June is Pride month, and to celebrate it we spoke to our tenant Raze Collective, a charity established to support, develop and nurture queer performance in the UK. Through their queer-led, artist and community driven programme, they curate innovative events and performance opportunities for queer creatives.
Raze Collective was founded in 2015 by a group of queer audience members, performers and people involved in running queer spaces. It was formed in response to the closure of many queer venues in London due to gentrification and buildings being sold off to become apartment blocks. At first, Raze worked on facilitating networks for performers, DJs and staff that used to work in these places, and gradually over the years started to run their own artist development projects funded by the Arts Council.
They are currently working on their development programme, Let Us Raze You, which was launched in April, where 5 artists during 3 months receive support from their team and take part into workshops such as writing for stage and marketing.
“We set artists up with industry mentors, often other performers who work in a similar way but are a few steps ahead of them, and they’ll be working towards creating a new piece of work which will be shown to an invite audience at Hackney Showroom, and a week later in a final showcase at The Glory.”, explains Lucy Hayhoe, Raze’s Operations Manager.
Raze also manage the Queer Arts Consortium, a model of shared organisational development. It’s a collaboration between them, Fringe! Queer Arts & Film Fest, The Cocoa Butter Club, Queer Youth Art Collective and PRIM.Black. It seeks to preserve, develop and embolden its partner organisations, where over two years everyone gets access for funding and training, developing courses and organisational infrastructure, so they can become established to go off on their own.
“Raze does two main things: support for artists, in professional development and performance, and working with other queer organisations to strengthen the queer arts community.”, says Lucy.
Besides that, they also run live events, the most recent having been the Queer Summer Fayre at Hackney Bridge, a Queer alternative celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee, with market stalls, workshops and cabaret performances.
Raze Collective is a registered charity. Their work is only possible through funding and donations. If you would like to support them and their community you can make either a one-off gift or monthly donation. You can find out more here. They are also interested in people coming to them with wonderful ideas and open to having conversations about different kinds of projects and events.
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