One For The Books: The Maupin Marathon
Thirty-three years ago a valiant troupe of British LGBT folk did a marathon public reading of the first 4 Tales novels at a queer pub in London called the Fallen Angel. The role of Connie Bradshaw was played by a feisty young woman who went on to become one of Britain’s most formidable activists.
Armistead Maupin, 2018
Written, filmed, edited, narrated, directed and produced by Rose Collis
In 1984, HM Customs raided the legendary Gay’s the Word bookshop & seized 2,000+ books. They included ‘Tales of the City’, Armistead Maupin’s trailblazing novels. The shop’s directors and managers were charged with importing ‘indecent or obscene material’ and faced up to two years in prison. £50,000 was needed to cover the legal costs to fight this absurd charges, which were rightly viewed as an attack on the whole gay community.
In April 1985, Peter Scott-Presland’s Consenting Adults In Public theatre group staged the ‘Maupin Marathon’ fundraiser: a 28-hour non-stop rehearsed reading of the first four ‘TOTC’ books, featuring many notable performers and activists, including Gay’s The Word co-manager, Linda Semple, Fi Craig and…Rose Collis.
After being turned down for funding by the BFI and Arts Council England (twice), fifty generous people contributed to a crowd-funder which raised almost £6,000 so this film could be made.
It was completed in late May 2023 and already has won four major global independent film awards, been a ‘Nominee’ for a fifth, a double festival ‘Semi-Finalist’ and been an ‘Official Selection’ in nine international film festivals.