THE MOLLY’S MASQUERADE WAS A YEAR-LONG COMMUNITY ARTS AND HERITAGE PROJECT FUNDED BY THE HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND AND THE ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND.
Throughout the pandemic I was selected by Heads Bodies Legs to deliver three seasons of textile workshops based on the historical records of the 18th century mollies and molly houses, engaging with over 100 people through making to celebrate our queer ancestors.
The project ran from April 2020 until October 2021.
In the 18th Century, ‘Molly’ was a slang word for a homosexual man, or a lower-class woman who was sometimes a sex worker, while Molly Houses were the meeting place for the early homosexual subculture.
The Molly workshops included: Voguing led by D’relle West, Intimate Creature Puppets with Sian Kidd, Broadside Ballads and Songwriting with Dan McBride and Creative Writing delivered by Sophie Cameron.
At the core of the project was the idea that we are all more than a singular identity. In celebrating the heritage of queer and sex worker communities, we explored sexuality and gender alongside race and class identities. We considered the complexities within our own identities, and celebrated the alliances we make in the fight for social justice.
IN JULY 2021, THE PROJECT CULMINATED IN AN IMMERSIVE, WALK- AROUND EXPERIENCE AT ST MARGARET’S HOUSE IN BETHNAL GREEN.
Heads Bodies Legs Theatre partnered with St Margaret’s House to deliver the project. Other partners from the queer, sex worker, HIV and local community, included: Tower Hamlets and London Metropolitan Archives, Positively UK, East London Out Project, Queer Tours of London, Sex Worker’s Opera, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London School of Economics, among others.