Love Song to Lavender Menace by James Ley
Directed by Ros Philips
In association with Royal Lyceum Theatre
Supported by Red Bridge Arts
An LGBT History Month Scotland Cultural Commission. Funded by Creative Scotland. Script developed with support from Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland. Thanks to the support of Edinburgh International Book Festival. Image by Waël Seaiby.
It’s 1987 and shop workers Paul and David are getting ready for a celebration of the 5th anniversary of LAVENDER MENACE, Scotland’s foremost lesbian, gay, feminist bookshop. From its humble beginnings in the cloakroom of an Edinburgh nightclub, (that saw a performance from the Village People!), this trailblazing venture has become the beating heart of Edinburgh’s LGBT community. But can it survive in Thatcher’s changing Britain of capitalism and commodification?
The play appeared as a reading at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2016. Garth Greenwell, internationally acclaimed author of ‘What Belongs to You’, appeared in a cameo role in the reading. Garth said of Love Song to Lavender Menace – “It does not seek to present a portrait that sanitises history or parallels ‘straight’ life; however, the evocation of desire, longing and the need to belong would strike a chord with any audience.” Garth Greenwell
“I’m very proud to be a part of this play. As a gay Scotsman, this play has taught me incredible things about my own history, that I’d never heard before. I’m sure many generations will be grateful to James for cataloguing these significant events in such a beautiful and fun play.” Matthew McVarish (Matthew appears in Love Song to Lavender Menace as David.)
This is the right time to be telling this story. The argument in the play around capitalism versus community is what attracted me to it, along with the exploration of the feminist roots of Edinburgh’s LGBT activism. Love Song to Lavender Menace also alerted me to Rita Mae Brown, author of Ruby Fruit Jungle, and I’m very excited to share her and all the other characters with a Lyceum audience.” Ros Philips