OLYMPIC diving star Tom Daley’s high-profile decision to announce he was in a relationship with a man in a video posted on YouTube has inspired a Fringe show that will tell real-life “coming out” stories on stage.
The play, called Outings, will feature a cast of big-name actors and comedians telling stories submitted from people across the world reliving how they came out – and the effect it had on their lives.
It is hoped a daily surprise guest drawn from the thousands of shows being staged in Edinburgh this summer will also take part in the show.
The producers admit Daley’s YouTube announcement sparked the idea for Outings.
In the video Daley, 19, who won a bronze medal at London 2012, took the sporting world by surprise when he said: “Got something I need to say… not been an easy decision to make, hope you can support me.”
In the five-minute clip, which he filmed himself, he said: “I’ve never really had a serious relationship to talk about and now I feel ready to talk about my relationships.
“Come spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone and it made me feel so happy, so safe, and everything just feels great. And, well, that someone is a guy.”
Oli Seadon, the manager of London-based Seabright Productions, which is behind the 70-minute show, told Scotland on Sunday: “The idea for the show really did come out of Tom Daley posting his message on YouTube.
“A number of other well-known people have done similar things since then, like the actress Ellen Page when she came out during a speech at a conference in America.
“With other things like gay marriage just being legalised, it just seems really timely to be doing a show about coming out, the whole confessional thing about it and how that can affect your whole life.”
Over the next few months the producers will source personal accounts of “coming out” from people around the world. Their stories will then be woven together into a script.
Contributors can also post an anonymous story on the official website for the show – or can simply leave their contact details.
Thomas Hescott, who will co-write Outings with Matthew Baldwin, said: “We haven’t cast the show yet but we are hoping to make it a really high-profile production.
“We’ll be approaching a lot of big names who are in Edinburgh this summer to get involved, although the cast of the show do not necessarily have to be gay themselves.
“It’s really important to us that it’s not seen as a late-night niche play, which is only seen by gay people. We think the issues it will explore will be pretty universal and we’re keen to gather stories from all over the world, as we felt it was really important for the show to have that international perspective.”
Last night a spokeswoman for Daley said the diver was unavailable for comment on the play. She added that it was “unlikely” he would be able to visit Edinburgh during the Fringe due to a clash with the European Championships, which are being held in Berlin.
Karen Koren, artistic director of Gilded Balloon, said: “In the year that Scotland has passed the same sex marriage bill, the new production Outings will reveal powerful stories of individuals coming out.
“We are proud to be providing a home for this exciting and inspirational new piece of theatre.”
Outings is at the Gilded Balloon from 30 July-25 August.