Foundation supports LGBTQIA+ production

Theatre event to run alongside Coventry City of Culture.

Coventry-based charity, Heart of England Community Foundation, has recently supported the production of I Ain’t Dumb an LGBTQIA+ play, written by Tom Wright and produced by Epicene and PlayWell Productions. The highly anticipated production is set to debut in February 2022, following the completion of Coventry’s City of Culture Festival 2021.

The play is inspired by Tom’s experience in Coventry during his time at school and follows an English class that pride themselves on diversity and inclusion, before a sudden culture war takes place. Exploring the themes around race, sexuality, police brutality, sexual assault and gang violence, the production will be hosted as part of the activity surrounding the City of Culture 2021.

Tom Wright, writer of I Ain’t Dumb, comments: “It’s been a long road for production due to the COVID-19 restrictions, but we’re so pleased with all of the work that has gone into this. The funding received from Heart of England will help us to run workshops that offer skills and resources to the next generation of artists, specifically in the LGBTQIA+ community. Coventry 2021 is an amazing time to get people talking about Coventry, and I can’t wait for the premiere of ‘I Ain’t Dumb’ and to share my experience within the LGTBQIA+ community.”

Alongside the play, Tom has implemented an extensive engagement programme, collaborating with local LGBTQIA+ young people, artists and audiences, in order to stimulate conversations and offer a platform for the next generation of the LGBTQIA+ talent in Coventry. Further details on the show and the engagement programme will be released over the summer.

Over 180,000 people in the West Midlands identify themselves as LGBTQIA+, and with the loss of real-life Pride events and safe spaces during the pandemic, the last few months have been a challenging time for those looking for support. Events and safe spaces are often a lifeline for these community groups and the Foundation is hoping to reconnect the community by funding projects just like I Ain’t Dumb.

Tina Costello, Chief Executive of Heart of England Community Foundation, comments: “Coventry 2021 is all about celebrating the diversity, youth and opportunities within our city, and we’re so pleased to be able to support this amazing project, that does exactly that. The dedication and hard work that has been put into this project is a real testament to the city and its commitment to supporting underrepresented communities. I am so pleased that the Foundation is able to support Tom with this project and we cannot wait to see the final production.”