Liverpool Pride 2017 Officially Launches with Full Programme!

Photograph by David Munn

Atomic Kitten, Kim Mazelle, Livin-Joy and Austin Armacost Join line up on the Saturday Festival Day.

Marcus Collins, Let it Shine’s Winning Band 5 to 5 and Jennifer John with Merseyside Bands Headline Sunday’s ‘We are Family’ Day.

Liverpool Pride Festival returns for its eighth consecutive year in July with an exciting star-studded line-up to make the 2017 free event a colourful celebration of all things LGBT+.

The team behind Liverpool Pride officially launched the festival last night (Thursday 22 June) at Signature Living’s Shankly Hotel on Victoria Street, announcing the full programme to invited VIP guests including sponsors, partners and Press.

Band 5 to 5 will appear on the Sunday ‘We are Family’ Day

Organisers were excited to reveal that joining headline act Liverpool’s very own Atomic Kitten for Liverpool Pride Festival 2017 are Kym Mazelle, Livin’ Joy, Marcus Collins, Austin Armacost, and band 5 to 5 from TV series Let It Shine.

Liverpool Pride 2017 takes place across two days – Saturday 29 July and Sunday 30 July – and is returning to the stunning St George’s Quarter for a second year.

The region’s annual festival celebrates all things LGBT+ – and is now one of the major events in the city’s Summer events programme, attracting more than 25,000 people.

The theme of this year’s festival is International Love, complementing the city’s wider 50 Summers of Love festival, which celebrates 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Austin Armacost

As in previous years, the two-day free spectacular officially begins on Saturday 29th July at 12pm with the empowering Liverpool Pride March, which is open to everyone to participate.

The march will leave from St George’s Plateau, outside the city’s iconic St George’s Hall Liverpool, making its way through the city before returning to Lime Street.

Special guests taking part in the Liverpool Pride March include Matt Rood Mr Gay England and Ben Brown Mr Gay Wales, who will be attending to show their support and meet fans.

Festivalgoers on the Saturday can look forward to three stages, with the headline acts appearing on the Barclays Main Stage – including Atomic Kitten, Kym Mazelle, Livin’ Joy and Austin Armacost.

Atomic Kitten to headline Saturday night

Atomic Kitten perform in their hometown as the original chart-topping trio – Natasha Hamilton, Kerry Katona and Liz McClarnon – who stormed the charts with a string of top hits in the Noughties, including Whole Again, The Tide Is High, and Ladies Night.

They will be joined by the ‘First Lady of House Music’ Kym Mazelle, who pioneered the musical genres introduction to Europe from the US in the late 80s and early 90s. Her hits include a cover of the classic Young Hearts Run Free, which features in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet movie.

Nineties dance sensation Livin’ Joy will entertain the crowds with their smash hits Don’t Stop Moving and Dreamer.

American television personality Austin Armacost, who was recently seen on Celebrity Big Brother, will make a special appearance. Austin is widely known for appearing in reality TV series The A-List: New York, which followed the lives of six gay and bisexual men in New York City.

Manchester Airport sponsors The World On One Stage, which will feature cultural organisations from across the city showcasing international music and culture, including Batala Mersey, Liverpool Irish Festival, Reham Al-Hakimi of Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival, Pagoda Arts Orchestra, DaDa Fest, Louis Jay and the Soul Collective, Threshold Festival, and Africa Oyé.

There will also be a chance to win a holiday for two to San Francisco, courtesy of Manchester Airport.

The focus on Sunday 30 July is family with a day dedicated to fun for all ages. After a successful addition to the Liverpool Pride programme in 2016, We Are Family, returns with entertainment and activities throughout the day, alongside a full programme and performances taking place on the steps of St George’s Hall.

Barclays sponsor the We Are Family programme on the Sunday, which will include a headline performance from Liverpool singer Marcus Collins. Returning to perform in his home city, Marcus shot to fame in 2011 when he appeared in X Factor, getting through to the final stages and finishing second only to girl band Little Mix. He has since gone on to have hit singles and is a regular in musicals including Hairspray and Kinky Boots.

Take That front man Gary Barlow’s reality television show Let It Shine searched the nation to find five performers to create a five-piece group to star in new musical The Band, featuring the music of the biggest boy band of all time, Take That. Winners 5 To 5 make their Liverpool debut ahead of The Band musical coming to the Liverpool Empire Theatre this Autumn. They will give an exclusive performance with a medley of songs from the show.

The Sunday line-up also includes and singer and vocal expert Jennifer John, who will return with choirs from across Merseyside to perform number themed International Love.

Liverpool Pride Festival Chair Lucy Day commented:

“With just over a month to go until the Liverpool Pride Festival 2017 – it’s safe to say we are extremely excited. We’re delighted that we can now reveal the full festival programme, which I strongly believe is one of our best yet.

“I’d also encourage festivalgoers to register to join us and be part of the Liverpool Pride March, which really does kick-start the LGBT+ celebration. So take a look through the programme, plan your Liverpool Pride weekend countdown – the countdown is well and truly on.”

The Liverpool Pride Festival began as a community response to the death of murdered gay teenager Michael Causer, who tragically lost his life on 2 August 2008.

The festival was specifically created in 2010 in Michael’s memory as a way to celebrate his life and to empower the LGBT communities. The festival continues to remind the community to stand up for LGBT culture and equality through a city-wide celebration where everyone is welcome.

A number of projects are also running alongside the Liverpool Pride Festival which also support the LGBT+ community and aim to challenge hate crime.

Coming Out of The Shadows proved such a success in 2016 that it returns for a second year between 20 July and 30 July, when many regional buildings will be lit up in rainbow colours.

A number of Liverpool’s most famous and recognisable buildings have already pledged their support including St George’s Hall, Liverpool Central Library, the Everyman theatre, FACT, Royal Court Liverpool, World Museum Liverpool, ECHO Arena, Merseyside Police Headquarters, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, James Street Station, and Barclays Bank.

Liverpool Football Club is also backing the initiative once again after successfully lighting up the Kop in 2016. And in the wider City Region, the Atkinson at Southport, Crosby Library, New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion, and the Steve Prescot Bridge in St Helens are among locations taking part.

Liverpool ONE hosts an LGBT+ exhibition with a bright and prominent display of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans + and Straight Ally information, photos and imagery, supported by Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, the High Sheriff’s Fund and Stop Hate UK.

Art and creativity play a big part in spreading the Liverpool Pride message. The festival will also feature written word, photography and artworks supported by Arts Council England at various venues across the city, as well as at the festival itself. These include the Marc Almond Exhibition at The Gallery; Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity at Walker Art Gallery; and Writing on the Wall: What’s Your Pride Story on the Garden Stage on Saturday 29 July.

Liverpool Pride Film Festival also runs along the main theme of International Love, featuring works from Austria, Brazil, France, Iraq and USA. Screenings will take place at venues across the city including FACT, Old Edge Hill Library and Unity Theatre.

The film programme features Gypsy Queen by Rob Ward, the unconventional love story between two fighters who discover their greatest challenge lies outside the ring. Screenings are on Friday 28 July and Saturday 29 July at the Unity Theatre.

Guests attending the official launch were given the first glimpse of the festival brochure – available to download here Free copies are available to pick up at stockists across the city.

Liverpool Pride 2017 is supported by headline sponsor Barclays, who are embarking upon a 12-month community partnership which will provide access to employment and financial services, as well as access to training for digital and financial awareness supported by the many Barclays colleagues across its branch network and contact centres in Kirkby and Wavertree Technology Park.

Further support for the Liverpool Pride Festival 2017 also comes from Manchester Airport as the official Airport Sponsor; Radio City as the official Media Partner; Homes For Everyone; and Signature Living as the official Hotel Partner.

Keep up to date with Liverpool Pride announcements at:

Facebook LiverpoolPride
Twitter @LiverpoolPride

Joanne Clifton and Ben Adams to Star in UK Tour of Flashdance – The Musical

Flashdance – The Musical returns to the UK for the first time since 2011 starring Strictly favourite Joanne Clifton and singer-songwriter Ben Adams, and will play The Liverpool Empire from 16th to 21st October as part of an extensive UK tour.

Strictly Come Dancing Champion Joanne Clifton is no stranger to being at the top, as she is also a World & European Champion ballroom dancer, and is one of very few pro dancers to have won both the main Strictly glitter ball with Ore Oduba last year and the Christmas Special in 2015 with Harry Judd.

Joanne made her musical theatre debut in the role of Streetwalker in the UK premiere of the Irving Berlin musical Face The Music, for which she was nominated for an Off West End Award. She followed this up with a turn as Marilyn Monroe in the Norma Jeane Musical and then tread the boards as Millie Dillmount in the No. 1 UK Tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie for which she garnered rave reviews.

She is now excited to take on her latest starring role as Alex Owens in the UK Tour of Flashdance. Joanne says:

“This is just another dream come true! I think everyone in the world whether dancer or non-dancer, as soon as they hear ‘What a Feeling’, remember that iconic scene at the end of the film and I’m so incredibly lucky that I get to do that every night in a UK TOUR along with fabulous numbers like “She’s a Maniac.” I’m over the moon! It’s another amazing opportunity in my musical theatre career and I can once again sing and act alongside dancing! I just hope the water’s not too cold when it falls on me!’

Ben Adams who will join Joanne on stage as Nick Hurley has been singing and performing since the age of 8. His career started as head chorister at St. Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey, singing at royal weddings, touring all over Europe, recording 2 classical albums and frequently singing for the likes of the queen and the pope. At 16, he became the lead singer of the band a1, who racked up 10 million record sales, 2 UK number ones, 5 studio albums and toured throughout the world, winning a Brit award among many others.

When the band split, Ben took to the studio and is now a successful song writer and producer, working with the likes of Robin Thicke, Craig David, JLS, Ward Thomas, Sam Bailey, Boyzone and Alexandra Burke to name but a few. He also reached the final of Celebrity Big Brother, the Norwegian version of Strictly Come Dancing, and Master Chef in Denmark. As well as writing for other artists, he went straight to number 1 in the itunes charts with his classical album titled One Beautiful Mourning. His first solo album 1981 will be launched early 2018.

In 2010, a1 reformed and having successfully completed stadium tours in Asia and 68 sold out arena concerts across Europe, they starred in The Big Reunion on ITV2 and played arenas across the country.  They continue to tour throughout the world.
Ben has also written a brand-new musical called ‘EUGENIUS!’ Which after a sold-out London Palladium performance, is set to hit the West End stage next year.

Ben says of taking to the stage in Flashdance:

“It’s amazing to be part of such an iconic story, and as an 80’s child I was brought up on this music so I couldn’t be happier playing Nick in the theatre production of Flashdance. Whilst I continue with my own music career and touring with a1, Musical Theatre has always been a real passion of mine, so to be asked to play this role, and to be working with such an amazing cast and crew is a real honour. I look forward to seeing you all out on the road in the coming months”

Additional cast includes: Colin, Kiyani, Rikki Chamberlain, Garry Lee Netley, Carol Ball, Sia Dauda, Hillie Ann Lowe, Simeon Beckett, Rhodri Watkins, Demmileigh Foster, Emily Kenwright, Ameila Rose Fielding, Alex Christian, Matt Concannon

Flashdance – The Musical tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of 18-year-old Alex, a welder by day and ‘flashdancer’ by night, who dreams of going to the prestigious Shipley Dance Academy and becoming a professional dancer. When a romance complicates her ambitions, she harnesses it to drive her dream.
Prepare to be blown away with an astonishing musical spectacle and phenomenal choreography to this iconic score, including the smash hits Maniac, Manhunt, Gloria, I Love Rock & Roll and the award-winning title track Flashdance – What a Feeling.

Based on the Paramount Pictures film (Screenplay by Tom Hedley and Joe Eszterhas, story by Tom Hedley) Flashdance is an inspiring musical about the power of holding onto your dreams and love against all odds. Flashdance proved a hit with audiences, and remained in the Top 10 Box Office in the States for 15 weeks after release. The original score also proved hugely popular, with the soundtrack album selling 700,000 copies within two weeks of release. The platinum selling hit title track Flashdance – What A Feeling won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 1983, with the soundtrack winning the Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special in 1984.

Presented by Selladoor Productions – producers of Footloose, Avenue Q and Little Shop of Horrors and Runaway Entertainment producers of In The Heights, Guys and Dolls and Lazarus, Flashdance – The Musical is not to be missed!

*Joanne Clifton and Ben Adams will appear in Flashdance until 9th December 2017 – casting for venues in 2018 is TBC. For more information visit their website, or follow them on Twitter.

Performance Information
Flashdance – The Musical
Venue: Liverpool Empire Theatre
Dates: Monday 16th – Saturday 21st October 2017
Times: Monday – Saturday evenings 7.30pm, Wednesday & Saturday matinees 2.30pm
Tickets: From £15 (£16.25 online/phone)

Tickets purchased online or over the phone are subject to fees. Avoid paying booking fees by purchasing tickets at the Liverpool Empire’s Box Office.

Liverpool Loves Expands as Liverpool ONE is Named Second Festival Location

Organisers of Summer festival Liverpool Loves have confirmed Liverpool ONE as a second new festival site for the two-day event in heart of the city, which takes place on Saturday 5th August and Sunday 6th August 2017.

The award-winning event is in its third consecutive year, and this year it will be located in the heart of the city for the very first time. Organisers Orb CIC are thrilled to reveal that the family, community and well-being festival programme and activities will be located at host venue, Liverpool ONE.

Derby Square was also recently announced as a festival site. It will host the Main Stage Zone under the gaze of the historic Queen Victoria monument. The dual festival sites will continue to host everything which Liverpool Loves has become renowned for including family fun, culture, food and well-being.

Liverpool Loves is a celebration of all things Liverpool – with four core themes of business, culture, food and well-being showcasing the best of life in the region.

The festival has continued to go from strength to strength since its inaugural year in 2015 with an attendance of 27,000 visitors over three days. An audience of 40,000 attended the second event in 2016, and Orb CIC is now on a mission to continue to build on this success. It has previously been located at the Pier Head.

Liverpool ONE will host a programme of family and community activities as part of the Wellbeing Zone across both Thomas Steers Way and Chavasse Park, creating a real oasis in the city-centre.

The Culturebox Stage on Thomas Steers Way will feature lots of live entertainment on both days. The amphitheatre-like steps, which act as a natural gathering point, will be transformed into an Urban Garden for the festival weekend. Here visitors can look forward to international community groups and choirs on the Saturday, while Sunday will feature a community dance programme featuring local dance schools from across Liverpool City Region.

The Wellbeing Zone in Chavasse Park will offer visitors feel-good activities for all the family including tai chi, drumming workshops, yoga, circus skills, and storytelling sessions. This will run alongside Liverpool ONE’s very own Summer Festival.

Marketing Director of Liverpool ONE, Donna Howitt commented:

“We are excited to welcome Liverpool Loves to Liverpool ONE. We offer a programme of events throughout the year and are very pleased to be partnering with the increasingly popular Liverpool Loves festival.”

Festival organisers Orb CIC can also reveal their programme partners for the Main Stage Zone at Derby Square. Saturday’s line-up will be curated by The Guide Liverpool and SoulFest, and will run from 11am to 9pm. Sunday’s programme will run from 11am to 7pm, hosted by The Rider Podcast with John Gibbons from The Anfield Wrap. Both days will feature a street food market and festivals bars – offering visitors a fun, friendly atmosphere reminiscent of an open-air European piazza.

Festival Director Josh Boyd from Orb CIC added:

“After two very successful years of establishing Liverpool Loves, growing the event, and ultimately embedding it as ‘The People’s Festival’ – this is a very exciting time as we take the project forward to a new phase.

“We are delighted to be working with Liverpool ONE. The retail destination is a visitor attraction in its own right with huge appeal and an already strong events calendar – and we are thrilled that Liverpool Loves will now run alongside this excellent programme for visitors.

“Community performances and family activities will form a strong basis for the much-loved Wellbeing Zone in 2017. It’s going to have a big personality once again and gives this festival that unique vibe that’s going to be a big hit at Liverpool ONE. We’re looking forward to announcing a full programme in the coming weeks.”

The festival has previously also included Liverpool Loves Business, but this year the one-day event aimed at entrepreneurs and SME companies has been brought forward in the calendar and will take place on Thursday 13th July at Hilton Liverpool.

Liverpool Loves Business is free to attend and delegates are invited to register in advance on Eventbrite. Places can be reserved by clicking here.

More programme details will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on the festival itself, visit their website, Facebook page, and Twitter.

Atomic Kitten Step in to replace Marc Almond & Headline Liverpool Pride

They topped the charts throughout the Noughties with a string of classic pop hits – and now the original Atomic Kitten line-up are back and will headline Liverpool Pride Festival 2017.

The announcement comes following an unforeseen change to the headline act at this year’s festival, which had previously been confirmed as Soft Cell frontman Marc Almond.

Almond, who is originally from Southport and turns 60-years-old this Summer, was due to be the main act on the Barclays Main Stage on Saturday 29 July at the St George’s Quarter, next to the iconic St George’s Hall Liverpool. However, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the singer’s commitment to TV and radio appearances have left him in a difficult position and ultimately having to cancel his performance at Liverpool Pride 2017.

Marc Almond commented:

“I was so looking forward to playing Liverpool Pride this year but an unexpected TV and radio performance to mark the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK has meant that I am unable to make an appearance.

“We tried to make both events work but it has proved impossible. I wish Liverpool Pride every success on the day and I really do hope that I will return to perform in Liverpool for Pride next year – a city very close to my heart.”

Marc will continue to support Liverpool Pride this year through art. The Marc Almond Exhibition is a new collection of images and ephemera celebrating his career, and includes work created by the man himself. The exhibition will run at The Gallery on Stanhope Street between 15 July and 13 August. Entry is free.

The original line-up of Liverpool’s favourite female pop trio Atomic Kitten – Natasha Hamilton, Kerry Katona and Liz McClarnon – have now stepped in to save the day and will perform the headline slot on the Barclays Main Stage on Saturday 29 July, ensuring the Pride crowds have a day to remember.

The Kittens shot to fame in the Noughties with a string of hits including Number One single Whole Again, which remains one of the biggest UK hits of the past decade, reaching the top chart spot in 19 countries.

After appearing on ITV2’s The Big Reunion in 2013, Atomic Kitten reformed in the band’s original format. Now Natasha, Kerry and Liz are touring their trademark pop catalogue and can’t wait to hit the stage in their hometown to entertain the Liverpool Pride crowds.

Atomic Kitten said: “We are so excited to be playing Liverpool Pride 2017. Liverpool is where it all began for us. The city is so close to our hearts and, no matter where we go, it will always be home. Liverpool crowds really are the best, the atmosphere is always amazing – and we really cannot wait to be part of such a fantastic festival.”

Liverpool Pride – the region’s annual festival to celebrate all things LGBT+ – is now one of the major events in the city’s Summer events programme, attracting more than 25,000 people.

Now in its eighth consecutive year, the festival will take place across two days – Saturday 29 July and Sunday 30 July. The theme of this year’s Pride is International Love, complementing the city’s wider 50 Summers of Love festival, which celebrates 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Liverpool Pride’s Lucy Day added:

“Although we are sad to lose Marc Almond from this year’s line-up, he will still be supporting such an important milestone for LGBT+ and we hope he will perform for us in the future. Liverpool’s very own Atomic Kitten will now headline the festival. We know they’ll bring with them a real party atmosphere, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them to Liverpool Pride 2017.”

Liverpool Pride Festival 2017 is supported by headline sponsor Barclays, who are embarking upon a 12-month community partnership which will provide access to employment and financial services, as well as access to training for digital and financial awareness supported by the many Barclays colleagues across its branch network and contact centres in Kirkby and Wavertree Technology Park.

Further support for the Liverpool Pride Festival 2017 also comes from Manchester Airport as the official Airport Sponsor; Radio City as the official Media Partner; and Signature Living as the official Hotel Partner.

Keep up to date with Liverpool Pride announcements at:

Facebook LiverpoolPride
Twitter @LiverpoolPride

The Epstein Theatre Announces Open Auditions for Launch of Brand New Youth Theatre

The Epstein Theatre is delighted to announce that it will be launching its very own Youth Theatre in September 2017. The programme is aimed at young people from across Merseyside aged 14-19, and will be holding open auditions on Saturday 8th July at 10:30am and 1:30pm, taking place at Hope Street Limited for young people interested in joining.

The Epstein Youth Theatre will provide interested and like-minded youths with the opportunity to experience everything that the world of theatre has to offer, from one of the city’s most popular venues.

Weekly workshops will help to develop strong, confident and versatile young performers, and provide them with the opportunity to explore new skills in a safe and welcoming environment.

Led by experienced theatre technicians all the hard work will lead to two performances each year, where all the stars of tomorrow will step out on to the Epstein Theatre stage.

Those interested in joining are encouraged to attend the audition; successful teens will then be offered a place to join the youth theatre, for a small termly fee of just £10 per session.

The theatre will also be awarding four free scholarships per year to suitable candidates, making their Youth Theatre accessible to as many talented young people as possible.

Auditions will be held on Saturday 8th July at Hope Street Limited for its first upcoming term which will commence in September.

All audition materials will be provided, there is no need to prepare anything, just come along and get ready to shine.

To register for the auditions and for further information contact:

Registration is essential.

Theatre manager, Rebekah Pichilingi, said:

“We all know that Liverpool is full to the brim of young talent, and our new Youth Theatre will welcome those individuals who wish to learn the craft of theatre. It will give them first-hand stage experience from leading theatre practitioners who will help develop crucial skills for young people interested in a career in the theatre, or just looking to have some fun and learn new skills. Everyone at The Epstein Theatre is looking forward to this exciting new venture and we cannot wait to meet our auditionees!”

The Epstein Youth Theatre Auditions
Date & Time: Saturday 8 July, 10:30am & 1:30pm
Venue: Hope Street Limited, 3rd Floor, 76-78 Lord Street, Liverpool, L2 1TL

For more details check out Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.