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Stop Kiss - first show programmed by Above The Stag's new artistic director

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ABOVE The Stag, the UK’s only dedicated LGBTQ+ theatre, has announced that long-term collaborator and regular Above The Stag director, Andrew Beckett, has been appointed as Artistic Director at the Vauxhall hub venue.

His first piece of programming will be the award-winning 1998 play by Diana Son, Stop Kiss, which runs for four weeks from November 6 to until December 1, 2019.

Stop Kiss follows the story of a young couple, Sara and Callie, who are viciously attacked after sharing their first kiss. The attack leaves Sara horribly injured and in a coma; which becomes the crux of the play.

Written in 1998 by Diana Son, the play explores relationships and the depth of human emotion and compassion. It will be produced by theatre maker and LGBT rights advocate Kylie Vilcins and directed by Rafaella Marcus.

The programming of Stop Kiss, coupled with its female-fronted creative team, comes as part of a decisive move to position Above The Stag as ever more inclusive for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, alongside their families, friends and supporters.

Andrew Beckett, commenting on his artistic vision for his creative direction at Above The Stag, said: “We are immensely proud of all the fantastic shows that Above The Stag have programmed over the last eleven years. But equally, we’re excited to begin to take our programming in a slightly new direction, further welcoming and showcasing the creative talents of all marginalised sexualities and genders and reaffirm our Vauxhall home as a safe space for all to enjoy.”

Producer Kylie Vilcins said: “I am honoured to be working with Above The Stag Theatre, embracing and implementing their new artistic vision and commitment to exploring the stories of the LGBTQ+ community. Stop Kiss is a play I have long wanted to produce and right now, unfortunately in light of the recently publicised homophobic attacks on women, feels like an extremely relevant and pertinent time to do so.”

Director Rafaella Marcus said: “I’m incredibly excited to be working on this show and telling this beautiful queer female love story. Diana Son’s play was written over 20 years ago but feels like it could have been last week; which is testament to the fact that even when LGBTQ+ communities make gains, danger persists – as we have seen all too frequently. I feel very privileged to be working with producer Kylie Vilcins to bring a female-fronted creative team to Above the Stag, and to be entrusted with this witty, compassionate, truthful story of two women falling in love, and the roads they navigate because of it.”

Tickets: £22.50. Previews (November 6 and 7) £15. to book, visit www.abovethestag.com/vxl/whatson/stop-kiss/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.45pm, Sunday at 3pm and 6.15pm.