LGBT History Matters

LAUNCH OF EXHIBITION ON LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL & TRANS HISTORY

Thursday 14 May, 7pm, Foyle LGBT Centre, 20 Strand Road, Derry

Inishowen-based writer Hilary McCollum will speak about the importance of uncovering the hidden histories of same-sex relationships in Ireland and beyond at the unveiling of a permanent exhibition about lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) history. The event will take place on Thursday 14 May 2015 at 7pm in the Foyle LGBT Centre as part of the Rainbow Project’s LGBT Awareness Week: Challenging Prejudice – Promoting Inclusion.

At a time when marriage equality is being discussed both north and south of the border, Hilary McCollum will talk about the need for LGBT lives and voices, both past and present, to be more visible.

“The church and right wing politicians have long played a role in suppressing stories of same sex love. This is still largely the case but support for such prejudice is dwindling.

“Lesbian and gay people have always been here, we have always been part of families and communities. We deserve to have our stories recognised and told, the same as everybody else. Without seeing our lesbian and gay ancestors in history, how can any of us truly see ourselves?”

Hilary McCollum’s award-winning play, LIFE AND LOVE: LESBIAN STYLE, weaved together stories of the lives of contemporary lesbian and bisexual women. The play was sold out in Belfast, Derry and Dublin last year, showing a real thirst for stories of lesbian lives. Hilary’s first novel turns the spotlight on lesbian lives in the past. Set in the 1840s, it tells the story of young Frances Moriarty, who falls in love with a woman for the first time until the Irish famine devastates her community.

Golddigger – release date

My first novel, Golddigger, can be pre-ordered from Bella Books from 1 May 2015 and can be downloaded from 14 May 2015. It will be available from Amazon a couple of weeks later.

If you would like me to come to and read from Golddigger at a venue near you, please get in touch via the contact page.

More information about Golddigger is provided in the attached flier.

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Arts Council NI Support for Wild

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I am delighted to say that I have received an individual artists programme award from the Arts Council Northern Ireland. The award has been made under the General Art Award Scheme to support me to work on my second novel, Wild, set within the British suffragette movement.  This scheme is supported by the National Lottery. This award will make a real difference to me and I am so glad to have got it.

 

Great reviews for Lesbian Style

There’s been a great response to Lesbian Style in both Derry and Dublin with standing ovations and fantastic audience reactions. I’ve posted some comments below:

Left to right: Mel Bradley, Michelle Wiggins, Claire Dooher, Abby Oliveira

Left to right: Mel Bradley, Michelle Wiggins, Claire Dooher, Abby Oliveira

“If you don’t go to anything else in the Dublin Gay Theatre festival, GO TO Sole Purpose Productions ‘Lesbian Style’ by Hilary McCollum! If you never go to the theatre again, GO TO THIS. If you want a tightly scripted hour and a half rollercoaster of rip-roaring Derry Dyke wit, through poignant moments, gritty truths, and a beautifully uplifting celebration of love and women, GO TO THIS!”

“beautifully performed, fast-paced and fluid”

“wickedly funny and poignantly moving”

“wonderful universal stories”

“Fantastic piece of writing and 4 wonderful performers! Touching, funny, with some real heartwrenching moments. Brilliant piece of work!”

“a wonderful piece of work… funny, moving and thought-provoking.”

‘so funny, heart rending, dark yet always returning the audience to a place of shared positive spirit. Emotions ebbed and belly laughs flowed… I think it’s a play that we all owe ourselves the pleasure of seeing.’

Hilary and Pat with Eva Gore Booth award

Patricia Byrne (director) and Hilary McCollum (writer) with Lesbian Style’s award for best female performance, received at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

“Lesbian Style. This play from Derry does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s about lesbians and it has style. Sole Purpose Productions presents verbatim theatre with the voices, tears, laughter and integrity of the interviewed women, sensitively collated by writer Hilary McCollum into a captivating weave of women’s lives today. There is a powerful diverse ensemble of gutsy women whose respectful empathy for their diverse subjects shines through in what is a celebratory revelation of lesbian life and love. It is well directed by Pat Byrne, fast paced, charming and honest. The piece is very well cast with an equality of performance that enthrals the audience with seemless changes, clever narrative and a myriad of characters exploring issues from youth and coming out to health, love and control. The four onstage women get to grips with characters from reluctant teenagers to bewildered parents and bring to life voices from rural isolation to Urban Activists. They have a wonderful bond as a team and an obvious respect and love for their subjects. The wry Northern humour and perfect timing, peppers Mc Collum’s clever script with a proper sense of celebration of lesbian love.” Brian Merriman, International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival director

“We saw “Lesbian Style” tonight at the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, an entry from Sole Purpose Productions in Northern Ireland that was energetic, funny, moving and satisfying. Playwright Hilary McCollum put together a narrative arc that traced the experience of many women, from coming out to falling in love, to dealing with the tough parts: from illness, to breakup to homophobia from within and without. Special bonus: the talented cast got the audience to chant “vagina.” The cast of Michelle Wiggins, Abby Oliveira, Claire Dooher and Mel Bradley were versatile and handled the changes in tempo and tone well. Lovely work all around!” Kathleen Warnock, playwright

“Just home from Lesbian Style. Fantastic play guys! Had me in chills and almost to tears. So relatable, and intimate. I especially loved the reference to trans* identities and lesbianism. If anyone hasn’t seen this yet, DO.”

“I have to tell you how incredibly touching the show is, there is laughter, moments of emotional bliss that really reaches those tear ducts… Daring and inspirational… Witty and clever… Lesbian style won’t disappoint… You really don’t want to miss this!!”

“witty and fearless”

“Brilliantly funny, witty and touching, stories that lift your soul and fill it with inspiration, I recommend that everyone see’s this wonderful, well written, produced and acted piece, the cast blew me away.”

 

Award winning Lesbian Style

Delighted to have been nominated for the Oscar Wilde award for Best New Writing for Lesbian Style at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, the only woman nominated. And absolutely thrilled that the cast won the Eva Gore Booth Award for Best Female Performance! It was a great week.

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At the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival awards (fifth from left)

Left to right: Patricia Byrne (director); Michelle Wiggins (cast member); Hilary McCollum (writer); Claire Dooher (cast member with award)

Left to right: Patricia Byrne (director); Michelle Wiggins (cast member); Hilary McCollum (writer); Claire Dooher (cast member with award)