Outburst Queer Arts Festival announces jam-packed 2023 programme

The 2023 programme for the Outburst Queer Arts Festival features an impressive list of events happening in Belfast from November 9 to 18.

Split-screen of events at the Outburst Queer Arts Festival 2023.
Image: Via Instagram and X - Outburst Festival

With an impressive lineup of 40 events in less than ten days, the Outburst Queer Arts Festival is back in Belfast this November 2023. The freshly announced programme for the latest edition of the festival features incredible performances, music, films and literature by queer artists as well as international guests from 15 countries, all coming to the Northern Irish capital for the occasion.

With its ethos of intersectionality and community support, the Outburst Festival is about bringing art and activism together. This year’s carefully curated programme aims to do just that with its strong selection of diverse works from both home-grown and international queer talent.

Among the highlights of the 2023 lineup is the groundbreaking new opera The Headless Soldier, brought to us by two of the UK’s most influential queer voices: Shopping and Fucking‘s Mark Ravenhill, and Conor Mitchell, creator of Abomination, a DUP opera. Their collaboration is a powerful triptych of short operas blending multi-media with live performance and chamber orchestra, which will be performed in one night at the Outburst Festival.

Alice O’Malley, the contemporary queer photographer known for her portraits of New York’s downtown personalities, will also make an appearance at the festival with the powerful exhibition Community of Elsewheres. The collection showcases portrayals of gender and sexuality, redefining the concept of community as an elusive concept.


The festival also features an intimate reading with acclaimed writer Seán Hewitt, who won the Laurel Prize for his first collection of poetry, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2022 for his memoir All Down Darkness Wide. Other guests include Fringe favourite Lucy McCormick and lesbian comedian and folk singer Grace Petrie.

Moreover, the 2023 edition of the Outburst Festival features workshops, cabaret, talks and much more, including a sonic séance. The third Outburst Queer Art Market will showcase LGBTQ+ makers of all kinds selling their art, craft, photography and much more on both Saturdays of the festival.



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Another highlight of the festival is the fast-selling Comix, Histories & Activism event, where Irish archivist Orla Egan will discuss her recent illustrated memoir Diary of an Activist, followed by a workshop with Belfast Comic Jam to teach attendees how to draw their own queer history.

These are only a few of the incredible events featured at the 2023 Outburst Festival, which will take place from November 9 to 18 in Belfast. You can check out the full programme now on their website.


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