A large crowd of old friends and new attended our 19th Festival launch by Labour Senator Annie Hoey in Street 66 on Monday April 11th. A theatre graduate and bisexual member of the Oireachtas, Senator Hoey remarked that she was the first bisexual to launch the programme. In a speech full of validation for LGBT identity in the artform she committed to fully supporting the Festival in its search for funding and promised to attend as many plays as she could. Our Full Programme is available on www.gaytheatre.ie
The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival returns to the stage (and bars) for its 19th year in Dublin from May 2-15. After an online festival last year, and Covid cancellation in 2020, we replaced live theatre by two Bursary opportunities and we published two new books of Irish LGBTQIA plays in 2020 and 2021. 27 new LGBT+ plays return to live theatre and free events in LGBT friendly venues and bars for two weeks in May.
“It is great to be back! Covid has badly hit theatre and especially the younger generation of artists deprived of opportunities to perform for over two years. The 19th Festival continues our mission of premiering new and inclusive LGBTQIA+ stories on stage for all Irish and International audiences. We are voluntary led and every cent we earn is ploughed into artists, writer, and practical supports for their theatre productions while celebrating our arts identity” said Festival Founder Brian Merriman at the launch.
“Senator Hoey raised our predicament in Seanad Eireann when she learned that during Covid, the Arts Council, awash with money, decided to first cut our small grant by 50% (which we were dispersing to (unemployed) artists in 2020 and 2021. Despite that, our friends rallied. We created two bursary opportunities with cash awards, which inspired 65 new Irish LGBT+ plays to be written during lockdown. We published the best of them in two new books (‘The Plays Inside’ and ‘18 & Coming of Age – The Director’s Cut’) over the two lockdown years. We then did our first ever digital Festival of 12 plays in conjunction with Dublin LGTB+ Pride, creating employment for Covid isolated artists.”
“The cash rich Arts Council decided to cut our grant altogether, in this year of recovery, completely denying us any funds for LGBT+ Theatre and artists. This singling out of LGBT artists and punishing them at a time of recovery is indefensible. All Festival personnel donate their time to this artform, so it is only recovering artists and their theatre who suffer this brutal cut. Such unusual and unwelcome treatment is unchallengeable in their limited appeals process. But the best answer we can give to that ‘special treatment’ is not only to survive, but to continue to create theatre opportunities for Irish LGBT+ artists and allies and to welcome international friends to the Capital of Gay Theatre – Dublin!” continued Brian Merriman.