Unwelcome notoriety was achieved when in 1974 he appeared with Tony Whitehead (later to become the first chairperson of the Terence Higgins Trust) in a Southern Television program about Gay Rights. They were pictured together kissing as one of them met the other off a train at Brighton station. As a result of this, Whitehead was immediately fired by his employer British Home Stores. A national outcry galvanized the gay rights movement led by CHE (The Campaign for Homosexual Equality) and GLF (Gay Liberation Front).
His concern for gay rights and its expression through literature remain paramount in his life. He continues to live in Amsterdam with his partner Rod Evan who has produced many of his plays.
His first play 'Limitations' launched the first season of the Gay Sweatshop Theatre company. In 1985 he was co-founder of the Sussex AIDS Helpline (aka Sussex AIDS Centre) one of the UK's first voluntary organisations established to campaign for and assist those affected by HIV and AIDS. This was also the catalyst for launching AIDS Positive Underground Theatre - a cultural response to the AIDS crisis with the aim of reaching a wider audience with images and situations relevant to the time.
A banner carrying homosexual Tony Whitehead (centre) and his friend John Roman Baker (white scarf) during a protest by supporters of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality at a British Home Stores in London's Oxford Street, over the forced resignation of Mr Whitehead after being shown on TV kissing and cuddling Mr Baker.
John Roman Baker (born 2 Sept 1944) is a British poet, playwright and novelist mainly associated with the work of Aputheatre. In 1970 he moved to Brighton, where he lived with his partner Graham Wilkinson, the Director of the Sussex AIDS Centre, until his death in 1990. Unwelcome notoriety was achieved when in 1974 he appeared with Tony Whitehead in a Southern Television program about Gay Rights. He currently lives in Amsterdam with his partner Rod Evan who has produced many of his plays.
His work has been produced in many countries. From 1990-1996 the Brighton and Edinburgh Festivals often saw the first performances of his new plays. In 1994 the success in Edinburgh of ‘In One Take’ led to performances at Teatri di Vita, Bologna, Italy. Since then, his work has continued to be popular in Italy and has been seen in Firenze, Modena, Forlí, L’Aquila, Reggio Emilia and Roma. His most popular work ‘The Ice Pick’ has been staged on multiple occasions in the UK and Italy as well as in the US at the Celebration Theatre, Los Angeles in 1993.
He moved to Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 1997, where he continued the work of Aputheatre until 2008. During this period the focus of his work shifted and began to focus on the personal and social effects of pan-European migration following the collapse of communism.
In 1999 he updated and reworked ‘The Ice Pick’ for 2 characters under the title ‘Heroes’. ‘Heroes’ was toured by Aputheatre around the Netherlands before being performed in Warsaw as part of the 1st Polish Gay Pride festival. 'The Prostitution Plays' was premiered for Warsaw Gay Pride in 2000 and in 2001 his play 'Sexually Speaking 1+1' was presented in Kiev, Ukraine.
John Roman Baker spent his childhood and much of his adolescence in Brighton, England. At the age of 19 he moved to Paris, where for several years he worked at the British Institute. His poetry was encouraged by the then director of the British Institute, Francis Scarfe. Later, in 1974 a volume of his poetry “Poèmes à Tristan” was published in French by Gérard Oberlé. He has always considered himself foremost a poet and a vein of poetry continues in his plays.
No Fixed Ground by John Roman Baker
Paperback: 244 pages
Publisher: Wilkinson House Ltd (April 1, 2011)
Amazon: No Fixed Ground
Nicholas should be at ease with the sexual liberation of mid-1970's England, but finds he is more on its margins than at its centre. He is not taken in by the propaganda. He meets Peter who is more integrated into the spirit of the decade and they begin an obsessional relationship which soon spirals out of control. Nicholas's story is told from four perspectives. Whose version is to be believed or trusted? Where is the truth in their desires and where the reality? What indeed is reality? Only one thing is certain: Nicholas is cracking up and sooner or later he will hit the ground. Between sanity and madness, life and death, reality and unreality, there is No Fixed Ground.
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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