Institutional Legacies: Building Histories from the Footnotes and the Margins

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In this article I outline how the Drill Hall’s enduring association with LGBT performance has persisted, subsequently inscribing a cultural understanding of the site as an LGBT institution. Drawing on the reflections of the venue’s only Artistic Director Julie Parker and internal review documents I illuminate why such labelling of the theatre is insufficient, namely in occluding its other distinct aspects and by flattening out debates surrounding what the venue ‘was’ that persisted throughout its existence. Given this central tension, I suggest that Drill Hall is better understood as a queer institution, in order to more fully capture its broad practices, continued support of LGBT arts and refusal to be defined. In so doing, I expand understandings of this partially documented site and illuminate the need to critically consider how venues got documented, particularly to avoid creating and affirming an institutional identity that may be reductive.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheatre Notebook
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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