5 Ways Uppity Theatre Company Has Been A Champion For The St. Louis LGBTQ Community

By Mackenzie Taylor
In Culture
Photo of Joan Lipkin by Matt Kyle.

Photo of Joan Lipkin by Matt Kyle.

Tomorrow night, Saturday, June 27, at Bud Light Presents ULTRA, ALIVE celebrates three outstanding individuals with the first-ever Bud Light ULTRA Pride Awards. Given for personal and professional achievement in the LBGTQ community, our honorees will be recognized in an awards ceremony at 8:15pm before ULTRA’s infamous dance party kicks into high gear.

One of our distinguished ULTRA Pride Award winners is Joan Lipkin of That Uppity Theatre Company. Lipkin and Uppity are celebrating marriage equality big time today; for more than 25 years, they have been pioneers in the struggle for LGBT equality, beginning with the groundbreaking success of “Some of My Best Friends Are…,” the first piece of LGBT theater produced in Missouri.

In 1989, Lipkin founded That Uppity Theatre Company and over the years has helped lay the groundwork for the LGBTQ community as a playwright, producer, educator, director and social activist. Lipkin and Uppity have done so much to elevate the St. Louis LGBTQ Community and below are just a few reasons you should join us in honoring Lipkin and Uppity tomorrow evening at ULTRA.

1/ “Some of My Best Friends Are…”
The year That Uppity Theatre Company was established, Lipkin wrote “Some of My Best Friends Are…”—the very first piece of gay and lesbian theater in Missouri. While it was denied coverage by media outlets initially, it ended up being voted Best Play of the Year by the Riverfront Times, sold out every performance, was extended numerous times and has since been produced around the country.

2/ Missouri’s Sexual Misconduct Law
“Some of My Best Friends Are…” was written to call attention to the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots as well as Missouri’s Sexual Misconduct Law, which was aimed at restricting homosexual rights and activities, making it punishable by imprisonment, fines and public humiliation. With characteristic boldness, Lipkin used this best-selling play to petition at the theater to overturn the law.

3/ Alternate Currents/Direct Currents Series
Lipkin founded one of the earliest and longest running LGBTQ performance series in the country, the Alternative Currents/Direct Currents Series (AC/DC). Since launching, the AC/DC Series has been recognized for bringing some of the most exciting and cutting-edge performance art in the country to St. Louis, including work by Holly Hughes, Tim Miller, Michael Kearns, Sara Felder, Paul Bonin-Rodriguez and more. She also battled censorship to make a space for some of these artists who were defunded by the NEA.

4/ “The Big Fat LGBT Show”
After realizing how desperately St. Louis needed to be educated about the LGBT community, Lipkin produced “The Big Fat LGBT Show.” Touring for nearly 10 years, the 50-minute, frequently updated show is filled with sketch comedy, singing, dancing and breaking news—all centered on education about LGBT lives. They have performed at corporations, social service agencies, museums and educational institutions throughout the St. Louis metro area with their unique brand of “edutainment.”

5/ “BRIEFS: Festival of Short LGBT Plays”
If all of those accomplishments weren’t enough, Lipkin founded “BRIEFS: A Festival of Short LGBT Plays,” co-produced annually with Vital Voice MEDIA. Now entering its fifth season in its new home at the Rialto Ballroom at the Centene Center in Grand Center, the festival gives eight different playwrights and directors the chance to showcase work that addresses the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals. The festival has been recognized nationally by American Theatre Magazine and is attracting scripts from around the world.

Photo courtesy of That Uppity Theatre Company.

Photo courtesy of That Uppity Theatre Company.

Joan is an acclaimed writer whose work on LGBT themes has been performed in New York, London, Chicago, Los Angeles and more. She is published in “Best American Short Plays,” “Amazon All Stars,” “Mythic Women/Real Women” and “Here Come the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love an Marriage.” A few of her plays and librettos include “The State of Marriage,” “The Date,” “Beyond Stonewall: Why We March,” “The Sage Cycle” and “Are You Married?”

So don’t miss out on a fantastic night of honoring the VIPs of the LGBTQ community at ULTRA. Reserve VIP tickets and $20 will be automatically donated to That Uppity Theatre Company. Find tickets here.

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