As the nights start to draw in, what could be better than heading to your local theatre and seeing a show which will entertain, make you laugh, stir your emotions and make you think?

There are plenty of blockbuster gay themed plays out there which are currently touring the UK (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is still on tour, and Tipping The Velvet is soon to be heading from the West End to Edinburgh), but there are some excellent plays out there that are written, performed and produced by people with a real passion for their story, or a personal tale to tell.

Wherever you are in the Country, one of these plays should be near you soon and are well worth a look.

Miss Nightingale – The Burlesque Musical

In the midst of the Second World War, Maggie is a cheeky Northerner who heads to London with her Jewish friend and songwriter, George, seeking out the bright lights and success of the big city. Her burlesque act is picked up by Sir Frank Worthington-Blythe who turns Maggie into the toast of London. But behind the scenes, there is something far more explosive than the blitz which is about to start. Frank and George fall in love and conduct a secret (and illegal) affair, which strains the relationship between the three of them.
Miss Nightingale is currently embarking on its fifth and final tour of the UK, having been a huge success with critics and audiences alike. The love story between the two men is touching, sad, poignant and moving, and the pathos is balanced with some hilarious, cheeky and saucy songs as Miss Nightingale takes to the stage with her unique brand of entertainment. But despite the historical setting, the play still remains relevant today, where there is so much persecution of the LGBT community in various countries. However, alongside its genuinely important message, the show is a superb evening at the theatre, which will entertain, make you laugh, make you cry and make you leave the theatre on a high. Don’t miss your last chance to see this wonderful production.
Miss Nightingale is currently on tour, visiting numerous locations until the 20th February 2016 , including Cast Theatre in Doncaster; Sheffield Theatres; Norwich; Hull and Blackpool. Visit www.missnightingale.co.uk for full details. You can also read our interview with Matthew Bugg, the writer and composer of the show
DV8 – West Yorkshire Playhouse

DV8 are one of the most cutting edge dance companies out there and thoroughly impressed The Gay UK last year with their piece, John. In this stunning piece of dance, DV8 not only focus on the central character, John, and his reasons for having sex with men, but also unflinchingly examines why men may or may not take risks with their sexual health, telling their stories without judgement or prejudice. The piece is based on interviews conducted with men at a gay sauna, and as the creators of the show undertook their research, one particular story emerged to the forefront. TGUK writer Greg Mitchell was impressed by the choreography, saying that “one of the joys of this production is seeing the way bodies fuse together, meld into one and then just as easily drift apart” and that the piece as a whole was “endlessly fascinating, but ultimately incredibly moving”. But this piece delves much deeper into John’s past and unravels his turbulent and difficult history and the show promises to be a visual treat.
DV8 are performing this piece at West Yorkshire Playhouse, their only tour date, on the 22nd to the 24th October 2015. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see a stunning piece of theatre. Tickets and details can be found at www.wyp.org.uk/events/john/Big Girls Blouse – Cast Theatre, Doncaster and National Tour

Part cabaret, part biography and part political statement, Big Girls Blouse is performed by Kate, a transgender woman who delights in her gentle and subtle political performances, telling her story of growing up and becoming a woman. Quite literally making a song and dance about her life, Big Girls Blouse is an award winning show which pushes boundaries, educates, encourages solidarity for the transgender community and manages to do it all with a good dose of the celebration of diversity to break down both barriers and stereotypes.
This is a show which deserves a wide audience and is a perfect example of how theatre can be used to entertain whilst getting across a powerful message.Big Girls Blouse is currently touring calling in at various venues around the country until 14th May 2016. For further details and to book tickets, visit www.kateodonnellpresents.com
Nine Lives – Doncaster Cast and National Tour

Ishmael is a young man who is seeking asylum in the UK following a surge in homophobia in his home in Zimbabwe threatens his life. As he arrives in Leeds, he is forced to re-start his life. Knowing no-one and being an a totally alien environment, he waits in desperation to find out whether the first steps he has taken to rebuilding his life will have been all for nothing if he is to be returned to Zimbabwe or whether he is able to find peace and love in a place which protects him as a gay man.
The topic of people seeking safety through asylum has been at the forefront of the news in the last few weeks and with homophobic attacks and the repression of the LGBT community in various countries around the world, this play hits home with the relevance of its political message. Written by Zodwa Nyoni, Channel 4’s writer in residence in 2014, this play injects wit and lightness into a difficult and challenging subject and following critical acclaim following its premiere at West Yorkshire Playhouse earlier this year, the show is now on national tour.
You can see Nine Lives at the following venues. Contact your local theatre for details and tickets12 October 2015 – The Bikeshed Exeter, Exeter

17 October 2015 – Trinity Bristol, Bristol

23 October 2015 – The Cube, Malvern

06 November 2015 – Upstairs at Western, Leicester

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12 November 2015 -Cast, Doncaster

16 November 2015 – Waterside Arts Centre, Trafford

19 November 2015 – Arc Stockton, Stockton on Tees

10 December 2015 – Brighton, Brighton

January 2016 – Arcola, London

 

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