Bette Bourne: the Movie

The inside story of how drag queens rocked the establishment. Starring Bette Bourne, Mark Ravenhill, The Bloolips and the Gay Liberation Front
Jeremy Jeffs
United Kingdom
6 Team Members

 Our Story

Bette Bourne is an inconic figure in the British gay community.

His amazing life has seen him journey from being an actor in classic 1960s British TV series, including The Avengers, The Prisoner and Z Cars, to transformation into a radical drag queen founder member and activist of the campaigning Gay Liberation Front, founding the award-winning queer theatre company The Bloolips and more recently winning acclaim around the globe portraying his good friend and fellow gay legend, Quentin Crisp, on stage

For the first time, Bette Bourne tells story of the fight for gay liberation and the real story of the seventies: a decade of near revolution, social change and protest that rocked the establishment and brought us hard won freedoms in gay rights, civil rights and female liberation. 

Based on the critically acclaimed play A Life in Three Acts by Mark Ravenhill the film will tell the inside story of how Bette Bourne and the drag troupe, The Bloolips took on the establishment with high heels, frocks and eye shadow.

Living, breathing history - naughty bits and all -the kind you never find in the history books.

(The Guardian)


A fascinating mixture of the personal and the political, the film will use key moments in Bette’s life to reveal events that defined the gay rights movement in the UK.  

As a well known actor in the early 70’s Bette had appeared alongside Sir Ian Mackellan and stared in famous early cop show Z-Cars but he gave it up to take on the fight for gay rights.

When people started to talk about the arrests and the suicides, of lives wasted, I suddenly felt very angry. It was a very quick thing: I looked back over my life to that point and wanted everything to change.

Bette Bourne


Bette became a driving force behind the formation of the Gay Liberation Front and helped propel the organisation from its first meeting at the LSE with a few dozen members, to a force that could mobilise 30,000 people to march the streets of London. 

Along with other famous names from the GLF including Stuart Feather, Bette was instrumental in using drag to confront and shatter not only the establishment view of gay life but also gay men’s own views of their lives and sexuality.

Bette’s led a life with great personal strength and bravery but he’s also been involved in a political and social struggle from which I’ve benefited enormously.

Mark Ravenhill

By meeting the people who were on the front line – including Stuart Feather, Lavinia Co-op and Andrew Lumsden - we’ll be telling the first hand story of the early days of the Gay Liberation Front, the first Pride marches and also Bourne’s ground-breaking Bloolips theatre company. 



This is the first documentary that's been made about the UK's modern moment of revolution when the forces of gay rights joined with black civil leaders, unions and feminists to take on the establishment and fight for the freedoms that we all take for granted today.


For the first time in over 40 years the original members of the Gay Liberation front will tell the story of the moment that gay rights stepped out of the closet and onto the streets.  The contribution of these campaigners who risked their jobs, relationships and freedom to demand their rights has never been properly told and this documentary is a chance to bring their story to the mainstream.


What We Need & What You Get

The producers have already invested enough money to get through the research and pre-production stages.  We’ve also been given support and sponsorship from equipment suppliers and raised enough money to shoot the film. Shooting starts in the next few weeks.

What we’re looking for now is the money to take the film through the crucial stages of editing, finishing and onto release. We’ve set ourselves the target of having a cut ready to submit to the London Film Festival selection process in July 2011, with the aim of a world premiere at the Festival in October 2011.

We’ve lined up an exciting and exclusive range of incentives and rewards for investors. We’re adding to our offering all the time but so far, by supporting the production of this vital film you could:

  • receive a limited edition pre-release version of the film with extended interviews with Bette and Mark;
  • join Bette for a sumptuous high-tea at the West End restaurant of Michelin starred chef Richard Corrigan;
  • bag yourself an invitation to the filmed performance of the play;
  • have your play or film script reviewed by one of the world’s top literary agencies;
  • have lunch with documentary maker, Chair of BRITDOC and Grierson judge, Christopher Hird… pitch him your ideas or get fantastic career advice
  • book yourself dinner with Mark Ravenhill at exclusive London private members club Blacks.


Other Ways You Can Help

The gay community has an amazingly powerful network and we'd love your help to get the message out that. We'd love it if you could tell people about this project and point them to this site.

You can also head to our Facbook page and hit LIKE and put a message of support on your wall, encouraging your friends to find us and LIKE us.

Finally, you can follow us on TWITTER @bettebournefilm

raised in 1 month
4% funded
No time left
$50,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on June 30, 2011
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    60p !! virtual kiss'n'squeeze

    A heartfelt thanks and a video message from Bette.

    0 claimed
  • $2USD
    £1.20 Post Card from Heaven!

    A Bette Bourne post card and a heartfelt thanks.

    1 claimed
  • $8USD
    £5 - I just want to help!

    Get a postcard and a video message from Bette and a heartfelt thanks on our Website!

    1 claimed
  • $16USD
    £10 Exclusive pre-release DVD

    Your chance to get the first view of this exciting and important film. With extras that include extended interviews with Bette Bourne and Mark Ravenhill

    7 out of 900 claimed
  • $25USD
    £15 exclusive DVD bumper pack

    An exclusive pre-release DVD, with extras including extended interviews with Mark and Bette, plus a set of 5 limited edition prints from the film

    12 out of 100 claimed
  • $32USD
    £20 - the play @ Soho Theatre

    Be part of the film! Come to the filmed performance of Mark and Bette's critically acclaimed play: Bette Bourne, A Life in Three Acts. 11th June in the cabaret space of the Soho Theatre. Plus an exclusive meet and greet: sip a glass of something fizzy and meet Bette and Mark

    3 out of 100 claimed
  • $50USD
    £30 - your name in the credits

    A special thanks to on the credits of the film, a post card and video message from Bette!

    7 claimed
  • $125USD
    £100 - lunch with Christo

    An amazing opportunity to meet one of the UK's foremost documentary makers. Christopher Hird runs Dartmouth film, a company he set up to pioneer new ways of funding and distributing documentaries. Christo is also Chair of Channel Four's BRITDOC Foundation and a trustee of the Index on Censorship and the Grierson Trust. Spend a long lunch at exclusive London members club Blacks, pitch him your ideas or get incredible career advice!

    4 out of 5 claimed
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