Multi-award winning Blackpool-based theatre maker Harry Clayton-Wright shares issue 4 of queer online zine, You Otter Know and we are here for it. In this collab with with indie publishing house Polari Press, Harry celebrates all things Blackpool and its queer community.💖
Originally commissioned by Homotopia as part of their Queer Art Always initiative during the first lockdown, You Otter Know is a glossy, thoughtful and unabashedly joyful queer online magazine experience. With a focus on Harry’s hometown of Blackpool, issue four, supported by Marlborough Productions, Abingdon Studios, Homotopia and Arts Council England, features photospreads, writing, artwork and interviews celebrating the queer community of Blackpool. You Otter Know is one of many works created by live artists in 2020-21 as a response to the ever-changing world – an opportunity to share creative musings and queer joy.
Issue four teleports you back to Blackpool’s early-90s gay scene with the photography and musings of Stuart Linden Rhodes; explores Blackpool Tower’s first Pride Flag, a staple of queer history, with Catherine Mugonyi; sensitively philosophises about religion, and the ostracism David Hoyle experienced growing up queer; hits you with the blunt and uproarious comedic ‘Agony Aunti-Everything’ column by Laura Catlow; hauntingly evocative photospreads of the town in lockdown by photographer Claire Griffiths, while artist Garth Gratrix takes you to Blackpool’s cruising sites for some disposable fun.
After Harry’s tour of his theatre show Sex Education – which won both a Brighton Fringe Award (2017) and the Melbourne Fringe Award in Edinburgh (2019) – was interrupted by the COVID-19 crisis, with multiple dates across the UK and Australia postponed and cancelled, Harry created You Otter Know as a new way to continue to create and share work safely. The first three issues of You Otter Know have now been viewed online over 8500 times in 66 countries, and all four issues are now available for free at youotterknow.camp.
Harry says: “This issue of You Otter Know is especially close to my heart. The opportunity to celebrate and explore Blackpool has brought me so much joy after what has been an incredibly difficult year.”
Previous issues have featured poetry by award-winning performer, writer and theatre maker Travis
Alabanza; a series of Tennessee Williams-esque vignettes by fat icon, producer, theatre-maker, vocal goddess Fatt Butcher; some timely chats about the pandemic, arts funding and the precarity of social media with Drag and Cabaret artist Le Gateau Chocolat; the high school classic, Two Truths One Lie, with multidisciplinary performer and roller-skating hula-hooper Symoné; artwork by Grammy Nominated music video director David Wilson; as well as poetry, photo spreads and long-form written work by Harry Clayton-Wright himself.
Later this year, Harry will launch the You Otter Know: The Omnibus – featuring work from all four issues and providing readers with the chance to hold a copy of this glossy, thoughtful magazine in their hands.
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