Theatre, cabaret and alternative
The theatre has always attracted those who have a flair for the fabulous and in recent years we’ve seen a real surge in 'gay plays' on both The West End and the fringe. If you’re looking to see more LGBT-themed shows then a good place to start is always with the established companies and theatres. Main theatres like to programme at least one gay-interest play a season (the pink pound is very lucrative after all) so a quick web-search for ‘LGBT shows in London’ will usually throw something up. Check out what The National Theatre has on or have a browse through the listings on What's On Stage. There’s usually a tour of Pricilla or Cabaret showing somewhere nearby and through websites like lastminute.com you can often pick up a good deal on tickets to a lot of the main shows.
However, if you’re feeling brave and fancy venturing off the beaten track then there are some amazing fringe venues that programme gay work. Check out Above the Stag Theatre who are the only venue in London to programme purely LGBT-themed work. Also check out Duckie who do a weekly cabaret in Vauxhall showcasing all things queer and quirky as well as creating big, interactive shows like the recent Border Force which looked at queer perceptions around the world. These companies are a little harder to find but once you track them down you begin to notice others like them popping up all around you.
The beauty of fringe compared to some of the more mainstream shows is that fringe is often smaller scale and less-worried about profit margins thus is often more avant guarde and 'out there'. Although, by the same token, there are some truly terrible plays out there which you will probably want to avoid with a barge-pole. It all depends on how much of a risk you want to take with something you haven’t heard of before. Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with sticking to an old classic like Rocky Horror where you know what to expect and you know it will be fabulous!
Here's a a compilation of clips of Regina Fong at the Black Cap Camden, London, a taste of what nights were about in the 80s, 90s and 00s at venues such as the Black Cap, the RVT, Central Station, the White Swan and the Two Brewers. Also on the circuit at the time were Lily Savage, Adrella, Dockyard Doris, Millie Mopp, Maisie Troillette, to name but a few. Without taking anything away from the up-and-coming generation of drag and queer artists, is it sooo bad to look back some of those who trail blazed and on whose bouffant hair they stand today?
National Theatre | National Theatre
DV8 | DV8
Donmare Warehouse | Donmare Warehouse
Southwark Playhouse | Southwark Playhouse
Acola Theatre | Acola Theatre
Soho Theatre | Soho Theatre
Above the Stag | Above the Stag
Duckie | Duckie
West Five Bar | West Five Bar
Royal Vauxhall Tavern | Royal Vauxhall Tavern
What's On Stage | What's On Stage
The best of LGBT theatre | Out Savvy
Velvet Box Office | Velvet Box Office
"Velvet Box Office is the only site in London currently dedicated to bringing you the best of the alternative non West End scene covering burlesque, cabaret, circus, music, family shows, magic and spoken word shows."
Londonist | Londonist
"Londonist is about London and everything that happens in it. That means news, reviews and events; the history and future of London. We provide everything you need to know about the capital, as well as celebrating the quirks, eccentricities, hidden and surprising bits that make up the alternative side of the city. Upbeat and eclectic, Londonist is created by a diverse team of contributors who share a passion for London."
LGBT London: lesbian and gay London | Visit London
The five gay plays that changed the world | The Telegraph | 9 Jul 2018
LGBT theatre in London | Time Out | 4 Jul 2018
Why LGBT theatre needs to start telling new stories | Exeunt | 6 Jul 2017
LGBT London: what venue closures mean for the capital's future | The Guardian | 21 Apr 2017
Celebrating the LGBT community through arts and culture | The Arts Council | 9 Mar 2017
Top 10 London cabaret and drag show venues | The Guardian | 2 Sep 2016
Simon Callow: In Praise of Gay Sweatshop | The Guardian 13 Feb 2015
Gay theatre: coming out or going back? | The Guardian | 24 Oct 2013
A gay theatrical power list | The Stage: Mark Shenton | 2 Jul 2013
Gay Theatre | Drama Online
LGTC | London Gay Theatre Club
Gay Sweatshop Theatre Company | Unfinished Histories
Gay and Lesbian Theatre | Unfinished Histories
Lesbian and Gay Plays | doollee.com
Theatre and Sexuality | Jill Dolan | Palgrave Macmillan | 2010↑ Back to top