On Sunday 10 February 2019 People’s History Museum’s Playwright in Residence, Stephen M Hornby, will debut his play First Rumours with a rehearsed reading as part of OUTing the Past, the national festival for LGBT history.

The play looks at the life of Peter Tatchell, in particular when he stood as the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate in the Bermondsey by-election of 1983.  This was a campaign that would go down in political history, notably for the homophobic abuse received by Tatchell. Stephen’s play reflects on and examines these events, which for part of his research he used People’s History Museum’s archives where Tatchell’s papers and those of the Labour Party are held.

Peter Tatchell, renowned for his work as a human rights campaigner, says, “People’s History Museum is the national museum of democracy.  I’ve deposited some of my papers there and seen the excellent work they are doing.  I’m delighted that Stephen has been working with those papers, and done a series of interviews with me, to create a dramatisation of thestory I told in my book The Battle for Bermondsey.  It was the most homophobic election campaign ever fought in Britain. It’s time now for the full truth to be told.”

Peter Tatchell will be in attendance at the first rehearsed reading of First Rumours on Sunday 10 February 2019 (3.00pm – 4.20pm) at People’s History Museum.  Following the reading there will be a Q & A with Peter, facilitated by LGBT activist and historian, Paul Fairweather.

Stephen M Hornby, Playwright in Residence at People’s History Museum, says,

“I feel like I’ve only just got started on this project as the material is so rich and fascinating.  I could spend years on it.  What I’ll be presenting is an initial dramatic response to the interviews I’ve done and the research I’ve conducted.  It isn’t a completed play yet, more a starting point, a first sharing of ideas and characters to see how people respond, a work in progress.  I’m really looking forward to hearing what people make of it.”

Stephen’s position as Playwright in Residence at People’s History Museum has been made possible with the support ofThe University of Salford as part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP). 

Stephen M Hornby’s plays shine new light on LGBT+ stories from history for modern audiences.  Stephen was previouslyone of the Community Curators for the award winning 2017 exhibition Never Going Underground: The Fight for LGBT+ Rights at People’s History Museum, which marked the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexual actsin Britain.

First Rumours is part of People’s History Museum’s 2019 programme of activity that centres on the theme of protest; ahighlight of which will be the museum’s headline exhibition Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest, which opens on Saturday 23 March 2019.  The exhibition commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester and will feature objects from the museum’s unique collection, including original Peterloo artefacts. A space within the exhibition will be a Protest Lab; an experimental gallery for individuals, communities and organisations to use for creative campaigning and collective action. 

Peter Tatchell is one of People’s History Museum’s Radicals.  This membership scheme celebrates the people whose ideas have shaped our society, giving the opportunity for individuals or organisations to sponsor the Radical thinker of their choice to raise funds to support the national museum of democracy’s historical collections, exhibitions and Learning Programme. 

For further information, visit: https://phm.org.uk/support-us/


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