BRIT Trust Diaries: BRIT School graduate Abi Deane reflects on the impact of Pride

BRIT Trust Diaries: BRIT School graduate Abi Deane reflects on the impact of Pride

In this edition of the BRIT Trust Diaries, we hear from BRIT School graduate Abi Deane, who reflects on the importance of Pride Month at the school and how her identity as a queer woman was enriched being in an empowering environment, where queerness and diversity were embraced and supported…

I joined The BRIT School on the Applied Theatre Course and English Pathway in 2021 and graduated in 2023. I will look upon it fondly as a magical time, which not only set me on my creative journey and career path, but helped me to become the person I am today.  

Throughout my time there, I created, performed and focused my theatre-making to discuss a plethora of topics – a lot stemming from my own identity as a queer woman. I am now studying at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, continuing my work and striving to specialise in researching theatre-making in different spaces and for different communities, with Queerness being a focal point of my study.

As a young queer person, being a student in an environment that held events such as The Drag Show every year with students performing anything from original songs, choreography, art or cabaret style – covering every musical and pop culture – could not have been more empowering. 

Along with the other students, I was inspired by the annual Pride Assembly, which made a point of exploring and remembering LGBT+ history and honouring the importance of Pride as a protest movement, as well as celebration of how embedded Pride is at the heart of the curriculum and ethos of the school.

The sense of unity, love and acceptance during the parade was incredibly empowering

Abi Deane

The BRIT School have been marching in Pride in London since 2017 and I had the privilege of joining these joyful events twice during my time there – for me they remain treasured highlights of both years. I recall that the first year we marched in scorching heat, which caused inevitable sunburn because my overexcited Year 12 self was far more concerned with the rainbow glitter on my face than re-applying sun cream. By contrast, the second year was a day of pouring rain, causing the same glitter to nearly drip off my face. But it was just as memorable and life-affirming to me. 

Regardless of what the fickle British weather cast upon us, both years were united with a deep understanding of what Pride is all about: coming together – albeit it huddling under a shelter to protect our make-up only to have it sweat off as we danced altogether in the rain blasting Tina Turner. Or helping each other to restyle our hair under sun-hats and bandanas to shelter from the heat. Whatever was thrown at us, we still held our banners, danced until our legs ached and sang our voices dry. 

The sense of unity, love and acceptance during the parade was incredibly empowering. From the cheers in the crowd to the sea of flags waving in the air, it was a celebration of diversity, a stand for equality, and a reminder that love is love. Marching at Pride in London allowed me to be my authentic self, surrounded by supportive friends and allies. To have experienced it with the BRIT community will always hold a special place in my heart, reminding me of the importance of visibility, acceptance and love in our society.

I know there is a lot of love in the music and creative arts industries for the BRIT School and its amazing work to give free admission to thousands of students, who otherwise would not be able to discover and realise their creative potential.  

I know also that the school benefits from BRIT Trust funding and from the BRIT Awards to help make it the special place that it is, and for this my fellow alumni and I will always be grateful.

Pride in London takes place on June 29, 2024.  To learn more about the work of The BRIT School, see here


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