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Seeing homosexuality in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw (LGBT+ History Month Lecture)

Dr Emma Parker, University of Leicester and Leonie Orton

Date/Time: Tuesday 19 February 2019

Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw (1969) features no gay characters, yet homosexuality is the absent centre of his final play. In the first half of this talk which marked LGBT+ History Month, Emma Parker explored how Orton’s queer black comedy subverts sexual double standards, mocks heteronormativity and challenged discourses of deviance. In the second half, Leonie Orton read from her memoir, I Had it In Me (2016), in which she explored the origins of her brother’s outrageous humour, in his home town of Leicester and in the Orton family.