Theatre company ConFAB presents The Gates, a celebration of love, theatre, community and liberation
The production, inspired by the real life Gateways club in post-war London, will be staged at Glasgay!
Rachel Jury, artistic director of ConFAB and writer/director of The Gates has a long association with Glasgay! 'When I first moved to Glasgow, my first job was as a technician at Glasgay!' she remembers. And in her career as a poet, she organised cabarets for the festival.
‘But this is the first time that ConFAB has been part of Glasgay!’ she continues. ‘I am glad that the premier of the musical is going to be part of the festival.’ Inspired by the famous club The Gateways that provided a refuge for lesbian woman during the less than inclusive atmosphere of post-war London, Jury observes: ‘This is everyone’s history. These women risked everything for the right to love and be loved.’
A cross between West Side Story and Cabaret, the plot concerns London gangsters, star-crossed lovers and a lively score that takes it cues from blues, gospel and jazz. ‘I have written the show as a mainstream musical,’ says Jury. ‘The Gates is aimed at a wide audience.’
Composer Andrew Cruickshank is a regular ConFAB collaborator, recently providing the music for their study of the Roma community in Glasgow, Music of Strangers: his score shows a healthy influence from western and eastern forms. It provides the backdrop for a plot that both pays respect to the women of the club and captures the drama of London underground scenes.
ConFAB developed a distinctive identity as a performance company, splitting their work between community orientated and professional shows. A core cast has been an important part of their process, and The Gates includes community and professional actors. ‘We are now up to 25 people for this show,’ says Jury. ‘So it is quite a handful, but it is important to maintain a community voice.’
Both as a slice of social history, and an entertaining modern musical, The Gates promises a celebration of love, theatre, community and liberation.
Summerhall, Edinburgh, Wed 16–Sat 19 Oct; Classic Grand, Glasgow, Wed 23–Sat 26 Oct.