Travelling Queer People’s History Show

Bird la Bird's Travelling Queer People's History Show logo in bright circus style font with a painting of her dog Trixie in a pose similar to the HMV dog.

Bird la Bird’s Travelling Queer People’s History Show is a spoof lecture which takes a DIY punk approach to history.

Three years in the making, this is EPIC queer history for the Netflix generation squashing a boxset worth of true queer stories into one show.

Bird on stage in front of text reading Deep Queer.

Beginning in the vast prison that once stood on the site of today’s Tate Britain, Bird lovingly traces the lives of queer prisoners across centuries and continents. Flinging the doors of the queer past open she lays bare the interlocking histories of the British Empire, class exploitation, racism and homophobia and links this to contemporary issues of global LGBTQI refugees.

Each prisoner’s story is a jewel in this treasure trove of stories. Providing tantalising glimpses into the lives of 19th Century queer men of colour, sex workers, homeless people, intersex people and street musicians.

Then for balance, Bird flips her attention to the the elite white colonialists responsible for anti-gay laws cutting them down to size using humour and historical material.

The Queer People’s History Show decolonises LGTBI history by taking an inclusive, irreverent approach to the past. Bird uses scouse humour to make history engaging and relevant to contemporary audiences.

Using laugh out loud comedy, high femme glamour and a working class point of view, Bird takes the usually stuffy format of a history lecture and transforms it into relevant, informative and inclusive entertainment.

Inclusive performance every time

The Queer People’s History Show aims to make queer history accessible in every way including:

  • Integrated audio description experienced by the whole audience
  • Touch tours for vision impaired audiences
  • Only working with step free venues
  • Providing live captions in almost every performance (provided by MyClearText)
  • Low cost or free tickets
  • Low or no alcohol spaces
Bird in academic drag standing in front of large project of her dog Trixie walking on the cliffs of Dorset
Still from history show – Bird in front of her dog Trixie dog of history

Audio description

The show features a hilarious, informative and emotional audio description narrated by Liz Carr also featuring Dickie Beau and Adam Scott Rawley. The voiceover integrates audio description for vision impaired audiences with additional commentary and information.

Reviews

A hilarious, accessible and eye-opening evening

Diva Mag

Audience reception

Audience reaction to the show has been incredible. Including in a massive standing ovation from the capacity crowd at the Queer and Now festival at Tate Britain in June 2018.

https://twitter.com/birdlabird/status/1010937800336859136
Video of standing ovation at Tate Britain, Queer and Now, June 2018

“I’ve never been anywhere that tried so hard to be inclusive – loved the live subtitles”

“Bird gave me an important lesson in my history and the performance needs to be seen and broadcast!”

“Should be taken to schools/colleges!”

Next performances

See diary page.

Historians

Watch this space for more info about the historians whose work inspired the show.

Credits

Researched, written and performed

Bird la Bird

Early version of “Who created the crime?” devised in collaboration with Dr Rohit K Dasgupta.

Director & Dramaturg

Jan Willem van den Bosch

Voice overs

  • starring Liz Carr with
  • Dickie Beau
  • Andrew McCloud
  • Adam Scott Rawley

Audio description

  • Bird
  • Michael Achtmann
  • Jan Willem Van Bosch
  • Amelia Cavallo

Sound design

Josh Anios

Costumier

David Cabaret

Advisors

  • Audio description & Accessibility
    Amelia Cavallo
  • Intersex rights
    Valentino Vecchietti
  • QTIPOC history
    Campbell X
  • Travelling theatres
    Anne Featherstone
  • History Daddy
    EJ Scott

Logo

They / Them

Painting of Trixie

Sarah Jane Moon

Photos

Holly Revell

Curious Arts

Producer – pilot tour

Dan De La Motte

Mentoring and fundraising – pilot tour

Duckie

Mentor

Deirdre McLaughlin

Cameo, Muse and Queer People’s Puppy

Trixie Macushla

With love and thanks

Bev Skeggs and Jane Czyzelska for believing in the show.

Nicole Barakat for research assistance.

Sadie Lee, Fiona Shaw, Dawn Hoskins and Zorian Clayton for letting me loose in the museum.

Ruth Holliday and Jon Binnie for friendship and teaching me about queer geography.

Supported by

Arts Council England logo.Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Lottery Funded.