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Councillor Kemi Akinola, Wandsworth Council’s Deputy Leader and cabinet member for the voluntary sector, business engagement and culture, introduces Wandsworth Arts Fringe 2024, 7 – 23 June.

Kemi Akinola:

We are thrilled to be celebrating Pride Month at Wandsworth Arts Fringe 2024 (WAF24), where diversity and solidarity are taking centre stage. 

Year after year, we are proud to spotlight the vibrant voices of talented queer artists. We believe in the transformative power of art and the importance of challenging norms to ignite pivotal conversations. For us, representing queer artists isn’tisn’t just about showcasing talent; our mission is to create a beacon of resilience, courage, and self-expression.

In a world where acceptance and solidarity sometimes feel like a distant utopia, we want to amplify voices that transcend boundaries and inspire audiences to celebrate their identities, challenge societal norms, and encourage togetherness. So, sashay into an extravaganza of LGBTQIA+ performances, exhibitions, and workshops at WAF24, where we will be celebrating queer artists’ power to inspire and unite as we build a more compassionate and equitable world for all. 

We have a wide array of performances platforming LGBTQIA+ groups and communities with joy, love, and laughter that we hope audiences will celebrate and enjoy with us. One such performer is the unapologetic and incomparable James Barr, who presents an hour of hilarious stand-up comedy. James is a renowned British podcaster and comedian extraordinaire who will bring tales from his life and emotionally share his journey of healing from an abusive relationship and the chaotic aftermath (including a legendary face-off with none other than Piers Morgan that left his DMs in disarray). James is a force to be reckoned with in the world of comedy and queer representation and reminds us to celebrate the messy beauty of life, which is what WAF24 is all about.

We also encourage you to don your fairy wings for Shakesqueer’s Midsummer Night’s Night’s Rave (see image above) —a whirlwind romance complete with glow sticks! Bask in the neon-lit arches of Putney Bridge as you rave to Shakespeare’s comedy tale brought into queerhood. 

At Wandsworth Arts Fringe this year, we are also celebrating the diversity of gender-fluid voices with brilliant artists like Alice d’Lumiered’Lumiere, whose show The Trans Lady Singreally brings home the power of perseverance – Alice sets out to transcend the confines of vocal physiology and redefine the boundaries of gender expression in opera. We’re so pleased that Alice is returning to WAF this summer to present a poignant mixed-media performance on themes of vocal identity, gender fluidity, and the pursuit of self-discovery. 

We are delighted to welcome shining comedy star and neurodiversity champion Cerys Bradley this year, who will be hosting Boyz Nite’s eccentric cabaret show celebrating the talents of trans men, trans masc, and butch non-binary performers. Expect razor-sharp wit and side-splitting comedy, as the performance leaves no taboo unmentioned and no stereotype unchallenged! 

We really want to make sure that WAF24 is for everybody and that everyone and anyone feels welcome and can find a fun or fascinating event to enjoy. For 15 years, Wandsworth Arts Fringe has been promoting the beauty of diversity and the importance of confronting the status quo.

We believe in LGBTQIA+ artists’ vital role in enriching the cultural landscape and the importance of representation so that everyone truly feels seen and included. Our queer performers send a powerful message of acceptance, embracing the inherent value of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

WAF24 is an inclusive and empowering space where everyone is celebrated for who they are. We hope that Londoners will come to Wandsworth this summer and celebrate with us as Wandsworth gets ready for its most incredible year of culture ever as the London Borough of Culture 2025.

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