Your cultural guide to 2023 London Pride – from joyous exhibitions to prize-winning theatre

Your cultural guide of what to catch this Pride in London.

As Pride 2023 gets underway, there’s no time like the present to get into the queer spirit. Here are some of the best events going on in London in June to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.

It’s been a tough year for LGBTQ+ rights across the UK. As Pride arrives for another year, it’s never been more important to celebrate the wins and come together as a community to uplift one another as we work towards an even brighter future.

And there’s nothing quite like immersing yourself in the vibrant cultural landscape of the country’s capital to connect with the queer community and see yourself represented.

So, whether you want to get lost on the stage or in the movie screen – this is your cultural guide to 2023 Pride in London.

Barbican: Queer 90s

A still from LGBTQ+ South Asian film Fire.
A still from LGBTQ+ South Asian film Fire. (Zeitgeist Films)

The Barbican are back with Queer 90s, an exciting programme of “cinema from a decade of radical change”. Running until 29 June, it will be screening global LGBTQ+ films from throughout the 1990s.

From the indie films that touched people’s lives to the global sensations that changed the course of queer cinema, there’s something for everyone in their wide-ranging selection.

You may like to watch

Highlights include 1997 Guinean film Dakan which was “hailed as the first West African film to depict homosexuality”, the Oscar-nominated 1994 Cuban film Strawberry and Chocolate and Deepa Mehta’s game-changing 1996 Indian lesbian melodrama Fire, among other queer cinematic gems.

You can learn more here.

LGBTQ+ London Theatre

While there’s no denying that a rich mix of LGBTQ+ theatre is performed on and off the West End stages all year round, this Pride Month, there are several exciting performances taking over the floorboards.

Over in Omnibus theatre, the groundbreaking new musical Shutters: A Lesbian Rock Opera will be running from 8-24 June. It follows protagonist Saving Liz as she navigates the struggles of coming out and life as a young lesbian.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for older sapphic representation, then Es & Flo is your next must-watch. Running at Kiln Theatre from 4-24 June, it tells the sweet love story between queer activists Es and Flo and the beauty of growing old in a lesbian relationship.

As for the big releases, Pride Month is the perfect time to catch the stage adaptation of Brokeback Mountain starring Mike Faist and Lucas Hedges, which runs until 12 August at Soho Place.

Elsewhere, there’s the Tony award-winning musical A Strange Loop about queer Black writer Usher, which kicks off at the Barbican on 17 June.

Queer Britain: Queer Joy

Since opening in King’s Cross in May 2022 as the UK’s first LGBTQ+ museum, Queer Britain has celebrated queer history and culture in all its forms.

This Pride, they’re bringing much-needed queer joy with a free open-air exhibition showcasing 50 striking portraits of queer people, captured by emerging LGBTQ+ photographers from the UK and abroad.

Based in Granary Square, Pancras Square and Battlebridge Place, it’s the perfect way to lift the spirits.

You can learn more here.

Pride at Shakespeare’s Globe

In an exciting initiative running until the end of September, Shakespeare’s Globe are running Pride-themed guided tours delving into all things queer in Shakespeare’s England.

The Globe promises to explore everything from rebellious icons down in the yard to nobility in the galleries, and even the intimate letters between King James I and his ‘favourite’ the Duke of Buckingham. You’ll also get the chance to delve into queer elements in Shakespeare’s own work – from his sonnets to the famous LGBTQ+ characters in his best-known plays.

You can learn more here.

Pride at the Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall is one of London’s most iconic cultural destinations. It has been home to the Cirque Du Soleil European opening, countless film and TV premieres and the annual BBC Proms, to name a few.

This Pride Month, the Royal Albert Hall is celebrating its rich queer history with a pop-up exhibition where you can discover the era-defining LGBTQ+ events that have taken place at the renowned location over the decades.

You can learn about the lavish and outrageously queer Chelsea Arts Club Ball that took place there for almost 50 years and became a home for queer expression.

Queer singer Dusty Springfield performing at the Royal Albert Hall.
Queer singer Dusty Springfield performing at the Royal Albert Hall. (Getty)

Or maybe you want to look back at some of the LGBTQ+ trailblazers who have graced the Royal Albert Hall stage including Freddie MercuryDame Ethel SmythBillie HolidayDusty Springfield and Benjamin Britten.

You can learn more here.

If you’re gearing up for the Pride in London parade on Saturday 1 July, you can find the exciting line-up here.

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