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‘Section 28 and Me’ Tea Party

Bristol based artist Tom Marshman gathered communities to explore the impact of Section 28 legislation introduced by Margaret Thatcher.

A special tea party back in July 2023 was hosted by artist Tom Marshman as part of research for his project exploring ‘Section 28’, this is a chance to meet others and share stories over tea and cake.

The tea party was held in St Anne’s House, in the ward of Brislington East. In the 1980s this ward was the constituency of Labour MP Tony Benn, who gave an impassioned speech in the House of Commons against Section 28. Within his speech he described it as ‘the most blatantly and dishonestly worded clause that I have ever come across’.

He asked the house to consider if ‘every murder play promotes murder, every war play promotes war, every drama involving the eternal triangle promotes adultery. This tea party is a chance to talk about this forgotten history in a ward that politically pushed back.

The tea parties are a place for communities to meet and share their stories over tea and cake. You could have lived through this time or be curious to know more, everyone is welcome. Tom will perform short performances connected to the topic to provoke conversation, providing starting points for discussion with his own cabaret flair.

These tea parties are research for a new show, supported by Unlimited & Bristol Ideas and part of Bristol 650. With permission, participants & responses will feed into this new work, as an important and valuable part of the process.

A work in progress of the work will be presented in November at the Wardrobe Theatre.

  • Tom Marshman

    I have been a practicing artist for 21 years, and produced over 60 projects, across many mediums, including – museum audio-tours, theatre & cabaret. Actively encouraging dialogue with participants, through socially engaged processes such as ‘Tea Parties’, allows me evocative glimpses into everyday life, letting me tell engaging, poetic & unpretentious stories. An overarching theme of my work is that of the outsider & their story, particularly regarding the LGBTQ+ experience, stories that been omitted through archival silence.