Everybody’s Talking about Jamie and Schools

The West End smash hit musical, Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, has south London’s Noah Thomas in the lead role as Jamie New at the Apollo Theatre.

Cllrs Alan Hall and Sue Hordijenko with Noah Thomas

“Noah is making his professional debut in one of the biggest and most demanding roles in musical theatre: It needs a really good actor who can also sing and dance to the highest level. We never imagined we would be casting a 20-year-old drama school student at the start of his career. Noah is going to be a fantastic Jamie and the possibilities for his future are boundless.” – Producer, Nica Burns in the Musical Theatre Review

Cllr Sue Hordijenko said: “I have known Noah since he was born and I am really proud he is playing Jamie – I know that Noah fully endorses and supports LGBTQ+ History Month.”

Here’s a taster with the official trailer:

The Official Trailer with South London’s Noah Thomas in the lead as Jamie New

This show bursts with energy. The cast sing, dance, act and wow the audience with their performance of what is a fantastically written score and play.

The story centres around Jamie New. A gay 16 year old pupil in a Sheffield School and his realisation that he wants to be a drag queen. The comedy and highlights are tempered by the bullying and homophobic attitudes that the young Jamie faces. Always with determination and humour.

This story is based on the real life experiences of Jamie Campbell from County Durham. A BBC documentary Jamie – Drag Queen at 16 reveals he wanted to go to the school prom in a dress. Refused entry by the teacher the other pupils stand with Jamie refusing to go unless Jamie can too.

Interestingly, the fact a documentary was being made speaks volumes about today’s attitudes of coming out in schools: Bullying and intimidation started in primary school and got worse at secondary school.

In an article Jamie Campbell says:

“We started brainstorming about my safety and that’s when we got the film crew involved who produced the documentary. We wanted to take precautions to minimise any trouble and we thought if a film crew was there, no one would beat me up in front of a camera.”

Jamie Campbell tells his story

Perhaps, this is the reason why LGBTQ+ History Month is so important. Equality is only achieved by standing up and being counted as Jamie does and did. The Schools Out UK campaign says:

Our over-arching aim is to make our schools safe and inclusive for everyone. To do this we need:

  1. To provide both a formal and informal support network for all people who want to raise the issue of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and heterosexism in education.
  2. To campaign on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues as they affect education and those in education.
  3. To research, debate and stimulate curriculum development on LGBT issues.
  4. To work towards unison between teacher and lecturer unions and other professional stakeholders in education
  5. To promote equality, safety and visibility in education for LGBT people and all the protected characteristics.”

Cllr Alan Hall said: “The need for proper education has been made for generations. Clause 28 left a scar in schools. In the Labour Party, LGBT+ Labour campaign for better Relationship and Sex Education in schools. As a member of their National Committee who successfully affiliated to the Labour Party in the late 90s, I know how important this is. Their excellent Councillors’ Toolkit is here.

Clause 28 became Section 28 once it became law. Protests continued and this led to the founding of Stonewall. An interesting reflection was published in The Guardian. Remember it was only repealed in 2003.

“The shadow of Section 28 is very long,” explains Sue Sanders in Pink News. “It is extraordinary to think that it has been dead for [over] 15 years.”

“You can go into schools now and there will be teachers who are still afraid to talk about lesbian and gay issues. Their assumption that it’s not appropriate, that it’s not acceptable, that it’s not legal, is still there.”

“A broad programme of RSE prepares children and young people for the realities of the modern world, and is vital for keeping children and young people safe.It provides them with the knowledge and skills to develop healthy and fulfilling relationships.” – LGBT+ Labour, Inclusive Education for All.

Education comes in many forms and going to the theatre and enjoying a terrific uplifting musical is one of the best ways.

More on LGBTQ+ History Month in Lewisham here

Tickets for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie can be ordered here

Professor Sue Sanders recommends the school resources below:

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