with the aim to shine a spotlight on new and emerging LGBTQIA+ talent.

The festival is produced by Hope Mill Theatre in collaboration with Superbia, Manchester Pride’s year-round programme of arts and culture.

This year, the event began on the 22nd of January, and has already held some great performances from artists including; Mark Farrelly, Chris Thompson, The Regulars and Hive North, and, this week, there’s even more for you to feast your eyes on!

This Thursday 3rd February, and In collaboration with Creatures of Catharsis, ‘If Not Then When Now’ will be at the theatre, a visceral blend of performance art and physical theatre presented by Gertrude Schmixon.

In an artistic amalgamation of previous on-stage experiences, Gertrude brings their club-based physical artistry to a theatre space. Claiming new ground, through delving into the depths of their ideas and dragging up any dregs of emotion and intention that remain. 

A showcase of sorts, their process and presentation of this piece explores the parameters between entertainment and catharsis; beginning a new chapter in their performative story.

Drawing upon their experiences of living, the truest test of endurance, they present themes of confinement, embrace and release. Working with other North West based Queer creatives on costuming and sound design, this piece acts as a debut for Gertrude Schmixon’s journey into a new artistic realm.

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On Friday 4th February, ‘The Reason for Geese’ will make its debut. Written by Elizabeth Gisbon, this spoken word show follows April – or is she December? – as she time-hops over different months in a year of chaos and change.

She is searching for someone, around the canals and wetlands of Manchester, and time is running out. On her journey, she encounters strange creatures, from a haughty goose to a wise bee to an invisible dog. Their surreal conversations help her to tackle dilemmas in her life, and choose her next steps. Elizabeth plays all characters using her body and voice, in this gentle, reflective spoken-word show.

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Sunday the 6th will also see Hope Mill Theatre host the Development Grant Evening and Queer Social where Four Queer Artists will receive £250 and a slot at the festival.

For the last 2 years Turn On Fest has supported various artists through these grants to take a piece of work they are developing to the next level and a chance to perform in front of an audience.