Queer In Cumbria, Directed by Jade Ward

Queer in Cumbria (2023)

For our most recent exhibition in August, SHOW YOUR TRUE COLOURS, we had the absolute pleasure of funding Queer In Cumbria, produced by Green Frog Productions and directed by Jade Ward. The film was shown throughout the duration of the exhibition, and was produced in the two weeks before the exhibition opened, which was an unreal turn around!

Jade approached us with an amazing idea around two weeks before the exhibition started, and pitched it to us with such enthusiasm we just had to make this film happen. We recently caught up with Jade and asked her about the process of making the film, and why she chose the subject.

Queer In Cumbria tells the stories of three queer people of varying ages who grew up in Cumbria. It’s about the hopes, dreams, stories and aspirations of a group previously sidelined in Cumbria, but who have always been part of the community. It highlights the similarities and differences in these stories, and shows how much has changed and how far we’ve still got to go. We first met Jade through her involvement with Free Radicals in Carlisle throughout 2021 and 2022, where she helped document the space and what went on there; Jade has been interested in telling and sharing queer stories ever since.

‘Queer In Cumbria is a piece designed to elevate young queer voices and highlight stories from within Cumbria. As a young queer individual myself who grew up in Carlisle I often felt very alone in my gender and sexuality and I really wanted to use the documentary as a platform to highlight voices from within the community.’

Laura & Elisse preparing to film Dakota’s interview

The Green Frog Productions Team arrived at PiNC early on 16th August, most of them having travelled from Liverpool for the day. The team consist of Jade Ward (Director, Locations Manager, Chief Editor, DOP), Dean-Alastair Platt (Producer, Set Designer, Head of Lighting, Colourist, Assistant Locations Manager), Elisse Reilly (Production Assistant), Cameron Jones (1st Assistant Camera) and Laura Baker (Boom Operator) all of whom are students in Liverpool. After a solid four hours of set up and filming, the team called a wrap on the interviews, and after a quick pizza break, were off to film some landscape shots around Carlisle.

This film is particularly important to us at PiNC Arts because the whole purpose of our arts project here is to show that queer people do exist and thrive here, and although we live in a rural area, Cumbria is rich in queer stories that are yet to be documented. We want to document these stories for future generations and let them know that we’re here, we’re queer, and we have lots to say.

‘It was important to me that we were able to interview individuals of all ages from specially Cumbria, I often feel a little neglected by the rest of the country and I wanted to use my film as a way to highlighting Cumbrian queer stories!’

Mac, as seen in the documentary

Very special thanks to Green Frog Productions for letting us share their excellent film on our site, they’re such a talented bunch and we’re so excited to see what’s up next for them. And, as always, thank you so much to our funders, the National Heritage Fund for funding our project.

Made Possible with the Heritage Fund
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