Today we catch up with Hsien Chew who is leading the development of the cultural festival proposals that will form part of the London2018 bid to host the tenth Gay Games.
From a cultural perspective, why is London the right place to host the 2018 Gay Games?
There are few places in the world with a cultural heritage as rich as London’s. For millennia our great city has attracted people of every culture and ethnicity to weave a rich urban tapestry which not only welcomes but celebrates diversity. London is a haven for the LGBT community, and its safe environment has not only nurtured the artistic expression of so many of its members, from choirs to orchestras, from dance to theatre, it has taken it to new heights of excellence. The cultural ground broken in London has spread to the wider United Kingdom, with LGBT community and professional groups widely distributed all across the isles. A Gay Games in the British capital is a wonderful opportunity to bring these groups together in a display of how a once-marginalized community can find inclusion, self-respect, strength and pride through cultural participation, and serve as an example for some of our brothers and sisters around the world to follow.
How important are community arts groups and organisations in the delivery of a Gay Games cultural festival?
There can be no greater demonstration of the Gay Games ideals of participation, inclusion and personal best than our LGBT community arts groups. London is home to three LGBT choirs and three LGBT orchestras/ bands, all of whom regularly put on performances throughout the city and beyond. We have at least four community dance groups covering styles from tango to highland dancing. London even has a network of gay photographers. All of these groups present opportunities for members of our community to meet and develop their skills, but also to engage the wider public. Across the U.K. there are 27 choirs, and an even greater number of LGBT arts groups, with a widespread enthusiasm for what the Gay Games will represent: an opportunity to bring us all together and present how far we have come.
Would the Gay Games just be about community arts groups – what about the professional arts organisations that call London home?
London is also home to numerous artists who identify as LGBT, as well as multiple festivals which highlight different aspects of the LGBT art, including poetry, writing festivals, performance arts, dramatic theatre and musical theatre. The Gay Games will tap into the rich seam of established professional arts groups which not only reinforces the concept of excellence in LGBT arts but spreads the Gay Games message beyond a single area in the heart of London to venues across the capital.