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By James Corley

4th - 28th October 2023

Based on the essay On Being Different by Merle Miller
Directed by Harry Mackrill


The true story behind one of the most impactful pieces of writing ever published in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality.  


September 1970. A year after the Stonewall Riots, Harper's Magazine publish the now notorious article 'Homo/hetero: the struggle for sexual identity'.  Acclaimed journalist and former editor of Harper’s Magazine, Merle Miller reads the article from his home in upstate New York and decides to take a stand.   

September 1971. Merle sits at his desk and begins to write. Part man, part memory he invites the audience to join him on an incredible journey of his life from provincial Iowa to the pages of the New York Times.  

What it Means is an emotional voyage through history - some personal, some not, highlighting the importance of standing up for what you believe in, accepting the validity of   one's own voice and taking a courageous step onto the platform that is offered to you  however long it may take.  

‘There it was, out at last, and if it seems like nothing very much, I can only say that it took a  long time to say it, to be able to say it, and none of the journey was easy.’  

Merle Miller  


As Merle crashes into our world, audiences are witnesses to his protest and companions in  his reflection, as he writes the article he has been avoiding for a lifetime. The article in  question, What It Means to Be a Homosexual, is a public declaration of identity, a rallying  cry for equality and – ultimately – part of the fabric of protest that formed the modern  LGBTQ+ movement.  

Click here to learn more about Merle Miller

This Production is supported by Stage One Producer's Charity.  

RICHARD CANT plays Merle.

He has recently appeared on stage in The Vortex (Chichester Festival Theatre), Orlando (MGC Garrick) and The Normal Heart (National Theatre). His television credits include It’s a Sin, The Crown and Silent Witness. 



Richard Cant by Ruth Crafer (1) (2).jpg

What It Means reunites the trio of Writer, Director and Producer behind Theatre Weekly’s number 1 Off West-End Production for 2019, World’s End 

“Nothing short of a triumph". ☆☆☆☆☆ - Theatre Weekly 


“The play is a must see". ☆☆☆☆☆ - The Upcoming 


“A deeply affecting Queer Love Story" ☆☆☆☆ - The Stage 


Writer - James Corley

Director - Harry Mackrill

Producer - Nisha Oza

Set/Costume Designer - Justin Arienti

Lighting Designer - Martha Godfrey

Sound Designer - Beth Duke


Production Manager - Anthony Newton​

Company Stage Manager - Lorna Seymor


Kate Morley PR

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