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Sparkle, The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester logos

The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester to host Sparkle Weekend 2021

We have partnered with the national transgender charity to host their annual celebration.

The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester are delighted to be hosting Sparkle Weekend 2021, the annual celebration of gender diversity.

This year, the event, the largest of its kind in the world, will take place online on Saturday 10th July and be hosted from the Waterside Theatre at our Shena Simon campus.

Musical Theatre, Performing Arts and Dance students from The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester’s Arden School of Theatre will be pre-recording special performances to be broadcast during the event. The College’s Theatre technicians and other colleagues will also be kindly volunteering their time over the weekend.

Vicki Mulligan,  Sparkle Trustee and Performing Arts Technician at The Manchester College, said: “I’ve experienced nothing but positivity from staff and students at The Manchester College since starting my transition, and I’m very excited to be able to bring our annual celebration of gender diversity, with the help of TMC, to the Waterside Theatre. I would also like to thank my TMC colleagues, and the students who have volunteered their time to help deliver Sparkle 2021 in these extremely difficult times.”

Lisa O’Loughlin, Principal of The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester, added:

As an organisation we proudly celebrate, promote and support diversity in every way and as such we are delighted to be supporting this year’s Sparkle event.

"We passionately believe that our community is stronger for the fact that it consists of so many unique individuals and we must accept one another and celebrate our differences. As such we were honoured that Sparkle approached us to host this fantastic event that will enable many in our community to celebrate and promote these beliefs.”

Sparkle – The National Transgender Charity was registered in 2011 after several successful years delivering the Sparkle Weekend, and its activities now include the organisation of Manchester’s Transgender Day of Remembrance service, lobbying, advocacy, and training on issues around gender diversity, equality, and inclusion. The Charity is also the custodian of the National Transgender Memorial in Sackville Gardens, behind the Shena Simon campus.

The Sparkle mission is to promote a positive public image of the trans, non-binary and gender diverse community within the UK and beyond. Their aim is to build confidence and resilience, to develop understanding and cohesion in society and to challenge stigma.

Lee Clatworthy, Sparkle’s Acting Chair of Trustees, said: “We’re delighted that The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester’s Arden School of Theatre are partnering with Sparkle – The National Transgender Charity to deliver our annual showcase of established and up-and-coming trans, gender non-conforming and queer talent.

“The last 18 months has been challenging for our community, many of whom have been isolated, sometimes in households or environments where they cannot express their authentic selves.

“The Sparkle Weekend is an opportunity to champion our community, to celebrate difference, and to further the Charity’s aims of acceptance and inclusion.”

Keep an eye on and for further updates. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer at Sparkle Weekend, you can contact Vicki on