Saturday, 21 February 2015

Simon Callow: In Praise Of Gay Sweatshop

When I was asked, by this to me at the time hilariously named Gay Sweatshop, to read for the part of Toby in Martin Sherman’s play Passing By, I was highly sceptical. I was out, all right, to every one in my circle, and joyously romping around in the gay pleasure gardens. I endorsed gay liberation with every fibre of my being, I believed that more and better sex was the solution to everything, but I could not see the point of this sort of ghetto theatre. What next, I thought. Plays by chartered accountants, about chartered accounts, for chartered accountants?

Then I read the play – a very simple, highly romantic piece about two sweet young men who have an affair – and I was stopped in my tracks. I realised I had never read another play in which two men have a romantic affair and never once mention being gay. I immediately said yes. But I had no inkling of what performing that play in front of a gay audience would be like. The sense of their truth being told, of them in their ordinary lives suddenly existing, was overwhelming. I don’t believe I’ve done anything more rewarding or more emotionally overpowering on any stage or in any medium...

Simon Callow writing in The Guardian

Founded in 1974, one of Gay Sweatshop's declared aims was; ‘To make heterosexuals aware of the oppression they exercise or tolerate, and expose and end media misrepresentations of homosexuals.’

There is a history here.

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