In 2004, Clare Sum­mer­skill gath­ered inter­views from 24 con­trib­u­tors for the play ver­sion of Gate­way to Heav­en. The play was writ­ten in the ver­ba­tim the­atre style, where there is noth­ing in the script that has not been said by one of the inter­vie­wees. There fol­lowed a rehearsed play-read­ing at Oval House The­atre, where the con­trib­u­tors were invit­ed to attend, along with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from LGBT groups and publications.

The full stage show was pro­duced in 2006 and staged at Oval House The­atre, where it had a three-week run. As well as the evening per­for­mances, there were three mati­nee shows on Sat­ur­days, which were fol­lowed by a Q&A ses­sion between the audi­ence, the actors, the writer, the direc­tor, and some of the con­trib­u­tors them­selves. The play then toured to the­atres around the UK. It was direct­ed by Kate Crutch­ley and per­formed by Clare Sum­mer­skill and mem­bers of her com­pa­ny, Artemis.

A post-show dis­cus­sion at Oval House The­atre, Lon­don between the actors, the audi­ence, and some of the con­trib­u­tors. Clare Sum­mer­skill (Writer and Actor)
and Kate Crutch­ley (Direc­tor)
Clare Sum­mer­skill play­ing the part of
Car­ol in the play ver­sion of
Gate­way to Heaven
Play Fly­er

What the papers said

“An immac­u­late­ly per­formed play.”  New States­man

“An out­stand­ing piece of the­atre, which edu­cates as it enter­tains. A beau­ti­ful­ly mea­sured piece.”  Ken­ric Magazine

“For some this play will be a nos­tal­gic sto­ry, for oth­ers it will be an eye-open­er to a dif­fer­ent era, but through­out this beau­ti­ful­ly craft­ed piece of the­atre we feel the uplift­ing strength of the human spir­it and hear uni­ty across all the dif­fer­ent voic­es and sto­ries.”  Gay Car­ers Magazine

Response from one of the contributors to seeing the show

“A big con­grat­u­la­tions on such an amaz­ing pro­duc­tion. This pro­duc­tion has helped myself, and I’m sure many oth­ers, to heal the old hurts by final­ly hav­ing our expe­ri­ences acknowl­edged, wit­nessed and cel­e­brat­ed. I hope it will help our younger com­mu­ni­ty to live their lives with pride and dis­pense with the shame so induced by the way our soci­eties are structured. 

“There are no words to ful­ly describe the grat­i­tude I and my old­er L&G col­leagues have for your courage and tenac­i­ty in get­ting this together.”


In 2005, Age Con­cern Open­ing Doors (Now Age UK) com­mis­sioned a film ver­sion of the play. This film is still being shown at LGBTQ film fes­ti­vals and dur­ing LGBT His­to­ry month events around the coun­try. To order your copy of the DVD, please vis­it our Online Shop.