Drugs, politics and rock ‘n’ roll: new show to explore LGBT life in 80s London

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A new show about being LGBT in the 1980s is set to explore a hedonistic, politically important era, as HIV/AIDS became a terrifying problem.

“A raucous, riotous time,” show creator Tom Marshman called it, “where sexuality and identity were being explored, HIV was causing tragedy, and rights were to be fought for.”

Marshman, a performance artist, will focus on King’s Cross in central London in his new theatre show, a social history called Kings Cross (Remix).

Drugs, politics and rock ‘n’ roll: new show to explore LGBT life in 80s London

The show – staged up the road from Kings Cross at Camden People’s Theatre – uncovers the hidden histories of LGBTQ communities in London.

This was at a time when many of the areas they made their own – like Kings Cross – were being transformed beyond recognition.

If you enter now, you will be in with a chance of winning free tickets to the play, which will be performed from May 16 to 27.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the show was woven together from interviews with people who experienced ’80s Kings Cross first-hand.

“I hosted tea parties,” said Marshman. “I put a call out; open to all, but with an LGBTQ focus.”

The stories that emerged shed light not only on LGBTQ history, but on issues which remain contentious today.

One reviewer who saw a preview performance earlier this year said the show is “eye-opening as a history, but also draws daunting parallels between the epidemic of forty years ago and the situation we find ourselves in today.”

Another critic called Kings Cross (Remix) “one of the most immersive and exciting performances of queer history you’re likely to find”.

Drugs, politics and rock ‘n’ roll: new show to explore LGBT life in 80s London

Marshman is certainly dedicated to salvaging and publicising stories that might otherwise be concealed or overlooked.

His next project finds him working with the National Trust to excavate the queer histories of Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire.

“History is saturated with the stories of heterosexual men,” he said, “so these stories allow us to hear something that isn’t in the mainstream.

“Many of these stories are not reported as part of our social history.”

Watch the full trailer below: