Daring to be different may well be considered acceptable in modern times but spare a thought for Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park, two cross dressers in Victorian England.
Showy and theatrical on and off the stage, which they so loved, Fanny and Stella were arrested at The Strand Theatre in 1870. They appeared in court next morning still in their evening gowns, and the trial for homosexual offences of this judge’s son and a bank clerk was the sensation of the age, especially when Boulton’s respectable and accepting mother, Mary Ann, took the stand. Their ultimate acquittal is all the more fascinating when compared to Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment less than 30 years later.
Fanny and Stella: The Shocking True Story makes it’s debut at the Above The Stage Theatre, London’s only full time professional LGBT theatre on 13 May running until June 14,2015.
This new play with original music has been created by writer Glenn Chandler (Taggart), composer Charles Miller (When Midnight Strikes), and West End director Steven Dexter (Loserville, Olivier award winning Honk!) with the support of choreographer Carole Todd and designer David Shields. Glenn Chandler’s other work includes the award-winning The Custard Boys, Cleveland Street – The Musical, and last year the acclaimed Sandel, a hit at Above The Stag Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe.