Happy LGBT+ History Month! Its been very busy the last 6 months at Andro & Eve, so we thought it was high time we gave you all an update on what’s been going on!
In November we hosted our first Drag King Workshop Weekend in collaboration with award winning drag king Louis Cyfer, and founder of the Women’s Comedy Network, Natalie Diddams at our partner venue, Theatre Deli Sheffield. (Sidenote: Go support their fundraiser to support this brilliant indie arts space!)
13 participants from across the North of England and the Midlands joined us to learn skills in makeup, character development, gender as performance and creating comedic material, with an informal sharing at the end of the weekend. Feedback from participants was very positive, and we gained a lot of insight into what worked, and where we could push this talent development further. Comments from participants included;
‘I liked the thought, love and organisation that went into the weekend, it was wonderful. I felt very safe and cared for’.
‘I learnt it’s okay to take time and to take up space’.
A few days after our Drag King Weekender we headed over to Cast in Doncaster for our first Donny event, A Reyt Northern edition of queer cabaret, A Reyt Queer Do. Louis Cyfer was back for hosting duties with performances by House of Ghetto’s Jason Andrew, and up and coming talents, Ding Frisby, Spent Reznor and Donny Lad. An audience of 60 people turned out and we were thrilled with the support, and to meet so many new faces. There was a lot of laughter in the room that night, and the 6 weeks of outreach work in the run up to the event clearly paid off. Thanks to Cast for their support in developing our audience! Doncaster folk commented
‘Thanks for an amazing night, it made hump day bright and beautiful’.
We rounded off November with a big queer party and cabaret back at Theatre Deli with A Reyt Queer Do 5. This ‘Shine Like a Diamond’ edition was hosted by non – binary rapper Bad Lay Dee with performances by poet Maz Hedgehog, theatre maker Victoria Firth and drag kings Sveto Slava and Dickhead Dave Debonair. DJ Chardine Taylor – Stone from punk band Big Joanie ensured everyone got a chance to raise the roof once the performances were done.
In January we collaborated with DocFest to produce a cosy film screening at Yellow Arch. We chose to screen the brilliant documentary SILVANA, about Swedish rapper Silvana Imam, after seeing this film at Doc/Fest in 2018. The film follows Imam’s rise to fame, her experience as an immigrant in Sweden and new romance with Swedish lesbian pop star, Beatrice Eli. Cake and cosy vibes were enjoyed by all, and we think it’s is fair to say most of the audience fell hard for this lesbian power duo!
In between running all these events we successfully recruited a new Assistant Producer, Emma, who brings with her a wealth of marketing and event experience. We’ve also had some fab new volunteers join the team and been recruiting a new board of directors (more news on that coming soon) and planning our events for 2020.
Currently, Andro & Eve is featured in a new exhibition to celebrate LGBT+ History Month at Sheffield’s Central Library. It’s great to see this sort of visibility and recognition, especially at a time when mainstream media seems intent on sowing division between different communities.
We’re also gearing up for our biggest drag king cabaret to date, The Kingdom Come on 21st March at Abbeydale Picture House. It’s going to be a special Under the Sea Edition! Hosted by star on the rise Christian Adore and featuring a line up of ridiculously hot and talented drag kings, its going to be a night to remember.
We’re forever grateful for those in our community who have gone before, making space for the LGBT+ community to come together, and are proud to be continuing this work. But we know only too well how precarious the creation of queer friendly spaces are. Want to support your LGBT+ community now and help us continue this work? Then nab a ticket and come feel the mer love at The Kingdom Come! See you then!
A special thanks to all those who continue to support our work, giving their time, money or expertise to help us grow, and Arts Council England for funding much of the work of the last 6 months.
Andro and Eve is all about bringing our community together, and one of the ways we do that is by working with a wonderful team of volunteers who give their time to help make our events happen. We’re looking to expand our volunteer team and would love to hear from you if you’ve got some time and energy to help out.
We’re looking for folks who can be at events, interact with members of the public, are happy handling money and love a spot of decorating. (If you’ve been to one of our events, you’ll know our approach to decor is more is more!) Some of our volunteers also help out with stage management and sound. We’re also keen to hear from people who would be up for distributing our posters and flyers, this is an important part of helping us reach new people.
Typically, we ask volunteers wanting to help with events to work with us on evenings and weekends, and for shifts of 6 – 8 hours. We always provide food, breaks and plenty of support for our team, and as a volunteer, of course you’ll get to see behind the Andro and Eve scenes. We also organise socials for our team and offer event training throughout the year.
Here’s what some of our volunteers have said about working with us…
‘After feeling like a lost queer in Sheffield during my time as a student, volunteering for Andro & Eve was one of the best things I could have done for myself, whilst also contributing to the local community. Meeting younger and older LGBTQ+ people who were all so vibrant and positive opened me up to a whole new world and I feel so much more connected to my queer identity. If you feel like you are in a similar state of mind to how I was, or simply want to have fun and contribute your time to some of the best queer events this planet has seen – volunteer for Andro and Eve! Without them and the caring people who dedicate their time there, I’d still be looking for my queer identity’.
‘Being part of Andro and Eve is like having a fabulous queer family. I’ve volunteered now for a number of their events and have loved every minute, we always have such a laugh and I love that its supporting and developing a strong queer presence in the Steel City’….. Laura.
‘Getting involved with Andro and Eve has been a great decision. There’s something really powerful about coming together and putting on these fabulous events to celebrate aspects of our queer culture. The team are so friendly, and its been a pleasure to meet so many new friends from those involved’.
We’d love to hear from folks who are available on the 13th and 30th November for our events in Sheffield and Doncaster, and for dates after this too. If the above sounds good to you, and you have some availability then drop us a line using the contact form here. Thanks!
We won an Award!! Last month at Cinema For All’s 2018 Film Society of the Year Awards we won in the BEST SINGLE EVENT category for our screening themed around Sekiya Dorsett’s film THE REVIVAL: WOMEN AND THE WORD. You can read more about what happened at that event in January 2018 on our blog here.
We’re really grateful to Cinema for All for this award – Thank you! Big thanks also to Jade Foster and Sekiya Dorsett for making this brilliant film. We want to say a huge thank you to Ella Otomewo Poet and DYLEMA for performing their poetry at our event, and massive love to Rainbow Noir and Our Mel who we collaborated with in creating the night. Finally, our sincerest thanks to our amazing volunteers who help us run special events like this, and you, our audience, for supporting what we do. Here’s to more awesome film screenings in future!
We’ve been planning this for some time, and we’re totally thrilled to reveal our new Andro and Eve logo!
While we loved our old logo, we spent summer 2017 reflecting on Andro and Eve and one of the things we realised was how much we love our name. It felt like we needed to make more of it within our ‘brand’ and so we played with lots of ideas to do this, and realised we had to get rid of the old logo image.
Although we liked that quiff and lips picture, itsometimes wasn’t clear what they represented, for example, when the curving lines were rotated on a badge, which wasn’t ideal. By losing this image, we also show Andro and Eve is for everyone, regardless of what hair – style you choose to wear!
But mostly we’re serious about Andro and Eve. This is our grown up logo for the next phase of Andro and Eve. It represents our dedication to seriously fun, inclusive, queer events and making them happen regularly. Watch this space, follow us on social media, or sign up to our mailing list, for more announcements about our future plans soon!
This post comes about after reading this article by Vibe Sheffield which hilariously describes Sheffield’s ‘thriving’ LGBT scene. Please. Hold my cuppa. Can we just giggle gleefully that Sheffield’s LGBT scene just got described as ‘thriving’?! If you didn’t laugh you’d cry. So instead of sobbing into our almond milk chai, we’re doing this. While we totally understand the need to highlight the good that happens in a city, rather than be negative, we also think the scene in Sheffield is in more of a germination stage, rather than the thriving and bearing fruit phase we just read about. Its also reflective of the wider situation at present where many lesbian bars have closed. The links will take you to a discussion of those issues. We’re of the opinion though, that there are more things a queer woman wants to do than socialise in a bar serving mainly alcoholic drinks! Think big people.
With that in mind, we decided to compile and publish our own alternative guide that highlights where, as a queer person you might feel super welcome and even, – whisper it – find fellow queer people!!! While Sheffield is generally a very open and friendly city, we have been on the receiving end of homophobic abuse / attention more times than we’d like, and we feel its important to highlight the very best this city has to offer for queer people.
Here’s the disclaimer: This is a highly biased and personal guide. (We’re both cis, white, queer, lesbians). It also focuses on alternative stuff a quick google search won’t unearth, and that we’d actually recommend. But neither of us can say we know all there is to know. So we write this with the hope that you’ll get in touch and say ‘hey, I know about this cool thing’ and then we’ll update this post. But we also know Sheffield is very good at keeping things close to its chest, so we realise all the queer secrets may stay just as that. And thats fine. But with no central hub that tells you all the LGBTQ+ things going on in Sheffield, it feels like this is a good moment to get something out there. To share the reality of trying to find queer spaces in this city. And hopefully help those new to town, or just new to identifying on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, where you might find your new queer family. And now to our guide!
Well first off, theres Andro and Eve! Jokes. No really. We’re one of the only organisations in Sheffield creating regular pop up events celebrating queer culture. From film nights, to spoken word events, to our highly successful drag king night The Kingdom Come, and queer party series A Reyt Queer Do, you’re sure to be met with a warm welcome and DEFINITELY be in the company of fellow queer people. Our events are for everyone*, and can be found on this website, by signing up to our mailing list, or on Facebook / IG / Twitter. *Occasionally we host Autostraddle Brunches for lesbian, queer and bisexual women / non binary people only.
Pity Like is an occasional queer club night focused on talent, inclusion and rejecting gender binaries. Its at DIY space the Audacious Art Experiment and if you like a sweaty, alternative club experience with BYOB you’ll love it. Audacious also hosts Cub Rush, ‘Blissful dance hooliganism – for queers and freaks’. We hear its good, but we haven’t yet checked it out. Climax is the biggest LGBT+ club night in Sheffield hosted once a month by Sheffield University Student’s Union.
Verse Matters is a feminist spoken word and poetry night held once a month at Moor Theatre Delicatessen. You’ll find a warm welcome here and plenty interesting haircuts. Trust us. Its inclusive and diverse and you can often get warm fuzzy feelings from the friendly vibes. Speaking of Moor Theatre Deli, they’re known for their weird and wonderful theatre and performance programme and support of LGBTQ events. Based in new venue on Eyre Street, we think it’s the friendliest theatre venue in town.
For many of us queers, going out at night is, well, just a bit much. The sofa and a Netflix session / queer web-series holds too much appeal. So heres the DL on what Sheffield has to offer the active queer during daylight hours. Its actually a bit shocking we’ve waited this long to mention ROLLER DERBY. Whoops. Sheffield has not one, but THREE roller derby teams including, Sheffield Steel Roller Girls, (A and B team) plus , The Hallam Hellcats and mens team The Inhuman League. All are trans friendly and inclusive in their ethos. If you don’t fancy whizzing round on skates at top speed, you can just go watch a match! Spending a weekend day at one of SSRG’s bouts is like entering a magical queer land. There’s plenty of stalls including those selling vegan food, a raffle and of course top quality sports entertainment.
Sheffield Hiking Dykes has the best name of all the names ever and is just great. One solely for lez-beans, so head on over to their Facebook Group and request to join so you can attend one of their once monthly walks. AFC Unity are an awesome independent women’s football team. While not specifically for those identifying as LGBTQ+, their inclusive attitude and focus on championing good causes means they have a healthy proportion of queer folk on the team. The Climbing Works is for those of you who don’t mind falling hard from fake rocks! But also. There can often be several queer women hanging around (quite literally), at the same time, thus making you feel the queer family is quite active. Also, theres a real friendly, chilled vibe and helpful staff to boot.
Lazy Queer Days
But I’m not active! We hear you say. If the last time you wore trainers for actual sports was in a PE lesson way back, when touching your toes was an achievable goal, don’t worry, here’s what you need to know for where to go on a super queer lazy day.
Pom Kitchen is a newish vegan and veggie cafe on Sharrow Vale Road that does the best gluten free and vegan cakes we’ve come across. Courtesy of Fro by Joy, who also supplies their delicious Froconut (coconut ice cream). Seriously, you need to try it. As well as great tea and coffee and amazing banana bread, they serve things that are not sweet too. The welcoming staff and clientele are mostly women and our spidey senses have definitely picked up a queer vibe from many of those enjoying their Rainbow Bowls.
Down the road from Pom is Sharrow Vale Hardware. We include this shop solely because of George the cat, manager of said shop. Stroke his fur and wonder at its softness. He often sits on the counter and oversees his human staff. Kitchenware and cats. Lesbian shopping experience sorted. (Resisting puns so hard here). Insert your own. Other cafes you might spot fellow queers / hipsters* are The Holt, one of the City centre’s most calm spaces, serving a good mix of vegan and GF treats and great coffee, Tamper Sellers Wheel, Forge Bakehouse,Homemade by Thelmas and Cafe #9, the latter two both in Nether Edge and offering good veggie and vegan food options.
* gaydar interference from hipster style is a problem these days)
If you like a good bit of queer literature, seek out Jepps Books, Sheffield’s radical book emporium. They stock plenty good queer magazines, zines, and books, plus the LSGSM ‘Pits and Perverts’ Tees and badges. Originally situated at Moor Theatre Deli, they’re now in a period of transition, so you’ll find them at various locations. However, plans are afoot for opening a proper store. Fingers crossed. Also good for picking up queer magazines like Girls Like Us is La Biblioteka situated on Pinstone Street, Sheffield City Centre.
If you want to get creative, Edge of the Universe Printing Press often host screen printing and zine making workshops. Fond memories of an afternoon cutting out fine shapes, and watching the print designs transfer, surrounded by many a queer lady, come back to us. With a real welcoming approach and affordable; it’s a fun way to spend a few hours.
Like unicorns, the LGBTQ+ community can sometimes be so elusive as to be invisible. But sometimes, magically, they’ll appear at an event and the next day you’ll think, was it all just a queer dream? The following, are all events in Sheffield that happen once or more than once a year, and fit our ‘its a bit queer here’ theme.
Sheffield Zine Fest usually takes place in February and is probably the gayest space we’ve been in in a long time. Queer zines for everyone! So much feminist literature you end up rushing back to the cashpoint to refill your wallet just so you don’t miss out on this rich bounty! Its marvellous. We love Girl Gang Sheffield for their immersive film screenings, sharing positivity and empowerment for all genders. Events are usually announced via their Facebook Page. Catch Out Aloud, Sheffield’s very own LGBT choir at one of their concerts throughout the year. Their repertoire involves a good mix of material and concerts provide an uplifting atmosphere.
Transforming Cinema is Sheffield’s first film festival focused on transgender and non binary films and storytelling. The first, held in November 2016 was produced by E.D.E.N film, who also often run film courses for those LGBTQ identified. Hopefully it will return. Peace in the Park is a free community arts festival offering live music, a climate zone, healing area and all sorts of other interesting stuff. Its inclusive and diverse and the vibe feels a bit like an early 90’s rave but with added yoga, trees and families. Peddlar Market happens on the first weekend of every month on Burton Rd, Kelham Island. With food, beer crafts and music, you can often spot a few queers in the crowds, and the choice of food just keeps getting better.
On May 17th Sheffield celebrates International IDAHOBIT Day with a one minutes noise, usually at The Peace Gardens. That’s reyt Yorkshire. Pride Sheffield at Endcliffe Park happens in the summer, and has both performances, stalls and a community tent. Its all free too. Bring a picnic and enjoy soaking up the rainbow fest. Sheffield Docfest brings together some of the world’s best documentary film makers. While the festival is still learning how to engage with the local community, it does offer the chance to meet some brilliant queer people and see the newest queer documentaries.
A special mention now for all the live music that happens in Sheffield. Pick your fave artist, and hopefully your queer family will have also chosen the same gig to attend.
Support Services and Groups
The aforementioned Vibe guide gives a good run down on the support services available for LGBT+ people, so we’ll not replicate that here. Though we would also add that SAYit offer support to young people 13 – 25 identifying as LGBTQ+ and their families. T – Boys is a peer run community social and support group for those assigned female at birth who consider themselves on the trans spectrum or who are questioning their identity including trans men at all stage of transition, non binary, genderqueer and intersex people. Sheffield Bi Social is a social meet up group for bi/ pan people and their allies. Tiger Strut is an organisation active in Sheffield with the aim of increasing the visibility of South Asian LGBT people.
The personal is political for us LGBTQ folk, so if getting angry about this heteronormative world is often an issue for you, why not check out Sheffield’s anti capitalist queer group QASH (Queer Agenda Sheffield). They can often be found attending protests and organising DIY parties. Action for Trans Health also do great work in raising awareness and fundraising for trans healthcare.
Now. A common misconception seems to be that all LGBTQ+ identified people are somehow really into terrible dance music and alcopops. We’re not. Luckily Sheffield is apparently the real ale capital of the world, and so we’ve handpicked some pubs where you can enjoy some fine ales in friendly and stare free atmospheres. The Rutland Arms in Sheffield City Centre does the greatest Halloumi Burger. Ever. Plus lots of other very tasty pub grub options and impressively leafy beer garden. The Broadfield on Abbeydale Road has a good cocktail menu as well as a chilled beer garden and The Beer House on Eccleshall Road, has a friendly atmosphere and great ales too. There are plenty other great pubs and cafes in Sheffield, but we’ve focused on the ones where time and again, we get a warm welcome and find ourselves in the company of fellow queers.
So that about rounds up our queer guide to Sheffield. Phew. Who knew there would be so much? Well, there’s not. And thats the point. Partially due to rising acceptance of LGBTQ people, but probably more to do with economics, LGBTQ spaces are getting harder to find. Its great that LGBTQ people like us don’t have to spend all our time in one basement bar for fear of hate crimes, but at the same time, queer family is a real and important thing. Finding them makes life richer and more enjoyable. We hope this guide might make that a bit easier in South Yorkshire’s biggest city. And we hope to see you at an Andro and Eve event in future; a big warm welcome awaits!
If you want to suggest a cool place / thing we’ve missed off, and you can guarantee it fits our criteria of being queer friendly and being top quality, use the contact form on this website to get in touch and tell us about it.
We’re really pleased to announce our next event: a one off screening of Gender Troubles: The Butches, a new documentary by Lisa Plourde.
We saw this film at SQIFF in October and wrote about it here for Now Then. Mostly we loved this film for its warmth, humour and honesty. There are plenty stereotypes of butch women out there, and the interviews with butch identified women in this film show us that there’s a lot more to this identity than we’re led to believe. It made us smile plenty too!
Alongside the main feature there’ll be a showing of The Test Shot, a photo documentary project about transmasculine style. We found out about The Test Shot through Transforming Cinema, and loved the style inspiration so much we wanted to share it with our audience.
We’re also very excited to announce that we’ll be screening the short film Switching Teams by local filmmaker and Roller Derby player, Taylor Le Fin. Their film, produced by EDEN film, is a documentation of their journey in finding the gender identity that felt right to them, and the way their community supported this journey.
We design these smaller events with women identified, non – binary and transmasculine people in mind. We do this in order to make space for a group often not specifically catered for in the wider cultural scene. Our larger events are for everyone but with smaller capacities we feel we feel it is important to only invite women, non – binary and trans people to events, to ensure women and marginalised queer identities feel celebrated. This may change in future, but for now, its what we do, and we appreciate the support of the wider community in respecting this ethos.
This event is about celebrating and finding common ground between queer identities, while sharing cake, hot beverages and a cosy space. And of course there’ll be a few typically Andro and Eve activities to keep everyone amused. So we hope to see you there, at Café 9, on January 27th. Tickets are available here!