The story so far...
In 2019, Heifer Productions was awarded £500 to research and develop the rumblings of an idea. After listening to an English Heritage podcast in which Josie Long explored the work of Gwen Lally, Heifer's Artistic Director wanted to find out more. On approaching playwright, Sam Chittenden, the two of them joined forces to create In Plain Sight: A Story of Gwen Lally. Initially funded by the Director's Cut Theatre Company in London, Heifer Productions was then supported by Bradford Council to continue the research, resulting in a thirty minute film.
Fast forward three years and we are taking the project to its next level with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Awards for All.
In Summer 2022, Heifer Productions staged the first of three R&Ds for In Plain Sight: A Story of Gwen Lally at Bradford Cathedral. This iteration worked with a young LGBTQIA+ cast, a professional cast and young researchers to develop an hour-long performance both in and out-doors at the Cathedral.
Our Young Creatives workshops, which were delivered at Bradford's National Science and Media Museum, were supported by Awards for All. Over three weeks, we explored LGBTQIA+ history and used fashion, design and devising to create a brand-new 10-minute performance celebrating cultural rebellions.
The research conducted by our research volunteers at Bradford City Library, Bradford Local Studies Library and the West Yorkshire Archives illuminated the history of pageants in West Yorkshire. You can see more about this in our research blog post. The results of this research informed our script, the rehearsal process and character development.
The final performance was a real celebration of Gwen Lally, pageantry and LGBTQIA+ history, Our cast excelled and audience feedback was incredibly positive.
Watch our documentary below to get a taste of rehearsals and the performance, made by Curiouser and Curiouser Media.