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Section 28 and Me Tea Party

Throughout July 2023, Tom is gathering communities to explore the impact of Section 28 legislation introduced by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government. By hosting a series of tea parties to discuss the impact of Section 28 on the queer community. 

Tom wonders if growing up within the decade in which queer life was silenced has made him a bit of a show off, compelled to share queer or LGBTQI+  stories? He has observed many other peoples strong reactions to this legislation. Emotions are running high, particularly at this dangerous moment when a repeat of similar legislation is possible, returning to the silencing of queerness in this country.

The tea parties are a place for communities to meet and share their stories over tea and cake. You could have lived through this time or be curious to know more, everyone is welcome. Tom will perform short performances connected to the topic to provoke conversation, providing starting points for discussion with his own cabaret flair.

These tea parties are research for a new show, supported by Unlimited & Bristol Ideas and part of Bristol 650. With permission, participants' responses will feed into this new work, as an important and valuable part of the process. A work in progress of the work will be presented in November at the Wardrobe Theatre.

Tea Parties are being held in several locations:

Old Market, Bristol

5th July: Bristol Bear Bar, 5th July. Book here:

29th July: The Trinity Centre (booking details to follow)

Old Market, an area that has been referred to as the Bristol Gay Village. As this city continues to gentrify the queer spaces, the history and culture of the queer community becomes less visible and harder to identify. This is a chance for Old Market, as a Gay Village, to host important conversations for its queer community, making forgotten histories visible, and connecting them to the present moment. Taking place at The Trinity Centre, the tea party builds on the conversations initiated at the centre within the Art of Resistance project initiated in 2020.

St Annes, Bristol

26th July: Bricks, St Annes House. Book here: tbc

St Annes House, the ward of Brislington East. In the 1980s this ward was the constituency of Labour MP Tony Benn, who gave an impassioned speech in the House of Commons against Section 28. Within his speech he described it as ‘the most blatantly and dishonestly worded clause that I have ever come across’. He asked the house to consider if ‘every murder play promotes murder, every war play promotes war, every drama involving the eternal triangle promotes adultery'. This tea party is a chance to talk about this forgotten history in a ward that politically pushed back.


16th August: Chauffeurs Cottage. Book here: eventbrite


26th August: MShed. Book here: Mshed


16 Sept: Gloucester Archives. Book here: coming soon.

Tom continues work in this area, uncovering hidden queer stories within the Archives, in partnership with the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub. The tea party is happening around Gloucestershire Pride, a moment to host important conversations for its queer community, making forgotten histories visible, and connecting them to the present moment.

Photo Credit: Photograph by Mark Gray, Tea Party at Proud with Culture Weston.
Video Credit: Conceived and performed by Tom Marshman, film produced by Helm Films Made in collaboration with Weston’s LGBTQI’s community: Matt Fleming, Noelle Griffin and John Crockford Hawley. One of four new digital art works, commissioned by Ad Infinitum in partnership with Culture Weston.

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