Exhibitions, screenings, performances and parties to enjoy both before and after the Pride in London Parade
Pride is a celebration of love in all its forms, providing LGBTQ+ people around the world the opportunity to raise awareness of issues that matter while promoting visibility for all members of the community. With LGBT Pride Month traditionally celebrated in June, events ranging from rallies and marches to parties and festivals usually take place throughout the summer months to commemorate and recognise the past struggles of LGBTQ+ people in the fight for equality.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexual acts in the UK, making this year’s Pride in London all the more special. The annual Pride Parade is expected to be the biggest yet, with the theme of ‘Love Happens Here’ encouraging everyone to look back at the past 50 years and forward to the continued battle for equality and rights.
The Pride in London Parade takes place on Sat 8 Jul, starting at 1pm and taking a 1.4 mile route from Regent Street. But if you’re looking for other ways to celebrate Pride both before and after the Parade, we’ve put together a round-up of activities that are worth checking out.
Parties and Club Nights
Penguin Pride at Proud
An evening of performances celebrating the role of literature in LGBTQ+ history, with discussions, readings and spoken word. Penguin Pride also features a specially curated exhibition of photographs, in association with Stonewall, a pop-up bookshop selling LGBTQ+ titles and a headline performance from Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke on the main stage.
Penguin Pride at Proud, Proud Camden, Wed 5 Jul, 7.30pm
Lip Sync Battle Live
Join Topsie Redfern and Vanity Von Glow for an evening that takes inspiration from popular TV show Lip Sync Battle. Watch as performers battle it out to be crowned the champion and if you’re brave, you can even have a go and show off your own moves on stage for the chance to win some great prizes.
Lip Sync Battle Live, Freedom Bar, 60–66 Wardour St, Thu 6 Jul, 7pm
BBZ X Balamii
BBZ have partnered with Balamii Radio to bring you a fantastic lineup of femme identifying DJs, producers and more. BBZ are known for putting on regular parties for queer women and genderqueer women of colour, providing a space for music, film, photography and other platforms. You can catch Ikonika, Throwing Shade, Shy One, Manara and more at their Pride weekend special.
BBZ X Balamii, Corsica Studios, Fri 7 Jul, 10pm
The Official Pride in London Ladies After-Party
Step into the Victorian setting of the Trading House for a night of entertainment that aims to celebrate the power of women and diversity. This ladies-only party features a lineup of DJs including Rocket, Bae2Bae and Sami Kubu, the Durban-born/Brighton-based owner of Nightshift Records.
The Official Pride in London Ladies After-Party, The Trading House, Sat 8 Jul, 9.30pm
HER London Pride Party
HER, the app made for LGBTQ+ women, are throwing a massive party at the Village Underground for all members and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community, with a mix of live performances and music courtesy of some excellent guests. Enjoy DJ sets from Marika Hackman, PINS, Passionate Necking, Battilac and more, along with performances from Berlin-based artist Gaff E and The Cocoa Butter Club.
HERR London Pride Party, Village Underground, Sat 8 Jul, 8pm
Art and Exhibitions
Queer and the City Life Drawing
Join the Royal Institute of British Architects and Starkers for a special Pride themed life drawing event. Hosted by an experienced tutor, you’ll get the chance to make use of RIBA’s archives to draw the nude against the backdrop of projections of buildings and cities at vital moments of queer history. No experience is necessary but you’ll need to bring your own materials.
Queer and the City Life Drawing, RIBA,Tue 4 Jul, 6.30pm
In Visible Ink: Tracing LGBT+ Stories at the NT
Curated by Hester Chillingworth, this exhibition looks back over the past 25 years to bring together some of the events and stories that have played a key role in the political, social and cultural history of the LGBTQ+ community. With it being 25 years since the premiere of Angels in America at the National Theatre, In Visible Ink also includes the recollections and memories of people at the NT on past productions and historical moments.
In Visible Ink: Tracing LGBT+ Stories at the NT, National Theatre, until Thu 21 Sep
Queer British Art 1861–1967
The first exhibition dedicated to showcasing works related to queer British art, offering an exploration of past conceptions of gender and sexuality. Featuring works by artists including John Singer Sargent, Dora Carrington, Duncan Grant and David Hockney, the exhibition provides an insight into the history and diversity of LGBTQ+ art in the UK.
Queer British Art 1861–1967, Tate Britain, until Sun 1 Oct
Desire, Love, Identity: Exploring LGBTQ Histories
A display of LGBTQ+ histories that are often overlooked, the British Museum’s exhibition includes a range of objects that draw attention to our assumptions of gay culture. Follow the trail in the museum and discover the stories behind some intriguing objects such as a silver medallion of Hadrian and Roman drinking vessel, the Warren Cup.
Desire, Love, Identity: Exploring LGBTQ Histories, British Museum, until Sun 15 Oct
Comedy and Theatre
Zeal Improv Festival
The first ever Pride improv festival aims to highlight the talents of a range of entertainers from the world of comedy, through stand-up, theatre, cabaret, drag and much more. As well as showcasing established acts and up-and-comers, the festival will also give audiences the chance to get involved in improve through workshops and jam sessions.
Zeal Improv Festival, Various locations, London, until Fri 7 Jul
Jon Brittain’s Olivier award-winning play navigates tough questions relating to gender and sexuality, through the story of Alice and her girlfriend Fiona, who comes out as transgender. Despite the serious subject matter, Rotterdam is a warm and immensely funny piece of theatre that explores how gender is more complex than we think.
Rotterdam, Arts Theatre, until Sat 15 Jul, 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Angels in America
This new staging of Tony Kushner‘s two-part play features an all-star cast with Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Nathan Lane, James McArdle and Russell Tovey. Set in mid-80s America at the height of the AIDS epidemic, the play looks at the treatment of homosexuality through characters that are alive, dead and supernatural.
Angels in America, National Theatre, until Sat 19 Aug, 7pm
The HIV Monologues
A thought-provoking and highly moving play by Dragonflies Theatre, which takes on the topic of HIV in a poignant way through the story of Alex and Nick. When recently diagnosed Nick discloses to Alex that he is HIV+, Alex reacts badly due to his lack of understanding about the disease. But everything changes after he meets Irene, a nurse who formerly treated AIDS patients and Barney, whose life was saved by medication.
The HIV Monologues, Two Brewers, Wed 5 Jul, 7.30pm
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
A special screening of the 1994 Oscar-winning film, which has played a key role in drag history and culture over the years. The film follows drag queen Anthony, cross-dresser Adam and transsexual Bernadette as they take their show on the road, performing across the Australian desert. But Anthony has a secret which threatens to ruin their act as well as their close friendship. Dressing up is encouraged at this screening which will also include lots of fun extras.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Prince Charles Cinema, Wed 5 Jul, 8.45pm.
Britain on Film: LGBT Britain
A rare chance to see some archival films which unearth the often hidden history of LGBTQ+ communities in the UK. The collection explores and celebrates their daily lives and culture, while also showing some of the earliest representations of LGBTQ+ individuals on screen.
Britain on Film: LGBT Britain, BFI Southbank, Thu 6 Jul, 6.10pm
Part of UK Black Pride, Barry Jenkins’ film will be screened in celebration of its victory as the first LGBTQ+ film to ever win the Best Picture award at the Oscars. The film offers up interesting discussions of black masculinity, through the story of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami.