LGBT Foundation and the Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network announces more local artists to be supported through the Pride Stages Bursary to create new work for Pride events and beyond in Greater Manchester this year.
Competition for the award was fierce – with 47 artists submitting expressions of interest to the selection panel, and 10 artists shortlisted for interview. The incredibly high standard of ideas proposed made the work of selecting just one artist a really difficult choice, and with the impact of the pandemic on the arts and LGBTQ+ communities also a consideration, all of the Pride Stages partners wanted to ensure that more Greater Manchester artists received support at this incredibly difficult time, to develop their ideas further.
Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, and the incredible generosity of the Pride Stages partners – The Met and Bury Pride, Waterside Arts and Pride in Trafford, The Lowry and Salford Pride, Oldham Coliseum Theatre and Oldham Pride – alongside new support from Manchester International Festival and Manchester Pride – the Network is pleased to offer two Pride Stages Bursary awards to Jason Andrew Guest and Cheddar Gorgeous – who’ll each receive a £1000 development grant, access to rehearsal space, and tailored development support from the partners to create an exciting new performance celebrating LGBTQ+ communities.
Jason Andrew Guest’s Welcome to the Haus of Myztique will celebrate Black excellence through vocal house music and fashion, with an exploration of Black queer artists, musicians, and popular pop culture icons; while Cheddar Gorgeous’s Oh What A Lovely Lockdown will use drag artistry and digital visuals to create a new performance exploring the experience of isolation and community during the pandemic.
As Greater Manchester starts to open back up after lockdown, the performances will initially be live streamed, then the hope is that they will be performed in front of live audiences at Bury Pride, Pride in Trafford, Oldham Pride, Salford Pride’s The Pink Picnic and Manchester Pride Festival this summer, providing much-needed moments of celebration.
Smaller awards will also support three other artists to further develop their performance ideas – Jade Williams and John O’Neill (supported by The Met and The Lowry) and Husk (supported by Salford Pride).
Jason Andrew Guest said: “I’m beyond overwhelmed and excited to have been awarded this opportunity to grow and develop as an artist. This chance to explore my fullest potential and to create something of excellence for my community is truly an honour and I cannot wait to share the space, share the Pride and share the love! It’s time to welcome everyone to the Haus of Myztique!”
Cheddar Gorgeous said: “The Bursary will allow me the space to take what I do seriously. It’s the first time I’ve really had the opportunity to dedicate time to rehearsals, and listen to voices of other professionals. Despite being on stage for almost a decade the pressure of commercial work often leaves little time to create work that has weight and finesse. This is the first time in my career that I feel I have been seen as a legitimate artist.”
Paul Martin, Chief Executive, LGBT Foundation said: “I’m really excited to see what our Pride Stages artists will create, and so thankful for the incredible support of our partners, who continue to go far beyond what’s been asked of them in their ongoing commitment to LGBTQ+ communities as part of their work with Greater Manchester LGBTQ+ Arts and Culture Network”
Victoria Robinson, Chief Executive, The Met said: “We were overwhelmed by the response to this award and so excited to see the work develop and be premiered in Bury in partnership with Bury Pride. Without doubt the collaborative approach to this commission is going to result in something quite special”
Lee Bowditch, Chief Executive, Salford Pride said: “It’s been a privilege to be part of the selection process, representing the Greater Manchester Prides that’ll host the Bursary artists on their stages. Salford Pride, Bury Pride, Oldham Pride and Pride in Trafford, look forward to working with these fantastic acts, and working further with our local arts and culture partners.”
Grace Ng-Ralph, Artist Development & Programming, The Lowry said: ‘’The process of awarding the Pride Stages Bursary has been brilliant. As well as ending up with two fantastic recipients, we’ve been introduced to LGBTQ+ artists completely new to us. We look forward to working closely with Salford Pride to showcase their talents in the best possible way.”
Chelsea Morgan, Learning & Engagement Officer, Oldham Coliseum said: “We’re really excited to build our relationship with Oldham Pride and support the Pride Stages artists to bring their work to Oldham. The process introduced some really exciting artists and ideas to the Coliseum and we’re looking forward to developing new relationships in the future.”
Darren Adams, Arts Centre Manager, Waterside Arts said: “We’re delighted that we’ll be supporting Cheddar and Jason with these brilliant new pieces of queer work. The calibre of the submissions was outstanding and we’re really proud to be part of celebrating the epic LGBTQ+ artists we have here in Greater Manchester as part of Pride in Trafford.”
Antonia Beck, Talent Development, Manchester International Festival said: “We’re delighted to be involved in Pride Stages, supporting two fantastic artists to create new work this summer. We’re investing in artists across Greater Manchester and looking forward to building lasting relationships as we head towards MIF21 and The Factory.”
Mark Fletcher, CEO, Manchester Pride said: “This is such an important contribution for us to be making to LGBTQ+ talent in Greater Manchester. I’m really pleased that Manchester Pride has been able to be involved with this vital project and to see the Pride Stages Bursary go to these brilliant artists.”