Gate Theatre to celebrate lesbian and queer culture in Ireland with new series of events

As part of the Gate Conversation series there will be various academic panels to mark the Irish premiere of Fun Home.

A scene from the Fun Home musical is set on stage, the main character Alison holds keys limply in her right hand. The Fun Home musical will be accompanied by the Bechdel Fest which is a series of small events highlighting the lesbian and queer history of Ireland.
Image: @gatetheatredublin on instagram

Following the Irish premiere of the critically acclaimed LGBTQ+ musical Fun Home, the Gate Theatre is proudly presenting The Bechdel Fest, a series of lesbian and queer events curated by journalist and activist Una Mullally.

As part of the Gate Conversations series, The Bechdel Fest will run alongside the Fun Home musical from July 22 to August 5. Each short event will explore queer and lesbian culture, both historical and contemporary, and will feature an array of speakers that have shaped LGBTQ+ history in Ireland.

Fun Home is adapted from a graphic novel of the same name and the musical has gone on to win five Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

Running at the Gate Theatre from July 1 until August 26, it focuses on graphic novelist Alison who is forced to confront long-hidden familial secrets that come to light after the sudden death of her father. The performance plays with Alison’s memories, from when she was a child playing in her family’s funeral home to her coming out in college and finding her first love.

“It is not just an homage to the groundbreaking work of Alison Bechdel, but a brilliant opportunity to gather our lesbian and queer communities to orbit this production of Fun Home,” commented Una Mullally when speaking about The Bechdel Fest.

“It’s been a thrill to curate a series of events that speaks to lesbian and queer representation in popular culture and art, activism and legislation to support queer and lesbian parents, revolutionary queer histories in the immediate vicinity of the theatre, and so much more.”



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The first of the Gate Theatre’s The Bechdel Fest events will be the Same-Sex Parental Rights Panel, hosted by Una Mullally on Saturday, July 22. The free event at 12pm will examine issues around same-sex parental rights and will explore the current legal situation in relation to queer couples and their children, and the barriers they face in gaining full legal recognition. Moninne Griffith of Belong To, playwright Sonya Kelly, and activist Caroline Larkin will be the panel speakers at this event.

The following week on Saturday, July 29 at 12pm, there will be a panel titled The Queer Pen: Writers in Conversation. Ireland’s foremost queer writers Stacey Gregg, Katherine O’Donnell and Conner Habib will speak about their own work in the context of the broader queer canon. Capacity is strictly limited and tickets are on sale on the Gate Theatre website.

There will also be new Secret Lesbian and Queer History of Dublin 1 walking tours happening at 2pm on July 29 and August 5. The one-hour tour will start at the Gate Theatre and will be guided by Una Mullaly and historian Mary McAuliffe. Tickets for this event can also be found on the Gate Theatre website.

The final event to be featured as part of the Gate Conversations series is open to all ticketholders of the Fun Home performance on Thursday, August 3. Post-show, there will be a salon-style conversation that will explore the themes of Fun Home and also other lesbian and queer art that has had a profound impact on the cultural conversation. The speakers at the panel will be activist Ailbhe Smyth, historian Mary McAuliffe and screenwriter, director, and photographer Sarah Francis.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to hear from Ireland’s most renowned lesbian and queer speakers at any of these fantastic events – book your tickets now on the Gate Theatre website.

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