New Queers On The Block returns to Folkestone this autumn with a weekender of experimental and thought-provoking performances, conversations and video works by a line-up of local and international LGBTQ+ artists.
Building on the success of NQOTB in 2018, this year’s event welcomes seven artists exploring power, gender and the nuances of queerness, in a programme that spans experimental theatre, dance, poetry and video art.
On Friday 1 November, Ira Brand’s Ways To Submit explores dominance and submission – inviting the audience into a fantasy, a game, a performance, a fight: a series of duets in which we give in and take control.
New films will be screened on a loop over the course of the festival, including Moebius Stripping, a tongue-in-cheek performance film by Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul, aka Istanbul Queer Art Collective. The film sees them hand-shred three kilos of documents required by the UK Home Office, before turning them into borderless moebius strips. Samir Kennedy’s visceral video performance, Looks Like God Left the Phone off the Hook, takes the zombie body in all its abject, grotesque glory, to seek out the place where revulsion and attraction co-exist.
On Saturday 2 November, artist Nando Messias conducts a long table conversation on what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Folkestone; and Subira Wahogo delivers poetry with rage, softness, laughter and vulnerability, weaving together the personal and political, experiences and imaginations in Joy Nduku.
Local artist Benjamin Sebastian’s NB/GNC: Mourning Call is an abstract queering of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, diving into the erasure of non-binary identities and self-policing within LGBTQ+ communities.
Last Yearz Interesting Negro, aka London-based artist/dancer Jamila Johnson-Small, headlines Saturday evening with i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere. Prioritising the ‘now’ over ‘yesterday’, pleasure over doing it right, responsibilities of blackness and queerness, the pressure to ‘take space’ and the feeling of being possessed by other people’s fantasies.
New Queers on the Block sees artists engaging with local audiences via a local ambassadors programme especially designed to reach out to those who don’t attend theatre shows on a regular basis. This year’s local ambassadors are ]performance s p a c e [, who are running a programme of free, creative activity in the lead up to the festival. This includes a bespoke writing course for LGBTQIA+ people, a selection of books curated by Benjamin Sebastian and available from Folkestone Library, craft workshops in Folkestone and Dover, and a three-part lecture series exploring queer theory at ]performance s p a c e [, 62 Tontine Street.
New Queers on the Block is a Touring and Artist Development initiative led by the Marlborough Theatre & Pub (Brighton). This weekender is produced in collaboration with Creative Folkestone, ]performance s p a c e [ with additional funding by Arts Council England, Jerwood Arts and The Space.
Catch New Queers on the Block at Folkestone Quarterhouse on Friday 1 November, 6pm-8.30pm, and Saturday 2 November, 12pm-8.30pm. For more information visit https://www.creativefolkestone.org.uk/festivals-and-projects/new-queers-on-the-block/ or call Box Office on 01303 760750.