A Taste of BEAF
BEAF 2021’s Commissioned Artists
Planning for BEAF 2021 is in full swing, and we are more excited for May 29th than June 21st! So, over the coming weeks we will be giving you an exclusive taste of BEAF 2021, by introducing our 2021 commissioned artists and what exciting things they have planned for this year’s festival. Each week we will feature chats we’ve had with our artists to find out what you can expect between May 29th – June 6th.
FABruary, Outrageous Outfits & Uncle Simon’s ‘friend’ Mark
This week, in honour of LGBTQ+ month we chatted to Sophia from the vibrant world of Pests Production. Run by Sophia Greppi and David Doust Pests Production is not-for-profit producing company grown and based in Dorset. The duo put on drag and theatre shows across the South West, and have worked with local, national, and international artists to bring performances to areas that don’t have much of an established arts scene.
As well as putting on a variety of shows, including an Arts Council funded programme of theatre, they also offer producing services, application guidance, script editing, and general artsy chats for people feeling a bit lost about their next step.
‘It’s basically a party, it’s a celebration, and it’s definitely a gay old time’
What new piece are you creating for BEAF Festival 2021?
We were delighted to be asked to organise BEAF’s closing party! We’ll be joined by two solo performance artist, Grace Thompson and James Watkins, both putting on previously toured shows. They’re weird, they’re funny, and they’re definitely not anything you’ve seen before! And following this, we’re bringing you a fabulous night of drag with our ever brilliant hostess, Cilly Black. Cilly and her cast will be bringing a whole night of live performances, lipsync battles, and outrageous outfits, all under the theme of ‘Coming out of the Closet; Best Outfit Edition’.
People have been stuck in trackies and pjs most of this past year, so we thought it’d be super fun to encourage all of our audience to wear their favourite outfits, whether that’s a floor length gown or your newest football shirt. It’s basically a party, it’s a celebration, and it’s definitely a gay old time.
‘We love making people happy’
Tell us all about FABruary
FABrurary was our little project this month to bring some happiness onto people’s socials. Everyday, myself, David, Josh (aka Cilly), or Emily, our social media guru, would nominate a person we thought were fab and write about them! We picked athletes, humanitarians, artists, friends, relatives, all sorts! It’s been amazing to see the response, and how many people have messaged us privately to say they’ve really been cheered up by the posts. Getting that kind of feedback is what we strive for; we love making people happy and sharing positive vibes.
Check out Pests Production socials to see their nominations for FABruary:
‘Openly queer characters on children’s TV shows helps a lot more kids than most people realise’
Who is your biggest motivator or inspiration from the LGBTQ+ community?
I think my biggest inspiration growing up had to be my uncles. I remember being really young when my uncle Simon would come round with his ‘friend’ Mark. Being a very small person at the time, I just thought it was cool that my uncle got to hang out with his best friend all the time! Both my uncles have been incredible rocks in my life, and a shining example of what a successful marriage looks like.
I also have a passionate love for Rebecca Sugar; she’s an out and proud bisexual woman, and her work as a writer and cartoon creator gives younger audiences clear examples of queer relationships and the fluidity of gender. I would have loved to have had something like Steven Universe when I was younger, it helps explain a lot of what I was feeling growing up but didn’t know how to put into words. Having openly queer characters on a children’s TV show helps a lot more kids than most people realise I think; even with the progress today, there’s still a loneliness in figuring out queer sexuality in a hetero-normative world.
‘We’re curious, we can’t help ourselves, we’re only human.’
What does it mean to you to be human?
A lot of being human to me is all about exploring! Bonding with other people and learning more about them, more about the world, that’s what it means to be human. You get born one day onto this weird little watery rock in space and there’s SO MUCH to discover on it! Since lockdown, I’ve had the chance to try out a lot of stuff, and even the stuff I’ve failed miserably at, I’ve really enjoyed trying.
I think humans are curious little creatures through and through, we love to learn, we love to try new things. I get so excited about any space mission, because isn’t it just brilliant that these little specs in the universe are sending their robots off to other planets to explore even more? We’re curious, we can’t help ourselves, we’re only human.
Share your FAB People!
A big thank you to Sophia for chatting with us and sharing more about Pests Production, her inspirations and what it means to be human! Sign up to the Pests Production newsletter to see all the icons their followers have submitted as their own FAB people. Sophia and David are also still taking submissions for anyone else interested in taking part! Find all details pinned to the top of their fab Facebook page: HERE