Omnibus Theatre has announced Lord Michael Cashman, co-founder of Stonewall and leading LGBTQ+ equality rights advocate, as its newest patron. He joins as the sixth high-profile patron from across the arts and theatre community. The announcement comes on the eve of the theatre’s 96 Festival, London’s only queer arts event held under one roof, taking place from the 19th Feb to 31st March.
Lord Cashman comments: “I’ve had a long association with Clapham and what I find about Omnibus Theatre is that it’s an exciting and vibrant venue that not only embraces local audiences but also artists and creative communities. It reaches out from its history right the way to now and the future, to its celebration of diversity, inclusive programming and challenging theatre.”
He adds: “It’s important for us to remember that it is also LGBTQ+ history month and therefore the work being done at Omnibus Theatre also connects up on a national level and it’s become a very important focal point for the South West and wider.”
Artistic Director Marie McCarthy comments: “I am so thrilled Michael has agreed to be our patron. His long association with Clapham, his brilliant advocacy work involving LGBTQ+ equality rights makes him a great asset to our organisation and addition to our brilliant line-up of patrons. We look forward to working with him and particularly his participation heading up this year’s 96 Festival launch panel event.”
The 96 Festival launch event will kick off with a special panel discussion exploring questions around how queer communities experience divides around class, ability, race and gender and how art can bring the community together in shared moments of connection. How can we reinvent queer activism?
Panellists joining Lord Cashman in facilitating the conversation will be Linda Riley, board director of GLAAD and Diva Magazine publisher; Lady Phyll, co-founder of UK Black Pride, Rebecca Root actor in The Danish Girl and Colette; Jan Gooding, chair of Stonewall UK; Cassie Leon, producer of The Cocoa Butter Club – the queer collective celebrating Performers of Colour; and Nemo Martin, writer, producer, podcaster and theatre-maker.
Lord Cashman joins fellow Omnibus Theatre’s patrons Dame Judi Dench, Sir Michael Gambon, The Old Vic’s Artistic Director Matthew Warchus, director Richard Eyre and Maggi Hambling CBE.