Masquerade: Iconic Liverpool LGBTQ+ club brought to life in new play

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A powerful and poignant tale of love, loss, freedom and friendship among Liverpool’s LGBTQ+ community.

Masquerade – a play telling a powerful and emotional tale set in an iconic Liverpool gay club in the 1980s – is coming to the city’s Epstein Theatre this Autumn. The play tells a fictional story based around the now demolished iconic Cases Street venue, with Liverpool’s queer history at its heart.

Jamie Peacock returns to the role of Mike after playing him in the original production of the play, which was staged at the Royal Court Studio in 201. He said,: “It’s about self-acceptance and trusting and loving your true self. I think older audiences, especially who lived through that time and actually went to the Masquerade club, it’s going to be a nice trip down memory lane for them for the happy memories.

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“But obviously, as we all know, it was the best of times, but it was also the worst of times. People did go through hardships. Mike’s character, that’s his journey, he is gay from the offset he knows that, but the whole point of the play is he’s trying to find himself and be comfortable in his true self.”

Famous faces at Masquerade

Affectionately known as The Mazzie, the club was frequented at the time by famous faces, including Holly Johnson, Paul O’Grady, Paul Rutherford, and Margi Clarke. The Mazzie became a safe haven in a political and cultural period where being gay was demonised. It offered many gay people an alternative family who provided them with the love and care that was ripped away from their relatives.

Phil Hunter Jones was such a fan of the original bar he bought the rights to the name, reviving Masquerade on Cumberland Street. Before his death in 2018, he ran the venue for more than 20 years with his partner Jeff Drury. Now longtime friend, John and Jeff’s nephew Ian, runs the bar.

A safe environment

Manager of Masquerade Bar Gethin Mullock said: “When it was moved from Cases Street to here originally, they just wanted to create a safe environment, a fun place where anyone can come to. It’s still the values that we hold today as a bar almost 30 years later.”

Masquerade will run from Tuesday, November 22, until Saturday, November 26.

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