Ben Whishaw, Alan Cumming star in new LGBT plays at the Old Vic Theatre and BBC Four


Ben Whishaw in The Man On The Platform, part of Queers (Old Vic / BBC Four)
Ben Whishaw in The Man On The Platform, part of Queers (Old Vic / BBC Four)

8 new monologues around gay and LGBT themes to premiere at the Old Vic and on BBC Four this July, showcasing new LGBT writing talent

Stars include Alan Cumming, Rebecca Front, Ben Whishaw, Russell Tovey, Gemma Whelan, Kadiff Kirwan, Fionn Whitehead (“Dunkirk”) and Ian Gelder

A series of 8 fifteen minute gay monologues, under a season called Queers curated by Mark Gatiss (“Sherlock”), will premiere at the Old Vic Theatre this summer from 28 to 31 July 2017, and be screened on BBC Four in the UK.


SPECIAL PROMOTION: Books and music about “Dunkirk” starring Fionn Whitehead
The Making of “Dunkirk” (2017)
“Dunkirk” by Christopher Nolan (2017)
“Dunkirk” – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2017)


Charting a century of British gay people’s experiences, a range of both up-and-coming and established writers have been given the opportunity to showcase their talents. Five of the writers – Keith Jarrett, Jon Bradfield, Gareth McLean, Matthew Baldwin and Michael Dennis – are writing for TV for the first time; with other writers including Jackie Clune, Brian Fillis and Mark Gatiss.

Covering everything from 1957’s Wolfenden Report, to the HIV crisis and the 1967 Sexual Offence Act, the playlets are set to celebrate poignant, funny, entertaining, tragic and riotous moments from British gay history over the last 100 years.

Queers is produced in partnership with The Old Vic, who will stage the 8 monologues in July – celebrating 50 years since the repeal of the Sexual Offences Act, which partially decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967. The monologues will then air on BBC Four.

The Monologues

Ben Whishaw (London Spy) will star in The Man on the Platform. Set in 1917, a young man returns from the trenches of the First World War and reflects on both his attraction to another man and a very particular childhood memory.

Rebecca Front (Humans) deals with the issue of marriage in Missing Alice, written by Jon Bradfield.

Russell Tovey (Being Human) takes on the role of a gay actor in the 1980s in More Anger.

Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) reflects on gay marriage in the Britain of today in Something Borrowed by Gareth McLean.

Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones) stars in A Perfect Gentleman by Jackie Clune, Kadiff Kirwan (Black Mirror) appears in Safest Spot in Town, Ian Gelder (Snatch) in I Miss the War and Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk) in A Grand Day Out.

The Writers

Keith Jarrett is a former UK poetry slam champion and Rio International Poetry Slam Winner 2014. He is a PhD scholar at Birkbeck University, where he is completing his first novel. His poetry pamphlet, I Speak Home, was published last year and his first full collection, Selah, is out this April. Keith was a Fiction Fellow at Lambda Writers’ Retreat in Los Angeles, 2015. His stories have appeared in anthologies and magazines, including Attitude and Tell Tales IV. His influences range from Caribbean trickster figures to Latin American surrealist authors.

Jon Bradfield is the co-writer and songwriter of London’s longest-running and most popular alternative pantomime series, having created eight adult Christmas shows for Above The Stag Theatre including most recently Beauty On The Piste and Tinderella – Cinders Slips It In, each of which played 50 sold-out performances. With the same co-writer Martin Hooper he wrote the play A Hard Rain which has been performed in separate productions in London and New York and he wrote the music and lyrics and co-wrote the book for the musical Get Em Off. Jon has also contributed to the long-running topical sketch show News Revue at the Canal Cafe Theatre. He has written articles for the Guardian, Attitude and Exeunt. Jon is also a theatre marketer and graphic designer.

Gareth McLean trained as a journalist and has written for The Scotsman, The Guardian, Radio Times, Attitude and Buzzfeed, among others. He is also an irregular contributor on Radio 4’s PM and Broadcasting House, and on The World Service’s Weekend. He began working in television in 2013, as a storyliner on Coronation Street, where he worked for two and a half years. During that time, he helped kill Hayley Cropper. After a stint on Emmerdale – where, unusually, he doesn’t recall killing anyone – he started writing his own scripts and working in drama development for companies such as Playground Entertainment. He also works with filmmaker and activist Deeyah Khan, who is a Unesco Goodwill Ambassador for Creativity and Artistic Freedom. This is his first script commission.

Matthew Baldwin is an actor and writer. In 2013 Matthew and his colleague Thomas Hescott developed The Act, a play for one actor revolving around the 1967 Sexual Offence Act. Matthew was nominated for an Off West End award for Best Actor and jointly with Tom in the category of Best New Playwrite. In 2014 The Act transferred to Trafalgar Studios in the West End with Matthew reprising his role. Also in 2014 Matthew and Tom wrote Outings for James Seabright Productions which enjoyed a successful run at the Gilded Balloon for the Edinburgh Festival and subsequently a national tour featuring Simon Callow, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Stephen K Amos among many others. As an actor Matthew Baldwin’s theatre work includes Robert Russell in 46 Beacon (The Hope Theatre) The Better Argument in The Clouds by Aristophanes (Cambridge Arts Theatre), Justiniano in Westward Ho (The White Bear), Solinus in Comedy of Errors (Courtyard) and The Old Vic New Voices 24 Hour Plays.

Michael Dennis is a highly experienced stage manager whose work includes Sex with Strangers and The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide To Capitalism And Socialism (Hampstead Theatre), Future Conditional (The Old Vic), Oppenheimer (RSC). The Recruiting Officer (Donmar), The James Plays National Theatre of Scotland, NT, Edinburgh International Festival. His first play Dark Sublime is currently under consideration by the Bush Theatre.

Jackie Clune is a writer, actress and singer who lives in east London. She has published numerous features for The Guardian (Weekend magazine), The Daily Mail (Femail), The Mail on Sunday (YOU magazine), The Observer, The Independent, Red magazine, and The Scotsman. In 2012 she had her own column in Top Sante magazine. In 2004 she published her first novel Man of the Month Club and in 2006 Extreme Motherhood – The Triplet Diaries and she is currently writing a one woman play. She is the mother on four children, including a set of naturally conceived triplets. She is a regular contributor to the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2, and has also contributed to various BBC Radio 4 arts programmes (Front Row, Woman’s Hour, Loose Ends). She is currently writing her second novel for the young adult market.

Brian Fillis has worked on a number of TV projects including The Curse Of Steptoe, a single drama for BBC Four which aired in March 2008 and won the RTS Award for Best Single Drama. His TV debut was his adaptation of his cult comic play Fear Of Fanny for BBC Four starring Julia Davis and Mark Gatiss which was nominated for a string of awards including a Broadcast award for best single drama and an RTS award for Julia Davis. Brian was himself nominated for the Breakthrough Talent award by BAFTA in 2007. In February 2009, An Englishman In New York had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival followed by a broadcast on ITV1. The drama told the story of Quentin Crisp’s latter years in New York and starred John Hurt – thirty four years after he first portrayed Crisp on screen. In 2010, Excluded, a single drama for BBC Two, was seen by 1.4 million viewers as part of the channel’s School Season and in 2011 he created and wrote three episodes of Sirens, which aired on Channel 4 in the summer of 2011. Brian has several projects in development, including Endangered, a returning series with Simon Maxwell at Channel 4, and a feature biopic provisionally titled I (Who Have Nothing) with Rainy Day Films. He recently worked on episodes for Simon Beaufoy’s upcoming FX series Trust and Tatau, a BBC Three drama which aired in 2015.
Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss is an actor, writer and producer. He first found success with The League Of Gentlemen, with whom he won the Perrier award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1997, and went on to enjoy a radio series and three TV series on the BBC and big screen outing in 2005. A lifelong fan of Doctor Who, he has written nine episodes since its return to TV in 2005 and has appeared in the show twice. He is perhaps best known as the co-creator and co-writer of the award-winning global phenomenon Sherlock, alongside his friend and colleague Steven Moffat, in which he also plays the role of the detective’s older brother, Mycroft Holmes. Other notable tv credits include London Spy, Wolf Hall, Coalition, Mapp And Lucia, The Crimson Petal And The White, Nighty, Night, The Wind And The Willows and Sense And Sensibility. Film credits include: The Knot, Denial, Absolutely Fabulous, Dad’s Army, Our Kind Of Traitor, Bright Young Things and Starter For Ten. Theatre credits include: Menenius in Coriolanus (Donmar Warehouse), for which he was nominated for an Olivier award for Best Supporting Actor, Agrado in All About My Mother (The Old Vic), Bernard in Season’s Greetings (National Theatre), Charles I in 55 Days (Hampstead), Captain Brazen in The Recruiting Officer and Stephen Crosswell in The Vote (both Donmar Warehouse), and most recently Dr Shpigelsky in Three Days In The Country (National Theatre), which saw him awarded Best Supporting Actor at this year’s Olivier Awards.

The Old Vic Theatre
28 & 31 July 2017
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