Image - Clockwise from top left: picture from one of the MOBILISE parties, Ginny Lemon, MOBILISE party, Just Soriah, Fatt Butcher, Mama Mamba, credit Emma R Jones.
25 queer artists from the West Midlands who met through MOBILISE – a series of sober and joyous silent disco dance parties – are set to lead the world-famous Birmingham Pride Parade in an event presented by Birmingham 2022 Festival. Performing alongside a newly recruited LGBTQ+ community dance ensemble of over 60 people, this special protest show marks the 25thanniversary of Birmingham Pride.
This large-scale protest performance on 24 September marks the first time the Parade has been co-created with local communities, making visible disabled, fat, trans, and people of colour who are often marginalised in the LGBTQ+ community. This action build on the legacy of the 2019 Birmingham Pride Parade, which saw members of the queer Muslim community leading the way through the streets of Birmingham.
Artists from the MOBILISE group set to make history this year include many trans, disabled, PoC, fat, and other marginalised bodies brought together by Fatt Projects – a queer performance company – which produces the series of silent, sober disco parties as part of Birmingham 2022 Festival. Their Pride performance will be an act of collective resistance, mobilising the bodies into a force for joy and transforming the city into runways and discos, in a riotous act of celebration.
Through this joyous protest performance, the world-leading Birmingham Pride leads the way towards a brighter, queerer future as it sets a challenge for Pride events around the world to not only become more accessible but also to give a much-needed platform to a diverse range of queer artists. MOBILISE is set to change the way Pride events represent the queer community.
This performance is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we are incredibly proud and excited to have been entrusted to bring it all together. We are changing the way that LGBTQ+ communities are represented at Pride, and bringing individuals who have previously not felt represented to the front and centre in an explosive riot of colour, music, protest, and joy. We’re saying unapologetically that this is our community, we are here, we are queer, and we are entitled to take up space and live authentically without fear. We can’t wait to share it with the world.
Tim Hodgson, Senior Producer for the Birmingham 2022 Festival said: “Everyone at the Birmingham 2022 Festival is thrilled to see the MOBILISE project culminating in such a joyous and spectacular way: leading the legendary Parade at the 25th Birmingham Pride. This special protest performance is set to mobilise all bodies towards a more inclusive and diverse future as it gives such a prominent platform to queer artists proudly representing the often marginalised groups of the LGBTQ+ community.
“MOBILISE artists performing at the Parade is one of the highlights of the final week of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, and we could not have asked for a more fitting celebration - bold, riotous and joyful. We can’t wait!”
The fantastic list of 25 artists set to lead the Parade includes Artistic Director of Fatt Projects and Drag UK Idol winner, Fatt Butcher, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK contestant and one of the stars of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony Ginny Lemon, choreographer Eric Scutaro known in his home country of Venezuela for his work with LGBTQ+ youth, performer Mama Mamba famous on the Birmingham arts scene for her fearlessness and body positivity, disabled artist and activist Bonnie Wheelass who also acts as Pride’s Accessibility adviser, Big Bi Drag King on wheels – Crip Ladywood, and drag DJ Maxx Gentleman. For a full list and biographies of the 25 artists involved in the Parade see here.
Dan Brown, Programming and Event Manager at Birmingham Pride said: “Birmingham Pride is really excited to work with Fatt Projects on MOBILISE! With it being 25 years of Birmingham Pride, we feel MOBILISE will be a perfect fit to lead the Parade and bring marginalised groups together to be the front and centre of it!
MOBILISE are inclusive and accessible sober dance parties produced by Fatt Projects and presented by the Birmingham 2022 Festival created to empower people to dance, take up public spaces, feel confident, and celebrate themselves – with a particular focus on trans, disabled, PoC, fat, and other marginalised bodies. It is also the name for the artists and community dance group that will lead the Birmingham Pride Parade.
Four MOBILISE parties took place between June and September at The Exchange in Birmingham, with the last one on Friday, 9 September. More on MOBILISE here.
About Birmingham Pride
First held in 1997, Pride has become one of the most important LGBTQ+ festivals in the UK attracting in excess of 40,000 people over the course of the weekend to the festival site in the heart of the LGBTQ+ village and over 75,000 participating in or watching our annual pride parade through the streets of Birmingham.
The Birmingham Pride festival will be held over the weekend of Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September 2022. More on Birmingham Pride here
MOBILSISE by Fatt Projects is generously supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.