In May 2020, Manchester’s Finest launched Superbia Spotlights, a new partnership with Superbia.
The partnership came at a time when communities the world over were beginning to adapt to the changes a pandemic brings, and finding new ways to create art and deliver it to audiences in new ways.
Speaking about Superbia’s challenges and achievements this year, CEO Mark Fletcher said “As both a charity and organisers of one of the biggest events in the UK, Manchester Pride had to fight for survival this year. I am incredibly proud of what my team has pulled off this year.”
“Superbia Spotlights has been a huge success, and provided a valuable platform for many incredible artists, creators and events so we have to say a big thank you to Manchester’s Finest for its support.’’
By coming together for Superbia Spotlights, we shone a light on some of the incredible Superbia-supported arts and culture talent across Greater Manchester during what has been an incredibly challenging year for arts and culture locally, nationally and globally.
Superbia’s Creative Producer and Project Manager, Greg Thorpe tells us about the ways in which art and culture has had to adapt in 2020, Superbia’s achievements this year, and what he’s most excited for when the world returns to whatever our new normal might be…
Hi Greg, 2020 was quite an incredible year and challenging in so many ways for so many people. Can you tell us how the pandemic has affected Superbia?
Superbia is about bringing LGBTQ+ people together around arts, culture and community events. Our programme for 2020 had to rapidly adapt and find new and innovative ways to support artists and connect communities and thanks to funding from Arts Council England and GMCA Culture Fund we could continue to support our artists with commissions and online work. But we really miss our community!
You are the Project Co-ordinator for Superbia. Has this period taught you anything new?
I’m much more confident at commissioning digital work now that’s for sure! But also I’ve really learned that one on one contact with our artists is so important so that they feel seen and heard.
How has the Superbia team reacted to the changes? What has been the most challenging elements for Superbia?
They have astonished me. Not just with all the technical wizardry that made all our Manchester Pride and Superbia digital events possible, but with the ingenuity of the programming, the resourcefulness, and the camaraderie and friendship we have in our team.
The Superbia Weekend is our flagship summer event. Every year we bring diverse LGBTQ+ people together in a sober social space to talk, watch films, make art, eat, drink and laugh together.
We were really proud to deliver Superbia Sunday – a full day of arts and culture featuring some incredible names like Russell T Davis, Rikki Beadle Blaire MBE and Russell Tovey. Missing that has been very hard, it’s where we connect with the community face to face. Closing the Grants programme temporarily also meant many ideas had to be shelved – for now!
What are you most looking forward to in terms of a return to normality?
Big parties and art and theatre events are going to be sensational but for me, when we have a small gathering with a bunch of talented people sharing new work they are excited about and we experience that together, that’s where my heart is.
How has the lack of live arts and culture affected the industry and how do you plan to move forward?
I worry that smaller venues where queer creativity thrives have been hit the hardest. And as a freelancer I am in solidarity with people who feel their present and future is uncertain. The city already struggled with a lack of affordable accessible space to support new work.
Going forward I will be much less shy of asking venues to support our smaller ventures, we need them and they need us. I hope we are closer as an industry after this.
How has the support been from Superbia’s audience and followers?
Our audience has remained curious, creative, connected and supportive, of Superbia and each other. They keep us going!
What are you most proud of in terms of Superbia’s achievements so far?
The Superbia Spotlights in partnership with Manchester’s Finest has been sensational. Almost every week we have either commissioned a new piece of work or profiled some of our fave Greater Manchester artists.
Just looking back over the programme makes me so proud of Manchester’s LGBTQ+ creative community. Another highlight was our Superbia short film commission ‘To Whom It May Concern’ by Jordan Roberts which brought together artists reflecting on HIV for World AIDS Day. I still cry every time I watch it.
What are you most excited for in 2021?
Seeing our gorgeous community healthy and thriving and face to face, hopefully at
The Superbia Weekend 2021!
Superbia supports LGBTQ+ artists by promoting events through its events page and social media, funding LGBTQ+ events and projects with Superbia Grants, and by curating original events in collaboration with partners, venues, groups, curators, community members, artists and creatives.
Superbia is Manchester Pride’s year-round programme of arts and culture, designed to support, curate, fund and promote LGBTQ+ events throughout Greater Manchester.