• Amy Fawcett

Thoughts on queer teams

On the first day of our Exeter Fringe Festival R&D, our creative team sat down and introduced ourselves. Most of us were strangers, having only communicated through emails, zoom meetings and the occasional WhatsApp message. We had formed a little bond through technology but it felt amazing to meet these people in real life and be in a creative space together.

The introductions included our names, pronouns, a little bit about our history in the theatre industry and then (if we felt comfortable sharing) a little bit about our queer identities. As LAVENDER tells a queer story, it felt vital from the beginning to have a fully queer team.

The R&D process was a useful time for us to get the first script draft up on its feet. It revealed things about the script, about the characters, about the world of LAVENDER that we had never considered before. It was integral to the growth of LAVENDER. But, what it also provided was a room full of queer people having open and honest conversations about their personal relationships with their own queer identities.

It was so important to us to create a safe space, free of judgement and pressure. No one had to share anything they weren’t comfortable with and this was always made clear. Everyone who was in the room was invited to join these conversations if they wished, and they nearly always did. It only took one person to be bold and share something about themselves to make the space feel open and for everyone to feel more comfortable with sharing.

These were my favourite parts of the R&D process. We had so many different conversations about queerness. About our personal experiences, about gender expression and identity, about queerness and religion, about privilege, about discovering queerness, the list goes on.

Through having these conversations we found lots of common ground. Similar experiences, stories, a sense of comfort in each other knowing that we all had this connection.

However, it also unearthed differences in our experience as queer individuals. It was amazing to just sit and listen to these people who (for the most part) were strangers to me. Hearing their views on things or their individual relationships with queerness and having this open space was such a delight. I could’ve sat and spoken to the team all day, sharing our stories and listening to each other. The room was always full of laughter and sometimes even debate but everyone's views were always listened to and respected.

To my knowledge, this is the first time I have worked with a fully queer team. I don’t think I quite realised how important this was going to be until I was in that rehearsal room.

We could all relate to LAVENDER in one way or another, making the whole process more authentic and special.

We could all relate to each other in one way or another which added a level of magic.

And even now, after the R&D process has ended and as the LAVENDER team has expanded and grown and shifted, one thing has remained the same, one thing has bonded us; the queerness of our identities.

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