Dublin Gay Theatre Festival is a Gay Old Time

Over 20 diverse shows with LGBT+ themes will arrive on Dublin City Centre stages for the 16th International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival (IDGTF) from May 6 – 19, 2019.

The event has secured productions from Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia to perform. Speaking about the programme, the festival’s artistic director Brian Merriman said in a statement: “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.”

One highlight of the festival is A Southern Fairytale, starring 2017 Broadway World Best Actor Award Winner Ty Autry. Arriving in Ireland hot on the heels of movies like Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the play – based on true events – is about a gay Christian growing up in the Deep South. It explores issues like excommunication and conversion therapy.

A Southern Fairytale will be performed at The Teacher’s Club studio as part of a double bill from May 6 – 11 with Irish play The Number. The latter is a bittersweet coming-of-age tale about the day in 1993 when homosexuality was decriminalized in Ireland.

Another double bill at the same time in the Pearse Centre is linked by female protagonists. A Drunk Lesbian Love Affair is a one-person show, performed and penned by Thalia Gonzalez Kane which chronicles the escapades of Sally and her ‘drunk lesbian lover’ through a haze of whiskey and wine. Joining it is Cello, in which a grieving daughter discovers letters left by her deceased father, a passionate cellist. The letters bring to life her father’s love for a man called Bill, a cello maker.

From May 6 – 11 in The Teachers Club Main Hall is The Baby Monitor, a 2014 National New Play Network finalist exploring the challenges and bias associated with same-sex parenting.  Meanwhile for something lighter at the same time, check out US comedian Woody Shticks’ Schlong Song at the Players Theatre and Julie Gieseke’s comic one woman show Borderline A**hole at the Pearse Theatre.

In the festival’s second week – from May 13 – 18 – there’s two more double bills. The first takes place at the Pearse Centre and consists of The Little Pink Book of Masculinity, a hilarious play about a 22-year-old man trying to navigate the gay community, and The Measure of a Man, a one-man-show from Australian and 2016’s Globe Artist of the Year Gavin Roach – making his Dublin debut.

The second double bill is made up of two American plays and is happening at The Teachers Club Studio. Obligatory Scene is a challenging and engaging two-woman theatre piece exploring sexual assault, from world renowned playwright Carolyn Gage. It will be performed alongside Miss Furr and Miss Skeene, an adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s word portrait of the same name by Dublin Gay Theatre Festival outstanding female performance winner Lynda Sturner.

Speaking of Stein, the Teachers Club Main Hall will host South African company Gottaluvit’s play and Fleur Du Cap nominee Gertrude Stein and a Companion at the same time. A tender story of love and loss, it delves into the extraordinary relationship between the legendary writer and her long-time companion Alice B. Toklas.

Another highlight of the festival is UK National Octagon prizewinner All I See is You (pictured above), being performed at the Players Theatre from May 13 – 18. Inspired by real accounts of queer life from 50 years ago, the play documents the forbidden passion between two men in the years before the 1967 Sexual Offences Act partly decriminalised homosexual acts.

At the same time, the Players Theatre will also host Velvet, a semi-autobiographical piece from Tom Ratcliffe. Set against the backdrop of the 2017 #MeToo movement, the play explores the complex realities of harassment within the British entertainment industry and how far a person is willing to go in order to achieve their dreams.

Also from May 13 – 18, there will be Revolting Women: A Rebel Cabaret at The Teachers Club Main Hall. After directing feature length documentary Outitude about the Irish lesbian community, Sonya Mulligan brings this empowering new work to IDGTF. Another noteworthy play is Party Boy from the festival’s artistic director Brian Merriman. Playing at the Players Theatre, it tells the true story of Ireland’s first international gay go-go dancer.

There will also be a free play reading of Merriman’s work Quilt, that will take place at The George Bar on Sunday, May 12. It centres on the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and uses testimonies from lovers, volunteers, activists, sons, daughters, husbands, wives and parents to show how HIV knew no discrimination from celebrity to the marginalized.

For IDGTF’s full programme, performance times and ticket information, visit www.gaytheatre.ie/.

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