For immediate release
2016 the year of our Heroes – Thirteenth International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival Launches
The programme of the world’s largest Gay Theatre Festival was launched today by Minister of State for New Communities, Culture & Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, celebrating a century of LGBT heroes.
“We are delighted to once again host the world’s biggest and most diverse LGBT Theatre Festival from May Bank Holiday for two weeks in this commemorative year. 2016 not only allows us commemorate the contribution of gay people to the freedom of Ireland as a republic, but the many people who led the way to a more equal world for LGBT people. This is our thirteenth year staging new and diverse theatre, welcoming artists and audiences regardless of their sexual identity. Everyone is welcome in this unique festival of theatre” said Brian Merriman, who founded the event in 2004, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Oscar Wilde, with the aim to create new opportunities for visibility and affirmation of emerging LGBT artists and theatrical works.
“I am delighted to be here at today’s launch. The festival is crucial to providing a space for LGBT voices in the arts,” said Minister Ó Ríordáin, “This of course is a very special year for our country and as we reflect on the last 100 years and all of the positive things that we have achieved. We need only cast our eyes back to last May, to when we became the first country in the world to vote Yes to marriage equality, to see how far we have come as a nation.”
For two weeks the Festival will offer a unique opportunity to see LGBT culture on city centre stages (10 performances each night), presented by theatre companies from Ireland, the UK, USA, Canada, Iran, Russia, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, & Greece. From a wordless contemporary interpretation of the mythical story of Apollo & Hyacinth, to a satire of last year’s Marriage Equality Referendum, this varied programme of music, dramas, comedy and dance is a celebration of diversity and identity.
This year, the festival is especially excited to feature a host of 1916-themed productions in the form of full length plays, including “Eirebrushed,” written and directed by Festival Director Brian Merriman, in which the hidden lesbian and gay heroes of 1916 return today to discuss their place in modern Ireland. There is also a collection of Irish historical shorts and a free academic seminar detailing the forgotten role LGBT people and women played in 1916.
Also featured this year is the story of Alan Turing whose computer cracked the Nazi codes in World War II, and Ireland from the times of Oscar Wilde to the modern heroes that passed the referendum for equal marriage. Helen of Troy, the Greek banking crisis and even “the devil” Julie Andrews, make an appearance in a programme that welcomes, for the first time artists from regimes who endanger their lives as LGBT people in Russia and Iran.
Last week, the festival also received an endorsement from New York City Councillor Daniel Dromm, for the positive impact their work has had on LGBT people of Irish decent. “It is a great cause for celebration that Dublin is the recognised worldwide centre for the celebration of the LGBT identity through theatre as an art form.” said Brian Merriman.
They are all a part of the thirteenth annual International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. Are You?
For further information please contact:
Brian Merriman, Founder/Artistic Director
“It’s For You!” – Bank Holiday Start for the 12th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
Dublin’s May Bank Holiday starts with curtains up on a dozen new Irish and international shows. Our diverse programme of accessible theatre proudly features performances by theatre companies from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Iceland and Russia, with an entirely new programme beginning Monday May 11th. Playwrights and actors from the world’s best gay theatre companies will be entertaining Dublin audiences and showcasing their talents through a wide range of comedy, drama, music and dance theatre performances.
This year’s programme is full of compelling stories exploring universal themes from an LGBT perspective. Pauline in “Tuesdays at Tesco’s” used to be Paul, and her relationship with her father is strained as he is reluctant to accept her true self. In “Leaving Narnia”, local lad James Michael O’Sullivan is ‘as terrified as a turkey in November’ as he is about to come out to his parents. The Dean Kriel prepares for a private conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in “I’m Going Through Something”, where he takes the audience on a journey into the mind of a man split between himself, his nation, and his dreams. These themes have the power to resonate with all audiences, and are just a sampling of this year’s diverse offering (full programme on www.gaytheatre.ie).
“Everyone has a gift to tell their own story and for twelve years we have made Dublin the home of LGBT storytelling, passing our 3000th performance this year. It really is for you – we are communicating through theatre as an art form with the society in which we live, love, work and create. Previous festival alumni are now fronting major TV shows (David Ames, Holby City) or West End triumphs. At Dublin’s unique gay theatre festival, you will see a great array of talent, regardless of their or your orientation, telling stories from our history or presenting a new perspective on modern living. You are welcome and the ticket prices are great value,” said festival founder Brian Merriman.
The 12th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival has something for everyone – from a hilarious take on life in rural Ireland in “The Equals” to an invitation to join the Cult of Cosmic Purgatory in “CASTRATI – An Electro Drag Opera” and a behind the scenes look at a 1950s sci-fi TV show in “The Further Adventures of…”, and so much more.
“Don’t attend because it is gay theatre, attend because it is good theatre!”
For further information please contact:
Brian Merriman or firstname.lastname@example.org
Secure online booking is now open on www.gaytheatre.ie. Tickets are from €10-15 with a new nightly venue ticket of €25 for two plays in the same venue (7.30pm/9.00pm) being launched this year. Matinees are on Bank Holiday Monday (May 4th) and each Saturday (May 9th/16th). Box office opens April 27th from 12 noon to 3pm daily in the Grattan Coffee Shop/Boteco Brazil on 6 Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin 1. An entirely new programme of theatre begins each Monday 4th/11th May 2015, totalling 183 performances of 27 plays, music, comedy and dance.
Address by Brian Merriman, Founder, International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, at the launch of the 11th Festival in the Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2 on Tuesday March 18th at 5.30pm.
Sen. David Norris, Patrick Mason & Brian Merriman at the launch
“Lord Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you Lord Mayor for the great honour you do for us again today by acknowledging the citizenship of the LGBT community in Dublin and our contribution to the arts. It is important to be included and very nice to be welcomed into the home of the First Citizen. Dublin City Council, which you lead, gets inclusiveness – it is part of what makes Dublin a good place to express yourself and one of the key pillars of the success of Dublin as being the biggest international home for gay theatre on the planet! You and your predecessors, and your Arts office have been a considerable help to us in reaching our second decade and long may that cooperation last!
Yes, The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival is the biggest of it is kind in the world. It is also an established example of what people can achieve together when they have a common cause. Not for the first time are we in the presence of a Tony Award winner. Our patron Terrence Mac Nally has graced this festival previously. I am particularly thrilled to welcome Tony Award winning director Patrick Mason here today. He truly honours us, not only with his distinguished presence, but with the gift of his theatre at home and abroad. He has directed over 150 works. I think he is responsible for me seeing my first gay play in Ireland in the National Theatre – ‘Angels in America’ – what a far-seeing and wonderful production that challenged Irish audiences to embrace other cultures. It was, as always, ahead of it’s time for Ireland. Most recently I attended his wonderful study of Frank Mc Guinness’s latest play ‘The Hanging Gardens’, and his powerful interpretation of ‘Observe the Sons of Ulster’ still lives in my memory. All of that, Wilde and what many of you here today do, is gay theatre. When not advertised as that, they pack out in mainstream – when we advertise them as gay theatre, we battle for hearts, minds and seats! That is our inter-cultural dialogue – to show that gay theatre is good theatre and it is for you.
I would like to congratulate Patrick on being elevated to a Doctorate by UCD last June. Patrick placed at the centre of his stewardship of the national theatre at the end of the twentieth century, an artistic courage through the liberation of voices. We share, but in an incredibly modest way as you can clearly see, his inspiration and Yeat’s call that art and intellect could integrate with the social and political, as it must. In trying to contribute in some way to the liberation and recognition of gay voices in theatre, we too seek to enable Yeat’s call to ‘speak the deeper thoughts and emotions of Ireland’.
Welcome too to Sean, his partner and I know they and you will all join with me in marking the recent passing of Ireland’s foremost gay artist Patrick Scott. Pat was yet another gay man whose art shone through in a much less accepting time, proving my old mantra again ‘it is not acceptable to laud the art and loath the artist’. Pat’s remarkable journey of creativity in a very hostile time in Ireland also proves what many minorities struggle with – you really do have to be brilliant just to be equal, and he certainly was that. When he was made a Saoi in Aosdana I wanted to celebrate his complete identity at a launch to claim him as a role model for his achievement for us as well, but I couldn’t as I didn’t know if his personal life with his partner Eric Pearce was public. It was good to see his life fully acknowledged at his passing. Our sympathies go to Eric, his family, colleagues and friends. May he rest easy and may we continue to enjoy his great legacy.
We also are celebrating the beginning of our second decade at a time when something remarkable happened in Irish theatre. There is always an open door welcome for Irish artists in this International Festival and I am thrilled to launch the biggest Irish programme ever this year. In this multi-media age, some question the relevance of theatre – and then Rory O Neill dons his latest glamorous outfit and produces probably his finest piece of theatre on the Abbey stage. The show was over, he walked onto the stage as a noble call and delivered in the most expertly crafted lines, a voice to the ongoing story of unchallenged oppression that still gets us all on a daily basis. One short moment in live theatre captured our multi media world, went viral and is now, thanks to the ‘Pet Shop Boys’ topping the charts. And with all the fuss and attention, the truth of Panti’s message is still the most triumphant element of his achievement in not bowing to adversity. It was remarkable theatre by a remarkable artist. It is equally remarkable that so many people were enlightened by what to the rest of us is our daily experience, internalised or externalised oppression.
It is somewhat frustrating that despite a decade of either achievement or survival, this worldwide event in Dublin is at risk of falling with the last volunteer. We have no office, no computer, no staff and not even a chair as an asset, after a decade of unrivalled output and considerable success. It is exhausting trying to work real standards driven theatre with such a paucity of resources, despite the generosity of our volunteer base. I want genuinely to acknowledge the support given to us in staging 180 performances of new Irish theatre and international voices in Dublin this May with the essential help of 6,000 euros from the Arts Council and 4,000 euros from Dublin City Council. We are, with six weeks to go, anxiously awaiting to see if Fáilte Ireland will maintain or hopefully add to our 3,000 euros grant from 2013. ‘RTE Supporting the Arts’ has kindly offered us a free TV ad this year, if we can raise the resources to make it. That’s a much better way for them to use their scarce resources. RTE, through the Festival, first broadcast the word ‘gay’ in an ad on radio and later on TV, just as the City Council made history when they first flew the word ‘gay’ on the flagpoles on the River and will facilitate us doing so again this year – thank you.
You can read all about that and more in my book ‘Wilde Stages In Dublin – a decade of gay theatre’ now on sale here, in the Little Museum of Dublin and Book Upstairs on online on http://www.gaytheatre.ie. Our thanks also go to the our long-standing friends in the Arlington Hotel group, who really do look after our guests each year so well and to the Front Lounge, the gay media and all venues for their ongoing support.
In the 21st Century, the latest crumb to fall from the rights table, is that we are to be allowed ask for permission to marry in a referendum next year – the final ignomy perhaps to end 130 years of legislative oppression, formalised with the 1885 Act that incarcerated Wilde, forbade Edwards and Mac Liammoir from marrying, never acknowledged the 1923 election of Dr Kathleen Lynn as our first and perhaps only lesbian TD, saw the IRB abandon Casement in the dock as his diaries revealed his prowess, encouraged Francis Bacon and thousands of others to stay away, and still criminalised us until 21 years ago. In all that we still find the space to tell the stories of the past and our stories of today in this innovative and entertaining programme and to be fair, more people straight and gay listen for the 11th year in succession.
The vibrant programme this year reflects our history as plays unpack the stories of the Great War in ‘For the Trumpets Still Sound’. My own play ‘Eirebrushed’ looks at the concept of a flawed person being a hero in the context of Pearse, Casement, O’Farrell and Gore Booth, who along with Kathleen Lynn and Madeleine ffrench Mullen were among the many gay heroes of a struggle in 1916, which was to end with no minority being subject to the majority. We are glad to return to the New Theatre this year.
We out soccer players in ‘Away From Home’ – when an escort falls for his premier league client. Marriage equality shines through in the retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk in ‘A Boy and A Bean’ from Australia and the other side of the coin ‘Civil Parting’ about divorce, coming to us from South Africa. Pearse and Casement are not the only political figures under the spotlight as politics and culture from the 1980s is quite a theme this year. Margaret Thatcher becomes the ‘Queen of Soho’ finding herself lost in Soho on the eve of Clause 28 and accidentally becoming a cabaret star. If only she had remained in that career choice.
We kick off our free events programme with ‘Show and Tell’ and ‘Spoken Word’ curated by David Doyle in ‘The Harbour Playhouse’ in Portobello. ‘T-Girls’ is our free play reading on Sunday May 11th in the Front Lounge, set on the drag scene in Dublin 1980s. In a year where transgender identity rights take another step forward, we also look at gender identity in a special matinee ‘child friendly’ play called ‘Aunty Ben’. Ciara Gannon and Siobhan Killen treat us to a musical 80’s feast of what was ‘Acceptable In The 80’s’ – part of a specific series where Irish LGBT voices direct from the community, share their talents this year. This includes the accomplished LGBT ‘Acting Out’ Group presenting their politically incorrect comedy ‘Tits Up’ both in the wonderful space at Outhouse, the LGBT community centre in Capel Street. It is good to be back there amongst friends.
We continue to encourage new writing and our audiences continue to flock to the ever popular ‘Theatre Shorts’ programme. This year we have five shorts in the Cobalt Café with ‘Blue Boy’ by mark Ward, ‘Dear Madonna’ by Mark Power, ‘Grace and Maggie’ by Therese Prendiville, ‘Bitten’ by Penny Jackson and ‘The Interview’ by myself, Irish and international writers. We are delighted to welcome our first play from Derry ‘Lesbian Style’ powerful storytelling theatre.
What is a strong bond in gay theatre is that is doesn’t need any translation if it comes to Ireland from abroad. ‘Faggot (Jesus Loves Me)’ deals with the struggle a Canadian couple have with one being influenced by religion and the other not. Gay icon Madonna gets her homage in the shorts, in Outhouse and also in ‘Chicken Fried Ciccione’ by last year’s best Actor J Stephen Brantley from New York.
Ireland’s stand-up comic Breda Larkin is back with another hit ‘Other Women’s World’ and we link up with the legendary Provincetown Gay Theatre Festival to bring ‘Two from Provincetown’: ‘A Shining Attribute by Candyce Rusk and a short, ‘What to Throw Out’ by our Ambassador Kathleen Warnock, so instrumental in bringing ‘Panti’ and our Festival to the streets of the inclusive ‘St Patricks for All Parade’ in New York, recently.
We have some great musical treats. Renowned star ‘The Late David Turpin’ will play his only 2014 Irish concerts in two late nights in the Cobalt, the week after Stella Bass presents a jazz version of some of composer Stephen Sondheim’s best songs in ‘A Little jazz Night Music’. The UK’s Exist Theatre combines original music in their contemporary relationship piece called ‘Man Enough’ and we camp it up big time in a backstage musical delight called ‘The Dressers’ completing our musical programme.
We are delighted to renew our acquaintance with the legendary gay theatre producer David Zak. David’s Chicago based ‘Bailiewick Theatre Company’ and his ‘Pride Film and Play’ competition results in a visit for the first time in years by this company, with the award winning comedy ‘At the Flash’.
Young Irish writers continue to identify the Festival as a place where they will be heard, supported and showcased. Del Masterson premiere’s his latest work ‘Two Sides Of A Coin’ as does the prolific Alan Flanagan who will meet us at the junction of ‘Dupont and Davenport’. We present two accounts of historical gay writers in Israel’s ‘Jean Genet – Son of a Bitch’ and we would not be complete without some Oscar and look forward to a visit from ‘My Dorian’ from Starving Artists, a university company from the USA. It is great to see their university funding this trip.
I can think of no better way to begin a new decade that to mark an incredible coincidence. In May 1964 – the 18th to be precise – retired dancer Joe Cino broke new boundaries by staging the first ever ‘gay play’ in gay theatre. ‘The Madness of Lady Bright’ by Landford Wilson was the trail blazer and exactly 50 years to the night, our Gala night will celebrate International Gay theatre in our awards concert and ceremony titled in tribute ‘A Night At The Café Cino’. Here we will present awards in the names of Wilde, Edwards, Mac Liammoir, Eve Gore Booth, Patrick Murray and pioneering gay playwright from the Cino days, Doric Wilson, in a celebration of what I am sure will be a Festival of merit to begin our second decade.
We are also launching today a fundraising partnership programme with the LGBT community groups where we invite them to book out a theatre on an opening night at a discounted rate, and to charge what they like to raise funds for their diverse and essential causes. We hope this will in some way assist them as they too struggle to preserve essential services and to fight the cause of human rights for all, through the marriage equality campaigns that are ahead.
My attempts to step down as the organiser of this event after a decade have been a spectacular failure. I am very grateful to the small team that continues to step forward and to dedicate their considerable time and talent to ensure other voices will be included in our intercultural dialogue with mainstream society at home and abroad. Interns Ramona and David have made their mark and Company Secretary, Gareth, John James, Annick, Vinny or very talented designer who takes the helm for the first time this year, Joe, Adam, Meg, our ‘straight’ technical Director Paul, and the team of volunteers with endless patience and dedication will see this event through once more, backstage, front of house and in marketing and promotion, I am sure. We do need help over the next two months and we need support, resources, and a generosity of talking the event up, to ensure it’s second decade will build on the achievements of the first. I live in hope of finding a successor to Chair this dynamic entity.
We are suffering from goodwill. 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. This programme will appeal to many and we need your help in convincing them, that as mainstream theatre is inclusive and relevant, so are we. If you have never done it before, book a show online at http://www.gaytheatre.ie – top price is only 15 euros. If you have done it before, book in a friend or make this your group activity in May. 50% of our audience is straight, we attract tourists form abroad but we need more people from all walks of life to cross the threshold of innovative theatre to support these great companies who sacrifice so much to showcase their work at our Festival. We do not personally profit in anyway from our work, 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.
Thank you, Lord Mayor for your gracious hospitality and support. Thank you Patrick for you ongoing contribution to great theatre and for allowing us to associate ourselves with you today. Thank you all for writing, acting, singing, producing, technical support, front of house, administration, funding, sponsoring, fundraising and attending. Booking opens online tomorrow morning! See you at the 11th festival with a new programme of quality theatre each week beginning May 5th and May 12th 2014.”
11th INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN GAY THEATRE FESTIVAL 2014
LAUNCHED BY LORD MAYOR OISIN QUINN AND TONY AWARD-WINNING DIRECTOR PATRICK MASON
March 18th 2014, The Oak Room, Mansion House, Dublin 2, 17.30
The Eleventh Annual International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival programme was launched today at The Oak Room at the Mansion House.
The Festival will take place from May 5th to May 18th at various locations around Dublin and present plays from abroad – USA, Canada, South Africa, Israel and Australia as well as plays from closer to home from Northern Ireland and Britain.
This year’s Festival will also feature a record number of plays by Irish playwrights and gladly 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.
In his speech, the Festival 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 straight, he pointed out that the Festival is “suffering from goodwill. 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.”
He added: “We do not personally profit in anyway 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 talk about gay rights, politics and sex in the 80s, 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 and despite religion.
There will be stories about privilege and assumed rights that go with it; pure malice and perceived evil, obsession and corruption of beauty. 1916’s heroes feature as does the work of Wilde and Jean Genet, Stephen Sondheim and even Margaret Thatcher will make an appearance on stage! But without fail, the Festival will show stories of and about that unpredictable and uncontrollable organ – the heart.
Booking is available online at http://www.gaytheatre.ie or at the Festival Box Office at The Arlington Hotel Temple Bar, Lord Edward Street from April 28th 12 noon to 3.00pm daily.
For further information please contact the Director Brian Merriman at 087 6573732 / email@example.com
Gay Star News Announced as Global Media Partner for International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival 2013
Gay Star News have come on board as the Global Media Partner for 10th year of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival.
Festival Secretary, Gareth Hurley, has expressed his enthusiasm for the pairing.
“I am really looking forward to the possibility of working with Gay Star News, this promises to be a very productive partnership for both of us.” He said.
This partnership will support the festival in bringing the news of the festival 2013 festival to a wider international audience. Reaching 200 countries worldwide on a monthly basis, Gay Star News is the ideal global media partner.
The International Dublin Gay Theatre festival is the largest festival of it’s kind in the world. In 2013 over 200 performances will take place in six venues around Dublin bringing together artists from around the world.
Gay Star News has previously partnered with Sydney Mardi Gras, National Diversity Awards and Iris Prize Festival. News, features and reviews from the festival can be found on the Gay Star News websitehttp://www.gaystarnews.com
Dublin is going ‘wilde’ in May to celebrate ten years of international gay theatre. Musicals, drama, dance, Opera, drag, cabaret and comedy from five continents will be presented in over 200 performances in city centre venues during May 6th to 19th 2013. The International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival is the biggest event of its kind in the world. “This year we will reach our 200th performance of gay theatre in the birthplace of Oscar Wilde” said founder Brian Merriman. “We present works by gay authors or that have a gay character, theme or relevance such as feminism, masculinity or gender identity in small theatres throughout the city centre at reasonable prices” he added.
City Centre Hotel Accommodation packages of up to 50% discount are available to festival attendees at firstname.lastname@example.org and excellent theatre value is available in secure online booking from 10 to 15 euros per performance for matinee an evening shows. “There are some free events including a nightly festival club where casts, crews and audience socialise” continued Brian Meriman. “The Festival presents the best in new writing that appeals to a mainstream audience and we are delighted to welcome visitors during the ‘Year of the Gathering in Ireland’ for a unique theatrical and social experience” he concluded. The 30 play programme features productions from Ireland, the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia and is available for online booking in April on www.gaytheatre.ie and follow us on Facebook for updates.
Senator Katherine Zappone, Ireland’s first lesbian member of parliament, will launch this year’s programme for us at 1pm this Wednesday 28th in The Arlington Hotel, Temple Bar, Dublin.
This year the festival hosts worldwide entertainment from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, the USA, Canada, Germany and South Africa in nine city-centre venues around Dublin. This unique festival runs from 7th to 20th May and welcomes audiences of all ages and sexual identities.
Images and more information available on request to email@example.com
The Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., officially launched the Eighth Dublin International Theatre Festival at Copper Alley, Arlington Hotel Temple Bar.
This year the festival hosts worldwide entertainment from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, the USA, Canada and Venezuela in seven city-centre venues around Dublin. This unique festival runs from 2nd to 15th May welcomes audiences of all ages and sexual identities.