Beacons, Icons and Dykons

Hi Tom, tell us about Beacons, Icons and Dykons?

BID has been running now for 5 years in total. We have had a little break within these years, but now we are back and we are hosting some really interesting artists thanks to some funding through the Arts Council. The ideas have always been to create short hit and run performances inspired by an over looked kitsch film that speaks to LGBTQ people. From Dolly Parton to Kenneth Anger and John Waters, we’re honouring them one by one and there is a lot to choose from…

We started off in the cube cinema which is the perfect space for the show as it’s a lovely, cozy cinema with a large stage for the performers to present their ideas. This year we have been showing work in other spaces in the City such as the Bristol City Museum (Inspired by the Hogarth exhibition) alongside Horseplay at the after party at Trinity Arts.

Some of the performances are short and sweet and some are durational so people can experience them in the bar, or in other spaces outside of the theatre, like a car park. We are open to what artist we work with so they don’t have to be LGBT. They just have to be open to making work for audiences that are.

No Description                                                              Photo Credit: Vonalina Cake

What kind of message are you hoping to promote?

We want to create a social space like no other I see happening in Bristol, something with a punk spirit where people can sit down. I want the work to be accessible to everyone. We really want it to be cheap so we set it at £5, so you get a lot for your money. The performances are raw, honest and made with passion but can be poetic, elegant, rude and sexy. It’s a very open platform. With the new series of shows, that runs until next May, we are trying a new approach so the performances sometimes interrupt the film or run alongside it. We didn’t know how this would go but it seems to work well. Everyone wonders what is going to happen next!

How long have you been running BID and how have you developed? 

We have been running for 5 years, with a little break. The events are made because we don’t see anything else happening like it in Bristol. We have had some really great feedback from the last two events. Due to the funding from the Arts Council we have had more time to work on ideas. We put a call out to local based performers to present their work and so pleased that Isadora Vibes is performing for the first time with us in our last event in April, along with a very special guest who I am not going to announce just yet!

I am the host of the show and I do it in my own chaotic style that I have been honing for years. I never pronounce peoples name right, get lost or say the wrong thing, but people seem to like the anti host. Liz Clarke has always a big part of Beacons. We went through a stage of calling her residence artist, and then we changed it to resident glitter dispenser. Now I think we just call her Liz and she’s either performing during the nights or helping out with the workshops we have started running or mentoring emerging artists. 

No Description                                              Photo Credit: Jeremey Horwood

What’s your most memorable moment?

I remember when Paul Hurley licked the stage floor of the cube… I think he did it in a jock strap and to a Shirley Bassey track. The floor probably wasn’t that clean and it was a very simple image, but the memory of it will stick with me.

No Description                                                       Photo Credit: Jeremey Horwood


Tell us about the latest event and the future of BID?

As prepartion for Valentines day some of Beacons regular artists (Timbelina and Catherine Hoffmann) are taking over the Red Lodge on Park Row to do a special tour of the portraits there. The piece came from an idea we had for the National Portrait Gallery, where we were asked to create a performance for LGBT History month in 2014.  We have reworked the ideas and re made it especially for the portraits in The Red Lodge. We are weaving various truths and fictions of dating history with some of the people in the paintings.

It’s great to bring this idea to Bristol and we are excited about using the Red Lodge and it’s many portraits. The Red Lodge was originally built as an adjunct to the main house and was used for entertaining visitors and guests. It was a place where banquets happened and where they socialized and had liaisons with lovers. It’s going to be lots of fun and very racy!

Then we are back at the Cube on the 19th March showing The Last of England, a Derek Jarman masterpiece, and we have performance from Bristol Based Rachael Clerk and Bird La Bird. I wanted for her to come to Bristol for a long time! 

You can find our more information about BID’s event here

For more information on Beacons, Icons and Dykons click here