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The Xtra Diary: Drag queens, club owners and developers are on the frontline as Battle of Soho movie is launched

Campaigner Michael Peacock and friends

Campaigner Michael Peacock and friends

The Curzon’s Ally Clow and performer TeTe Bang

The Curzon’s Ally Clow and performer TeTe Bang

Published: 6 January, 2017

AN array of colourful characters descended on the Curzon cinema for the launch of the highly anticipated Battle of Soho movie. 

The documentary, which features around 35 interviews with everyone from cabaret stars and drag queens, club owners to developers, captures the changing face of Soho and beyond, exploring the plight of its cultural venues and the communities that use them. 

Speaking at a Q & A session that followed the packed out screening just before Christmas, director Aro Korol said he hoped the film would “just motivate people to do something”.

Cabaret performer TeTe Bang, who featured in the film said: “It is really important that our voices are heard. 

“The great thing about Soho is that it has all these amazing theatrical characters and personalities to be able to tell a really captivating story. 

“I really hope it makes an impact. One thing that really bugs me at the moment is everybody sitting on their seats and saying ‘this is awful’, but no one is taking action.”

The film was shown to a sold-out screening at the Curzon in Soho, which itself features in the documentary, detailing the threat faced by the venue from Crossrail 2 which has earmarked the site for an entrance hall. 

Ally Clow, the area manager for Curzon cinemas, said: “The film did a really good job of telling the story of where Soho is at the moment. 

“The characters of Soho and the different types of activities that everyone in Soho can do… they need to be protected and saved.” 

Mr Clow added that while some venues do reopen after development, they often change beyond recognition. 

“Sometimes when things come back, they are not the same,” he said.  

“I am really glad that Madame Jojos is coming back. But in what guise?”

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said during the Q & A session in mid-December: “While the film is primarily about Soho it is replicating what is happening all over London.”

 

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