Hello, my name is Sarah Li, I am an artist working on a project called ‘Opening the Closet Doors’ in the Darlington Hippodrome - exploring the archives for LGBTQ+ stories, inspirations and potentially gaps to make artworks with local LGBTQ+ people. Please click here to read the previous blog post for a brief overview of the project.

I am really excited to introduce to you all, the amazing LGBTQ+ people who have been involved in this project! 

They have been creating all kinds of different responses to the things that we found interesting in the archive to go into our final film which will be shown on 11th August 7:30pm at the Darlington Hippodrome as part of Pride celebrations. Purchase your tickets here

Mike is a non binary, northern based concept artist that excels in creating impressive artwork of buildings, creatures and characters. 

Basil is a trans man who grew up in Darlington. He draws informational, fun illustrations that bring the fantastical to life, typically animals and dinosaurs but ranging toward the spooky as well. 

Sofia Barton is a Punjabi artist from the North East who is inspired by nature and heritage. A lot of her work comprises of Indian matchboxes stemming from a collection her grandfather left her. Sofia is fascinated by vintage objects, often redesigning them to contemporary culture. 

Lizzie Lovejoy is a story-telling artist based in the North East of England. Using a mix of illustration and written works, Lovejoy explores the heart and soul of this region, observing, writing and visually interpreting our stories and histories. Born in Darlington, Lovejoy has dedicated their life to celebrating and exploring the culture and heritage of our local area. From spoken word performances at festivals and rural venues, to visual art exhibitions in Northern spaces, Lovejoy creates work for and inspired by the people they surround themselves with, as well as their own personal experiences.

Luke Myer is a local councillor in Redcar & Cleveland and founder of LGBTees, a Teesside LGBT+ support group with over three hundred members. He has been a long-time campaigner on LGBT+ issues, including protesting for equal marriage in Northern Ireland and winning a national campaigning award in 2019 for work to support transgender young people. 

Rosa Walling-Wefelmeyer is a mixed media artist, writer, performer and researcher. Some of their previous and ongoing projects can be found at instagram.com/queerdeathsociety, instragram.com/williamnoblesdrag and also rosawallingwefelmeyer.wordpress.com

Beki Eaton and Cat Hurst-McGahey from LGBT+ NSG as well as being partners on the project have also made some wonderful visual scores to be interpreted for the musical score of the film. 

Edwin Li and Stella Dixon are part of the crew for this film! Edwin will be primarily focusing on creating the score for the film while Stella will be focusing primarily on the cinematography. 

Edwin Li is a musician and artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is a member of the theatrical drumming group Spark! He has created various music/art installations and films and his work ‘Ed’s Spiral Piece’ is included in the Arts Council collection. You may recognise him with his massive cardboard Darth Vader mask on as he has become a local celebrity in the busking scene.


Stella Dixon is a documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on the creative retellings of social contemporary narratives. Graduating from Newcastle University in Fine Art, Stella has since trained in Documentary Filmmaking with OTOXO Productions in Barcelona, Spain. She has since been based in Newcastle working as a freelance filmmaker having been commissioned by the New Creatives North to make the short film ‘Born to Flex’ which is now showing as part of ‘Female Filmmakers: BBC Introducing Arts’ on BBC iPlayer.

We are excited to be celebrating pride with you all with a creative look into our past as LGBTQ+ people.

This project is supported by Arts Council England, Darlington Hippodrome, Creative Darlington, LGBT+ NSG, County Durham Community Foundation (The Dover Art Prize), SAN North East and Rianne Pictures. Thank you to Helix Arts who supported the project throughout the R&D stages of the project.