Queer Contact Festival brings brand new musical theatre piece to The Palace Theatre

It’s bold. It’s unflinching. It’s heart-felt joy. It’s Drama meets Drag meets Musical Mayhem. It’s Dancing Bear…and it’s coming to Manchester!

Contact and Jamie Fletcher & Company are excited to present the Manchester premiere of the brand new musical Dancing Bear at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, on Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th February as part of Queer Contact Festival 2018.

Photo credit Benji Reid

Dancing Bear is a celebration and exploration of the joys and struggles between faith, sexuality and gender identity. Fusing live music, drag cabaret, dance, and storytelling performed by a multi-talented LGBTQ+ cast led by Owen Farrow, AKA Divina De Campo – soon to be one of the 100 judges in BBC One’s new prime-time Saturday Night music show All Together Now – Dancing Bear is a night out like no other. Bursting with compassion, humour, heart-felt honesty and personal testimonies, this timely show deftly flips between catchy pop tunes and dramatic storytelling to create a visual feast for the heart, the head and the soul.

Photo credit Matt Tullett

Conceived by director/musician Jamie Fletcher and writer/musician Beccy Owen, Dancing Bear swings between the bleak and the bawdy. Part-theatre, part-gig, with a heart full of furious compassion, candour and humour – Dancing Bear offers an unflinching provocation in addressing the often desperate balancing act many LGBTQ+ people continue to navigate between inclusivity, personal integrity, social and cultural acceptance, and spiritual or religious peace. 

As gender identity support service calls have risen six fold over the last six years, gender identity issues being a topic which is increasingly present in the news and Stonewall  reporting recently that nearly a half of trans young people under 26 have attempted suicide – this is an important night out which both entertains and informs.  Regardless of faith, gender or sexuality, this relevant and must-see show is full of love for all and is ultimately underpinned with an awesome musical score.

Photo credit Matt Tullett

Dancing Bear is also a BSL interpreted show with audio description integrated fully into its heart and its narrative – where inclusivity for all reigns supreme.

Dancing Bear originally previewed at Contact (Manchester) in February 2016 as part of its annual Queer Contact Festival as well as at a sell out performance at West Yorkshire Playhouse (Leeds) as part of LGBT History Month.

Jamie Fletcher, director and musician said: 

What I’m trying to do with this show is open up positive conversations between Queer and Christian communities: communities that have a history of not necessarily getting along. It’s a vital subject. I  think  it  is  really  important  as  an  artist  that  I  be  bold  and  heartfelt  with  the work  I  make,  educating,  inspiring  and  entertaining  an  audience  as  well  as challenging them or moving them in some way. There are not many companies of our size making work at this scale explicitly about Queerness, Sexuality and Gender Identity, and even fewer that are trying to integrate BSL so it’s an integral part of a theatre show. I am very excited about what we are trying to achieve and about sharing it with our Manchester audiences.

Dancing Bear takes place at the Palace Theatre Tues 6- Wed 7 Feb, 8pm, as part of Queer Contact Festival 2018. Tickets are on sale now 

Please note this show is for over 16s. Both shows are BSL interpreted and audio described.