PRIDE IN LON­DON 2017

Diva (UK) - - Welcome | Contents - To find out more about this year’s event, visit pridein­lon­don.org.uk.

DIVA goes be­hind the scenes with Pride In Lon­don’s Polly Shute

Pride In Lon­don is the UK’S big­gest Pride fes­ti­val, at­tract­ing an es­ti­mated one mil­lion peo­ple on pa­rade day and more than 170,000 year-round fans and fol­low­ers.

This year’s event in­cludes a twoweek fes­ti­val, with the main event tak­ing place in cen­tral Lon­don on 8 July, and this year we’re es­pe­cially ex­cited be­cause Ra­dio DIVA will be part­ner­ing with Pride In Lon­don to host this year’s women’s stage in a brand new lo­ca­tion – the iconic Le­ices­ter Square! DIVA spoke to Pride In Lon­don board di­rec­tor Polly Shute to find out more.

DIVA: What can we ex­pect from Pride In Lon­don 2017?

POLLY SHUTE: Some­thing for ev­ery­one! Pride sea­son for us be­gins on 23 June when we launch our com­mu­ni­ty­based fes­ti­val. This year we have over 60 events, kick­ing off with a launch at Tate Bri­tain. Other events in­clude a se­ries of queer plays at the Na­tional The­atre, the Pride Spec­tac­u­lar at Lon­don Won­der­land at the South­bank Cen­tre, and Ra­dio DIVA’S very own Rosie Wilby will be launch­ing her non-fic­tion de­but at Gay’s The Word book­shop.

Pa­rade Day is 8 July. It’s one of the most pop­u­lar parts of the fes­ti­val, with more than 22,000 peo­ple take part in the march, and thou­sands more watch­ing. We’ve got four stages this year – the main stage at Trafal­gar Square, a fam­ily stage in Golden Square, a cabaret stage in Dean Street and of course the Ra­dio DIVA women’s stage in the brand new lo­ca­tion of Le­ices­ter Square. This will be our sec­ond year of host­ing a com­mu­nity vil­lage in Soho Square. It’s a great place to check out some re­ally amaz­ing char­i­ties that we’re proud to pro­vide a plat­form for. And we are also proud to be host­ing a Pic­nic In The Park at Vaux­hall Plea­sure Gar­dens for the fourth year run­ning, with UK Black Pride, on Sun­day 9 July.

Sounds great, but how much does it cost?

Pride In Lon­don is one of largest free Pride events in the world. En­try to

Soho and all the stages is free, but you will find some of my lovely fundrais­ing team ask­ing for do­na­tions, es­pe­cially dur­ing the pa­rade, in Soho and around the main stages. Your do­na­tions help us to keep grow­ing.

What’s hap­pen­ing on the Ra­dio DIVA women’s stage in Le­ices­ter Square?

There will be 20 acts on the day and some great hosts, plus a few sur­prise guests. We are so ex­cited to get a ded­i­cated space in such an iconic lo­ca­tion.

Tell us about this year’s theme – Love Hap­pens Here?

As we con­tinue to bat­tle dis­crim­i­na­tion at home and abroad, we want Lon­don to send a de­fi­ant mes­sage to those who wish the LGBT+ com­mu­nity harm. Our theme of Love Hap­pens Here is a de­fi­ant stand against hate, but also, im­por­tantly, a way to cel­e­brate who we are. We want Pride In Lon­don to cel­e­brate love in all its forms, and to be part of a move­ment that sym­bol­ises every­thing rich, colour­ful, vi­brant and coura­geous in our com­mu­nity. We have had great feed­back to the cam­paign so far, and you’ll see more of it when we launch our ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign in late June.

What’s does your Pride day look like?

Busy! I’m in Lon­don for around 8am, usu­ally mak­ing sure all is good with my team. Then you will prob­a­bly see me dart­ing between Trafal­gar Square and the Ra­dio DIVA women’s stage. I’ll fin­ish at around 8pm, and af­ter a quick change I’ll be head­ing to the of­fi­cial women’s af­ter-party.

What’s your favourite part of Pride?

That’s a tough one! I’d say chat­ting to peo­ple who are com­ing into Trafal­gar Square when I’m sup­port­ing my fundrais­ing team. It’s great to find out where ev­ery­one has come from, and get some real-time feed­back.

Do we still need Pride In Lon­don?

Ab­so­lutely. Pride In Lon­don pro­vides a year-round plat­form for cam­paign and cel­e­bra­tion for the LGBT com­mu­nity. Al­most 70% of the groups that marched last year were ei­ther char­i­ties, com­mu­nity or not-for- profit groups. Many are there to cel­e­brate, but lots are also fo­cused on us­ing the day to keep the fo­cus on the fight for full equal­ity for the LGBT com­mu­nity. We are par­tic­u­larly proud of the key role Pride In Lon­don played in the Women’s March in Jan­uary and more re­cently in stag­ing a protest out­side the Rus­sian em­bassy against the per­se­cu­tion of gay men in Chech­nya.

Any top tips for DIVA read­ers who are com­ing to their first Pride In Lon­don?

I’d say, make sure you watch the pa­rade. So many groups put so much ef­fort in and it’s great to see the di­ver­sity of floats and walk­ing groups. Then just soak up the at­mos­phere around the stages and Soho. It’s an amaz­ing day.

“We want Pride In Lon­don to cel­e­brate love in all its forms”

PRIDE IN LON­DON DI­REC­TOR POLLY SHUTE TELLS DIVA WHY THIS YEAR’S EVENT WILL BE THE BIG­GEST AND BEST YET

Love and Pride: Polly Shute at Pride In Lon­don 2016

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