Shrewsbury LGBT+ History Festival 2022

This year the Shrewsbury LGBT+ History Festival is taking place from the 1st to the 3rd of April at venues across Shrewsbury, including Shropshire Wildlife Trust and The Hive. Last year the festival production had to be tailored to adhere with COVID-19 restrictions, meaning it was held virtually. However, organisers are now delighted to be welcoming the festival back into the heart of Shrewsbury for a face-to-face celebration of LGBT+ history. There will also be giant rainbow projection running after sunset each evening from the 1st to 3rd of April upon Shrewsbury Market Hall, courtesy of Andy McKeown and Wild Strawberry.


Shrewsbury LGBT+ History was founded in 2015 by invitation from the National Festival of LGBT+ History. In 2021 it was formally adopted by SAND (Safe Ageing No Discrimination), an inclusive LGBT+ community-facing organisation working across sectors to enhance LGBT+ health & wellbeing in later life within Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin. Thanks to the players of the National Lottery, this year the festival is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.


The festival welcomes friends and allies, as well as LGBT+ people, to come along and enjoy learning about significant issues currently faced by LGBT+ individuals that are important to understand when uniting to create a safer, more inclusive future for society.  All events are free to attend, apart from ‘No Ordinary Evening’, for which tickets are £10, with an optional £5 minimum for low-income guests. Donations are appreciated to enable this fantastic celebration of the LGBT+ community and its history to continue in the future.  For all events booking a ticket via the Shrewsbury LGBT+ History website is essential.  


Starting the festival off on Friday the 1st of April is the only virtual event of the weekend, ‘Queer Family History’ with author Gill Rossini. This online presentation offers all genealogists, beginner to experienced, valuable insights into researching an often-neglected aspect of family history, using many real historical examples from the author's research. Later in the evening is the festival ‘Launch Party’. Attendees will enjoy a short film premiere, a first public screening of SAND's historical look at '70 years through LGBT+ eyes', statements of support from local organisations and a sneak preview of the festival weekend, washed down with canapes from STOP! Café and wine. The mayor of Shrewsbury will be among guests invited; a great opening night is in store.


Over the rest of the weekend there are a diverse selection of events programmed. On Saturday the 2nd there are 2 presentations taking place, first up being ‘Shropshire Lesbian & Gay Switchboard (1977 – 2002)’ with Daisy Haywood & Peter Roscoe. This presentation will feature archived material and extracts from interviews conducted with former volunteers of the Switchboard and will enable a discussion about what life was like as a gay man or woman on the frontline of Shropshire’s LGBT community during the 1970s, 80s and 90s. Later in the day there is also a ‘Young Peoples Showcase’, where local schools will come together to share all of the amazing things they do to support LGBTQ+ young people, plus what they did to celebrate History Month in February. Concluding Saturday’s events is ‘No Ordinary Evening’, which will include live music from local talent Zoe Hanna May, fizz, a film screening of ‘No Ordinary Man’, plus a discussion lead by Helen Sandler, a writer, programmer and compere at Aberration who previously ran the York Lesbian Arts Festival. No Ordinary Man is an in-depth look at the life of musician and trans culture icon Billy Tipton. Complicated, beautiful and historically unrivalled, this ground-breaking film shows what is possible when a community collaborates to honour the legacy of an unlikely hero.


On Sunday the 3rd the festival hosts another presentation, as well as a talk titled ‘Writing Ourselves Back into History… or why we still need queer historical fiction’ with Jay Taverner. Jay Taverner is the author of three linked novels - Rebellion, Hearts & Minds and Liberty - spanning the eighteenth century, and a millennial spin-off, Something Wicked. The novels are the creation of not one but two people: Jacky Bratton and Jane Traies, writing together as Jay Taverner. The event will include a Q&A and book signing. Finally, the festival will close with ‘It’s a Wrap!’, which will be the time to celebrate and reflect on the weekend with a premiere of the latest SAND 'Creative Conversations' short film, a bonus film of some of the festival highlights from the last 7 years, tea and cake.


If you would like to book tickets to these events, view more of the festival itinerary or donate, please visit