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STOP KISS Launches Andrew Beckett's Tenure as New Artistic Director of Above The Stag

STOP KISS Launches Andrew Beckett's Tenure as New Artistic Director of Above The Stag

Above The Stag, The UK's only dedicated LGBTQ+ theatre, is delighted to announce that long-term collaborator and regular Above The Stag director has be appointed as Artistic Director at the Vauxhall hub venue.

Andrew's first piece of programming will be the award-winning 1998 play by Diana Son, Stop Kiss, which will run for four weeks from 6th November until 1st December.

Stop Kiss follows the story of a young couple, Sarah and Callie, who are viciously attacked after sharing their first kiss. The attack leaves Sara horribly injured and in a coma; which becomes the crux of the play. Written in 1998 by Diana Son, the play explores relationships and the depth of human emotion and compassion. It will be produced by theatre maker and LGBT rights advocate Kylie Vilcins and directed by Rafaella Marcus.

The programming of Stop Kiss, coupled with its female-fronted creative team, comes as part of a decisive move to position Above The Stag as ever more inclusive for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, alongside their families, friends and supporters.

STOP KISS Launches Andrew Beckett's Tenure as New Artistic Director of Above The Stag

Andrew Beckett commenting on his artistic vision for his creative direction at Above The Stag said, "we are immensely proud of all the fantastic shows that Above The Stag have programmed over the last eleven years. But equally, we're excited to begin to take our programming in a slightly new direction, further welcoming and showcasing the creative talents of all marginalised sexualities and genders and reaffirm our Vauxhall home as a safe space for all to enjoy."

Producer Kylie Vilcins says, "I am honoured to be working with Above The Stag Theatre, embracing and implementing their new artistic vision and commitment to exploring the stories of the LGBTQ+ community. Stop Kiss is a play I have long wanted to produce and right now, unfortunately in light of the recently publicised homophobic attacks on women, feels like an extremely relevant and pertinent time to do so."

Following that, director Rafaella Marcus continues, "I'm incredibly excited to be working on this show and telling this beautiful queer female love story. Diana Son's play was written over 20 years ago but feels like it could have been last week; which is testament to the fact that even when LGBTQ+ communities make gains, danger persists - as we have seen all too frequently. I feel very privileged to be working with producer Kylie Vilcins to bring a female-fronted creative team to Above the Stag, and to be entrusted with this witty, compassionate, truthful story of two women falling in love, and the roads they navigate because of it."

Andrew adds, "For me, the most important thing about programming this work, as Rafaella rightly says, is that whilst so much has progressed and so many attitudes have been challenged and have changed since the play's first outing, we only have to look at the recent news stories (such as the recent attack on a lesbian couple on a London Bus; and even closer to home in the arts world, the news that a Southampton theatre recently cancelled performances of their award winning play 'Rotterdam' after the actors were attacked on the street) to see that many things are still mirrored in today's society as they were 20 years ago - we've a long way still to go."

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