We spoke to Kit Sinclair, writer and performer of 30 and Out, whose late in life queer self-discovery inspired the piece
BY GEORGIA DIMDORE-MILES, IMAGE BY SASKIA O’HARA
30 and Out is a multimedia project which combines two exciting elements, a theatre piece and digital archive, both telling important and undocumented stories about lesbian lives.
The ambitious series of audio interviews will take place all over the country, with those that identify as a lesbian will explore personal coming out stories; these will be stored in an online archive that 30 and Out are creating themselves. The project is currently actively looking for participants, so if you would like your unique story to be recorded get in contact today.
Some of these audio excerpts will also be woven into the second half of the project. This is a theatre piece created by award-winning writer and performer, Kit Sinclair, exploring her own coming out story that took place on her 30th birthday.
“Using touching interviews, innovative projection and powerful storytelling, Kit Sinclair takes us on a memorable journey about drawing your own blueprint.
It’s a coming out story… decades late to the party.”
DIVA caught up with Kit herself and found out more about the project and what it means to her:
This is a very personal story, what made you want to tell it?
The age I came out felt quite unique, I haven’t met that many others who came out at 30, although through doing this show it’s become clear that there are lots of us out there. Having seen a lot of theatre in my life, it’s still rare to see lesbian stories on stage, although LGBTQIA creatives are pretty prolific in the arts. What I have seen is often quite fluffy, it didn’t feel true to the experience I had or the lesbian community I know, it was missing the grit. I wanted to make something filthy, funny and raw, showing the depth of lesbian joy as well as the pretty dark moments which come from being a community founded on trauma.
Looking back, my journey has also been hilariously embarrassing, deeply painful and also so rich in celebration and finding my own sexy – I wanted to put it all out there so other lesbians can watch it and see themselves in my story. Or simply laugh and enjoy the journey.
What challenges have you faced coming out later on in life?
The 30s feel quite significant, there’s this notion that by then you’re meant to have your life together and start hitting social milestones like getting married, having kids … What actually happened was that I had to start all over again. There’s a societal blueprint that you’re meant to follow and when you feel like you’re failing it’s bloody difficult and lonely.
What we explore in the show is this shame around not knowing this huge aspect of yourself and that loneliness. It was really hard to connect with a community, our community focuses a lot around nightlife and sleeping with each other haha, that made it difficult to find people my age who I connected with.
How has life changed for you since realising and embracing your queerness?
My entire life has transformed because being a lesbian isn’t just about who you sleep with and who you love. It dictated and changed everything – the people I choose to hang out with, the places I go for a drink, the music, the fashion, the values. Things like thinking about starting a family, suddenly you have all these new challenges and logistics to think about. I started living again. I pressed restart, which has been both terrifying and liberating.
What does it mean to you to incorporate the coming out stories of lesbians from all over the country in the piece?
It felt so important that this show wasn’t just about me. Between scenes of me having my heartbroken, I want to weave the voice of someone who’s been with their wife since they were 16. I wanted that contrast so that audiences wouldn’t need to just look for their story in mine, but could hear many more versions represented. It also highlights how there isn’t one right way or time to come out. Everyone’s stories are unique and yet the feelings and experiences feel universal and deeply familiar. It’s been hughley refreshing to connect with lesbians of all ages and to know that at some point we all had to
come out and experience the same things – there’s a bond and intimacy in that. Those voices could’ve really changed my journey.
Why is it important to create this digital archive and document lesbian histories?
At a time where the label lesbian is being misappropriated and tainted by transphobes, we wanted to capture what voices in our community actually sounded like. I think right now, for people trying to find the label lesbian, that can be hard with such negative connotations. It will be great to document this moment in time with a positive snapshot of the community to combat some of those divisive rhetorics. And more queer voices in history are always important!
What would you say to people who are considering contributing their stories to 30 and Out?
If you can take the time, we’d love to hear from you. Every voice is important and we want this to truly represent the range of experience the lesbians have so everyone is welcome and celebrated. We want this to be multi-generational, rural to urban, expansive. If you feel you would have benefited from more lesbian voices in your journey, come contribute yours and join the conversation!
What is the main message you hope audiences come away from the show with?
Not everyone has had the happy Heartstopper-style experience in their coming out journey and that’s okay. There are a million ways to live a life and your job is to find your own blueprint – and it’s going to be messy, hilarious, embarrassing and you’ll probably feel like you’ve screwed it up a few times and that’s okay… That’s how you know you’re doing it right.
If you want to see the show, it is coming to Brighton, London and Manchester. You can also keep up to date with the project or join the interviews via Instagram or Twitter.
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