New Saddleworth Live show portrays colourful life of Quentin Crisp

By Sophie Doherty

ONE of this country’s most colourful and extraordinary characters of the 20th Century will be brought to life by an acclaimed one-man show in Saddleworth later this month.

Mark, centre, with Michael, left, and Tim

‘Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope’ is written by Mark Farrelly and is part of Saddleworth Live’s new season plays at Millgate Arts Centre on Saturday, September 15. 

The production, which originally debuted at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, arrives in Delph towards the end of a successful nationwide tour that began in Dublin last May.

Quentin, famed for his autobiography, the Naked Civil Servant, was an actor, wit and raconteur. 

Born Dennis Pratt on Christmas Day 1908, he was an artist’s model and rent boy during a colourful and controversial life.

The drama highlights Quentin’s life in two distinct phases: living in a squalid flat in Chelsea during the 1960s and then in New York at the latter end of his life in the 1990s.

The play further explores the discriminations lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities faced in the 20th century. 

“If you think you’re currently being brave in life, wait until you experience this man’s story”, said Mark.

During a lonely time in his life, he found a YouTube video of Quentin, discovering he felt the same, the difference was that he was able to be deeply wise and witty about it.

“So, I wrote the play to cheer myself up and inspire audiences,” said Mark. “He was gentle as a butterfly and hard as nails. 

Mark as Quentin Crisp

“The show is a joyous reminder to be the true you,” said Mark, a message he hopes to get across to audiences.

He also wants to show the deep relevance and urgency Quentin’s story has in 2018.  

“We seem to be less and less in contact with reality than ever,” he explained. “People rarely find time to stop and have meaningful conversations with themselves or their friends.

“One of the reasons the show has been so successful is because it speaks to people in a way that is desperately needed right now.”

Mark and Linda Marlowe, director of the play, are delighted the it is doing so well, but never take a single performance for granted. 

“It’s going to be very special to bring it to Saddleworth. Quentin died in Manchester back in 1999, on the eve of his nationwide tour of his one-man show.

“It’s also a fantastic venue with just the right kind of intimacy that Naked Hope requires.”

Tickets are available via www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/FHDJGM or at Delph Library. They are priced at £13 and £11 for students under 21.

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