After ten years at the forefront of LGBTQ+ culture, The Marlborough Theatre needs your help to keep going.
The Marly has been bringing the best of LGBTQ+ culture to Brighton & Hove since 2008. From queer icons like Kate Bornstein, David Hoyle and Justin Vivian Bond to the freshest new talent, we have supported hundreds of artists, making a vital year round home for the unusual, the queer and the different.
In the last decade, The Marly’s small but dedicated team have worked tirelessly to get some ambitious projects off the ground that make life in this city richer and more diverse; like making spaces for queer people of colour to come together and be brilliant (Brownton Abbey - Brighton Festival 2018); to tour our work to places where there is less access to affirming LGBTQ+ led culture (New Queers on the Block) and uncovering the hidden queer histories of our city (Queer in Brighton). At the heart of what we do though is our unique public programme, presenting around 300 performances a year in our beautiful theatre space, which dates back to 1794. Our projects simply can’t provide the financial support required to keep our treasured space running and this is why we need your help.
In increasingly challenging times for the arts, we need support:
- To repair and replace our equipment - our lighting and sound equipment is falling to pieces, our air conditioner just broke permanently and our seats are viciously uncomfortable. All these things make the space less comfortable for audience members and less useful for artists
- To preserve and build on our public programmes that centre and elevate some of the most marginalised members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- To support our dedicated core team who want to continue to make ambitious projects happen in this city
Without your help we will be forced to:
- Significantly reduce our public programmes meaning less diverse LGBTQ+ performance happens in Brighton
- Support fewer artists per year due to decreased staff capacity
- Raise our prices making the space less accessible to the people that really need it
Marlborough Theatre is a unique arts organisation in the UK, supporting LGBTQ+ artists from early career to internationally renowned to make extraordinary work that changes the lives of audiences. Described by The Guardian (2017) as ‘A refuge for cutting-edge performance’, The Marlborough Pub & Theatre is also an LGBTQ+ community hub. It is one of a kind nationally, hosting diverse artists & audiences who interact in a safe, social setting where difference is celebrated, highlighting and counteracting the abuse that LGBTQ+ people still experience on a daily basis. Projects grown in our 60-seat theatre reach audiences of 10,000 people in Brighton & Hove and a further 8000 nationally via touring each year.
Creating social change is at the heart of all we do. Our work improves the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ people, offering them affirming art that represents their lives and is mindful of the complex intersections of sexuality with experiences of disability, class and ethnic background. By doing this we are promoting a culture and a society that is more equal, just and respectful of difference. In contrast to the popular narrative of advancing LGBTQ+ equality, the experience of LGBTQ+ people in different parts of the country is wildly unequal due to varied social, political and geographic contexts. By creating projects that can tour we are seeking to advance equality across the UK, by encouraging conversations, increasing representation and building networks that connect communities across regions.
For us, highlighting difference isn’t just a passing trend, it’s in our DNA and we are committed to it year round. We continually strive to support artists at the cutting-edge; centering, celebrating and elevating marginalised people, because these are the stories that will unite us, these are the voices of the future. in a few a years you will see these artists in the biggest and most prestigious festivals in the UK and this makes us unbelievably proud, because it all started at The Marlborough.
The Marlborough believes in theatre as social activism, pushing for diversity and against perceived and structural boundaries, it gives a platform to artists and performers who are often marginalised and allows exceptional yet unconventional up-and-coming artists a space to thrive. In a few years these artists will be performing in the biggest and most prestigious festivals in the UK, and The Marlborough is proud to be the hub of creativity that fosters the development and growth of a boldly creative future.
What people say about us
“The Marlborough is so hugely important, not just for Brighton or the Southeast, but to people living across the country and also internationally to recognise a place for them in the UK. I live in Glasgow but feel think of The Marly as my cultural home” Rosana Cade - Artist and Artistic Director of Buzzcut Festival
“A breeding ground for some of the most exceptionally talented artists in the UK and beyond. It’s been leading and reflecting the changes in our culture for as long as I can remember. It’s important on a national level.” Tim Crouch, internationally acclaimed actor, writer & director (Royal Court & National Theatre)
‘From the moment you enter the pub on the ground floor you realise they understand the importance of safe spaces for people who can be ostracised by wider society.’ Selina Thompson, leading theatre maker (National Theatre, Birmingham REP and West Yorkshire Playhouse.)
Video filmed and edited by Rosie Powell Freelance.