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The Dorothy Project
29 minutes | Jul 12, 2020
2: Olivia Andrews: 'Dear White Gays' blogger
What does a self-described ‘outspoken black lesbian’ have to say about Prides and the UK's queer nightlife scene? The Dorothy Project meets Olivia Andrews, author of two recent viral articles about racism within the LGBTQ community. Olivia is also a Stonewall Young Campaigner alum. During her degree at the University of Leeds, she co-organised the award-winning ‘Why is My Curriculum White: Decolonising Geographies’ panel event and worked with peers and faculty to decolonise the curriculum. You can find her on Twitter @livkiera, and on her blog queerblackbabe.
27 minutes | Jun 25, 2020
1: Sharmaine Lovegrove: Publisher
Can books change the world? Sharmaine Lovegrove is the founder of the publishing imprint Dialogue Books, which she set up to promote stories by, for, and about queer, disabled, working class, black and minority communities. As a queer Black woman herself, Sharmaine believes that storytelling creates the dialogue we need to build a more inclusive world. I quite agree. Her own life story is quite something, from homeless teenager to Berlin bookshop owner and now, one of the leading lights of British publishing. Sharmaine is also the first Black interviewee on The Dorothy Project. That’s not a track record I’m proud of, and I’m determined to improve that ratio from now on.
26 minutes | Mar 5, 2020
8: Victoria Noe: AIDS fundraiser and ACT-UP NY member
There are different ways to be an activist. Some people chain themselves to railings and get arrested, others raise money, or deliver services. “Everyone can do something” is the message I was left with after talking to veteran fundraiser and activist Victoria Noe. After years of fundraising for AIDS causes in the 1980s and 1990s, she was ‘burnt out’, but has since returned and is now a member of ACT-UP New York. Asked to reflect on her experiences by a Chicago LGBTQ newspaper, she was inspired to find other women who’d contributed during the AIDS crisis, and her book ‘Fag Hags, Divas, and Moms’ is the result. (And yes, we talk about that title!)
25 minutes | Feb 27, 2020
7: Rose Lewenstein: TV writer and cabaret performer
She is currently developing several original dramas and adaptations for TV. On stage, Rose (@RoseLewenstein) performs with queer comedy cabaret troupe Sex Shells - who’ve enjoyed multiple runs at top venues including the Edinburgh Fringe, Soho Theatre and The Glory - as That Woman Rosie. We got stuck in to being the ‘token woman’, the difference between gay (‘as in…’) and queer, and performing queer work for wider audiences. Don’t miss Sex Shells at The Glory next Friday, March 6th 2020. After that, you can see their full show at the Spiegeltent on the Southbank, as part of the Underbelly Festival on April 23rd.
36 minutes | Feb 20, 2020
6: Flick Thorley: HIV and chemsex nurse
This week, I meet a woman who has been professionally and personally involved in the HIV epidemic since 1985. After nursing some of the first people to live and die with HIV in New Zealand, Flick came to the UK and was a Charge Nurse at London Lighthouse from 1994-1998. London Lighthouse - most famously visited by Princess Di - offered comprehensive, compassionate care to people dying of AIDS and their loved ones. Following the closure of the Lighthouse residential unit, Flick became the HIV psychiatric liaison nurse at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. She identified the initial crystal meth problem in London and was instrumental in setting up what has become the highly successful chemsex and club drug clinic. Six months into their relationship, Flick and her partner Professor Chloe Orkin were seconded to Botswana to set up the country’s Antiretroviral Programme. Due to Botswana’s laws, Flick and Chloe weren’t able to be out as lesbians or a couple throughout their six months there. (Chloe features in Season One of The Dorothy Project!) Flick took medical retirement in 2011, and now volunteers with her three (ADORABLE) dogs as a pet therapist in hospices and hospitals in London. If you’re an LGBTQ person worried about your drug or alcohol use, or that of a friend or family member, then there’s plenty of support on offer: In London: Antidote In Manchester: The LGBT Foundation In Birmingham: Birmingham LGBT If you’re straight or don’t live in one of these cities, there are drug and alcohol services provided by every local authority - you’ll be able to find out where yours is from your local authority’s website.
29 minutes | Feb 13, 2020
5: Sophie Anderson: Cock Destroyer
THIS EPISODE CONTAINS EXPLICIT SEXUAL CONTENT, ADULT THEMES, AND STRONG LANGUAGE. You've been warned. This week we meet a legend among Dorothies - Sophie, the Cock Destroyer. The porn star and social media sensation, immortalised in RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’s Frock Destroyers, tells Alice about her fifteen minutes of fame - which have lasted 18 months and counting. We talked about what makes a Cock Destroyer, Sophie reveals her fave of the pair’s viral videos, and pays tribute to the sisterhood and aesthetic they share with drag queens including Trixie Mattel. A member of the LGBTQ community herself, Sophie also opens up about her experience of growing up pansexual, how things have changed, and the importance of celebrating queer life around her teenage son.
33 minutes | Jan 30, 2020
4: Simon Jones: Entertainment publicist
Presenter Alice Beverton-Palmer flips the script, and for the first time on The Dorothy Project, interviews a queer man about the women in his life. And what a way to start! Simon Jones’s life has taken him from being a teenage Madonna stan in a tiny Norfolk village, to winning a teen magazine talent search, and now shaping the careers of gay icons such as Geri Halliwell and Jade Thirlwall. In his eponymous PR company, he’s worked with multiple Spice Girls, All Saints, Louise Redknapp, Dannii Minogue, Pussycat Dolls and Tulisa to name a few. We talked about how pop icons speak to their queer fanbases, and how being gay has helped Simon guide his clients, as well as his favourite career memories so far (...this is the man who stuck the promotional message on Geri Halliwell’s horse as she rode down Old Compton Street.)
30 minutes | Jan 23, 2020
3: Corinne Cumming: Drag photographer
She wandered into Bloc bar one night with a camera, and hasn’t left the queer scene since. Alice Beverton-Palmer talks to music and drag photographer Corinne Cumming (@capturedbycorinne) about how drag became her creative muse, finding your queer family, and what it’s like to be a female photographer in the straight club scene (spoiler: it’s shit) Corinne regularly shoots the world’s most famous drag queens, from Alyssa Edwards to Bianca Del Rio, but she’s equally at home capturing London’s alternative drag scene. Her work foregrounds and celebrates drag kings and non-binary performers, and she’s also part of the pan-Asian drag collective The Bitten Peach. She also shoots Alice’s club night Push The Button!
29 minutes | Jan 16, 2020
2: Shelly Chopra Dhar: Bollywood director
Born into a family of major Bollywood producers, Shelly never got the chance to join them - she was “married and packed off”, and only began her own film career once her children were in school. One of those children turned out to be gay - and Shelly’s experience raising a gay child inspired her to make Ek Ladki. We talked about her Trojan horse tactics to bring an LGBT story with a message of acceptance to the biggest possible audience, complete with huge stars including Sonam and Anil Kapoor. You can find Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga on Netflix, in the UK and around the world.
33 minutes | Jan 9, 2020
1: Ana Matronic: Scissor Sisters frontwoman
In the first episode of Season Two, Scissor Sisters frontwoman Ana helps host Alice Beverton-Palmer choose a drag name - and has advice for single Dorothies looking for a guy. With a gay father and godfathers, Ana is a born Dorothy. She fulfilled her destiny in lavish style - moving to San Francisco as a teenager and then later New York City, where she performed at and hosted burlesque and drag nights. She met Jake Shears while he was dressed as his character "Jason the Amazing Back-Alley Late Term Abortion" and the rest was history. Scissor Sisters came together shortly afterwards and became a global sensation, filling arenas and Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage. Their album ‘Scissor Sisters’ remains one of the 20 biggest-selling albums of the 21st century. After realising they couldn’t possibly get gayer than Let’s Have A Kiki, the band went on hiatus in 2012. These days, you can find Ana hosting BBC Radio 2 show Dance Devotion every weekend, as well as BBC Eurovision coverage.
1 minutes | Jan 6, 2020
The Dorothy Project Season Two: Trailer
In this trailer, host Alice Beverton-Palmer is BACK with a sneak peek of who you'll meet in Season Two of The Dorothy Project. The first episode, with Scissor Sisters frontwoman Ana Matronic, lands this Thursday January 9th. Subscribe now so you don't miss a second!
26 minutes | Sep 5, 2019
12: Lucy Moss: Co-creator of Six The Musical
In the last episode of Season One, Alice talks musical theatre and diva worship with Lucy Moss. Along with her creative partner Toby Marlow, Lucy is responsible for the musical Six - a runaway hit at Edinburgh, in the West End, and soon, Broadway. Six brings Henry VIII’s wives to the stage as a kickass girlband and lets them set the historical record straight. (It’s amazing.) The pair’s other project, Hot Gay Time Machine, which they wrote with friend and collaborator Zak Ghazi-Torbati, tells the story of a gay man’s life through song and multiple costume changes. Like Six, Hot Gay Time Machine triumphed at the Edinburgh Fringe. It has won the Eddies Award, the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence, and the Brighton Fringe’s LGBTQ+ Award. We talked about what Lucy and Toby each bring to creating their hit shows, what makes their relationship so fruitful, and the relationship between gay men and the queens they worship. I tried to get Lucy to tell me what they’re working on next but she was tight-lipped... *** Who do you want to hear in Season Two? Tweet us @Dorothy_Podcast or leave a review here on Apple Podcasts! ***
23 minutes | Aug 29, 2019
11: Liv Morris: Half of cabaret act Bourgeois & Maurice
Liv Morris and her friend George Heyworth formed Bourgeois & Maurice on a bit of a whim back in 2007, and things have really escalated since. As a duo, they’ve released four studio albums, made a web series, a podcast, numerous theatre shows, and they’ve also won Time Out’s Alternative Eurovision competition twice. In the last twelve years Bourgeois & Maurice have performed around the world, and at prestigious London venues including the Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre and Sadler’s Wells. In 2017 they won the HOME Manchester T1 Commission prize, which sees them creating a new main stage show for the theatre premiering 2020. I wanted to talk to Liv about what feels like a classic, and really fruitful relationship - between a straight woman and a gay man. About making art together, and what they both bring to the party. And about whether Liv having a baby (not with George!) has changed things.
24 minutes | Aug 22, 2019
10: Catia Ciarico: The RVT’s Cabaret Programmer
Catia Ciarico is a programmer and producer at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, a historic venue which hosts a unique mix of club nights and performance. She’s responsible for programming everything from Belinda Carlisle to The Chemsex Monologues. Catia trained at drama school and as a clown, before becoming a stand-up comedian. But it was when she found producing roles that Catia really hit her stride. She’s worked with Swank, one of Britain’s biggest street theatre companies, as well as producing and programming at some of the most iconic venues in London including Madame Jojo's. We talked about the parallels between being a Dorothy and an immigrant, and why Catia held her own hen do in a gay club. She also changed my perspective on female drag queens...
26 minutes | Aug 15, 2019
9: Mary McIntosh: Activist and academic
A Dorothy Project first, as Alice speaks to our first male interviewee - Andrew Lumsden, who was a key part of the UK Gay Liberation Front in the 1970s. They discuss the life and work of his Gay Liberation Front comrade Mary McIntosh. TLDR: she sounds like an absolute baller. Mary was an academic as well as an activist, and her contribution to the rights held by British gay men today is massive. In 1968, she published an academic paper arguing that homosexuality is not a psychiatric or medical condition, based on a survey she conducted of gay men in Leicester and London. In her time on the Criminal Law Revision Committee, she advocated for the lowering of the age of consent for gay men. She also studied the letters of gay prisoners from the 16th century onwards, observing the 18th century gay subculture of ‘mollies’. Mary and her partner Elizabeth Wilson contributed to founding and shaping the direction of the London Gay Liberation Front. Throughout her life McIntosh continued to forge links between the gay liberation movement, the women's movement and lesbian movements.
25 minutes | Aug 8, 2019
8: Amy Zing: Sink The Pink co-founder
Alice talks to queer scene supremo Amy Zing. Along with her best mate Glyn Fussell, Amy co-founded the influential club night Sink The Pink. Since its inception in East London over a decade ago, Sink The Pink has outgrown venue after venue, becoming one of the biggest alternative club brands in the country and helping bring drag into the mainstream. The Sink The Pink team have gone on to develop the hugely popular queer pop music festival Mighty Hoopla, and club night Savage. After moving from London to Margate, Amy founded Margate Pride and the queer youth group OUT Margate. She also had a baby! We talked about Sink The Pink’s changing demographic and the power of going mainstream, the special relationship between women and gay men (and the term ‘fag hag’) and Amy’s experience juggling being a mum with working in nightlife.
35 minutes | Aug 1, 2019
7: Nicola Coughlan: Derry Girls Actor
Actor Nicola Coughlan is a Galway native (she just does a very good Derry accent) who plays Clare Devlin in the global smash hit sitcom Derry Girls. She also starred in 18th Century brothel drama Harlots, and has just started work on the huge new Shondaland production Bridgerton, alongside Dame Julie Andrews. On stage, Nicola was lauded for her work in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at the Donmar Warehouse. Off stage, she’s a MASSIVE Dorothy. Nicola campaigned for marriage equality in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. She’s also a huge fan of drag, who’s been found tipping crisps over her head in tribute to Sasha Velour and glueing down her brows to complete an Alaska costume. We talked about her LGBTQ advocacy, living in San Francisco as a teenager, and her friendship with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness.
22 minutes | Jul 25, 2019
6: Nicki French: UK Eurovision legend
Nicki French is a singer and actor. She represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000, finishing 16th with ‘Don’t Play That Song Again’. Nicki has since become a stalwart of the Eurovision fan scene, including the annual London Eurovision Party, to which she brings up to 23 costume changes. Her new EP of Eurovision covers, ‘Let’s Play That Song Again’, is out now. Nicki’s cover of fellow Eurovision entrant Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ was a top five hit in the UK and US in 1995, selling over five million copies worldwide. She has performed in gay clubs from the very start of her career and is currently signed to the HI-NRG label Energise Records, along with other Pride season favourites Hazell Dean, Sinitta, and Sonia. Since 2007, she has also been working as an actor in pantomime and musicals, including The Wizard of Oz and Annie. We talked about Nicki’s Eurovision experiences, making music for gay clubs, and playing musical theatre legend Ethel Merman.
25 minutes | Jul 18, 2019
5: Holly Shortall: Podcaster and activist
Holly Shortall co-hosts the hit pop culture podcast Popsessed with her friend, the broadcaster, journalist and DJ Conor Behan. She is also an HIV activist with ACT UP Dublin. My first interviewee from outside of the UK, Holly is a favourite of UK and Irish Gay Twitter, which is how I came to know her. She lives in Dublin, and works in marketing and communications (yep, everything I’ve just mentioned is side hustle.) We talked about finding your tribe online, her work with ACT UP (actupdublin.com), and how she sees the role of an ally.
28 minutes | Jul 11, 2019
4: Professor Chloe Orkin: Chair of the British HIV Association
Professor Chloe Orkin is the Chair of the British HIV Association. She is a Clinical Professor of HIV Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, on secondment to the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at University College London. She is a Consultant Physician at the Royal London Hospital where her clinical duties include running a busy HIV and HIV/ HCV research unit. Professor Orkin led the ‘Going Viral’ blood-borne virus testing week campaign, and under her leadership BHIVA has been acknowledged as an early champion of the U=U campaign. Professor Orkin sees herself as a medical activist, working to improve the lives of people living with HIV in the UK by providing medical evidence that challenges stigma. She trained as a doctor in her native South Africa at the height of the AIDS crisis before moving to London, where she met her partner - who also works in HIV medicine.
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