James McDermott: My Top 5 LGBT+ Influences

James McDermott Headshot - crop

Award-winning coming of age comedy Rubber Ring tours to The Lowry Wed 1 – Sat 4 November. Written and performed by James McDermott Rubber Ring follows a rural sexually confused teen who goes on quest to find Morrissey.

Here James McDermott share with us his Top Five LGBT+ Influences

Jumpers For Goalposts by Tom Wells

Growing up gay in Norfolk I felt like a ghost no one believed in as rural LGBTQ themed stories were rarely represented. Then aged eighteen I found Jumpers For Goalposts, Tom Wells’ play about a gay football team in Hull, and suddenly I felt less invisible. In Jumpers and in all his other plays, Tom writes with such wit and warmth about gay life in rural areas. His work helped me to accept my sexual and regional identity and inspired me to start writing about my sexuality and my region.


Clit Notes by Holly Hughes

Clit Notes, Holly Hughes’ one woman show about her father’s struggle to accept her as a lesbian, helped me find the words and the courage to come out to my father and inspired me to write a one man show. Holly’s frank work made me realise that it’s only through writing candidly and courageously about LGBTQ life that we LGBTQ writers can help LGBTQ audiences to better understand their lives and help non-LGBTQ audiences better understand the lives of LGBTQ people.


Torch Song Trilogy by Harvey Fierstein

Torch Song Trilogy, Harvey Fierstein’s triptych about a drag queen who with his bisexual partner adopts a gay teenager, is one of my favourite LGBTQ plays. Reading this play as a teenager who thought because I’m gay I could never find love or have a family made me realise that if I wanted to I could have a husband and a son when I grew up.  Re-reading this play now, I’m struck by how radical and relevant its story still is and how Fierstien’s writing still fizzes with wit and throbs with heart.


Canary by Jonathan Harvey

Jonathan Harvey’s Canary is an epic yet intimate play in which fifty years of gay history is dramatized through two gay couples. As a gay man this play inspires me to remember all those LGBTQ people before me who fought for my right to live and love freely and as a writer, this epic play inspires me to be bigger bolder and braver in my storytelling.


Pronoun by Evan Placey

Pronoun by Evan Placey tells the story of a girl who transitions to a boy and explores the effect this has on her, her boyfriend and her family. I love Pronoun as it’s a play for young people that teaches children that stories can’t only end happily ever after if the girl gets the boy. Sometimes the girl can become a boy and still get the boy too.


For tickets to see James McDermott perform ‘Rubber Ring’ at The Lowry visit the website or call box office on 0843 208 6000.