'I want everyone to feel like a star' - Manchester celebrates its queer arts scene through The Manc Gala

Taking place at The Deaf Institute this Sunday, The Manc Gala is a six-hour rave celebrating queer Northern performers.

By Emma Davidson | Last updated 9 May 2023

Share this story

Image: Miriam Vaughan

Manchester is a city that’s always championed queer talent. From the early days of debauchery at the Hacienda’s Flesh club night, to the sell-out Homobloc all-day rave that takes over Mayfield Depot each year, amplifying queer voices has been imperative to our position as a leading club city. 

Your Dad Sells Avon (YDSA) is the newest event aiming to continue the legacy. Founded by Ali Stopit, a treasury analyst by day and gogo dancer by night, YDSA is the city’s hottest new queer rave focused on creating a platform for trans, non-binary and POC individuals. 

Ali has given each performer their own promotional poster ahead of the event. Image: YDSA

“I started YDSA because I know what it feels like to not be represented by the mainstream,” said Ali. “I’m from Persian and Iranian heritage, but I grew up in Wigan, and I was always the odd one out. I don’t want anyone to feel like that, so I decided to start YDSA as a way to bring people together by showcasing and championing the incredible talent across the LGBTQIA+ community in Manchester.”

Already making a name for itself as an innovative, inclusive space to party, this Sunday marks one of the collective’s most exciting events to date. ‘The Manc Gala’ is a self-confessed tacky take on the designer doused Met Gala held annually in New York City. 

Although Sunday’s Deaf Institute party won’t be graced by Doja Cat or Dua Lipa dripping in Chanel, it will have three-floors of DJs and entertainment to explore from 11pm – 5am. Taking over the main room is Meme Gold, Forbid and Gaydio’s Dave Cooper who will be spinning house and techno, before performers take over the stage in an ode to 1970s musical Chicago.

YDSA has become one of the city’s most popular queer club nights. Image: Miriam Vaughan

“This will be one of the most exciting moments of the night,” explained Ali. “Deaf Institute has an incredible balcony space and all of the performers, myself included, will be using this as part of the show. There’ll be six stories performed by dancers including Coco Deville, Meme Gold, Seren Marimba and The House of Blaque, and I’m so excited to spotlight all of these wonderful artists.”

In the basement of Deaf Institute, FvckPig are taking over with “fetish bear daddy and non binary vibes” and a soundtrack of euphoric disco hits. Resident DJ at the likes of Bollox and La Discotheque, The Niallist will be behind the decks for four hours, taking party-goers on a journey through the golden age of New York City nightlife.

YDSA’s memorable events work to create spaces and communities that celebrate diversity and champion self-expression in its many forms. Not only does it welcome creatives from underrepresented groups, it also works to pay all performers that perform at the club nights a fair wage, something that Ali is extremely passionate about.

The Niallist is also a resident at Bollox and La Discotheque. Image: YDSA

“Visibility is really important to me and some of the artists and performers at YDSA’s events have struggled to get hired for a number of different reasons. Giving those people a safe and inclusive space to perform and get paid for it is the reason I started these events. 

“We also choose a charity to donate to at every party, too. This time, we’re donating £1 from every ticket sale to Mermaids UK, a charity supporting transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families. This is something I’m committed to at every single event we host. I’m really passionate about fundraising for charities that support the community,” said Ali. 

YDSA’s Manc Gala takes place at The Deaf Institute this Sunday from 11pm – 5am. Early bird tickets have already sold out but advanced tickets are now on sale for £21.


YDSA presents The Manc Gala

Date: Sunday 7 May
Venue: The Deaf Institute
Time: 11pm – 5am
Price: £21