When banks and sandwich shops have more pride than we do, where can we go to be with our tribe? It’s 2022. There’s a rainbow flag in every high street window – and no lesbian bar. Enter The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs.

Iman Qureshi breaks new ground writing a comedy about a lesbian community choir struggling to survive. Led by a world-weary conductor with lofty ambitions, the disparate and unruly choir gossip, flirt and attempt to sing their way onto the main stage at Pride. Here the award-winning writer tells us more about the Hannah Hauer-King-directed piece.

Iman Qureshi

How did The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs come about?

It was originally a Soho Six co-commission with Damsel Productions. The artistic director of Damsel, Hannah Hauer-King had directed my last play, The Funeral Director, and we talked about how we really wanted to see a large-scale play about queer women, because as far as we could recall it didn’t exist. So, we went ahead and made the show we always wanted to see.

 

How is it unlike anything you’ve done before?

It’s bigger than anything I’ve written before, with a large cast, a lot of music, and even an interval! It’s scary going from writing smaller plays to writing a more expansive ensemble piece, but I think it’s pretty special.

 

What is the most warming thing about the story?

How much we fall in love with the choir.

 

What can we expect musically?

Everything from opera to Lady Gaga.

 

Do you have a favourite line you can share with us?

The lesbians came in two by two, hurrah, hurrah!

 

What defines a queer space for you?

Queer people, warm, welcoming, inclusive, accepting and loving.

 

How would you describe the UK’s queer scene in 2022?

Pretty alcohol/party-focused. I’d love to see more sober spaces, or spaces that bring people together in a more communal way, be it at a café, or a community centre, or around artistic events like poetry nights or music.

Do you have any plans for Pride season?

Not yet! Any suggestions?

 

Which other plays and performers have excited you this year?

But I’m a Cheerleader at the Turbine Theatre and Operation Mincemeat at Riverside Studios.

 

Name three favourite pieces of LGBTQIA+ representation.

The Inheritance, Disclosure – and The L Word. Obviously.

 

What are you currently reading, watching, and listening to?

Reading Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. Next on my list is Animal by Lisa Taddeo. Loving Emeli Sandé and Florence + The Machine’s new music. Watching Yellowjackets – obsessed.

 

What’s next for you?

Some down time – making a play takes it out of you!

 

The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs is at Soho Theatre until 11 June. It is supported by the Cara Delevingne Foundation.

https://sohotheatre.com/shows/the-ministry-of-lesbian-affairs/

Photography by Holly Revell

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