As part of the diversity of Glasgow's cultural scene, Glasgow hosts an annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Arts Festival in November, organised by GALA Scotland Ltd.
First held in 1993, Glasgay! is now well and truly into its second decade and has expanded to 30 days in 2005 and is now the United Kingdom's largest multi-arts festival for LGBT people (and their friends), celebrating the talent and diversity of the Scottish LGBT community (and way beyond) the festival also provides a platform for aspiring artists.
Glasgay! is Scotland's annual celebration of queer culture. The festival was founded in 1993 by Cordelia Ditton and Dominic D'Angelo. The festival's operating company GALA Scotland Ltd was incorporated in 1995. The Company operates from its new base at the Q! Gallery in Saltmarket, located in the heart of Glasgow's Merchant City and a growing cultural quarter.
In February 2004, Steven Thomson, was appointed Producer of the Glasgay! festival. Since his appointment the festival has grown from a small fortnight long festival of circa 3,000 attenders to a large month long celebration at nearly 20 venues attracting up to 25,000 visitors. He has successfully repositioned the festival as Scotland's annual celebration of queer culture, grown public funding, increased private sponsorship, and diversified the income base. The programme continues to have a strong international flavour and he is currently developing a programme of commissions of new work for the next three years ahead.
In September 2005 the Company opened the Q! Gallery, Scotland's first gallery dedicated to queer art and artists. In Spring 2006 the Company opened The Stud!o, an adjacent space for creative workshops, rehearsals, performance and holistic practice. Both the Q! Gallery and Studio have year round programmes of work and are available for hire from time to time.
The Glasgay festival is presented annually from mid October to mid November. The festival presents a professional programme of top acts and new artists from around the world with events spanning comedy, music, film, theatre, visual art, performance art, literature, club nights, education events, community arts projects.
The programme is balance of high-profile visits from international artists from around the world and established and emergent artists from across the UK. The events take place at venues across Glasgow. Glasgay is funded by Scottish Arts Council, Event Scotland, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, Glasgow Glasgow City Council. The festival also receives commercial sponsorship and occasional grants from trusts and foundations.
The producer, the festival, and the city Glasgow have been given numerous awards since 2005 ... gay.com Top 4th gay destination; Fodors and Frommers top destination of 2006 and the Producer listed as one of top 100 cultural movers and shakers of year (2005 & 2006) in Scotland.
The Glasgay! Festival includes theatre, visual art, music, dance, comedy, film, clubs, literature and exhibition, covering a variety of venues across the Merchant City, City Centre and West End areas of Glasgow.
In 2008 Glasgay! becomes The Tennessee Williams Festival for one year only. A major celebration of the life and work of the author on the 25th anniversary of his death. The festival features four UK premieres of lesser known works, a major classic revival, and a six week classic film series at London’s BFI Southbank, Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Filmhouse.
On 29th March 2008 the Glasgay! festival secured a doubling in its funding till 2011 and announces an exciting programme of premieres for 2008 as part of its TENNESSEE WILLIAMS FESTIVAL. The Scottish Arts Council have awarded the annual Glasgay! festival flexible funding for a fixed term till 2011. At £60k annually this effectively doubles the Company's past annual grants.
The festival has also won a three year deal from Glasgow City Council as well as enjoying the continued support of Event Scotland and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. This new support takes the festival to almost £¼ million turnover and secures its long term future growth and development.
2008 line up features Laurance Rudic (formerly Citizens’ Theatre) in the UK premiere of THE PARADE, written when Tennessee first fell in love in 1940. The Scottish premiere of AND TELL SAD STORIES OF THE DEATH OF QUEENS, a lost gem about misdirected passions, deluded drag queens and seedy straight boys. THE MUNICIPAL ABATTOIR and THE CHALKY WHITE SUBSTANCE, one act plays in which two men battle for survival in post apocalyptic worlds where institutional murder is sanctioned. The festival will also feature a new bio-play called ELYSIAN FIELDS by Derek McLuckie focussing on the life and curious death of Tennessee Williams.
The line-up also includes performances from Stephen Petronio Dance (New York, USA) Scotland's Theatre Cryptic; Pacitti Co.(UK); Dilly Keane (Fascinating Aida); visual art from David Trullo (Spain) and Gregor Laird (Scotland); as well as BOUT!QUE, a four-week programme of contemporary performance from newly emerging Scottish artists.
The 2007 festival ran from 12 October to 11 November and was bigger than ever.
Theatre highlights include: Little Johnny's Big Gay Musical by Randomaccomplice at The Arches, Venus as a Boy by National Theatre Scotland at Citizens' Theatre, Tamburlaine Must Die by Tron Theatre Company at Tron Theatre, Amie Lame's Mama Cass Family Singers at Tron Theatre and FIT by Queerupnorth and Stonewall at CCA. Boutique theatre will also feature across the four weeks of the 2007 festival at Q! Studio. Performances include; Colette, The Secret Scenes by Yvonne Caddell, Reality by Martin O'Connor, Stick It In My Party Hole by Glass Eyed and 3 Minutes: A Speed-Dating Road Show With A Difference by The Glitterbox Paradox.
Music highlights include: Mauricio Virgens and Paul MacAlindin in We Two Boys Together at RSAMD, Carol Laula and Band performing songs from her forthcoming new album at St Andrews In The Square, David Paul Jones performing Palmstar Poppy.
Film highlights from Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) include: The Bubble by Eytan Fox, Puccini For beginners by Maria Maggenti, Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds by Philip Bartell and The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Duncan Roy.
Comedy highlights include: The Music of Dirty Dancing at King's Theatre, Grumpy Old Women LIVE at Theatre Royal, Tina C at The Stand, Comedy Explosion at The Stand, Wicked Wenches at The Stand, Licence Pending at Tron Victorian Bar, Craig Hill Makin' A Big Song & Dance! at Tron Theatre and Scott Capurro's Premature Gift at The Stand.
Clubs highlights include: The Big Gay Prom at St Andrews In The Square, Death Disco at The Arches and Utter Gutter with two nights during the 2007 Festival, including Cock, Rock & Frock Fancy Dress Birthday Bash to celebrate being three years young.
This year a major exhibition forms part of Glasgay!; Kylie - The Exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum showcasing 'All Things Kylie' from across her career.
Highlights from the 2005 festival included music from Marc Almond, comedy from Pam Ann and Topping & Butch and readings from Chloe Poems and Queer Stories, launching a year of storytelling with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Scotland.
Venues include the Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), the CCA, Tron Theatre, Citizens' Theatre, The Arches, King's Theatre, Theatre Royal, RSAMD, St Andrews in the Square, Art School, The Stand, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and Glasgow's gay scene.
Glasgay! organisers also run the Q! Gallery, a new queer gallery in the Glasgow's arts quarter in the Merchant City. A new Stud!o performance area opened in 2006.