In Tom Marshman's latest show Kings Cross (REMIX) he has brought to light testimonies of hidden histories in the Kings Cross area in London. It is an area that has undergone radical change since its days as an underground hub of LGBTQ communities. The show celebrates a time when rights were being fought for and AIDS was causing tragedy.

Tom presented a case that voicing these stories can enable a younger generation to strive to claim spaces of autonomy and also the knowledge around the HIV virus can enable stigma to be reduced. During the 80s people really talked (although partying hard) and would be fully prepared to engage in a political conversation and that was part of their party experience and very much wrapped up in their politics and their identity. Tom is keen to explore what younger generations can take on board from these testimonies.

Five Things I learned:

1. Tom created Kings Cross REMIX last year but has since reviewed it as he reflected on how the original didn't include any stories from the transgender community. Tom has since reviewed the story to include the experiences of transgender people.

2. Tracey Thron's song Kings Cross was the stimuli for the play, originally recorded by Pet Shop Boys. Kings Cross was an area for young LGBT people to meet, party and talk politics. 

3. To demonstrate his process of getting young people to respond to the testimonies of the 80s LBGT community Tom previously performed his piece for two young LGBT people, Aiden Stirckland and Gabrielle Watts. He invited them to write up a creative response and speak to us about their take on the play. 

4. Aiden's response: Aiden uses The Blair Witch Project as a beautifully hilarious metaphor for the older LGBT community in the 80s; it was the original ‘found footage’ horror paving the way for following films to create the subgenre horror trope we now all take for granted. However Aiden recognises that many people his age don’t appreciate where it all came from and that it's important to hear the testimonies of the older generation.

5. Gabrielle's response: She opens with a quote by L.P Hartley, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” She relates this to how she cannot imagine the complexity and the chaos of life for LGBT people in the 80s; she finds it easier to understand the medieval monarchy system then Britain's LGBT culture in the 80s. She adds that the show serves to build a bridge between the people of the past and those of the present.

Looking to the future: Tom Marshman is currently touring Kings Cross REMIX and believes it’s important for it to be seen in as many difference spaces as possible. Tom is currently crowd funding to get his show to Bristol Pride 2017. You can get involved by supporting Tom here.


Book tickets to see Tom's show at the Wardrobe Theatre Bristol, 5th and 6th April.

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