girl.boy.child at Smallhythe Place

David McAlmont in girl.boy.child at Smallhythe Place

Renowned singer songwriter David McAlmont delves into the closets of the UK’s historic houses to explore LGBTQ histories and their contemporary significance to create a new performance, girl.boy.child

Following a sell-out premier in London, girl.boy.child is coming to Smallhythe, home to Christopher St John whose life and writing was a major source of inspiration behind this unique performance.

Written and performed by historian and singer songwriter David McAlmont, girl.boy.child emerges from a two year collaboration with Richard Sandell, Professor of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, as part of a larger project exploring and revealing the numerous LGBTQ connections across the National Trust.

David McAlmont doing research for his performance at Smallhythe Place

The performance is the culmination of research during the National Trust’s 2017 national public programme, Prejudice and Pride, and will shine a light on many of the houses’ LGBTQ heritage.

Together McAlmont and Professor Sandell spent a year visiting Trust properties, meeting with experts, exploring the houses and researching the often lesser-known stories of same sex love and desire and gender diversity they hold.

McAlmont’s unique performance brings to life the extraordinary lives of William John Bankes (Kingston Lacy), Christopher St John (Smallhythe) and Henry Cyril Paget (Plas Newydd); queer pioneers who challenged conventions of sexuality and gender. Told through an emotionally-charged blend of song, image and historical narrative, girl.boy.child invites audiences to reflect on how and why LGBTQ lives have been variously hidden and revealed, suppressed and celebrated and the contemporary social and political significance of greater openness around LGBTQ histories.

David McAlmont on the stage of the Ellen Terry Barn Theatre at Smallhythe Place

The performance draws inspiration from research by the University of Leicester’s Research Centre for Museums and Galleries and visits made to a range of National Trust sites to draw on the stories they hold:

  • Plas Newydd in North Wales, home to the enigmatic Henry Paget, often referred to as the Dancing Marquess. 

  • Smallhythe in Kent, home to ‘Edy and the Boys’ where Edy Craig, Christopher St John and Tony Atwood shared highly creative and politically engaged lives in a lesbian ménage a trois

  • Kingston Lacy in Dorset, created by trabeller, collector and talented draughtsman, William John Bankes who fled England and went into exile in 1841 in 1841 after being caught with a soldier in 'an indecent act'.

This project has been commissioned by the National Trust with the University of Leicester's Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG).

Join us for this unique and historical performance on Saturday 18th August at 7.30pm, book your tickets here.