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London’s LGBTQ Theatreland Tour

06dec11:00 am12:15 pmLondon’s LGBTQ Theatreland Tour11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Event Details

  • Gay Desert Guide's Fun & Games Department and present London’s LGBTQ Theatreland Tour.
  • Join award-winning guides Nick Collinson and Dan Vo as they raise the curtain on the queer history of London’s famous West End Theatreland!
  • With a history dating back 350 years to the bawdy times of royal courtesan Nell Gwynn, the West End is the bustling Theatreland of London. It represents the highest level of British commercial theatre in the English speaking world. Over the years it has played host to more than its fair share of queer stars such as Oscar Wilde, Ian McKellen and the largely forgotten Maud Allan.
  • Hear the fascinating story of outlandish Canadian lesbian Maud Allan. She rose to stardom in London, attracting attention worldwide for her skimpy outfits and provocative dance moves. Her story features cameos by the notorious Oscar Wilde and his one-time lover Lord Alfred Douglas, and culminates in a huge public scandal involving German spies and the location of the clitoris . . .We will also take a deep dive into early British drag on stage, looking at one of the first - and youngest - ‘drag kings’, Vesta Tilley. She rose to become England’s highest earning woman! We also take a look under the skirts of notorious ‘drag queens’ Fanny and Stella, who were whisked off by the police one night after a particularly raucous show at the Strand Theatre. The ensuing trial of ‘The Funny He-She Ladies” astonished and exhilarated the Victorian public.
  • When Sir John Gielgud donned his special 'cruising cap' you knew he was ready for some series play. With his discreet disguise on, he would frequent the lavatories of the London seeking a standing ovation, until one day he was arrested by a 'pretty policeman'. While this was not the limelight he wanted, Gielgud's fall and rise again is an extraordinary example of the draconian and homophobic laws that were in place, and the masks people had to wear to conceal their private lives and desires.
  • Waiting in the wings of some of the greatest shows of the 20th century was theatre designer Oliver Messel. With an eye for the extravagant and a flair for beautiful design, beyond the stage he was also a prolific architect. In fact you may have recently seen Helena Bonham Carter ruffling feathers in The Crown as Princess Margaret while taking a royal holiday in the refined villa Les Jolies Eaux in the Caribbean, which was built by Messell especially for Her Royal Highness.
  • Described by the New York Times as a “leading figure in the world of alternative museum tours in Britain”, Dan Vo FRSA developed in house LGBTQ+ tours for the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Museum Cardiff and five University of Cambridge Museums: Fitzwilliam Museum, Polar Museum, Zoology Museum, Museum of Classical Archaeology, and Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. During lockdown he was the presenter of the BBC Arts program "Museum From Home." He was recently appointed project manager and lead researcher for the UK Queer Heritage and Collections Network, formed by a partnership that includes the National Trust, English Heritage, Historic England and Historic Royal Palaces. A museum freelancer, he is a consultant for LGBTQ+ programming at the National Gallery and Tate Britain and is on steering committees for several museums and promotes diversity, equality and inclusion in the UK as a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, trustee of Culture24, patron of LGBT History Month and a Stonewall BAME Role Model. Prior to moving to London, he was a senior manager at JOY 94.9, Australia's first and only LGBTQ+ radio station, and currently presents a monthly show called "The Past Is Queer" on Alphabet Radio in London.
  • Nick Collinson works in the Interpretation and Learning Team at the English Heritage Trust. Here he is responsible for creating and maintaining a world-class visitor experience by delivering an exceptional standard of on-site interpretation through exhibitions, trails, interactives and guided tours at over 400 historic properties including Stonehenge, Hadrian's Wall and Tintagel Castle. He also formed the English Heritage Trust 'Queer History Hive' of like-minded individuals looking to increase the representation of LGBTQ+ individuals associated with English Heritage sites. He masterminded English Heritage's first queer event - “Queer Walls” at Eltham Palace last year (sadly not running this year but will be back next year), and has recently completed a trail on Aelred - the 'gay saint (?)' of Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire (sadly also currently postponed). Also an accredited City of London tour guide, Nick runs his own London tour business - The Urban Rambler - where he leads historical tours of the capital for private groups. He has most recently worked with the Museum of London, where he contributed to a series on the Lost Rivers of London, and a new walk to highlight the queer history of Vauxhall in south-west London.
  • FAQs
    • When will the Zoom invite come?
      • The Zoom invite will be sent to your email address at 48hrs, 2hrs and 10 mins before the event. PLEASE CHECK YOUR SPAM AND SOCIAL FOLDERS IF YOU DON'T SEE IT IN YOUR INBOX. If you do not receive a Zoom invitation by 1hr before the event please get in contact with us.
    • What time zone is the event scheduled in?
      • The event is scheduled for 2pm EST (i.e. New York time). You can watch it in any time zone but please adjust to the time zone you are in.
  • No refunds, no exchanges. All sales final


(Sunday) 11:00 am - 12:15 pm


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