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Manchester’s famous faces turn out in force for VIP launch of new LGBTQ+ arts festival


Stars from Coronation Street and Emmerdale were among the guests at the VIP launch of new LGBTQ+ arts festival Turn On Fest on Sunday.

Hope Mill Theatre in Ancoats opened its doors to a host of celebs for the event, including actress Denise Welch and her actor son Louis Healy, former Manchester Mayor Carl Austin-Behan OBE, and TV presenter and musician JSky.

Pairing a stylish black and sparkly balloon-sleeved top with leather-look pants, Denise posed on the red carpet alongside son Louis, who sported a simple by stylish jeans, t-shirt and blazer combo.

Channel 4 host and BBC radio Manchester presenter JSky, meanwhile, rocked a pair of thigh-high boots with a peach spaghetti strap dress, a bomber jacket and a statement padlock necklace.

Guests at the VIP launch night were treated to a performance by popular Manchester drag queen Belinda Scandal.

She also hosted a Q&A with artists taking part in Turn On – the first arts festival to be hosted by the award-winning theatre.

Running until the beginning of February, the arts festival is a collaboration between the award-winning venue and Superbia, the arts programming arm of Manchester Pride.

Supported by Arts Council England, it includes a variety of programming from Superbia, Manchester Pride’s year-round cultural programme designed to curate, fund, support and promote LGBTQ+ events.

Widely considered to be a thriving venue for established LGBTQ+ work in Manchester, Hope Mill Theatre was founded four years ago by former musical theatre performers Joseph Houston and William Whelton.

It recently became a charitable organisation and now counts actors Denise Welch and Tracie Bennett as patrons alongside Doctor Who and Queer As Folk writer Russell T Davies.


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