Articles for Dec 08

Record Audience for Homotopia

Homotopia, Liverpool’s annual gay cultural festival, has been hailed as a key fixture in the city’s cultural calendar after attracting record attendances.

Numbers attending Homotopia events have risen from 2,750 in 2004, its first year, to more than 12,000 this year.

The festival, which ran throughout November delivered over 50 events including a new strand of international art and a dedicated web-based TV station.

Highlights of this year's Homotopia included

· Tom of Finland - the biggest retrospective of his iconic gay male images ever exhibited in the UK

· The North West's first ever Grand Vogue Ball

An international art strand including presenting five major exhibition in partnership with the Biennial
· The participation of a number of gay icons including Maggi Hambling, April Ashley, Jackie Kay and David Hoyle

· A huge increase in the number of viewers for Homotopia TV with audiences reaching 20,000

Cllr Warren Bradley, City Council Leader said: "Homotopia has been a great cultural success story and, this year, has made a major contribution to our Capital of Culture programme.

“The increased numbers attending its events is confirmation that it is an established highlight of Liverpool’s cultural calendar and has brought 'gay culture' into the mainstream."

Gary Everett, Homotopia festival director, said: 'It has been an extraordinary year for the festival and the last five years have been an incredible journey. The record attendances for 2008 is testament that there is a growing demand for more LGBT art and culture. The whole festival team are very proud of this achievement and look forward to taking the festival forward in the important years ahead”

The month long festival of theatre, debate, art and film was held at various venues across the city including Bluecoat Arts Centre, Contemporary Urban Centre, Unity Theatre and The Adelphi Hotel. It was supported by Virgin Trains, Merseyside Police Unison and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.