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Back in Time: The National Festival of LGBT History in Shrewsbury

The countdown to the 2016 National Festival of LGBT History in the Midlands has started, and the team is busy with preparations. The Festival comprises presentations, film, entertainment and special guests. It will also share rarely seen and often ignored lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) stories from Shropshire and beyond in a unique exhibition of locally collected ephemera and memorabilia at the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, from Friday 12th until (and including) Sunday 14th February 2016. Free entry.

The formal Festival Launch is on Friday 12th February 2016 and is already booking up with a second tranche of 50 tickets released on Sunday 3rd January alongside an extended promotional campaign. Doors open at 6.15pm at University Centre Shrewsbury and the programme includes presentations from Dr Emma Vickers, Stuart Milk and Peter Tatchell, discussion and music. The Launch is free to attend, with advance booking only.

Dr Emma Vickers: senior lecturer in History at Liverpool John Moores, historian and people watcher, Emma is an academic advisor to the National Festival of LGBT History. Her book, Queen and Country: Same-sex desire in the British Armed Forces 1939-1945 examines the intersection between same-sex desire and militarised bodies in Britain between 1939 and 1945.

Stuart Milk: international human rights activist, LGBT rights speaker, government relations consultant, and youth advocate. Stuart is also co founder and Board President of the all volunteer Harvey Milk Foundation, and nephew of Harvey Milk, the iconic civil rights leader, and first openly gay elected politician in San Francisco, who was assassinated in 1978.

Peter Tatchell: Australian-born British human rights campaigner, Labour Party Parliamentary candidate for Bermondsey in 1981, co-founder of the direct action group OutRage! Peter also attempted a citizen's arrest of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in 1999 and again in 2001 for human rights violations.

Stuart and Peter will be visiting local schools and colleges in the run up to the Festival and feeding back on Saturday morning, 13th February 2016. Doors will open round about 10am ready for a 10.30 start at the University Centre Shrewsbury. This is followed, in the afternoon, by a series of 10 x half-hour presentations which run concurrently in 2 different rooms so you will be able to select 5 to go along to. For more details about each presentation, visit the website.

There is no need to book in advance for any of the Saturday daytime events.

There are fringe events running on Saturday evening and on Sunday, all of which have a small charge attached.

Saturday evening - an evening of entertainment at the Hive, 5 Belmont, Shrewsbury presents All the Nice Girls' theatrical tribute to real-life stars of music hall Gwen Farrah & Norah Blaney; Peter Scott Presland; Beth Prior; Hannah Fermor and compere Helen Sandler. Tickets £8 (£5).

Sunday morning - Reel in the Closet film at the Old Market Hall. Followed by discussion with the director, Stu Maddux. Tickets £5

Sunday afternoon - The Times of Harvey Milk film at The Hive. With Q & A with Stuart Milk. Tickets £5

For full information about the programme and how to book tickets please visit the Shrewsbury LGBT History website or email [email protected], or telephone 01743 249888.