Our History

Outspoken Arts Scotland Ltd is the legacy of a movement that began with the foundation of the Glasgay! Festival in 1993, founded as a direct response the Section 28 legislation banning the promotion of homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.

Glasgay! launched on Saturday 30th October 1993. This lesbian and gay arts festival was the innovation of Cordelia Ditton, well known in national arts scene as a performer, writer, and co-director of Gay Sweatshop. The introduction of Section 28 in 1988 galvanised a whole new era of political and public agitation and resulted also in the founding in 1989 of the influential national lobbying group Stonewall.

Ditton herself had been involved in the campaign against Section 28. Ditton recognised that important local organisations such as the Glasgow branch of Switchboard already existed. However, it was her idea that a lesbian and gay arts festival, would make the lesbian and gay communities of Glasgow more visible. In 1991 she joined forces with Glasgow-based freelance arts administrator Dominic D’Angelo. Both were determined to to produce an arts festival that would show gay lifestyles and performers and work in a very, very positive light. The mission was to change public opinion about lesbian and gay people and to show the wealth of amazing work that was out there.

The 1993 Festival opened to huge acclaim garnering audiences of just over 26,000 attenders. However, there were hateful campaigns in the press, from Tory Councillors and members of the public de-crying the use of public money on such gay art. This backlash and the difficulties it faced caused two years of festival blackout – 1994 and 1996.

In 1995 Cordelia and Dominic stepped down and a new board of directors was convened and the charity Gala Scotland Ltd established. This company then carried forward the legacy and produced the festival from 1995 to 2014.

In its history the festival worked with many of the top gay and lesbian artists in the world. Names such as Sir Ian McKellen, Simon Fanshawe, Donna McPhail, Edwin Morgan, Jackie Kay, Rhona Cameron, Annie Sprinkle, Penny Arcade, Bette Bourne, Diamanda Galas, Neil Bartlett, Scott Capurro, Pam Ann, Four Poofs and a Piano, Lypsinka, Louise Welsh, Marc Almond, Alan Carr, Zoe Strachan, Stewart Laing, and John Waters are amongst the many others that have graced the festival stages.

The work of the festival was always dominated by the prevailing social climate in terms of acceptance, tolerance and understanding of LGBT rights, equality and the march of progress. That social progress has resulted in the repealing of Section 28 of the Government Act 1998; the Civil Partnership Act (2004) and The Equality Act (2010).
Glasgay! artists across the generations have presented work in various artforms that continually reflect social attitudes, behaviours and experiences of the LGBT community. The Glasgay! Festival was a place where LGBT life was acknowledged, celebrated and understood.

Over the 21 years of its history the festival was funded mainly on a year to year basis by the Scottish Arts Council and, subsequently its successor, Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council. From 2007 to 2014 it enjoyed regular 3 year funding agreements from the Scottish Arts Council/Creative Scotland. In 2015 the Company was unsuccessful in its bid to become a new RFO client and the Board was asked to consider the future of the festival without the support of Creative Scotland.

The Company was also asked to consider its national role as a promoter of equality and the broader protected characteristics. It was clear that whilst the festival clearly enjoyed strong support in Glasgow the need to spread the message of equality, particularly to outer-lying communities was the principal challenge. The Company agreed to enter a period of funding transition and the board took the bold step of retiring the festival and renaming the charity, rebranding and re-purposing the mission.

The name Outspoken Arts Scotland was chosen to reflect the campaigning roots of the festival as legacy of a movement. A new mission was adopted to work in outerlying communities and to work across all, or most, of the protected characteristics. This transition period lasted for nearly two years 2015-2017 and the Company delivered a number of projects across that period.

The Company continues to be funded by Creative Scotland & Glasgow City Council and since 2018 by Renfrewshire Council.


The entire administrative, artistic, press & PR archive of the Glasgay! Festival 1993-2014 was transferred to Glasgow University’s Scottish Theatre Archive in Spring 2018.  This archive is still being catalogued and documented but reference to it should eventually appear at this link. http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/STA/search/


See this link for Commissions, productions, presentations and a list of artists/companies who appeared.

Appendix N – Our History 1993-2014

Glasgay! 2014

20 OCT-15 NOV 2014
www.glasgay.co.uk  |  https://www.facebook.com/Glasgay   |  twitter @glasgayfestival

Full Brochure – digital edition

In a year that the world came to Glasgow to celebrate the Commonwealth Games and the Year of Homecoming we bring you the 21st edition of Glasgay!.

This year we explore social, historical and contemporary taboos.  With the legal protection of the Equality Act (2010) and the arrival of the Equal Marriage Act 2013 as significant landmarks in our lives, we might ask is every aspect of LGBTQI peoples lives visible, accepted or understood.  For our multiple tribes, pursuits and interests the LGBTQI community have much to do in aiding wider social acceptance.

In our Commission Cardinal Sinne by Raymond Burke, directed by Grant Smeaton, we enquire into a fictional long running sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.  What promises to be a merry romp of ludicrous litany this show at the Tron will certainly raise an eyebrow.  Also at the Tron, Andy Arnold directs  Colquhoun & MacBryde by John Byrne, the story of two of Glasgow’s forgotten famous painters.

We are joined this year by Hollywood legend, John Waters who brings Filthy World Vol2 to Glasgow.  This notorious film-maker who discovered Divine and gave us hit movies such as Hairspray, Pink Flamingos and Cry-Baby will certainly dish the dirt on Hollywood.

Visiting artist Ron Athey and Cryptic explore the body as art through music and photography in what promises to be searingly beautiful, disturbing and haunting works.  Stewart Laing directs a new production of Slope by Pamela Carter which explores the taboo love from historical times of French poets, Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine at the Citizens’ Theatre.

Our emerging artists Drew Taylor bring to The Arches Howl[ing] a poetic re-imagining of that famous Allen Ginsberg poem.  Rosana Cade in Lady Fingers & Empire Biscuits explores Britain’s legacy of colonialism and repression of India. Mark Kydd offers us his part confessional bio-play there were two brothers and Cardboard Fox present 1960’s Soho village theatre hit The Madness of Lady Bright and a new work about actor Charles Laughton. And hit group Village Pub Theatre join us for a 3 nights of eclectic new writing.

We’ve an exhibition of LGBT sports people – Sporting Heads.  Craig Hill, Stephen K Amos, Vikki Stone and Sara Pascoe big up the comedy programme and there’s a selection film at Glasgow Film Theatre.  See inside for talks, debates & club nights.  Enjoy!


Thanks for Glasgay! 2013


from Steven Thomson, Glasgay! Producer

It’s been a tremendous year for Glasgay! on its 20th anniversary.  In our largest and longest running festival in many years we saw great work by unsung heroes and heroines of the LGBT community.  Media coverage and representation is always much on our minds and this year we were delighted to get BBC Reporting Scotland and Pauline McLean.  I always love an “and, finally” moment on the news but they made so much more of it than that.  The Beeb rolled out archive footage of Sir Ian McKellen decrying past Tory councillors who would have denied the festival funding and a future life.  Our wonderful founder Cordelia Ditton was interviewed waxing lyrical about the early days and past glories, and our patron and leading artist, Jackie Kay revelled in the opportunities given to her by the festival and the delight of bringing “Maw Broon” to life two decades later. I’ve worked in the arts for thirty years now and I’m constantly amazed by the wealth of talent and expertise that goes into making festivals happen.

In our theatre programme Stef Smith’s Cured gave us genuine laugh-out-loud moments of recognition in a pithy lesbian two-hander that debunked pseudo gay cures.  The quixotic Mary Gapinski and the wonderful Julie Hale gave us a genuine representation of true love across the generation gap and social divide.  Our run at the Arches played to full houses with great direction by Ros Philips and a wonderful design by Jess Brettle and sensitive lighting by Malcolm Rogan.  This is one work that we were most pleased about and we hope to re-stage it for the Edinburgh Fringe 2014.  It rightly deserves to be seen more widely.   Amongst our other hits this year has been The New Maw Broon Monologues by Jackie Kay, playing to almost full houses; I Am Divine, a film at GFT, featuring John Waters, Divine and a cast of many who reminded us that the journey of LGBT artists is often fraught with lack of recognition, lack of media attention and poor engagement of critics on the broader purpose or social value of our works.  If I see the word ‘cabaret’ in any future reviews I will scream.  None of our work this year was either cabaret or itinerant but then its their failure to engage with context – not ours.

Handels Cross by Martin Lewton and Andrew McKinnon was a worthy well-made show which struggled for audiences – yet it proved a thought provoking work which challenged our perceptions of fetishism and queer-ing of the past.    Rachel Jury and Confab gave us The Gates a full on musical with a cast of 28, sold out in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.  Well done Rachel on getting this show on the road.  It only took funders four years to finally recognise its worth – a project that Rachel first chatted to me about 6 or 7 years ago.  Who funds large scale ensemble work was my question? Well eventually someone did.  John Binnie and Scottish Youth Theatre gaves us a cracking revival of Killing Me Softly that deftly reminded us of coming out in a working class community and the struggle, and sometimes pain and joys, of growing up gay.

Glasgay! has always been about diversity and Craig Hill, Scottee, Tina C gave us three rollicking nights of intensity, laughter and tears of joy with full houses at two of them.  Tina C reminded us that social acceptance is mainstream now. Craig as always pulls in a diverse crowd and Scottee kept it real for the live art crowd looking for queer performance.  Glasgow Uni and Stephen Greer rolled out a successful panel debate on queer performance and in a packed house at Gilmorehill, we got a lovely reminder of where Glasgay! began and where it is now.

A huge thanks is also due to RSNO for the Wizard of Oz, film and concert, Alan Crumlish for his Retro exhibition, Garry MacLaughin for I Am Art and Sub Club for Derrick Carter.

So in 2013 we celebrated with several cakes, a lot of bubbly, flashing lights and beaming smiles of many an audience, and many a happy artist.  For me Glasgay! has finally come of age and whether your gay, lesbian, bisexual or intersex its no longer just about fighting for the right to be seen and heard, accepted, wedded or bedded. Glasgay! is about your stories, your views and your diverse lives.  Long may it continue!

…. oh and in the words of one audience member:

Aidan Morrissey “Best festival I’ve ever witnessed”

(Facebook 8 November at 21:59)

Maw Broon shoots the breeze with Dorothy Gale

We recently caught up with Maw Broon and Dorothy Gale and asked them a few questions. We thought it would be fun to get the viewpoints of two of our favourite fictional characters…

How does it feel to be in Glasgow?  

MB – I’m awfy chuffed to be back in the big city but am no half missing paw and the weans.  Hope someone’s keeping paw in line!

DG – not quite the Emerald city but it’s a great place!

What are you doing here?

DG – well I have a big show on for RSNO/Glasgay! at Royal Concert Hall. They are showing Wizard of Oz and the orchestra is accompanying me!

What’s your favourite footwear?  

MB – Your ruby slippers don’t look as comfy as ma sheepskins but I widnae mind their magic! I’d click my heels and say “there’s no place like the but an ben”

DG – ah but Maw Broon – the ruby slippers fit everyone!  They are magic after all! They are really comfortable, even after being on the wicked witches’ feet!

What’s your stand on politics and independence?  

DG – all I’ve been hearing about since I landed from Kansas is about Scotland becoming independent.   I was part of the revolution in Oz and would highly recommend it.  I might even stay here for the revolution…how will you vote?

MB – Well I’m skeptical to say the least. Cameroon and Osbroon don’t impress me and I’m no happy aboot this bedroom tax!  It’s oor oil!

What’s your favourite song?

MB – you’ve got such a lovely singing voice Dorothy, I’ve always loved the songs from the film

DG – thank you. What’s your favourite? Do you ever sing any of the songs from the film?

MB – Oh no! I couldnae compete with your voice.  If there’s ever a singsong in oor hoose ma party piece is:  ‘We’re no awa to bide awa’

Do you enjoy being a woman?

MB – aye but ma hormones are aw ower the place – I’ve got hot flushes to go wi ma mid-life crisis.

DG – I’ve never had a hormone because I never grew up but I know a witch who has – The Wicked Witch of the West.  Good Witch Glinda was always able to keep hers in check.

Do you class yourselves as feminists?

MB – I’m a big fan of feminism – burning bras… I’m all for equality… anything a man can do.

DG –Me too – after witnessing the troubles between Good Witch vs Wicked Witch I’m all for sisterhood!

Do you like dogs?

MB  – the bairns are desperate for a dog – it has to be something small any tips?

D – you should get them a wee scottie dog like Toto – he would be ideal for your family.

What do you think of the Scottish weather?

MB – when it’s blowin a heilan gale oot there I’m worried the hoose is gonnae get blown away! It’s like the tornado that took your hoose to Oz!

DG – Aunty Em and Uncle Henry said that tornado was the biggest they’d ever seen and it took us forever to get the farm back together.

What are you up to for Hallowe’en ?

MB – I’m getting all dressed up and putting on a big show at The Tron!  Come down!

DG – I’d love to but I’ve got a film and concert on at the Royal Concert Hall

What’s your experience of LGBT? 

MB – We think Daphne might be bi – she’s in twa minds.  Here’s a laugh, Grandpa said: Maybe Daphne won’t be in as much now she’s out!

DG – we thought the same about the scarecrow and the gatekeeper of Oz but it was never confirmed!

with the RSNO

SAT 19 OCT3pm & 7.30pm    < click times to book online
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
2 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3NY
Tickets £8.50 up to £35 (concs available, see venue website)

by Jackie Kay

WED 30 OCT – SAT 9 NOV, 7.30pm
Tron Theatre
63 Trongate, Glasgow, G1 5HB
0141 552 4267 | Website
Tickets: Preview Wed 30 Oct, 7.30pm £8
Tue-Thu £12 (Conc £8) + Sat Matinees (2.30pm)
Fri-Sat £16 (Conc £12) BOOK NOW

Q&A with Tina C

We’ve been chatting to Country Music singer, multi-Grammy award-winner and global icon for peace, Tina C about her show at Glasgay!…

Can you tell us what’s in store for the Glasgay! audience?
I am bringing a caring country music show and some mainstream validation to your minority event

How did you get started as a musician?
I would sing along with the Grand Ole Opry on the radio and one day I realised that’s what I was going to be. A star on the Opry. Little did I know the world was to be my stage

What does performing as part of the Glasgay! festival mean to you?
Happy management

What’s the worst gig you’ve ever done?
Beyonce and I were doing the birthday party of some guy in the UAE. I remember the goody bag – I don’t recall the actual show. I think it was degrading. But the goody bag had a gold plated iPhone. I remember that.

How do you come up with new material?
I breathe.

Do you have a favourite performer? (apart from yourself)
I think I have more validity as a producer than a consumer.

SUN 27 OCT, Doors 7.30pm, Show 8.30pm
The Stand Comedy Club
333 Woodlands Road, Glasgow, G3 6NG
Tickets £12

Country Music singer, multi-Grammy award-winner and global icon for peace, Tina C. has been a little quiet of late. Bruised by the failure of her race for the White House as a celebrity independent candidate, and with her fame eclipsed by a younger generation of good ole gal singers, her profile has been diminished. That’s about to change with a major tour! And she isn’t having any talk of this being a comeback tour. Hell no! She rightly apportions blame where it is due, asking the audience, where the hell were you?

Click here for more information about Tina C

Q&A with Rachel Jury

We caught up with Rachel Jury, Writer and Director of “The Gates: Love, Liberation and Respect,” showing at The Classic Grand 23-26 October…

What prompted you do write The Gates: Love, Liberation and Respect?
The Gateways Club has an almost legendary status within Lesbian history. The stories that surround the club as told by people who frequented it and by those who wish they had are vast and varied but always told with deep affection and respect. I, regrettably, am one of the many who wish they had visited Gateways, so for me the club has a symbolic status. It represents a place of sanctity, a place of liberation, and a place where you could choose who to love, regardless of sex or gender, at a time in history when that choice could cost you your life. I have never been tempted or attempted to present a documented history of The Gateways. Rather, I have chosen to celebrate what I understand to be the spirit of the club, its proprietors and its patrons – women and men who risked all they had for love, liberation and respect. Without the risk they took no one would be able to enjoy the freedoms and rights that we do today. Their story is your story is our story and unfortunately it’s a story that continues to have resonance around the world and at home, in Scotland last year there was a reduction in all hate crimes apart from Homophobic hate crime which increased.

Our company is made up of people from across the globe, with a broad spectrum of sexual and gender identities as well as age, background and experience. I like to think our company, our song and our dance reflect the spirit of The Gateways.

How much do you think has changed in lesbian culture since post-war Chelsea?
In some ways everything has changed and in others nothing has changed. By joining us down The Gates you will recognise characters, feelings, situations and challenges we all face today but you will also be able to connect with your history and ancestors. We need to understand our past and where we have come from to understand our future.

What can our Glasgay! audience expect from “The Gates: Love, Liberation and Respect?”
A fabulous night out!

Wed – Sat 8pm, Sat 26th 2pm
Classic Grand
18 Jamaica Street, G1 4QD
Tickets £12

Click here for more information about “The Gates: Love, Liberation and Respect”

Broken Rainbow

BROKEN RAINBOW UK is the only National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline providing confidential support to all members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) communities, their family and friends, and agencies supporting them.  http://www.brokenrainbow.org.uk/


LGBT communities have changed radically. Within the last five years, new legislation has given us rights and equalities that we could not have imagined only a decade ago. We have become confident and bold, challenging oppression and able to make demands. However, we are only just beginning to acknoledge the presence of domestic abuse and domestic violence within our community.

Broken Rainbow UK is dedicated to bringing the issue out into the open, raising awareness, and offering help and support to those whose lives have been affected by domestic violence or domestic abuse.


Our objective is to relieve the distress and suffering caused to lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people by domestic violence and abuse, in particular but not exclusively by doing the following:

  • Raising awareness in the LGBT communities and elsewhere of the impact of homophobic, transphobic and same sex domestic violence on the lives of LGBT people;
  • Offering advice, support and referral services to LGBT people experiencing homophobic, transphobic and same sex domestic violence;
  • Offering information, advice and training to people who are responsible for domestic violence policy and practice in mainstream and specialist organisations, or who are otherwise involved with the survivors and perpetrators of those suffering from domestic violence, with a view to increasing the physical safety and mental well-being of LGBT people who experience such violence or abuse.


Dir. Katarina Peters
Katarina Peters FilmProduktion
co-produced by media co-op
Germany-UK 2012, 96 mins

SUN 27 OCT, 6PM & 8.30PM
CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, G2 3JD
Tickets Tel 0141 352 4900

Katarina Peters’ documentary observes a Diane Torr workshop in Berlin in which a group of open-minded women come together to discover the secrets of masculinity. What makes a man a man and a woman a woman? Precisely when and where is gender identity formatted? How much is nature and how much nurture? Each of Torr’s workshops represents an open-ended laboratory experiment in social behaviour in which the question is posed: is it possible to deliberately play out different roles and create a space in which to transgress both masculine and feminine characteristics?

Post film Q&A with Diane Torr and the film-makers
Supported by Goethe Institut, Glasgow

Menergy presents Raja

MENERGY presents Raja
Winner of RuPAUL’S DRAG RACE Season 3

AXM,80 Glassford Street, G1 1UR
Tickets – £10 advance, £15 door
£30 VIP area access with champagne reception,
Meet, Greet & Souvenir Photo Opportunity.


Famed for her runway-pounding style and editorial looks, Raja will be performing her hit singles ‘Diamond Crowned Queen’, ‘Sublime’ & ‘Zubi Zubi Zubi’ live, with support from the drag queens of London’s Starlight Revue drag show!

This will be a very popular event, so buying tickets is highly recommended!