Category Archives: Aberration

Queer-themed events for all at Aberystwyth Arts Centre

Write It Out: creative writing workshops


Creative Writing Workshops

Have you got a story to tell from your own life or your wild imagination?
Do you want to find out more about writing, or take your writing in new directions? 

Helen Sandler is leading a series of creative writing workshops (in English) for LGBTQI+ adults, in Aberystwyth.

  • Starts Tues 20 March 6.30-8.30pm
  • Six workshops (20/3, 27/3, 10/4, 17/4, 24/4, and 1/5 or 8/5 to be confirmed)
  • For lesbian, gay, bi, queer, trans, non-binary, genderqueer and intersex people
  • Enjoyable and supportive atmosphere
  • A chance to write both poetry and short stories
  • Showcase reading on 17 May for IDAHOBIT Day
  • Suitable for beginners and more experienced writers
  • Age 18+
  • Only £15 for the whole course (or let us know if you can’t afford this).

Aberystwyth University have kindly offered a room on campus for the sessions. The course is run with funding from Literature Wales.

Email Helen to sign up:

Helen Sandler is a writer and editor based near Machynlleth. She has published two novels and various edited anthologies. Helen is the host and co-programmer of Aberration, the LGBT+ arts night in Aberystwyth.  She has run writing courses in Liverpool and London and looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm with a new group closer to home.

Comments from participants in Helen’s last project:
‘The whole course was transfantastic!’
‘I’m pleased about feeling accepted and making friends’
‘I found the feedback useful and inspiring’
‘It was an amazing course which has really helped my writing skills, improving my confidence’
‘I am pleased that with the group’s support, I will be able to read to an audience.’

Note: For those further south, a similar course is available in Carmarthen with another tutor, Karen Brewer. We hope to publish a joint pamphlet from the two projects and bring the two groups together at the showcase reading.

Aberration: Forbidden Lives {Eng}



23 February 2018,  7.45pm in the Studio at Aberystwyth Arts Centre
A special evening marking LGBT History Month UK
Booking: Tickets from Aberystwyth Arts Centre>>

Join us for an evening of short talks and performances about the hidden histories of LGBT people in Wales (and a corner or two of England).

Mike Parker will give us a sneak preview of a work in progress: ‘On the Red Hill’. A celebratory study of the ‘queer rural’ through the true tale of a gay couple, together since 1949, who moved from Bournemouth to mid Wales in 1972.  To be published in May 2019 by William Heinemann.

Members of Glitter Cymru, Cardiff’s BAME LGBT social group, will talk about their fabulous short film, made with Iris Outreach. Glitter follows the struggles of a gay asylum-seeker, a non-binary person and a pansexual woman to live their full glittery lives.

This is also a chance to talk about the film that Aberration will be making with Iris.

This will be the Mid Wales launch of historian Norena Shopland’s new book, Forbidden Lives (Seren, £12.99). This is a fascinating and thoroughly researched collection of true stories about the people who came before us in LGBT Wales. Norena will tell us how she decided who to include in the book as well as discussing the difficulties she faced with this groundbreaking project.

We are also holding a Book Club with Enfys Aber at 6pm on 12 Feb to discuss this very book, in Aberystwyth Arts Centre bookshop!

‘An Extraordinary Female Affection’ – The Life and Love of the Ladies of Llangollen: Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler were two upper-class Irish women who eloped to Wales. But was this an 18th-century romantic friendship, or a prototype lesbian marriage? A lively re-imagining by Jane Hoy and Helen Sandler, in beaver hats.

Tom Marshman returns to Aberration to test out a new piece of theatre in development. The Geoffrey Train explores a chain of criminal cases in Somerset in the 1950s which began with a ‘pretty policeman’ and a young man on a train.

Sponsors: Generously supported by Over the Rainbow vegetarian country retreat and Aberystwyth University.

This fabulous event full of new work is going to sell out well before the night so book now to avoid disappointment. See below.  



Booking: Tickets from Aberystwyth Arts Centre>>

Online updates: Facebook event here>>

Aberration groupies should also join our Facebook group>>
You will get all the latest news as it happens. If we don’t know you, Facebook will ask you a couple of questions before admitting you to the throng. Just checking you’re not a troll – but of course I know you’re not, darling.

More events throughout February: LGBT History Month in Aberystwyth>>

Subscribe to our Aberration mailing list


Aberration: Make a Film with Iris


{Fersiwn Cymraeg>>}

Calling all budding actors, directors, camera people, script writers, sound technicians and anyone who would like to raise awareness of issues faced by LGBT people.

Aberration is really excited to have been selected as one of the groups to work with the experienced team from Iris in the Community and make a short film featuring supporters of Aberration. If you’ve not heard of the project before, Iris in the Community is Big Lottery Funded to work with communities across Wales to raise awareness of issues faced by LGBT people and to enable people to develop skills in the media industry.

Iris in the Community is an exciting and fun opportunity to make our own short film featuring supporters of Aberration as they’ve never been seen before. The Iris Team will also work with you to select films from the Iris Prize festival archive and deliver our own film festival (including the premiere of our film) to fellow Aberration supporters, guests and friends of our choosing!

As we are launching this project in LGBT History Month the working title will be Making Our Own History. Other ideas welcome.

If you would like to be involved you must be available for the whole of both the following dates. It is not possible to be partially involved as we are working in a team and everyone is important.

Venue: University of Aberystwyth
Sunday 25 February 10-4pm
Saturday 24 March all day but hours to be decided.
Tea and coffee available. Bring your own lunch.

Our first meeting with the Iris Team on Sunday 25 February will be to come up with a concept for our film and we are looking for all you creative types to come along and chip in with your thoughts and help us write the storyline. This will take around 5-6 hours but there’ll be a break for lunch. On Saturday 24 March we’ll then move on to film the concept.

If you are also interested in getting involved in planning our own Aberration mini-Iris Prize festival and selecting from the Iris Prize archive, then you should come along to our programming meeting on the evening of Wednesday 18 April. The provisional date for the mini film festival is the evening of Friday 18 May.

Please contact Jane Hoy as soon as possible to book your place or to find out more details. janehoy99[at]

LGBT History Month calendar


Calendar for Aberystwyth

12th Feb LGBT History Month Bookclub in Aberystwyth Arts Centre Bookshop.
Discussing Norena Shopland’s new book about LGBT Wales:
{Organised by Enfys Aber & Aberration}

19th, 20th and 21st Feb Call Me By Your Name: beautiful and moving film at Aberystwyth Arts Centre Cinema:
Facebook event page:
{Aberystwyth Arts Centre in collaboration with Enfys Aber}

23rd Feb Aberration Presents Forbidden Lives for LGBT History Month in Aberystwyth Arts Centre Studio. Named after Norena’s book (see bookclub above) because she will be part of the lineup! Also appearing with talks, readings, film and performances are: Tom Marshman, Mike Parker, Glitter Cymru, Jane Hoy & Helen Sandler. Full listing here.
This event is likely to sell out so Book your tickets here>>
Facebook event here:

25th Feb Aberration and Iris in the Community: starting to make a film – Visualisation Centre, Aber Uni.
Find out more and sign up:
Facebook page:

Cabarration bach

Aberration presents ‘Cabarration bach’ – a gorgeous little cabaret in the Studio at Aberystwyth Arts Centre

17 November 2017, Onstage 7.45pm
£10/ £8
, Age guidance 16+


Jonathan Mayor at Cabarration 2016 (by Jess Rose)


Starring Jonathan Mayor (above), genius comedian back by popular demand. Laugh till you fall off your chair, then laugh on the floor, then someone will take an embarrassing photo of you and use it as publicity for future events.
“Marvellously wicked” – Sarah Millican

CN Lester, wonderful singer-songwriter with lush, lyrical songs for voice and piano. Author of ‘Trans Like Me’ (Photo above by Dafydd Owen).
“The music was faultless. Mesmerising, beautiful, emotional and raw” – DIVA

Pi the Mime, skilfully weaving the traditions of mime, burlesque and drag (Photo below by Eddie Adams).

Sarah McCreadie (below), superb spoken-word artist from Cardiff, where she is a host on the youth-led Radio Platfform. Also heard on 1Xtra and seen at this summer’s festivals, Sarah writes about “every goddamn thing a girl could want”, according to Milk Poetry.

And Cardiff Trans Singers – fab new community choir performing upbeat songs with all the camp fun we love at Aberration.

Hosted by Helen Sandler. You know what she’s like.

All welcome. Croeso i bawb. Dress to impress!

Bring some change for the charity raffle with amazing prizes from local businesses.

Thanks to our sponsors

This event is generously supported by Aberystwyth University Centre for Widening Participation, Equality and Social Inclusion (CWPESI); and Over the Rainbow Vegetarian Country Retreat.

More events

We and our friends have more great events for you this season!














The Handmaiden Screening Aberystwyth

Special Screening of new film The Handmaiden, with book discussion and post-film Q&A

Handmaiden poster

Aberystwyth Arts Centre cinema 20 June 2017

5.30pm Book Club: discuss Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. Led by Jane Hoy. In Aberystwyth Arts Centre bookshop, with a glass of wine or fruit juice. Try to read the book beforehand and bookmark your favourite bit.

7pm movie: The Handmaiden film: “Park Chan-wook’s adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, relocated to 1930s Korea, is an erotic triumph – with a whiplash twist” – Guardian. Book through the Arts Centre as usual.

Q&A at end of film with our resident experts Tasha Alden and Stephanie Jones. Chaired by Helen Sandler.

This a public event with Aberration magic sprinkled all over it!



To book your tickets, click here and then click on ‘book here’ at the top of the description.







Aberration Blast from the Past

Aberration presents

Blast from the Past

7.45pm Friday 3 March 2017, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, £7.50

Devils in Human Shape by Tom Marshman
Devils in Human Shape by Tom Marshman (pic: Vonalina Cake)

A fabulous evening about lesbian, gay, bi and trans lives, for LGBT History Month. With live music, theatre, talks, discussion and charity raffle…

‘The Devils in Human Shape’ – veiled gossips whisper about unspeakable sins in Tom Marshman’s theatrical interpretation of 18th century sodomy cases.
Ciaran O’Driscoll, as seen on The Voice, sings his way through queer musical history from Broadway to Bronski Beat.

Norena Shopland talks about the holes left in women’s history when sexual orientation and gender identity are overlooked.
Book launch & poetry recital from Archibald Tactful (Rachael Clerke): proto-God, cement-lover, experimental dancer.
Amy Daniel and Harry Heuser on the extraordinary eccentric collector, George Powell of Nanteos.
Charity raffle with prizes generously donated by Sophies, Rummers and the Arts Centre.
With your host for the evening, Helen Sandler.

Diolch yn fawr / big thanks for financial support to: Aberystwyth University; Over the Rainbow vegetarian guesthouse.

Croeso i bawb / all welcome. Aberration is organised by SpringOut and Enfys Aber in partnership with Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

Book your tickets now from Aberystwyth Arts Centre>>









Cabarration 2016



8pm 21 October 2016 (doors 7.30pm)
Aberystwyth Arts Centre – Great Hall
A cabaret night with a very queer bite!

Book tickets here>>



Jonathan Mayor

jonathanmayorgoldJonathan Mayor will be entertaining us with his cutting comedy – dressed up in glitter-storm Bollywood drag and delivered with twinkly chutzpah. Coming all the way from Gaychester just to entertain you.

‘A self-obsessed glittery queen with a larger than life personality who arrives onstage in a bamboozling mix of innuendo’ – Manchester Evening News
‘Very funny’ – Michael Palin
‘Marvellously wicked’ – Sarah Millican
Twitter: @jonathanmayor

Lynette Frances

lynettefranceswebLynette Frances is a hit wherever she plays, from L Fest to an intimate bar, combining an amazing voice with a love of entertaining. She will play a range of rock and country covers to get us in the Friday night vibe. Later in the evening, Lynette will be teaching us all a line-dance so get your dancing shoes on!

Lynette lives on the south coast of England and has been performing since the age of 12. She runs the Way Out Country Facebook group for LGBT lovers of country music and line-dancing.
Twitter: @LynetteFrances

Ashleigh Owen

ashleighturnAshleigh Owen will be performing an extract from her one-woman show, ‘The Rise and Fall Of The Hamburger Queen’, which can be seen in full at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool, as part of Homotopia.

Ashleigh’s mum wouldn’t let her dance, because dancing killed her dad. ‘He went down into the splits and never got up again.’ She danced in secret until the day came to break the news to her mother: she was leaving for London to become a famous dancer. Bright lights, big city, wide-eyed Scouser… what could possibly go wrong?
Twitter: @AshleighPOwen

Sparkles Hoop Troupe

sparkles2Hula-hoop dancing from Cardiff’s amazing Sparkles Hoop Troupe. This community troupe is fully inclusive and hooping crazy.

‘The funniest, finest and most dynamic act in Cardiff!’ – We Are Cardiff Press
Twitter: @sparkleshoop

Ernie Sparkles

sparkles7Fun ‘boylesque’ (male burlesque) from Ernie Sparkles. Cheeky in every way!

Bois y Fro

boisAberystwyth’s own vocal quartet, Bois y Fro, have been singing together off-and-on for 10 years and more. With a repertoire ranging from folk to classical to modern (and a lot of things in between) in both Welsh and English, there’s sure to be something for everyone when these guys take the stage.

Twitter: @boisyfro


Hosted by Aberration favourite Helen Sandler, with raffle and bar. The evening has an LGBTQI+ theme (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, intersex, and all-round inclusive). All open-minded people are welcome at this fun and friendly night. “You don’t have to be queer to be here.” Dress to impress!

Subscribe to our Aberration mailing list

Join our event on Facebook for updates>>

Book your tickets now through Aberystwyth Arts Centre>>

Aberration is brought to you by SpringOut and Enfys Aber, in partnership with Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Without the financial and practical support of the Arts Centre, this year's Cabarration could not take place (or not unless we charged three times as much for the tickets) so please come along, show your support for the biggest queer-themed night in Mid Wales and have a fabulous night. Diolch yn fawr!

















Aberration: Out for Summer




A hot night of Aberration music, theatre and spoken word with Tom Marshman, Kedma, Mike Parker, Helen Sandler and new acts! Champagne auction for Ugandan safe house for LGBT people. Event in English. Tickets on sale now at £7.50 from Aberystwyth Arts Centre.



{scroll down for English}

Bydd Tom Marshman yn cyflwyno detholiad o ei sioe newydd, Kings Cross Remix, fel gwaith ar y gweill. Gwau at ei gilydd o straeon y bobl a brofodd yn llaw gyntaf, mae sioe ‘un dyn’ Tom yn dathlu lleisiau aflafar o Lundain y 1980au.

Mae Tom yn artist perfformiad sy’n trawsnewid cyfrifon bob dydd i mewn i theatr. Mae gwaith blaenorol yn cynnwys ‘Move Over Darling’.

“Un o’r pethau mwyaf cyffrous am waith Marshman yw ei allu i ddewis pwnc sy’n ymddangos yn fach ac edrychwch drwy’r haenau i ddatgelu rhywbeth annisgwyl a dwys” – Big Issue

GWEITHDY Bydd Tom hefyd yn cynnal gweithdy cyn Aberration, am addasu cyfweliadau am sgript. Yn addas ar gyfer pawb, os ydych yn gwybod am theatr neu beidio. Chi jyst angen i fod hyd am gymryd rhan! Manylion.

KedmaMae Kedma yn leisydd proffesiynol o Aberystwyth sydd wedi graddio yn ddiweddar gyda Gradd Dosbarth Cyntaf Anrhydedd o Sefydliad Cerddoriaeth Fodern Prydain ac Iwerddon (BIMM) sy’n cael ei ystyried yn eang fel ysgol flaenllaw Ewrop ar gyfer cerddoriaeth gyfoes.

Mae hi bellach yn gweithio fel cerddor sesiwn gigio yn helaeth fel prif leisydd a chefnogaeth ar gyfer lleoliadau o fri, teledu, radio, llong fordaith ayyb. Yn fwyaf diweddar bu’n perfformio fel egwyddor ganwr yn ‘The Ballroom Bloomsbury’ ar gyfer lansiad y sioe arobryn “London Never Dies”ar gyfer y Clwb Cabaret Llundain. Yn lleol, efallai y byddwch yn adnabod hi o berfformiadau gyda “Elinor Powell’s Sgarmes”.

Mae ei llais yn gyfoethog ac yn llawn enaid ac mae ei pherfformiadau yn gwbl hudolus.


Mike Parker yn sôn am ei lyfr newydd, The Greasy Poll (Y Lolfa, Mai) –  y dyddiadur am ei ymgyrch rhwystro i gael ei ethol yn Aelod Seneddol dros Geredigion.

Fel Sais hoyw, nid oedd llenor Mike Parker y dewis amlwg fel ymgeisydd Plaid Cymru yn eu sedd targed o Geredigion yn yr etholiad cyffredinol 2015. Diolch i’r afluniadau gwarthus y wasg, daeth yr ymgyrch yn frwnt  fel un o’r gwaethaf yn hanes yr ardal; gan alw ar hiliaeth, homoffobia, creu Stormydd ar Twitter a chyfraniad gan yr heddlu. The Greasy Poll ydi dyddiadur “ddoniol, cyffrous a brawychus” (Patrick McGuiness) Mike o’r ymgyrch a’i gwersi ehangach ar sut mae ein system wleidyddol yn ein methu. Byddwch un o’r rhai cyntaf i glywed Mike yn darllen o gofiant doniol a ddeifiol.


Nid yw Helen Sandler yn un o’r tîm Aberration yn unig, mae hi hefyd yn awdur. Bydd Helen yn darllen i ni oddi wrth ei nofel nwydus newydd, ‘The Wishmistress’, am ddwy fenyw yn ceisio peidio â chael affêr.

HEFYD Ocsiwn Bwced Siampaen ar gyfer y tŷ diogel a gefnogwn yn Uganda ar gyfer pobl LHDT. Mae Bar Rummers wedi rhoddwyd yn garedig i ni magnwm o Siampaen. Byddwn yn arwerthu i ffwrdd mewn ffordd arbennig – cael gwybod mwy ar y noson a dod â rhywfaint o arian parod!

Ar ôl y digwyddiad aros i sipian coctels gyda’r artistiaid yn y bar Canolfan y Celfyddydau ac ar y teras.




Tom Marshman will present an extract from his new show, Kings Cross Remix, as a work in progress. Woven together from the stories of the people who experienced it first hand, Tom’s one-man show celebrates the raucous voices of 1980s London.

TomMarshmanWebXTom is a performance artist who transforms everyday accounts into theatre. Previous work includes the acclaimed Move Over Darling.

“One of the most exciting things about Marshman’s work is his ability to pick a seemingly small subject and peel back the layers to expose something unexpectedly profound” – Big Issue

WORKSHOP Tom will also run a workshop before Aberration, about turning interviews into a script. Suitable for everyone, whether you know about theatre or not. You just need to be up for taking part! Details.

Mike Parker will read from and talk about his new book, The Greasy Poll (Y Lolfa, May) – the diary of his thwarted campaign to be elected as MP for Ceredigion last year.

As a gay Englishman and a writer, Mike was not the obvious choice for Plaid Cymru candidate. Thanks to the outrageous distortions of the press, the campaign became the filthiest in the area’s history, invoking racism, homophobia, Twitterstorms and police involvement.

GreasyPollWebThe Greasy Poll is Mike’s “funny, thrilling and terrifying” (Patrick McGuiness) diary of the campaign, and its wider lessons on how our political system is failing us. Be one of the first to hear Mike read from this hard-hitting and humorous memoir.

Kedma is a professional vocalist from Aberystwyth who has recently graduated with a First Class Honours Degree from The British & Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) which is widely regarded as Europe’s leading school for contemporary music.

She now works as a session musician gigging extensively as a lead and backing vocalist for prestigious venues, TV, radio, cruise ship etc. Most recently she performed as a principal vocalist at The Bloomsbury Ballroom for the launch of the award-winning show London Never Dies for The London Cabaret Club. Locally, you may recognise her from performances with Elinor Powell’s Sgarmes.

Her voice is rich and soulful and her performances are completely captivating.

Helen Sandler is not just one of the Aberration team, she’s also a writer. Helen will be reading to us from her sultry new novel, The Wishmistress, about two women trying not to have an affair.

PLUS Champagne Bucket Auction for the safe house we support in Uganda for LGBT people. Rummers Bar have kindly donated a magnum of champagne. We will be auctioning it off in a special way – find out more on the night and bring some cash!

After the event please stay to sip cocktails with the artists in the Arts Centre bar and on the terrace.


Aberration, 1st feb Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Photo by Daryl Ras Gdalya Jemmott

Aberration workshop: Turned Tales

Aberration workshop

Turned Tales – Creating a script from interviews

A special workshop on the magic of turning interviews into scripts, arranged by Aberration

5.30 to 7pm Friday 27 May. Meet at 5.15pm at Aberystwyth Arts Centre box office to go to the room (Creative Unit 5 & 6). £5, book in advance, limited to 15 places


Tom Marshman is a performance artist who transforms everyday accounts into theatre. For his Kings Cross (Remix) theatre project about 1980s gay London (pictured), Tom went through a process of having group chats over tea, then more intimate one-on-one interviews, which were recorded and transcribed before being worked into a script.

In this workshop, Tom will give an insight into his process, share tips, and talk about the issues of working with other people’s stories. He hopes to inspire people to start to collect stories and see that everyone has a fascinating tale to tell, even if they don’t know it yet.

Workshop tickets £5 from Aberystwyth Arts Centre box office.

After the workshop, Tom will be performing an extract from Kings Cross (Remix) at Aberration: Out for Summer – an evening of theatre, spoken word and music with an LGBT theme.