All welcome at gay theatre fest

by Ian Begley

THE eleventh annual International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival programme runs this year from May 5 to 17 at various locations across Dublin.
This year’s festival will also feature a record number of plays by Irish playwrights and supports the growing interest in LGBT issues and the gay community at home.
During the two weeks in May, the audience will have the opportunity to enjoy drama, comedy, music and cabaret at accessible prices, as well as a range of free events.
This annual event will also present plays from abroad, including the USA, Canada, South Africa, Israel and Australia, as well as plays from closer to home, from Northern Ireland and Britain.
In his speech, the festival’s artistic director and chairman, Brian Merriman, highlighted the need for inclusion of all people in the festival events.
Although 50% of the festival audience is heterosexual, he pointed out that the festival is “suffering from goodwill”.
He explained: “So many people look at the event and go: ‘Well done’, and then self-exclude themselves from it because they are not LGBT, or they think they are not into theatre.
“We do not personally profit in any way from our voluntary work supporting professional artists, but I believe we all profit from this visibility, this diversity, this inclusiveness of all, regardless of their identity, in a unique artistic celebration of new voices, new work and new horizons in Dublin in May.”
This year, the festival audience will have the opportunity to experience stories about family and gender, musings on love and happiness with a poignant look at gay marriage and divorce, love and loss.
There will be talks about gay rights, politics and sex in the 1980s, and a rethink of children’s tales and fairy tales.
Love will blossom in the trenches of World War 1, football pitches and Northern Ireland, and in spite of and despite religion.
There will be stories about privilege and assumed rights that go with it; of pure malice and perceived evil; of obsession and corruption of beauty.
1916’s heroes feature, as does the work of Wilde and Jean Genet and Stephen Sondheim, and even Margaret Thatcher will make an appearance on stage. However, without fail, the festival will show stories of and about that unpredictable and uncontrollable organ – the heart.
The festival was founded in 2004 to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Oscar Wilde, in his native city. With an emphasis on new or recent international and Irish works with a broadly gay theme or relevance, the festival has grown to become the largest event of its type in the world.
Booking is available online at, or at the festival box office at The Arlington Hotel Temple Bar, Lord Edward Street, from April 28 at noon to 3pm daily.

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