For #LGBTQHistoryMonth we're taking a look into our archives. You can view the full thread on our Twitter here. We're looking at the ground-breaking 2017 production SUMMER IN LONDON, the first large-scale play to feature an all-trans cast on a mainstream stage in the UK. The play is a love letter to London and a story of friendship, love and finding yourself.
Cast: Tigger Blaize, Mzz Kimberley, Tyler Luke Cunningham, Emma Frankland, Victoria Gigante, Ash Palmisciano and Kamari Romeo
Written and directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair
Set Design Tom Paris
Costume Design Jonathan Lipman
Lighting Design Jack Weir
Sound Design Chris Murray
Assistant Director Sarah Meadows
Photos Sharron Wallace
We asked the cast to look back at what being in the show meant to them. Here’s what they had to say.
“SUMMER IN LONDON was ground breaking and much needed. A chance for the public to see actors on stage who happened to be trans.” Mzz Kimberley
"SUMMER IN LONDON was the first ever theatre show to have an all-trans cast! Although the show wasn’t focused on being trans it was amazing to show that trans people have talents like anyone else. Right now it’s important we have trans actors play trans roles. It not only gives a real authenticity to the part, but also we still don’t know that much about being transgender so it's crucial we get the representation correct. Being a part of this show was a chance to prove that trans people are just like everybody else. I hope it marks the start of seeing more trans stories in theatre/tv and also the removal of the labels and the focus on talent." Ash Palmisciano
"I'm grateful to have performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East, which I considered an amazing bonus, as I finally hit the jackpot of being seen as a valid person. A Filipino transgender woman actor, pronouns she/her, who can also do what others can do and claimed to be seen not hidden. I know everyone is valid and playing the character of Summer in SUMMER IN LONDON made me believe that the sun always shines and gives hope to the darkest hours of our life. I am a transgender woman, I will always try to bring the sun with me on or off stage no matter where I go. A Happy LGBT+ History Month everyone." Victoria Gigante
"It was an honour to be a part of the ground breaking SUMMER IN LONDON and I’m grateful to have been part of the wonderful cast of trans actors, who are now like family! It’s very telling however, that this production was four years ago and no shows since have featured a trans cast of this size or even with multiple trans actors working at this scale. SUMMER IN LONDON may have been a significant moment, but we are yet to see serious and sustained commitment towards employing trans actors, directors and writers in the UK theatre industry." Emma Frankland
We also spoke to Tigger Blaize on the Stratford East Podcast about his experience being in the show as well top tips for emerging artists and Queer performers. Listen here.