Giving a voice to York’s LGBTQI community through the arts

BY EMILY EATON

HLGBT York is an organisation working to give northern LGBTQI people a voice – through creativity and collaboration.

Emily Eaton speaks to their producer, Mei Wilshare, to find out more…

DIVA: Tell us a little more about HLGBT?
MEI WILSHARE: HLGBT York is a collaborative enterprise, focussing on innovative concepts and new approaches. As a team, we create modern art, theatre, dance, music and site-specific events and manage each segment of the project along the way; from the concept to the staging!

What’s your favourite piece that HLGBT have produced?
One of them would definitely be the Anne Lister play we created. I was inspired to do this after watching The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister presented by Sue Perkins here in York.

I also loved working with Lydia Shaw. Her work explores the realms of gender, confidence and sexuality while focussing predominantly on the female form whilst toying with the idea of “what lies beneath.”

What is it that interests you about the use of the body within your works?
I love the idea of deconstructing the body. A person doesn’t have to be viewed as having a gender – the deconstruction breaks down the barriers that we are used to viewing a person with. Performance offers a new form of identity.

Why do you think it’s so important for LGBTQI+ organisations like yours to exist?

I think diversity of any kind is important. Society is gradually realising that it’s okay to be yourself, and to embrace that difference!

Any parting words?

Here’s a shout out to all the amazing LGBTQI volunteers in Yorkshire, including York LGBT History Month – they’ve packed over 50 events into their 2019 programme, which is amazing! Click here to find out more.

For more visit hlgbtyork.wordpress.com

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