The annual International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival takes place this May, celebrating the contribution of the gay community to theatre.
The festival was founded in 2004 to mark the 150th anniversary of Oscar Wilde’s birthday, and since then it has grown and become the largest event of its kind in the world. There is an emphasis on new Irish and international works that have a broadly gay theme or relevance, and the festival creates opportunities for visibility and affirmation for emerging and existing gay theatrical works and artists.
The programme for this 11th edition includes works by gay writers, works that have a gay theme, or works that include a performance or another artistic contribution by gay people. The core aim of the festival is to establish Dublin as the leading centre of international gay theatre by developing a high quality artistic programme that explores the concepts of gay theatre and promotes new writing.
The Founding Artistic Director of the festival is Brian Merriman, one of Ireland’s leading producers and directors as well as an accomplished actor, writer and singer in music and theatre in Ireland and abroad. He has a strong commitment to diversity and equality in the arts and has sourced, encouraged, and developed thousands of young artists and volunteers over the years.
The festival’s symbol is a green carnation, chosen because it was once the secret symbol of same sex love with an association to the theatre. According to the book ‘The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde‘ by Neil McKenna, Parisian gays began to wear an artificially dyed green carnation in 1891 as a secret symbol of their sexual preferences.
At the premiere of one of his plays in 1892, Wilde asked that a number of men wear a dyed green carnation in order to arouse public curiosity, and Wilde later claimed that it was he who invented the artificial carnation.
This year’s International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival programme includes free events, dramas, comedies and music and participation is open to all who wish to witness and acknowledge the immense contribution of the gay community to theatre. The festival runs from 5th to 18th May in various locations around Dublin.
For more information on the programme and to buy tickets, please visit the official festival website.
All images courtesy International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival