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BBC Arts shares powerful new LGBTQ+ works during Pride month as part of Culture in Quarantine


As Pride events are unable to take place due to lockdown restrictions, Culture in Quarantine is celebrating the LGBTQ+ community with several new works.

Announcements include a new queer play on BBC iPlayer featuring acclaimed actor Rupert Everett and co-produced by Oscar-nominated director and producer Stephen Daldry; a number of new LGBTQ+ audio works on BBC Sounds by emerging artists; and a documentary about pop art icon and AIDS activist Keith Haring on BBC Two. Launched at the beginning of lockdown by Jonty Claypole, Director of BBC Arts, Culture in Quarantine was created to keep the arts in the homes of the nation during lockdown. The initiative has recently been extended in order to continue to support the arts sector and bring British creativity to the widest audience.

  • BBC iPlayer premieres RUSH - a new play by Willi Richards featuring actors Rupert Everett, Omari Douglas and Daniel Boyd. Available today
  • BBC Introducing Arts shares LGBTQ+ audio works on BBC Sounds covering a wide range of experiences - from the setting up of the Lesbian and Gay Switchboard in the 70s to a dialogue between a trans person and their child self. Available now
  • Award-winning arts strand Arena will broadcast a documentary about pop art icon and AIDS activist Keith Haring on BBC Two next month

Stephen James-Yeoman, Commissioning Exec for BBC Arts, says: ďArts and culture has played an important role in helping to shape and share differing perspectives on LGBTQ+ issues. With many Pride events postponed due to COVID-19, we wanted to play our part to keep the celebrations and conversations very firmly alive. Through BBC Artsí Culture in Quarantine initiative, we hope this selection of innovative broadcast and BBC iPlayer works - from the Oscar-nominated Stephen Daldry to emerging artists in the LGBTQ+ community - will help to bring a little pride to everyone at home.Ē


New play RUSH on iPlayer

RUSH is a provocative new queer play and comedy examining romance, desire and infidelity. It debates control and convention, freedom and responsibility within a familiar love triangle. Now available to watch on BBC iPlayer, RUSH was recorded live, within the social distancing guidelines and in multiple locations, with an unknown number of virtual audience members. With no rehearsal, the actorsí first and fresh rendition of the script is captured with the brittle intimacy of fixed, close-up filming. Enter the virtual rehearsal room and encounter Man, Boy and Lad, played by Rupert Everett, Omari Douglas and Daniel Boyd in their first ever reading of RUSH.

The play was due to open in June 2020 in Londonís West End and was cancelled due to COVID-19, during the same month that has meant traditional Pride celebrations are unable to go ahead. RUSH was written by Willi Richards, directed by Joseph Winters, edited by Josh Williams and produced by Roger James Elsgood and Stephen Daldry.

BBC Introducing Arts shares LGBTQ+ themed audio commissions across BBC Sounds

BBC and Arts Council Englandís talent development scheme New Creatives offers a unique platform for young, emerging artists to tell the stories they want to tell, bringing them to BBC audiences including a dozen pieces around the subject of LGBTQ+ experiences and issues. From an aural exploration of LGBT+ helpline Switchboard, founded in March 1974, to a poem which creates space for a trans masculine voice of colour to tell a narrative about reclaiming their blackness and Bisexual and pansexual erasure in modern working class life.

The pieces are:

Arena: Keith Haring

A new BBC Arena about the international art sensation and AIDS activist Keith Haring will broadcast on BBC Two on 4 July.

Arena: Keith Haring is a BBC Studios Production. It was commissioned for BBC Arts and BBC Two by Mark Bell. Ben Anthony is the Director. Alice Rhodes is the Producer. Janet Lee is the Executive Producer

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