University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

Community Spirit: Three of the Best LGBTQ+ Venues in Brighton

Mimi Diamond

ByMimi Diamond

Feb 6, 2017

The theatre has long been something of a home for the LGBTQ+ community. A place of bubbling comradery, experimental imagination and a means to craft new identities and hopeful futures through performance, it remains a key space for inclusivity and freedom. To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, here is a (by no means exhaustive) round-up of some of Brighton’s most exciting LGBTQ+ venues.

The Marlborough

This cosy pub has been around since the 1780s, and the many years since have seen instances of intrigue and excitement that have rendered it an institution. The Marlborough Theatre above it has always been linked closely to the LGBTQ+ community and campaigns for the access to rights; the pub below became a meeting place for the Sussex-based Gay Liberation Front, which later became the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, from around 1971. The theatre was established at the same time, and the years that followed saw the staging of many productions that centered around issues facing the LGBTQ+ community. Production companies that have worked

closely with the Marlborough include Siren and the Aids Positive Underground Theatre, now known as Aputheatre. Currently the Marlborough theatre is run largely by the Pink Fringe, a production company that aims to showcase the best of queer performance work. Look out for the upcoming interview with Abby Butcher, the company’s creative producer.

Marlborough Pub and Theatre, 4 Prince’s St, Brighton BN2 1RD

The Black Dove

The Black Dove in Kemptown ticks pretty much all of the hipster pub boxes: it’s dark, low ceilinged, Victorian inspired rooms are filled with the most amount of trinkets they could possibly be filled with; bartenders don’t just pull pints, but mix classic and original cocktails; and if you do want a pint, you can choose from an array of international and craft beers. Every fourth Thursday of the month the place is taken over by writers, actors, musicians and other eccentrics for Horseplay, their free, monthly open-mic night. The night has been running for nine years, and functions as an inclusive and exploratory event both to participate in and be in audience of.

The Black Dove, 74 St James’s St, Brighton BN2 1PA

The Phil Starr Pavilion

To commemorate LGBTQ+ History Month, a special pavilion is being built along the seafront, named after the iconic drag performer. It will serve as venue for a number of events that celebrate the community, as well as raising money for a number of charities that work to improve lives, spread awareness and provide a platform for advocacy and change. The marquee seats 500 people, and a cafe and bar have also been constructed to meet the needs of the pop-up theatre going public. Look out for DIVAS on the 19th of February, which will showcase some of the best (admittedly musical, not theatrical) talents from within the community, and raise money for RISE (a charity that works to tackle domestic abuse) and the LGBTQ+ Community Safety Forum. Every Sunday of LGBTQ+ History Month will be host to Soul Safari Sundays, a collection of different (free) events celebrating LGBTQ+ spirituality, including the acclaimed ‘Follow the Faun’.

Phil Starr Pavilion, New Steine Gardens, Brighton, BN2 1PB

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