Saturday, November 10, 2018

Outburst Queer Arts Festival - choices, cuts, cubes and conversation (8-17 November 2018)

Outburst Queer Arts Festival is back running in Belfast from 8 until 17 November. Last year’s thrilling programme served up an emotive revival of the Ten Plagues song cycle by Belfast Ensemble, the première of Richard O’Leary’s There’s a Bishop in My Bedroom, the first of many outings of the Quartered: Belfast, a Love Story walking tour by Kabosh, and strong experimental theatre in TheatreofplucK’s Tactics for Time Travel in a Toilet.

So what’s in store this year? The programme is stuffed full of thoughtful films, talks, theatre and performance art.

Brewing. Three local writers will share rehearsed readings of new work in the Black Box at 3.30pm on Sunday 11: Stacey Gregg – Hatchet Jinny; Amanda Verlaque – The Party; Dominic MontagueGlass Houses. A story of a granny, a political and electoral reaction to a homophobic politician’s resignation, and an app that puts endless possible relationships at your fingertips. [reviewed]

Richard O’Leary is back with Cut: Adult Circumcision for the Uptight, his hilarious educational talk that seeks to break the taboo in society as well as the health service around adult penile circumcision. The renowned storyteller will be opening up his own “true-life story of a Cavalier who became a Roundhead” on Sunday 11 at 6pm in The MAC and in the Royal Victoria Hospital’s Samuel Irwin Lecture Theatre on Friday 16 at 1pm. Free. [reviewed]

Choices is a live reading by Stacey Gregg of two intimate stories of women faced with the complex challenges of reproductive choice. Gregg’s award-winning play Scorch was performed as part of the 2015 Outburst festival. Originally commissioned by the Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester as part of the B!RTH debate, Choices is part of a collection of international plays that question birth practice and the cultural pressures that surround it. Monday 12 and Tuesday 13 at 8pm in The MAC. (Tuesday’s performance will be followed by a panel discussion.) [reviewed]

Belfast Ensemble are bring The Doppler Effect back to the Lyric Theatre between Wednesday 14 and Saturday 17 after last year’s development performance which was a real treat. A floating cube suspends a string trio and actor in the air, merging nightclub, concert, stage play and visual art. The story of loss, love and loneliness, one person’s night in the city they call home. Reviewing the show last year, I described it as
“genre-busting: musical theatre accompanied by dance, some narrative and some of the best visuals I’ve seen in a theatre. The genius of The Belfast Ensemble is that together the artists produce high quality, imaginative work that is riddled with enough layers of meaning that you are left wanting to hit rewind and go back to the beginning to breathe it all in again.”

The evening performance on Saturday 17 will be followed by the première of Abomination – The DUP in Concert in which the words of former MLA Iris Robinson’s interview on the Nolan Show will be performed by international soprano Rebecca Caine and backed by a chamber orchestra. Performed without explicit comment, composer Conor Mitchell hopes that the audience will appreciate how words matter and spark fresh conversations about the DUP the gay rights debate in Northern Ireland. [reviewed]

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