It’s official, my darlings: summer is finally here!
Summer in London is something we spend all year looking forward to, but then usually end up leaving the city for endless festivals and European beach holidays. Not so much in 2021, which means we want to know about all the fabulous things to do in London this summer more than ever.
So, when does summer start this year? Most people in the UK go by the astronomical seasons, which change slightly every year. This surprised me when I first moved to London as I was used to the very structured meteorological seasons that set summer in the Northern Hemisphere as 1 June – 31 August every year.
However, having now lived here for over a decade, the astronomical seasons definitely make more sense, and this year, the summer season in London will run from 21 June to 22 September 2021.
Summer in London is usually a dreamy escape from nine months of cold and rain. The sun comes out, and all the green spaces around the city suddenly become filled with people lazing around in its glow. This summer has a different energy, but I promise you that there are still so many incredible events to enjoy.
So, here’s my guide to all the fabulous queer things to do in London over the coming months. As restrictions are relaxed, please put your short shorts on, get out there and enjoy what London has to offer.
📷 above image: ‘Hotter’ at the Soho Theatre
This weekend, the third London Trans+ Pride takes place. If you’re tired of corporate events during Pride month, then this grassroots protest is made for you.
Join the march at Hyde Park Corner to demand gender liberation for all. Pride is a very moving and, unfortunately, necessary event, as the trans+ community is rarely this visible, primarily due to the everyday danger faced by trans+ people here in London and around the world.
As a trans+ ally who attended this event last year, I strongly urge all other allies who understand why this protest is vital to join. Please come along and support the community. Wear flowers, march, listen to the speakers, and be respectful (by not making the day about you). Our trans+ siblings desperately need our support.
What’s with all this theatre?
I don’t know if it’s because Edinburgh Fringe isn’t really going ahead this year, but queer theatre in London is on fire this summer! I honestly can’t believe how many amazing shows there are to see.
Drag wunderkind Lolo Brow is co-directing a show at the Arcola Theatre later this month that gave me the giggles. Go and read the summary for My Father the Tantric Masseur, a one-woman show from queer British-Algerian performer Roann McCloskey, to understand why it has tickled me so.
Over at the Southwark Playhouse, they have the moving period drama Staircase,about a 1960s couple trying to age gracefully even though their relationship is illegal, premiering this week. This play runs until mid-July, but they also have some fantastic one-night shows, including This is a Love Song and The Graham Show: Extra Graham.
Finally, the Soho Theatre is turning it out this summer with an unbelievable lineup. Highlights include the acclaimed drag king troupe PECS, Willy Hudson’s exploration of life as a Bottom, Ell and Mary’s sexploration adventure Hotter, and a sneak peek at queer icon Jayde Adams’ latest work in progress, Men, I Can Save You.
Dance like there’s no tomorrow
While some amazing parties before 19 July are postponed due to the restriction extension, summer is still happening.
Big Dyke Energy is bringing a much needed queer rave to southeast London on 7 August. Kinky play rave Crossbreed has many events across August and September, including their outdoor day party on 14 August, which still has tickets.
The campy one-day festival Mighty Hoopla takes place in Brockwell Park on 4 September, with a lineup that includes Cheryl Cole, En Vogue, Atomic Kitten, Eve, Horsemeat Disco, United King Dolls, Sink The Pink and queen of the Crocs, Ginny Lemon. Tickets have sold out but join their mailing list for resale tickets released on 2 August.
Deliciously queer cabaret
Now that we can touch each other again, you might be in the mood for a sweltering summer’s night of entertainment.
Fans of The Bitten Peach should get ready to sink their teeth into Sticky. This acclaimed queer pan-Asian cabaret night (soon to be the subject of a Netflix documentary) is getting extra juicy for one night at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s club on 29 July.
Naked Queers Reading are bringing you their Only Fans edition at the K Hole on 8 July. Picture a basement bar with cuties in the buff reading provocative literary delights – it’s a treat for all your senses. If you’re not ready for nudity just yet, try Cazeleon’s Speakeasy at The Glory on 23 June for long lingering looks over queer cocktails and live jazz.
Catch The Cocoa Butter Club as they take over the Underbelly Festival for two nights this September (17 & 18) with their Queer Burlesque Review, with what promises to be a steamy selection of shows. Want to party after? Catch the late show on Saturday for a bit of an after-party with the performers.
Southbank’s Summer Reunion series
Two of London’s finest queers are each curating a weekend of performance and dance at the Southbank’s Riverside Terrace this summer to bring the community back together again.
Performance artist Scottee explores working-class and council estate culture from 9-11 July, with UK garage bangers on a Friday night and two afternoons of gossip, performances and provocations on Saturday and Sunday.
Amrou Al-Kadhi (aka Glamrou) brings together chosen families from 6-8 August with a three-day celebration of intersectionality and queer diaspora. Friday is all about dance, Saturday features performances, and Sunday closes the weekend with storytelling and craft.
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