Noel Greig on joining the company

‘Sweatshop started just about the time as we [The General Will] did All Het Up. … They brought Mister X up around about the time we’d just done All Het Up and everyone in Bradford was ‘hmm’. They brought Mister X up, Jill Posener came up with them, and they were performing it at the University. I think we couldn’t go to it because we were doing something of our own in the town, and then Fay Williams phoning me up and saying, ‘Oh Gay Sweatshop are coming up. Can you make sure you bring all the GLF [Gay Liberation Front] people to it?’

‘Oh, OK fine.’

‘And can you get them accommodation. Can they stay with you?’

‘Yeah alright, fine.’

And it was sort of like, because Gay Sweatshop were this professional group and we were this rabble that somehow their only interest in us was because they were going to be, this was our perception of it – not necessarily reality. That their only interest in us was to get an audience and to find places for them to stay, and they didn’t seem very interested in what we were doing. I can’t remember. There was some sort of antagonism, probably a lot of it very unfounded. But anyway, we took them all out to the local shebeen in Manningham that’s where we all used to go to, which wasn’t a Gay club but it was a shebeen where we were all very welcome and had a good time. But we were horrible to them, because I think we thought we were the bees knees. ‘Who are these people who?… We do community theatre and this is working class.’ Well not necessarily me, I didn’t go as working-class any longer, but I think we were horrible to them. … ‘We are more oppressed than you! Coming up from London being all professional. We know what it’s like!’ (laughs) I just remember Jill Posener in this shebeen, great place, fantastic place, ya know with water dripping down the walls. Jill Posener being surrounded by all these terrifying Bradford lesbians shouting at her. It was all vital, it was so vital, it was so important.

The awful thing is, while they were at the Almost Free, when I’d gone on strike [when performing with The General Will], and had all that – was on the front page of the Gay News, they wrote me this lovely letter going, ‘Noel we are full of support for you. If we can do anything for you…’ and they’d been lovely to me, and then they came up to Bradford and we shouted at them. And Jill Posener went back to London going, ‘If that Noel Greig comes anywhere near London and wants anything to do with Gay Sweatshop ,don’t have anything to do with him.’ Which was the next thing I did.
Then Drew rang me up from Gay Sweatshop, because actually Drew had seen All Het Up and he thought it was fantastic and even though we shouted at them he still thought I was an interesting person and actually if I was around in London that Gay Sweatshop might be interested in talking to me.’ (Taken from interview with Noel Greig, 2008)

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