INTERVIEW: Curious Festival | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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If you’re planning on making the annual Pride pilgrimage, but are yet to be clued up on the origins Curious, pin back your ears: this might just be your new favourite thing. Launching into existence last year as an obscure event hosted largely by Breeze Creatives, the festival has since undergone a wondrous mutation, emerging from the party-planning cocoon as a glorious five-day celebration of immersive LGBTQ arts and culture.

“The idea is to create opportunities for both artists and audiences,” Explains founder Phil Douglas. “Which, in turn, raises visibility and increases understanding of identities in an ever-changing world.”
The festival, which is set to host a number of events in conjunction with the bustling pride calendar (see our handy Pride Guide for full details), aims to represent the social and cultural significance of art within the LGBTQ community. “I founded the festival last year, as I saw that other large cities had LGBTQ / Queer Arts Festivals.” He continues.

“I felt like the Newcastle-Gateshead and the wider region were missing out – we have plenty of great Queer artists here, and a significant LGBTQ community in the region. This potential audience doesn’t necessarily see a relatable cultural offering, or at least one that represents them as much as it could – so, we’re working with great partners who really are invested in developing this.”

These partners are certainly nothing to be sniffed at. In fact, they’re some of the most crucial arts institutions in the North East:  BALTIC mill, Northern Stage and ARC Stockton, among others.  “Last year was our pilot festival – we hosted one night in Breeze Creatives’ Bamburgh House with a film screening, as well as workshops at the BALTIC. This year, building on our previous success as an independent not-for-profit festival, we are incredibly pleased to be working with Northern Pride – I think they really value what curious offers as a complementary arts and culture programme alongside their main season of events.”

2017 seeks to go one step beyond workshops and screenings, with the aim to create a light atmosphere of entertainment whilst simultaneously encouraging dialogue about hard-hitting social issues. Inclusive, colourful, and full of life – that seems to be their motto.

“We want to showcase work about LGBTQ Culture, but not just by and for LGBTQ people: for example, the programme offers a wide spectrum of events and performances, from life drawing, voguing workshops and a vogue ball, to talks about North East Transgender history, and performances from Pi the Mime, a genderless mime performance exploring the challenges of a non-binary child who may feel they are playing with the wrong toys.”  He gushes.

“we take a sensitive approach and ensure there is an opportunity for as much dialogue as possible – that’s the most important thing.”

Curious Festival will be running at various venues across the North East from Wednesday 5th until Sunday 9th July.

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