A Gay Outing at Charleston: Chapter Two

To tie in with the Gay Pride weekend in Brighton Charleston have arranged an evening of talks and discussions about Bloomsbury’s gay culture. Many of the characters that moved around the Charleston scene, of course, were gay or bisexual. Duncan Grant was openly gay and had several affairs with men. Ditto Lytton Strachey. Virginia Woolf was married to Leonard Woolf but had a long relationship with the poet Vita Sackville West: her novel Orlando is, in effect, a lesbian love story in disguise. For men homosexuality was still illegal in that period (witness the hounding of Oscar Wilde) but the Bloomsbury group escaped persecution.

The use of the word ‘outing’ in the title of the talk is cleverly intentional. The idea is to bring Bloomsbury’s sexuality into the open. The evening will be opened by Terry Henson, who will give a background to the characters involved in the Bloomsbury set and their sexuality. Simon Watney will then introduce the two speakers for the evening, Neil Bartlett and Maureen Duffy. Bloomsbury expert Bartlett is a director, performer, artist and writer who was in charge of the Lyric Theatre for ten years until 2004. Duffy, said to be the first lesbian to publicly come out, is an acclaimed poet and novelist, the author of an openly lesbian novel, The Microcosm, as early as 1966. This is the second year such an event has been held at Charleston: the audience are welcome to contribute what promises to be a lively debate. A free tour of the house is also offered at 6.30pm.

Out and about: Duncan Grant at the Farmhouse

Charleston Farmhouse, near Firle
When? 7pm-9.30pm
How Much? £12 with free glass of wine

Charleston Farmhouse
(w) Website
(t) 01323 811626