We are happy to announce the recipients of our bursaries!
As we were unable to hold the 17th edition of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, we opened our first Bursary Programme. We received 39 applications! We would like to thank all of the playwrights for sending in their work.
Details of recipients and supporters of the scheme can be found here.
Update: This initiative is now closed. €3,500 was paid to recipients of our New Irish Writing Bursaries, resulting in the publication of a new anthology of Irish LGBTQ Plays. We would like to congratulate all applicants and the generous support of donors and grant bodies who made it possible in this very challenging year for theatre.
Five New Bursaries for LGBTQ Theatre to the value of €2,500 announced.
The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival has no stages or income to share with our playwrights and actors, as our 17th festival in 2020 could not go on. However, we are determined to continue to support artists and LGBTQ+ theatre at this challenging time and as we mark Pride Month.
Huge thanks to some of our great supporters who have now become our generous ‘Angels’ – we are delighted to announce a new opportunity for you to get writing (and acting) again!
Bursaries to the value of €2,500 will be awarded for new Irish LGBTQ themed writing.
The Festival is welcoming submissions of new plays:
There are Five Bursaries available – and if more donors come through, this may increase further.
Details of each bursary can be found below as well as general terms. You will also find more information on the individuals and organisations who our bursaries honour below.
Two Bursaries, named after our late patron Terrence McNally who died of Covid – each will be of a value of €500 plus a place in the 2021 Festival programme as follows:
The next Bursary of €300 will honour the late playwright ‘Larry Kramer’:
The next Bursary will celebrate identity and is of €200 plus a place in our 2021 programme will be the ‘Dublin LGBTQ Pride 2020 Bursary’ to honour this month and our capacity to overcome adversity and to acknowledge the support we received this year from Dublin LGBTQ Pride.
This short play can be of any duration up to 3minutes. Once again, these plays if recorded may be shown on our social media.
This new Bursary has been kindly supported by the family of the late Gerry Sinnott, former owner of the Olympia Theatre.
The Festival wishes to sincerely thank our generous donors who have made this possible. We are very conscious as this pandemic deepened, that it is hurting opportunities for minority arts very badly. We hope our Bursaries will help to encourage artists back to work.
Please share this information and get back to work!
Supported by the Arts Council supporting Festivals.
With our bursaries we pay tribute to the individuals and groups below who have made extraordinary contributions to the worlds of theatre and the LGBTQ Community.
Described as “the bard of American theatre” and “one of the greatest contemporary playwrights the theatre world has yet produced,” McNally was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1996. He received the 2019 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, and the Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the highest recognition of artistic merit in the United States.
He received the Tony Award for Best Play for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class, as well as the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Kiss of the Spider Woman and Ragtime. His other accolades included an Emmy Award, two Guggenheim Fellowships, a Rockefeller Grant, four Drama Desk Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards, two Obie Awards, and three Hull-Warriner Awards.
His career spanned six decades, and his plays, musicals, and operas were routinely performed all over the world. He also wrote screenplays, teleplays, and a memoir. Active in the regional and off-Broadway theatre movements as well as on Broadway, he was one of the few playwrights of his generation to have successfully passed from the avant-garde to mainstream acclaim. His work centered on the difficulties of and urgent need for human connection. He was vice-president of the Council of the Dramatists Guild from 1981 to 2001.
He died of complications from COVID-19 on March 24, 2020, at a hospital in Florida.
Laurence David Kramer (June 25, 1935 – May 27, 2020) was an American playwright, author, film producer, public health advocate, and LGBT rights activist. He began his career rewriting scripts while working for Columbia Pictures, which led him to London where he worked with United Artists. There he wrote the screenplay for the film Women in Love (1969) and received an Academy Award nomination for his work.
In 1978, Kramer introduced a controversial and confrontational style in his novel Faggots, which earned mixed reviews and emphatic denunciations from elements within the gay community for Kramer’s portrayal of what he characterized as shallow, promiscuous gay relationships in the 1970s.
Kramer witnessed the spread of the disease later known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) among his friends in 1980. He co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which has become the world’s largest private organization assisting people living with AIDS. Kramer grew frustrated with bureaucratic paralysis and the apathy of gay men to the AIDS crisis, and wished to engage in further action than the social services GMHC provided. He expressed his frustration by writing a play titled The Normal Heart, produced at The Public Theater in New York City in 1985.
His political activism continued with the founding of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in 1987, an influential direct action protest organization with the aim of gaining more public action to fight the AIDS crisis. ACT UP has been widely credited with changing public health policy and the perception of people living with AIDS, and with raising awareness of HIV and AIDS-related diseases.
We’re In This Together, so let’s be in it together.
We want you in our Virtual Pride Parade on Sunday June 28th. Even though we won’t be together on O’Connell Street this year we know that won’t stop us all coming together to support our community. Dublin Pride is the largest fundraising event of the year for many LGBTI+ community organisations and charities in Ireland, so, we’re still going to see you in June, and you’ll definitely see us, as we host the first Digital Dublin Pride Festival with a fully interactive virtual Pride Parade and a Pride Concert. Buildings will still light up for Pride, flags will be flying high across the city and our community will still be there to support each other. Pride isn’t cancelled, we’re just bringing it home.
The parade will be a mix of pre-recorded and live elements with hosts, Paul Ryder and Eddie McGuinness. The Virtual Parade will be led out by the Lord Mayor of Dublin and front line workers from across the city. It will include community organisations our sponsors and partners and of course LGBTI+ people, their friends and allies. Your submission could be as simple as a video of you with Pride flags marching around your house or garden, footage of previous years’ parade entries, or if you’re ambitious you could make a float out of Lego. The deadline for submissions is June 18th. The Virtual Parade will be broadcast live from 2.00pm on Sunday June 28th. You can watch through our social media channels or by going to www.dublinpride.ie/live
Dublin Pride Concert – 7.00pm Sunday June 28th
Tune in as we bring our traditional post parade main stage concert direct to your own couch. We have some special guest performers ready to entertain you.
A celebratory night was held at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre in May 2014, devised and directed by Brian Merriman to honour its former owner, Gerry Sinnott, The Irish Times reported: “President Michael D Higgins, in a special message and with his usual verbal acuity, summarised Sinnott’s achievement succinctly: “Gerry has shown enormous commitment and dedication to the artistic community,” he said, recording his admiration for the impresario’s “skill, professionalism, perseverance and hard work.
Sinnott, who has died aged 78 (on October 10th 2019), fluent in Irish, he made such a mark in a play at the All-Ireland Gaelic Drama Festival in Thurles, aged 20, that the adjudicator compared him favourably with the great Abbey Theatre actor FJ McCormick. He appeared a year later at An Taibhdhearc in Galway, where he was spotted by Ernest Blythe, the Abbey’s long-serving director, who cast him in a play at the theatre with, among others, a young Donal McCann.
‘Found my niche’
He was discouraged by its director, Frank Dermody, from pursuing any further professional career on the stage, as he told Maev Kennedy in an interview with this newspaper in 1984: “It was shattering at the time, but in retrospect it was a good thing, because now I think I’ve found my niche.”
Indeed he had, as a producer. Sinnott was being interviewed shortly after he had taken over as managing director of the Olympia, having previously made his mark very gradually in amateur theatre in Dublin, where he ran a printing business, Aungier Print. Remarkably, throughout his professional theatrical producing career, he continued to run this business.
Sinnott proved he was not afraid to court controversy”. In 1993, weeks after the decriminalisation of homosexuality, he saw the Irish premier of the musical ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ directed and starring Brian Merriman. Gerry immediately invited it to be staged in the Olympia, a remarkable statement of support in those hostile times. Equally he welcomed LGBT artists and events to the Olympia (later the home of the Alternative Miss Ireland) to be staged there and facilitated bucket collections for HIV/AIDs when few venues allowed access to such charities. ‘La Cage’ packed out and played to a nightly standing ovation in Irish mainstream theatre. He also stood firm and swiftly against an inverted homophobic attack on one of his colleagues designed to destroy a career. He needed no persuasion of its evil intent and ejected the accusers.
Gerry took dramatic risks too, “notably staging Jane Martin’s Keely and Du, a play with the theme of abortion, for the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1993, which memorably starred Louise Fletcher, who had created the nightmare matron, Nurse Ratched, in the film ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. In 1998, he became the first Irish producer to cast two young black Irish actors, Peter Smith and Samantha Mumba, as the leads in a show, the Christmas pantomime for that season” directed by Brian Merriman.
“Sinnott could be said to have saved – or at the very least revived – the Olympia, after a difficult period in the 1970s following the collapse of the proscenium arch in 1974 and the theatre’s prolonged closure for repairs thereafter, necessitating its takeover by Dublin City Council”. Gerry Sinnott was a true LGBT ally long before many others began to stand with us.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, sadly, the Festival Executive formally announces its decision not to hold the 17th edition of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival as planned. It is with heavy heart that we have made the difficult decision of postponing our festival to next year. We are very proud that our festival has run uninterruptedly for 16 years, and we assure you that we have exhausted all possible options. However, we act to ensure the safety of our participants, volunteers, and our audience, and to respect the limitations we are all now living with, which prevent the festival from going ahead in May.
We wish to thank all the companies, our Artistic Director and our committee for their devotion and hard work that has gone into preparing two weeks filled with amazing theatre. We would like to take this opportunity instead to show you the 2020 programme to honour this great work. All of the 2020 companies are automatically offered a place in the 2021 programme – so you may yet get to see the live performances! Please have a look at the programme on our website here to see what we had in store for 2020!
We understand how difficult the current situation is for all of our participating companies and artists in general. Cultural events worldwide are being cancelled, and the artists are now more than ever in need of your support! We’d like to give a shout-out to our new sponsor Dublin LGBTQ Pride, and long-term supporters, Dublin City Council’s Arts Office, and Events Office and the Arts Council for continuing their support for our festival this year. We will continue our hard work to support the lgbtq+ and arts communities for our 18th edition. #SupportArtists
Questions: contact us at email@example.com
Our table quiz has been cancelled due to the current COVID-19 situation.
We will keep you updated.
Please respect the government guidelines and maintain social distancing and other important measures.
Want to support IDGTF by adding to our range of prizes? We’d love to hear from you – firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Artistic Director, Brian Merriman, is bringing some Irish culture to the London stage after our successful fundraising pub quiz in November. From 14 till 18 April, people can go see three plays presented by previous editions of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival at the Cockpit Theatre in London. Get your tickets here.
Party Boy, an explosive new play based on the true story of Ireland’s first gay go-go boy, will storm onto The Cockpit stage as part of its consent and taboo series in April. Set in contemporary multicultural Ireland, we are taken on a high energy trip through Patrick’s roller coaster life as he evolves from Catholic schoolboy to ‘start my life…’ And what a life he leads: from naked photo shoots in Australia to live sex shows on the European go-go circuit, Patrick sheds all his Irish inhibitions in a no-holds-barred exposé of life through decriminalisation, marriage equality, love, drugs, violence, and exploitation. ‘Dave Flynn’s rendition of the party boy himself is, quite simply, electrifying,’ Dr Kerric Harvey review USA.
Meet the women in his life: ‘Maria Blaney brings on stage the Irish mammy we all wish we had’ (review: No More Workhorse) and a dozen characters who Patrick encounters on his life-changing journey. The 48 men in Patrick’s chaotic life are played by Colin Malone. ‘Malone is, quite literally, astonishing in his range and elasticity, moving from one persona to another with effortless ease and absolute authenticity,’ (KH, USA).
Written by the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival’s founder/Artistic Director, Brian Merriman, this ‘kaleidoscopic 75-minute epic, ‘Party Boy’ is more than just a peep show into the contemporary world of the gay male porn industry, with all of its glamour, heartache, and lethal drug scene. It’s also a whirlwind journey through some of modern Ireland’s most complicated social issues, beginning with the historically repressive influence of the Catholic Church on, well, everybody, continuing on through the heady and tumultuous years of the Celtic Tiger, and venturing into Ireland’s vaguely uncertain future as the EU re-invents itself and the island struggles with related complexities arising from immigration, patchy economic stability, rapid social change, and escalating internationalism,’ (KH, USA) .
To add some international flavour to our London showcase, the IDGTF presents Calamity Jane Sends a Message to Her Daughter by award-winning US playwright Carolyn Gage. Starring Maria Blaney as Calam a woman equal amongst men who knows much more.
Originally presented as part of a double bill with another of Brian Merriman’s shorts, The Second Miracle, The Off Switch tells the story of a young man (played by Conor Burke) born in a time where it was better to ‘switch off’ than to hope for a relationship. who considers what would LGBT rights campaigner Mark Ashton and his contemporaries make of this modern gay world they campaigned to liberate.
Party Boy and The Off Switch feature alongside eight other short plays in Brian Merriman’s 10 HISstories. Click here to buy the book!
See you in London!
We are working hard on finalising an exciting range of productions for our 2020 Festival which opens on Bank Holiday Monday May 4th & ends on Sunday May 17th with our Gala Awards Night.
Want to be part of the largest festival of LGBT-related theatre in the world?
We are currently accepting submissions for our 17th annual Festival which will run from May 4th – 17th 2020.
The deadline for submissions is December 1 2020.
See here for more details.
On Monday, 13 May, our Taoiseach came to see Velvet, by Tom Ratcliffe. We were honoured by his presence and support for the festival.
’16 years and then this happens. The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) books two tickets and joins us at our opening night party in Cafe Rubis. Sadly these things don’t happen in other countries, but they do in ours. He and his partner were so unassuming our foreign guests couldn’t believe it! I understand Culture Minister Josepha Madigan who launched the Festival gave him the programme. In all the negativity that populates debate – these things happen and they are important. Thank you. After 16 years of volunteering- I never thought I would introduce a show by saying “Taoiseach, Ladies and Gentlemen … it has happened and I’m proud of Ireland.’
– Brian Merriman
We have finished our first week, and what a week it’s been! Read all reviews for week one here.
Week two has started, and the first reviews are already coming in!
Read all reviews for Velvet here.
Read all reviews for All I See Is You here.
Read all reviews for Monastic / Like Orpheus here.
Read all reviews for Like Orpheus here.
Read all reviews for Gertrude Stein and a Companion here.
Read all reviews for The Little Pink Book of Masculinity / The Measure of a Man here.
Read all reviews for Bingo here.
Read all reviews for Obligatory Scene here.
The reviews for some of our shows are pouring in, and we couldn’t be happier with them!
You can read all the reviews here:
Read all reviews for Borderline A**hole here.
Read all reviews for Revolting Women – A Rebel Cabaret here.
Read all reviews for I See You, Tom Kennedy here.
Read all reviews for The Baby Monitor here.
Read all reviews for A Southern Fairytale here.
Read all reviews for The Number here.
Read all reviews for the double bill here.
Read all reviews for Party Boy here.
Read all reviews for Schlong Song here.
You can generally buy tickets at the door for Festival performances. However we strongly recommend pre-booking for Friday & Saturday evening shows.
Note the ticket status for the following shows:
Please arrive on time if pre-booked. There are unlikely to be any tickets available at the venue:
The following performances still have some tickets available but are selling well and may sell out. We would suggest arriving early as seating is unallocated. Pre-booking recommended if possible but tickets still available at the venue.
Last updated: 16/5/19 @ 4pm
Mingle with audience, performers and volunteers at our rotating, free, nightly Festival Club. The Festival Club starts around 10pm as our 9pm shows close until late .
For both weeks of the Festival the club nights are:
Tuesday: Street 66, Parliament St
Wednesday: The George, Sth Great George’s St.
Thursday: Pantibar, Capel St.
Friday: Street 66
Saturday: The Teachers’ Club, followed by The George until late!
(Monday is a party to welcome our participants to Dublin)
Free entry to the George if you show your ticket or Festival pass any evening until May 19.
Check out the locations here.
To celebrate the opening of Festival 2019 we have €10 Monday matinees of all our week 1 shows at 2:30pm / 4pm.
Comedy, drama, cabaret, love, scandal and intimate stories await.
Check out our week 1 shows & matinees here.
Can’t see our matinees? Don’t worry – we have more matinees on Saturday.
Our physical box office in Street 66, 33 Parliament Street is now open Mon-Sat April 29 – May 18, 12noon-3pm.
Feel free to drop in a get information on the Festival programme or bookings to or to book tickets by cash or card.
You can also phone the box office at +353 89 219 6898 during box office hours.
Click here for more information.
If you can’t make it to the box office, don’t worry:
Our 2019 Programme has been launched. You can download a printable copy of our brochure here.
You can also view the programme online and buy tickets 24/7 here.
Brochures will be available throughout Dublin city centre and selected other areas from this week onwards.
You will also be able to pick them up from our venues and our up-coming Box Office at Street 66.
Minister Josepha Madigan TD to Launch 16th Annual International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
‘16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival Returns’
The 16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, Ireland’s most exciting and diverse theatre festival returns to the capital from May 6th to 19th, kicking off the summer season with 21 world class performances from the four corners of the world, across 5 Stages for two glorious weeks this May.
The festival, the largest LGBT+ theatre festival in the world which will be launched tomorrow (16th April) at 6pm in City Assembly House by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan, brings critically acclaimed productions from the UK, USA, Canada, Ecuador, South Africa and Australia, as well as home-grown talent to Dublin’s stages for this jam-packed two week long event.
Minister Madigan said “I’m delighted to lend my support to the launch of this wonderfully diverse festival. The continued excellence and professionalism shown year on year has ensured the growth of this festival from humble beginnings in 2004 to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Oscar Wilde. The fact that these performances can take place in an ever more inclusive Ireland is something that should be celebrated just as enthusiastically. We have come such a long way for the better in this regard.”
The festival, which is in its 16th year has gone from strength to strength, drawing audiences and performers from all over the world to Dublin annually, even weathering the financial cutbacks and darkest days of the financial crisis.
Ms Madigan continued “Through the very financially straightened times from 2008 onwards when funding of the arts suffered severe cutbacks, the internationally famous event that we know today provided a beacon of hope when many festivals and events fell by the wayside. It is indeed testament to the fantastic work of Brian and his team, that performers from as far afield as the United Kingdom, from USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia and of course from Ireland, will perform to packed houses in venues throughout the city from May 6th to 19th.”
This years programme includes a ‘Broadway World Best Actor Award Winner’, a ‘GLOBE Artist of the Year Winner’, a ‘UK National Octagon Prizewinner’, a ‘2019 Fleur Du Cap Best Performance by an Ensemble Nominee’, many other critically acclaimed performers and theatre pieces as well as emerging writers and performers.
Upon launching the festival Brian Merriman festival director said
““I am very grateful for the Minister’s presence today and that of our first supporter and patron Senator David Norris and longtime supporter Senator Jerry Buttimer and other Oireachtas colleagues. To live in a society where diversity is embraced and encouraged is a privilege many of our LGBT+ artists abroad do not enjoy. To identify that need and to place Dublin at the centre of welcoming diverse artists and writers has, in the absence of sustainable resources, been the key to the longevity and relevance of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival since 2004.”
“Artists at home identify this Festival as being one open to new voices. We are. Artists abroad make huge sacrifices to tell their stories here. Our audiences understand the art form and are open to theatre holding a truthful mirror up to society as we know and live it today. The topics are historic and contemporary. They are shared by other sections of society and all are welcome in our festival.”
“The Me Too experience not only impacts on women but on gay actors too, drug abuse and chemsex is a reality of life today. Parenting, masculinity, relationships and how to hold onto them, changing times in the Gardai and in seminaries all feature in our theatrical discussion. The still almost silence on the age of AIDS and modern HIV diagnosis is challenged as is the experience of secrets in the past. The hidden lives of heroic Irish women are among the dark and very funny characters you will encounter. There are stories of criminalisation, love, growing up in Ireland or the Deep South, from talented and award winning artists waiting to take to our small stages.”
“Do something different this year – see these wonderful plays – they complete the theatrical conversation that informs and shapes the contribution of the arts to a modern society.”
Media contact: Sean Hegarty PR Director
For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.gaytheatre.ie
Founder & Artistic Director of IDGTF, Brian Merriman introduces the 2019 programme:
Welcome to our “sweet 16th!”
We are honoured to present twenty one plays in four city centre venues from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia this year.
We are in awe of the work of these innovative writers and companies who choose our festival as one of the world’s best spaces for LGBT+ theatre to thrive and to be appreciated.
What is even more encouraging is that we are not without choice. Almost 100 companies were in contact this year and had we more resources and support to offer, they could have joined us too.
We are delighted to welcome new Irish writers and companies this year and hope this small international cultural networking event we host will mean their work will be showcased abroad too.
Thanks to the increased support of the Arts Council and Dublin City Council and our kind commercial sponsors, we are still here.
Most especially, after 15 years, we were rewarded with an influx of new and generous volunteers on our hard-working executive team. They have made the difference in pushing out new boundaries and in broadening our welcome for all. Thank you.
We welcome everyone as our audience and appreciate it when you share our information online. If you have a new play for next year or want to volunteer check out www.gaytheatre.ie for information.
Ireland has changed a lot since year one. Many countries continue to discriminate and silence LGBT+ voices in the arts. It is important that Dublin provides a stage and an audience for this quality art form.
Thank you for your company during the artistic celebration of diversity that is the 16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival!
6The programme for the 16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival was launched today at the City Assembly Rooms, South William Street with guests of honour Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan TD and Festival Patron, Senator David Norris.
Artistic Director & Festival Founder Brian Merriman introduced the programme with to an audience of participants, media, volunteers and invited guests.
To find out more:
Twenty diverse shows with LGBT+ themes will arrive on Dublin city centre stages
for the 16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival from May 6-19th 2019.
Following an extensive curatorial process, the Festival has secured productions
from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia to perform over the two
week long event in May.
“New writing continues to dominate the selection process which also included
visiting 50 productions at the Edinburgh Fringe. I am delighted that South Africa
and Australian LGBT theatre return with new companies this year and acknowledge
the great efforts these companies make to showcase their work at the world’s
biggest Gay Theatre event in Dublin” said artistic director, Brian Merriman.
“We are pleased that new Irish companies are embracing this genre with
challenging and important LGBT stories for the stage. This opportunity to share
stages and network internationally within this theatrical genre is hugely important
for all writers and artists and has sustained us for our 16th year”, he added.
Details of the selected shows will be announced later this month at a launch event
“We are very pleased to have increased support this year from The Arts Council
and Dublin City Council to help us build mainstream audiences for such an
innovative programme of work, as we meet the challenges to let audiences know
that everyone is welcome at our Festival”, concluded Brian Merriman.
Festival updates regularly appear on www.gaytheatre.ie , and on social media.
For press information, email Sean at email@example.com
The programme for IDGTF 2019 is now available with secure online booking.
IDGTF 2019 takes place from May 6 – 19 with tickets €10/€13/€15.
The programme features a range of drama, comedy, comedy drama and more with productions from Ireland and 3 continents. Details of free events will be announced shortly.