Fuck your Marriage Equality campaign
We are not interested in your cis-heteronormative, patriarchal,
mono-amorous, state-sanctioned, government-regulated, court-conferred notions of forever love. We are interested in lasagne love, dogging
in car parks, lesbian banter, vegan whipped cream, child-bearing hips,
and our own kind of queer wedded bliss.
Content devised, designed, written, composed, installed, constructed, performed, created and choreographed by Alexis Lilly Denman, Alice Boulton-Breeze, Amy Mauvan, Chlöe Hall, Cieran Reed, Florence Simms, Jessica Mae Ivison, Kate Stonestreet, Nicole Murmann, and Virginia Kennard. Tech'd, managed, baked and dressed by Jaye Kearney, Jazmine Webb, Adam Sas-Skowronski, and Abby Morley. Featuring an original soundscore by Marika Pratley and Chris Wratt (New Zealand).
Queers, straights, questionings, straight until further notice, monosexual, multisexual...
Alexis Lilly Denman
Photo taken by Gillian Dyson-Moss
Alexis Lilly Denman is about to enter her second year as a student of BA (Hons) Dance at Leeds Beckett University and she is one hot tranny mess. She works at McDonalds, it’s not that bad but it wouldn’t kill her supervisor to put her on something other than fries. Alexis was born in Halifax until she was dragged to Doncaster, and is glad to be back in West Yorkshire.
Photo taken by Virginia Kennard
Alice Boulton-Breeze is a performance artist who makes one-to-one interactive theatre works. Upon graduating with her MA Performance, she looks forward to weekends serving drinks to customers who click their fingers at her and cleaning up the sticky remnants of jägerbombs.
Token polyamorous and Just another one of those damn multisexuals
Photo taken by Alexis Lilly Denman
Amy Mauvan is a contemporary dancer and choreographer from Aotearoa New Zealand. After completing her contemporary dance training in Auckland, Amy studied with the Limon Institute and Peridance in New York. Before moving to London Amy split her time between New Zealand and Australia, working in body weather, dance theatre, film, and contemporary dance.
Token straight until further notice
Photo taken by Kiran Mehti
Chlöe Hall recently graduated with a BA (Hons) Performance from Leeds Beckett University and is about to enter the MA Performance. Interests include Chocolate Lesbians and stand-up comedy performance, and is never found without Doc Martens or Dr Pepper. Chloe performed ‘You and your legs’ for Lift Off Festival in June 2017 and is from the middle of fucking nowhere in Ripon.
Token cripple and Just another one of those damn multisexuals
Photo taken by Jos van Beek
Chris Wratt (NZ) is a sound artist and audio programmer from Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Chris is currently working towards a software development Master’s degree at Victoria University of Wellington, developing new tools for the creation of experimental music in video games. http://wrattc.wixsite.com/chriswratt/music
Token non-binary + Just another one of those damn multisexuals
Photo taken by Kiran Mehti
Cieran Reed graduated with a BA (Hons) Performance from Leeds Beckett University in 2016 and is performance artist based in the north of England. He grew up in Bishop Auckland and just paid off six months’ rent in 7 weeks of hospo work at minimum wage. Cieran’s longest relationship has been with Grindr, he likes long walks on the beach and mutual fisting.
Photo taken by Virginia Kennard
Florence Simms is a theatre maker and scenographer. She graduated from Leeds University with a first class in BA (Hons) Performance Design, and is about start her MA Performance course at Leeds Beckett University. Flo is highly skilled at fitting premium footwear and knows rather a lot about eczema. Make the most of this one time she is wearing contact lenses for the next 5 years.
Jessica Mae Ivison
Photo taken by Amy Mauvan
Jessica Mae Ivison is entering her final year of BA (Hons) Performance at Leeds Beckett University. She is from Newcastle and is going through a man-detox phase of her life. Janet of all Trades, Mistress of None, but a triple threat fuelled by creativity and ethanol, Jess is interested in everything, the world is her oyster.
Photo taken by Virginia Kennard
Kate Stonestreet studied at Glasgow School of Art and grew up in Bury. 14 years of RAD classical ballet training lead her to completely sack it off and instead create installations and sound art. Kate’s university dissertation subject and personal art hero Félix González-Torres inspired her to want to be artistically prolific and die young.
Token vegetarian + Just another one of those damn multisexuals
Photo taken by Otago Daily Times
Marika Pratley (NZ) is a Sonic Artist and performance improviser from Wellington New Zealand. Previous works include Telesthesia of Time (2017), A Symphony of Sloths and Music For Baths (2015), which all explore radical relaxation and the phenomenology of spacetime. Marika also plays in bands Slutopia, and Moody V and the Menstrual Cycle (with fellow composer Chris Wratt). https://soundcloud.com/marikapratley
Token ancestral lesbian + Just another one of those damn multisexuals
Photo taken by Virginia Kennard
Nicole Murmann is from Lausanne, Switzerland and is about to enter the MA Performance course at Leeds Beckett University. She already holds an MA Visual Arts from Geneva HEAD. Nicky is a radical queer feminist vegan and lives with her gay cat Petit Louis.
Token vegan + Just another one of those damn multisexuals
Stories and Rants
Dearly Beloved II
Written and performed by Cieran Reed
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join two souls, two beautiful souls down the road to the mass organisation of domestic tasks and reproduction, with the indoctrinated aim of contributing toward the disciplined training of the workforce. Welcome all, on this blessed day. Welcome to the wonderful, feudal, patriarchal cisheteronormative institute of marriage.
Praise be to capitalism!
But what of love? To you, the witnesses present today, I will not insult your intelligence and claim today is a celebration of true love - no. Today is a day for moderating and debasing the passionate and sexual spontaneity of love - and organising it into a financially co-dependent relationship, legally-binding, contractual arrangement, between two hopefully consenting adults, thus rendering it uniform. Today we pray as we bear witness to the process in which love, possibly the most anti-political act in its unworldly nature, is tamed to meet the conservative straitjacket of marriage. Praise be to privilege!
This world is changing fast, and we must each carve a road for ourselves. Marriage helps many a soul to do this, whilst still upholding the moral fabric of our society - a fabric that rightly discriminates and segregates in morality’s name. As radical queers may look upon this movement with great suspicion, and may attempt to move the world forward by opening marriage up and freeing it of the legal compulsions that surround it, may we all today embrace the suffocating and archaic loveless ceremony of ownership and sexism!
Praise exclusivity! Praise hierarchy! Praise constriction!
In the name of the father, the son, and just
men in general - AMEN.
Vow of Chastity
Written by Florence Simms and Virginia Kennard, performed by full cast
I vow to…
Banish impure thoughts
Not engage in any sexual relations
Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing
Never sleep naked
Remove all traces of unnatural skincare products
Abstain from profanities passing my lips
Dress myself in the dark
Uproot all self-seeding vegetables
Watch only films with U or G ratings
Consume nil by mouth
Trim my pubic hair
Eat a paleo-only diet
Detox my earthly form
Create alternatives to my wank fantasies
Destroy my lube and condoms
Dismantle my strap-on
Confess previous sinful acts
Delete all my porn accounts
Make a mobile out of my dildos and butt plugs
Address the sordid origins of my personal proclivities
Use only applicator tampons for genital contact avoidance
Bathe only in holy water
Scrub with an organic bamboo loofah
Diligently refrain from encountering members of the opposite sex
Delete my smutty fanfiction browser history
Never to dine on caviar, figs, lollipops, cucumber, oysters, nuts, cherry pie, passionfruit, whipped cream,luncheon meat
Protect my virtue for the pleasure of my future state-regulated, state-sanctioned, state-conferred lifelong companion
Flee from sexual immorality and to worship the purity of my fleshly vessel in order to benefit my spiritual existence in the eyes of my redeemer
My mother's expectations
Written and performed by Chloe Hall
I don’t know if everyone has a mother who thinks every interest will be the one that sticks. For a while I thought planning my future was the only thing that could motivate her. Picture it; me at sixteen. Kind of sad, slightly shorter. A secondary school student, a science nerd, and a girlfriend I have decided to stop keeping secret. I am going to be a marine biologist. A researcher. A doctor. A…Chemistry teacher. My mother thinks I don’t have time to see Megan this weekend, because I have a mock exam on Tuesday. Mock. As in don’t mock me, don’t pretend this is about biology when we both know it’s about the closet of which you wish I hadn’t come out.
By seventeen I have moved on. From Megan, from physics, from anti-depressants. I am a college student. I take classes in drama, music, film… And English. Because English is easy. “And it’s creative too” - my mother says - I think that’ll be good for you. So I take the class, but I only just care enough to pass. I am going to be a journalist. A reporter. The problem daughter. So journalism is not the one, another secure career path gone. Sorry mum.
Still before long it’s onto the next! By now I am spiralling. Cider, singing, and cigarettes. I am quite the happy mess. There’s no promise with rock star, so how about a lyricist? You’re still a voice of the people, but with a twist. See mum that’s closer but still not quite right, I want to be the one standing in the spotlight.
I reach nineteen. I am going to carve my own path now. I will be a stand up comedian. I will make money, even if I’m not sure how.
But I am finally dating a man! Once again my mother can make plans. Dylan did music engineering? That’s great, producers make loads of money these days. A vintage theme for the kitchen? Go mad, it’ll be the best first house any couple ever had. Bedsheets? Nothing too flowery but anything else is fine by me. A trip to ikea for the whole family, to pick out paint samples and chose the perfect pram.
Mother of the Bride
Written and performed by Florence Simms
The diamantes sparkle in the light sunshine.
She can finally wear it; we’ve waited for so long.
I touch the soft silk in my hands, just like i did with my own dress, like my mother and her mother before, if only they could be here to see this. I dress her, it feels like an exchange of duty. She will undertake the most important commitment of her life today. I feel the burden deeply on my own shoulders, but it is hers to carry. I have had my own wedding day.
I feel helpless, i have to reassure her - i kiss her gently so as not to smudge her blushed cheeks. I go to the find the brooch - something old - that, for five generations, has been worn by our brides. A deep sense of tradition, the connection of maternal family, our struggles, our sacrifices.
I have cried three times since 5am.
She looks so calm, so ready. I know inside that she is shaking. I step outside onto the balcony to have a cigarette. The weather is still dewy, a slight morning humidity. Hopefully the girls’ hair will all stay neat. I go to my room and find my outfit. Modest, don’t want to upstage - a cardinal sin - complementary colours, we planned the colour scheme in great detail. Someone tells me that the corsages have arrived. We open the white boxes to reveal a beautiful spring flower on a soft bed of linen. But where are the pins? Where are the pins?! I ask. Did you bring them where are they we can’t have anything go wrong not for her not for my baby girl oh they were in the other box oh thank god.
I check the hairdresser’s work so far… can we make that curl a bit looser? Where is your tiara? I’ll bring it over does anyone have any more Prosecco we have four bottles between the ten of us! A big party/procession, exactly what she wanted. It’s got to be perfect. Perfect for her.
The happiest day of our lives. She is beginning a journey of real adulthood now. Such beauty, such innocence. I laugh whilst also shedding a tear under the emotional intensity of the moment. She smiles. She says thank you. It will be perfect. You look so beautiful. This is your moment, your day. The beginning of the rest of your life. The sick feeling in my abdomen rattles around. I will see her again soon, very soon. But it feels like this is forever.
Written and performed by Jessica Mae Ivison
My mother, his mother, her mother before her, your mother, the long legs, flat bum, big boobs, double crown, thinning hair, thinning waist fattened up by home cooking, babies and antidepressants. We all take them. We are all the same. The first Ivison to go to uni, but what about my mother? She married into the family name, the famly tribe, the von Trapps as people endearingly call us.
[sung] Doe a deer, a female deer, a female deer, a female deer
Oh dear she can’t carry on the family name, she will carry the name of another who will not be happy when she goes to university because the blood is different. But when the blood mixes together that’s fine. But you’re no different, you both get hot flushes, you both have wrinkles, you both had mothers who also had mothers who owned fruit shops, who discovered bread can be frozen who owned bakeries, who were poor as shit
Who weren’t appreciated for anything they did but a university degree?
What’s that? That isn’t a baby or a frozen loaf of bread or raising 13 children to a dead husband, with a street tap and cardboard to fill the holes in their shoes, 7 girls to one bed, 7 women who would go on to have the same fate, 7 women who will marry and change their names and give their all to a family who will not accept her but will accept her children because they are blood, blood, blood!
Ran down her legs, ran down the edge of the bed, blood transfused into her body after giving birth to her flesh and blood but whose blood has transfused into her body? Will they be proud that she got a degree? No...So why aren’t you?
She carries your name, your child, your life….but bears no thought in your mother’s mind.
Written by Carol Ann Duffy, performed by Jazmine Webb and Jaye Kearney
Beloved sweetheart bastard. Not a day since then
I haven’t wished him dead. Prayed for it
so hard I’ve dark green pebbles for eyes,
ropes on the back of my hands I could strangle with.
Spinster. I stink and remember. Whole days
in bed cawing NO at the wall; the dress
yellowing, trembling if I open the wardrobe;
the slewed mirror, full-length
her? myself...who did this
to me? Puce curses that are sounds not words
Some nights better, the lost body over me,
my fluent tongue in its mouth in its ear
then down till suddenly i bite awake. Love’s
hate behind a white veil; a red balloon bursting
in my face. Bang. I stabbed at a wedding cake.
Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon.
Don’t think it’s only the heart that b-b-b-breaks.
Lasagne Love Song
Written and performed by Chloe Hall and Jessica Mae Ivison, performed to Love Song by Sara Bareilles
Hey there lasagne
I love ya
Gonna put you in my oven
Take you out in a while and put more cheese on top
Penne and favele
Ravioli and tagliatelle
I love pasta and i love you
Would you prefer i made a ragout
I just don’t want this cheese sauce to turn to goo
I don’t wanna eat your lasagne
I want spaghetti carbonara
[Just for once]
Making it shows me that you love me
But i’m sick of carbs
Now i’m chubby
My arse don’t fit in these jeans
You could just put on less cheese
Reduce the calories
Don’t make me beg upon my knees
Don’t wanna eat your lasagne today
We won’t go vegan
I love my cheese
(We won’t go vegan baby)
I love Ben and Jerrys
(i love my steak too much)
‘Cause i believe there’s a way
(I love my cheese too much)
We can be healthy without being vege
I don’t really like broccoli
And don’t get me started on fucking kale
Oh it’s the worst “i’m a superfood”
Is that why you want a lasagne?
So Happy for Her
Written and performed by Cieran Reed
My friend and I, we both turn 25 this year - our birthdays are actually only two days apart. She’s the eldest. We both graduated last year, from the same university and come from the same home town where we live on the same estate. We’ve been friends through the teenage sex dramas, the break-ups, the four-year ket and coke binge that lasted into our early 20’s. All the regular milestones. I’m at a stage in my life now where I’m figuring out my next step. I’m moving from one odd job to another to stay afloat, moving cities, meeting new people, finding out my practice as an artist. I don’t have a plan, but I don’t not have a plan. Now, my friend, she’s actually getting married next month. Even though it pains me to say i will miss her wedding day, it is in fucking Vegas. My not-plan-plan cannot afford Vegas. It barely affords rent. I heard engagement from her however, and I thought Hen Do. A dirty, tacky, cock-filled weekend of vodka, jagerbombs and ketamine. A weekend for my friend and I to shake of our sesh caps and get back to it. The hen do was three weeks ago, we got the train from Leeds and headed to Blackpool - city of Hen Parties. On the train I start pouring wine and she gets out some pre-made sandwiches. My friend tells me that she too is leaving the city, and moving back to our home town for a new job. I was a little shocked, but congratulated her and poured her another wine. And a prosecco for measure. Why so soon? I said - I thought you were taking your time and scouting around before you settled on your forever job? It was only a week ago she said she was applying for graduate jobs, and now she’s up and leaving for the 9-5.
What she said next makes crave tequila - not one quick one for the road any salt and lime but full bottle in a brown paper bag in alley way sat in my own piss.
She said, in every seriousness, “Well there just isn't much time really. Like thinking about everything, I can’t waste too much time looking for the perfect job.” Not enough time, we’re only 24?! Yeah but you know, it’s the kids….Well he wants children before he’s 30 and he’s 27 now so that gives us three years. I want to raise kids back at home and we need to be settled first - and also i need to work for a year before I can take maternity. So really I have two years before our first but neither of us want kids over 35 so i have seven years for three kids. Of course by the second we’ll need a bigger house but that's only 5 years so in 5 years we’ll have two kids and a new house then we can spend the next few years chipping at the mortgage and saving for our first family holiday to Disneyland but of course that’s not till the youngest is five and the eldest is 12 and then by that point it’s summer camps and weekend break and matching Christmas jumpers and school uniforms and new bikes and puberty which will take us all the way up to 40 then its teenage drinking, kids leaving home, university, redecorating the house, new car, downsizing, savings, investments, property, Spain, pets, holiday homes, new hobbies, retirement, grand kids, bungalows, condos, bus trips, her him and their fucking dog living alone together till one dies and the other pines for the other and they just have photos and memories and kids weekly visits and the wedding ring still on their fucking finger and im sat there the train 4 bottles of wine in watching her turn down her third glass eating her pre-packed bastard sandwich hoping she doesnt choke on her milestones her life laid out and pre-decided and I never had a relationship last past 10 am balls deep in a never ending overdraft and I just literally - could not be more happy for her.
Original text by Jos van Beek and Piupiu Maya Turei, re-written and performed by Virginia Kennard
The Perfect Divorce
Written and performed by Alice Boulton-Breeze
A friend of mine always said that getting engaged is a very different of commitment to actually having a wedding. And i think a wedding is very different to a marriage. It seems like i am at the age where a lot of people i know are getting engaged but very few of them ever see their way up the aisle or to the registry office or to a topless Wiccan hand-fasting in the woods.
It seems like getting engaged is the obvious next step for a lot of people, even if it probably isn’t the best next step for the health of their relationship.
My perfect marriage would be one where my partner’s parents don’t attend the wedding - not because they don’t want to or because we’re not on speaking terms but because they aren’t invited. And in this perfect world this would be okay although i know that is probably not realistic.
My perfect marriage would be one where my wife lives four doors down from me on the same street. She would be allowed in my house, she would stay in my house 4 nights a week, or maybe 3 nights. And for the rest of the week she goes back to her own home.
My perfect marriage would be one where after my partner dies i don’t feel compelled to tell my granddaughter that i wish i’d never gotten married to him but i just felt like i had to at the time.
My perfect marriage would be one where i can leave them whenever i want and for whatever reason. A marriage where my grandma doesn’t tell me i should think myself lucky because at least they doesn’t hit me.
My perfect marriage wouldn’t just be to one person, because one person can’t be your everything.
My perfect marriage probably wouldn’t be perfect because i don’t think that anything is or that anything can be.
My perfect marriage wouldn’t really be a marriage at all. It would probably be a divorce, or it would never have even become a marriage in the first place.
My perfect marriage would be one where i marry my best friend. I would marry my best friend because you can’t be in love with someone for 50 years and when that love is gone i just want to be left with my best friend.