Share this:

Omnibus Theatre celebrates the return of 96 Festival, London’s longest running queer arts festival; twice as big as last year and back by popular demand!

Throughout Pride Month and beyond a glittering line-up of artists will set up camp at Omnibus Theatre for 96 Festival, a spectacular celebration of queerness and theatre. A no holds barred extravaganza of theatre, comedy, cabaret, music, art and activism; now in its 9th year, 96 Festival has been conceived in remembrance and celebration of the iconic Pride party on Clapham Common in 1996.

Highlights of this year’s jam-packed 96 Festival programme

Joe Carstairs Trailer

Joe Carstairs, 4 – 22 June.

Headlining the festival is a new biopic fusing physicality, words and music, offering a fresh look at one of the 20th century’s boldest of queer figures. Joe Carstairs unleashes a highly charged fusion of physicality, words and music. In the midst of the roaring 20s, Joe Carstairs emerged as a rebellious force, defying societal expectations to become a war hero and the fastest boat-racer of her generation. But steering against the expectations of her class and culture came at a cost, with the tides of destiny propelling her in unexpected directions. Cut to present day, when Hik, a tenacious young playwright from humble origins, grapples with their own defiant spirit. After meeting strong-willed Tee at a writing workshop, they are presented with the opportunity to craft a play about Carstairs, but find their own identity questioned when tradition collides with progress. It seems their societal norms are not all that different from their idol’s 100 years earlier.

Funny Though at 96 Festival
Funny Though

Funny Though, 7-8 June

Clare Noy is an actress known for falling over in The Play That Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong. She’s also a stand-up comic just trying to get by. Here is another cautionary tale about a bisexual in crisis – making questionable life choices and living to tell the tale so that we don’t have to. This is an hour-long solo comedy show.

Just A Minute

Just A Minute, 8 – 9 June

Meet the intern. Alienated, delusional, and with a monumental crush on the straight boy in the office, he is the ultimate corporate flop. Join him for one life-changing day as he attempts to suppress his queerness and rise through the ranks at the Greenwich Meantime Museum. After a sold out run at the Dublin Fringe Festival, with nominations for Best Performer and the ‘Little Gem’ Award, this is a riotous new comedy written and performed by Conor Murray.

Rosa Garland, 14 June

Rosa Garland is a critically acclaimed clown who likes slime. She is the brain and body behind the sell-out queer cult hit Trash Salad (Soho Theatre, Pleasance). This is a new WIP for people who want to see what happens when a clown explores kink, but don’t necessarily want to date Rosa to find out.

Hell Yeah!

Hell Yeah!, 15 June

We’re Here, We’re Queer, We’re Improvised! Fun, femxle-centered, fearless and completely improvised. A supHer group of London’s hottest queer improv talent. With a cast of powerhouse award-winning/rave reviewed queer performers, who in their own right sell out shows, push the arts forward and are seen/heard on the BBC, Channel 4, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hoopla Impro and The Comedy Store to name a few.nMonica Gaga presents: Alicia Ingram, Laura Evelyn, Sally Hodgkiss and Amy Annette.

Out Of The Shadows, 16 June

An evening of music by Brixton-based contemporary classical composer Robert Hugill for Pride 2024. Following their premiere last year, two cantatas are featured that will take you from the twilight world of the 19th & early 20th century homosexual to a desperate search for eternal life, alongside songs celebrating love in all forms. The performers are tenor Ben Vonberg-Clark (precentor at St John the Divine, Kennington), baritone Jonathan Eyers (a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio) and pianist Nigel Foster (artistic director of the London Song Festival). Out of the Shadows moves from the earliest tentative admissions of same sex attraction, to cruising in a bath house in Imperial Russia to Walt Whitman’s unashamed admission of his sexuality.

Queer Diary at 96 Festival
Queer Diary

Queer Diary, 16 June

The night where LGBTQ+ adults read aloud from their REAL teenage diaries, poetry, fanfiction and more! A handful of brave queer folk take to the mic to re-tell tales from their formative years in the name of nostalgia, solidarity, celebration. “It’s like that ‘Mortified’ podcast – but all queer!” Join them for a night of youthful diary entries, long-lost love letters, fabulous fan-fiction stories, terrible Tumblr posts, and possibly the odd bit of cringey poetry! Queer Diary is an open-mic event, where you’ll be very welcome to get up and share ANYTHING you wrote in your youth! Sign up to share on the mic: bit.ly/queerdiary

Hasbian

Hasbian, 25 – 29 June

Hasbian (has-bee-un) noun. A former lesbian, Beth Watson’s real teenage diaries comes to life in the Groovy Chick-style animated world of Hasbian: A queer coming-of-age comedy set to a soundtrack of y2k pop classics (S Club, B*Witched, Destiny’s Child) and indie angst anthems (Placebo, Weezer, Garbage). How did Beth go from a childhood dreaming of The Wizard of Oz to cringey Cruel Intentions-obsessed adolescence? From proudly identifying as a teenage lesbian, to discovering that boys are also appealing? Using animated magazine cut-outs of iconic teen movie stars, a 00’s fantasy-cast steps in to “play” Beth’s friends (and crushes), who are re-imagined as the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Natasha Lyonne and Ashton Kutcher. Hasbian tells the true story of growing up queer in Brighton (the UK’s Gay Capital) under Section 28 (1988-2003 law prohibiting teaching “homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”). Dripping in equal measures with heartfelt earnestness, sharp irony, and humour that bubbles up in the place between youthful confidence and pubescent self-doubt, Hasbian fills audiences with buzzy nostalgia, while exposing queer phobia in the most liberal of cities. From the creators of Queer Diary –the night where LGBTQIA+ adults read their real teenage diaries on stage.

Standing In The Shadows Of Giants, 24 – 29 June

An autobiographical play about being a rockstar (‘s sister). A woman looks back on her youth as a struggling actress in early ‘00s, London. A comic retelling of minimum wage jobs and auditions for laxative adverts. Unprepared for the sudden success of her younger brother (traditionally the weed-smoking black sheep of the family), she’s forced to face her own failure. Dodging exes, sycophants and drinking dry the free bar; she eventually lands herself in rehab. And while smashed against the proverbial rocks,realises and then accepts her sexuality. Finally free to soar from the shadows she must mend her broken relationships…and begin casting some shadows of her own.

Lucie’s brother, Carl Barât of NME award-winning band, The Libertines was at the vanguard of the 00s indie music scene. Standing in the Shadows of Giants is a comic, heartfelt retelling of her experiences as a struggling actress whilst living with a rising rockstar. The show features original music co-written with both Carl Barât and Peter Doherty, as well as some guest (audio) appearances. Multi-hyphenate Lucie Barât originally trained as an actress. In 2009, she founded the award-winning independent press and production company, Little Episodes, under the mentorship of Little, Brown Book Group. Together, they published five anthologies and staged numerous plays and events. Lucie is also a skilled screenwriter, singer/songwriter and performance poet.

George, 25 June – 14 July

Marseille, France. 1839. When famous disobedient writer George Sand finds herself at a creative standstill, with an empty wallet, her desperate need for an idea leads her quill to the most intimate and dangerous place she has ever explored: herself. Embarking on her most daring work yet with her play “Gabriel”, she is caught in a perfect storm between her lovers, her queerness and others’ expectations. How far will she have to bend to make her story heard?

Omnibus Theatre, 1 Clapham Common Northside, SW4 0QW

Advertisements

What’s on this week