QueerWay, an original song cycle celebrating the LGBTQ+ people of the South Wales Valleys, begins its tour at Wales Millennium Centre

From the acclaimed Welsh musical theatre company Leeway Productions, QueerWay is a sequin-soaked celebration of LGBTQ+ people from the South Wales Valleys.  

The tour of this original piece of performance coincides with February’s LGBTQ+ History Month. 

What is QueerWay?

QueerWay is a vibrant contemporary song cycle musical that celebrates the determination of LGBTQ+ people to be “I am what I am”. 

Directed, written, and devised – with the company – by Luke Hereford, with an original composition by Geraint Owen and additional music by the multi-instrumentalist Branwen MunnQueerWay is inspired by interviews with LGBTQ+ identifying people from the Valleys.

Luke Hereford gathered stories, including coming out stories at odds with the stereotype of the small-town boy – or girl – escaping to the bright lights of the big city, the love of a mother for her trans child, the ‘challenges’ of organising Rhondda Pride or finding lesbian love in your 50s.

Inspiring, moving, and humorous life stories are at the heart of QueerWay.

QueerWay features a jam-packed witty megamix – ‘Anthem’ – referencing the songs and music of legendary artists, including Judy Garland, Sister Sledge, Village People, Bronski Beat, Kylie and Lizzo. Expect snippets of timeless gay anthems danced to in clubs, sung in karaoke bars, or lip-synced at home.

About the creative team

Director Luke Hereford wrote and performed the 2021 Edinburgh Fringe five-star hit Wales Millennium Centre co-production, Grandmother’s Closet.  Composer Geraint Owen is the Associate Musical Director on the UK tour – direct from Broadway – of the London Coliseum/ENO production My Fair Lady.  QueerWay’s Musical director, Connor Fogol’s musical theatre credits include The Phantom Of The Opera (West End) and Les Misérables (UK & Ireland tour).  The creative team also includes the multi-instrumentalist Branwen Munn.  She has collaborated on recordings and live events with legendary artists, including Madonna and Lady Miss Keir. 

Groove is, indeed, at the heart of QueerWay.

QueerWay’s cast includes LGBTQ+ actors and performers, some drawn from the South Valleys.  Kate Elis performed in Motherlode’s The Good Earth in both Wales and New York; she has worked with National Theatre Wales, Theatr na nÒg, Dirty Protest and Familia de la Noche.  Harrison Scott-Smith appeared as Ben in Jonathan Harvey’sHushabye Mountain at Hope Mill Theatre In Manchester.  Up-and-coming drag king Ren Simons performs as Justin King and appears at the night Transition at Cardiff’s The Queer Emporium.  Anne-Maria Piazza performed in Beauty Parade at Wales Millennium Centre and played the lead role of Laura in Brief Encounter (co-produced by the Stephen Joseph TheatreTheatre by the Lake and Bolton Octagon).  At each venue, QueerWay has BSL interpretation by Sami Dunn.

Alongside QueerWay, Leeway has developed the QueerWay Collective, a group of young LGBTQ+ people and their allies exploring the Queer culture of the Valleys and Queer identity through musical theatre and other art forms.  The QueerWay Collective is led by Hannah LaddLeeway’s creative engagement facilitator.

QueerWay is at Wales Millennium Centre 3 + 4 February 2023. Tickets from £8 available online here or from the Wales Millennium Centre Box Office.