Article Title:The Romp Project
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:9th August 2013 - 10:16 am
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Story ID:13765
Text:A plan to throw a party for queer Aucklanders has led to the birth of The Romp Project, a non-profit initiative that is running regular events such as film nights and games nights, and this weekend’s Mix Tape Sessions, which will showcase some live and alternative GLBTI music. The Romp crew is four women in their 20s and 30s at the moment; Brough, Jeanne, Annabel and Amy, but they make it clear they are looking for more diversity in their ranks. The team was only established in February, but has already achieved quite a lot in six months. Romp’s Brough Johnson says Romp came out of an initial idea to throw a party for all members of the queer and trans community. “We thought there was a major gap in the community. We had this idea last November before Pride was re-established. We thought that it was a shame that our community was stratified based on gender and sexuality, and that we didn't tend to socialise together,” Johnson explains. “When I thought about my own friend group, I realised that I only spent time with straight people and other queer women. Having had a much more diverse group of friends in the past, I wanted to change that.” A brainstorming session led to planning for the first party and the more people Johnson spoke to, the more she realised there was a need for more diverse social spaces more often than once a year. “Thus Romp Project was born. Through a flurry of ideas, Erin and I fleshed out what is now Romp Project - A community organisation that creates queer and trans events for and by the queer and trans community. “We envisioned that our events would be super fun but also accessible, whether that be accessibly safe, physically accessible and wherever possible, very affordable, if not free.” Johnson says they see Romp Project as a social experiment. “What will happen if you brought all of the queer and trans people of Auckland together in one space? Again and again and again. And you do it with awesome events like gigs and movie nights and parties and board game nights? The event possibilities are endless. “We still don't know exactly what will happen/ is happening. But we know that people love it. We're niche. Not everyone is interested in hanging out with people 'unlike' themselves. And others wonder why it isn't done more often.” The group hopes it will spin off into other groups doing the same thing. “We hope that we can be a spark to a larger social movement in Auckland.” Randa is among the artists who will be at the Mix Tape Sessions on Saturday. Any profits Romp Project makes will all either fund future events, or be donated to OUTLine, as giving back to the community is at the core of the initiative. “We all volunteer our time and work quite a few hours a week to bring awesome events to Auckland. And we love new volunteers! The more the merrier,” Johnson says. Head along to St Kevin’s Arcade this Saturday night where a koha entry will get you into what The Rom Project says will be the queer Auckland gig of the year, The Mix Tape Sessions. It will feature fun trans rapper and 80s beats lover Randa, who has just been named in the 2014 Big Day Out line-up. Also performing will be Claire Cowan and Alex Taylor: Claire Cowan is the composer and master-creator of the 24 piece Blackbird Ensemble. She composes music for TV, film and theatre. In collaboration with Alex Taylor, they spin a web of intrigue into their arrangements of rock, avant-garde pop, film soundtrack and classic works. Rounding out the line-up is Lttle Phnx, a synth-siren. Together with her band, she creates a wave of electronic dance music and melancholic pop. Her voice resonates and hangs in the air long after the final beats of her keyboard melodies are laid. Saturday 10 Aug 7:30pm – 11:30pm St Kevin’s Arcade – K Rd – Auckland koha (donation) entry Jacqui Stanford - 9th August 2013    
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