Events > Polari Salon

Polari Salon

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Thu 28 Mar



An illustration of a man flying through a night sky whilst reading a book

Polari at Komedia, Bath with Paul Burston, Julia Armfield & Alexis Gregory

London’s award-winning literary salon makes a welcome return to Bath, with an evening paying homage to Bowie, lesbian love stories and D.I.S.C.O…..

Inspired by the gay slang of the same name, Polari is a celebration of LGBTQ+ words and voices – on the page and on the stage.

Your host, and Polari founder, Paul Burston kicks off the evening with a reading from his acclaimed memoir We Can Be Heroes, describing how David Bowie saved his life at a time when gay role models were thin on the ground. Bowie’s sexual ambiguity and celebration of the likes of Jean Genet, Christopher Isherwood and Yukio Mishima put the teenage Paul’s head in a whirl, and his music provided sustenance when times were tough.

He’ll be handing over to author Julia Armfield, whose Polari Prize winning novel Our Wives Under The Sea is a speculative blend of sci fi lullaby and lesbian love story, described by Joelle Taylor as a book which expands our understanding of what LGBTQ+ literature can be. She’ll be reading and discussing her work.

After the interval, we time travel into the future with playwright and performer Alexis Gregory and his new show FutureQueer. It’s 2069 – and the whole world is queer. Voguing and lip syncing are categories in the Olympics. There’s a statue of George Michael on Hampstead Heath. The UK has its first openly queer monarch. And Starbucks own Pride (boo!). A celebration of disco as queer resistance, FutureQueer is equal parts theatre, stand-up comedy, DIY lecture and speculative fabulation.

About Paul Burston

Paul Burston is an author, activist and founder of the Polari Literary Salon and Polari Prizes. A founding editor of Attitude magazine, he has written for many publications including the Guardian, Time Out, Times and Sunday Times. His memoir We Can Be Heroes was published by Little A in 2023 to rave reviews from across the industry including from Russell T. Davies and Bernardine Evaristo. ES Magazine called it ‘probably the gay book of the year’.

About Julia Armfield

Julia Armfield is the winner of the Polari Prize 2023 for Our Wives Under The Sea, described by Florence Welch as ‘a gothic fairy tale, sublime in its creepiness’ and the critically acclaimed short story collection Salt Slow.Her work has been published in Lighthouse, Analog Magazine, The white Review and Salt's Best British Short Stories 2019. She was commended in the Moth Short Story Prize 2017, longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Prize 2018 and is the winner of The White Review Short Story Prize 2018. She lives and works in London.

About Alexis Gregory

Alexis Gregory is a London based playwright, director, producer and performer. His widely acclaimed, previous show solo show on queer activism across the decades, ‘Riot Act’ originated at Kings Head Theatre in 2018. ‘FutureQueer’ sold out its Summer ‘23 Kings Head Theatre work-in-progress show, and in November ’23 received two pop-up performances at the Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green.


AUDITORIUM TICKETS include table seating in the auditorium.

The Auditorium is fully accessible – for information on our accessibility click here and don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

BALCONY TICKETS are allocated, in cinema style rows on the first floor. Please note that food is not available in this area - the Balcony does not have tables and is only accessible via a staircase.

AGES 14+ // DOORS 19:30 // SHOW 20:00

Auditorium - £18.00

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