Manchester Pride is once again celebrating LGBT+ culture with its month-long, city-wide Manchester Pride Fringe. The Fringe features artwork, music, film, theatre and more from artists and practitioners across Greater Manchester and beyond.
This year, the dazzling line-up includes high-calibre British actors Imelda Staunton, Andrew Scott, Bill Nighy and Joe Gilgun. Local talent include Gimme Gimme Gimme and Beautiful Thing writer Jonathan Harvey, the internationally acclaimed and award-winning Paul Harfleet and Queer as Folk’s Denise Black. From further afield, Canadian artist Maurice Vellekoop makes his European debut with an erotic art exhibition in the city’s Northern Quarter.
Helping to pick apart some of the politics of pride, and linking it to the wider battle for liberation in the UK, Pride is a British film about an unlikely alliance between queer activists and striking miners in 1984. This important film – which highlights the connections between the struggles of working class Northerners and their LGBT+ peers – will have a red carpet preview at the iconic Printworks near Victoria Station. The cast of the film will take part in a public discussion on Friday 22 August at Selfridges Exchange Square, and will march in the Pride Parade the following day – using original banners from the miner’s march in 1984. This will be complemented by a second discussion immediately prior to the parade, which will include some of the original LGBT+ activists the film is based upon, at 11am at the People’s History Museum on Saturday 23 August.
On Tuesday 19 August at 7pm, at The Lowry in MediaCity UK, Coming Out: from Script to Screen sees Tony Warren, the co-creator of Coronation Street, joining actress Brooke Vincent and writers Jonathan Harvey, Damon Rochefort and Debbie Oates to discuss the concept of characters coming out in soaps.
Chief Executive of Manchester Pride Mark Fletcher said: ‘This year’s Pride Fringe is vibrant, varied and has a host of high-profile events. Our award winning programme of music, theatre, art, culture, comedy and sport, across Greater Manchester offers something for everyone.
‘Our aim was to make Pride Fringe as accessible as possible. The majority of events are free to attend and we hope that communities from Greater Manchester will join us for one of the many performances, activities and exhibitions, which we hope we get everyone talking, having fun and ultimately join in with the Pride celebrations.’
On Wednesday 13 August, The Metrolink Sessions will see a range of artists performing aboard a chartered tram travelling from Manchester to MediaCityUK – including Twisted Tubes, a ten piece brass-fusion band. Metrolink has also recently announced it will be offering free City Zone travel across the Big Weekend to all Pride weekend wristband wearers.
In Sackville Gardens, Paul Harfleet’s new installation Byte will take place at 1pm on Saturday 2nd August. This new artwork sees the Alan Turing memorial act as a catalyst for conversation and debate, inviting passersby to take a bite of an augmented apple – representing the same poisoned apple that Turing ate to kill himself.
Harfleet’s other ongoing artwork, The Pansy Project, was originally conceived in Manchester in 2004, before going on to feature at exhibitions and festivals all over the world. This ‘guerrilla gardening’ project sees the artist planting pansies at the site of homophobic abuse. With brother Tom, Paul Harfleet won a total of two Gold Medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2010. The Pansy Project Garden won Best Conceptual Garden. This project runs concurrently with his exhibition at the DoubleTree by Hilton. This opens on 1 August, and Paul will be speaking about his work on Sunday 3 August, in collaboration with Manchester’s annual festival of horticulture – Dig the City.
Cockadoodle, Maurice Vellekoop’s erotic art exhibition, will be on display in 2022 in the Northern Quarter from Friday 15 August. The first European solo exhibition draws on his portfolio of queer erotic art and features excerpts from both his Pin Ups series and his latest work Transworld.
Hazel’s Karaoke will take place on Saturday 9 August at New York New York. The event sees Queer as Folk’s popular Denise Black reprising her role as Hazel (Vince’s mum) and hosting a night of karaoke.
The Grill on New York Street will be raising funds for the Manchester Pride Community Fund at their Cabaret at the Grill event. This evening of dining and live cabaret, starring the glamorous La Voix, takes place on Thursday 7 August on New York Street – just a short walk from the Village.
Moston Miners Community Arts and Music Centre will host a very special Secret Screening on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 August. Organisers are keeping the film’s title a secret, but we do know that film promises to show how a little support can go a long way.
A full programme of events can be found at manchesterpride.com/fringe