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LGBTQIA+ Theatre

This section contains content about work created by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. Dive in with the series Gender Power and Politics, curated by MJ Kaufman, or Beyond Angry Lesbians and Gay Best Friends: Writing Gender and Sexuality in the 21st Century, a panel from the Dramatists Guild.

The Latest

Pinkwashing Islamophobia in Performance
Essay
Pinkwashing Islamophobia in Performance
by Joseph Dunne-Howrie
30 January 2024
Queer Dramaturgies in Turkish Theatre
Podcast
Queer Dramaturgies in Turkish Theatre
by Marina Johnson, Nabra Nelson, Erdem Avşar
24 January 2024
Care, Collectivism, Midsummer, and Macbeth
Essay
Care, Collectivism, Midsummer, and Macbeth
by Sophie McIntosh
22 January 2024
Nine performers stand side by side on stage and look outward to the audience.
Pinkwashing Islamophobia in Performance
Essay

Pinkwashing Islamophobia in Performance

30 January 2024

Joseph Dunne-Howrie reflects on DV8’s Can We Talk About This?, exploring how the show employs pinkwashing as a vehicle for Islamophobia and racism. Joseph highlights how, rather than espousing progressive values, the show uses similar tactics of alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos.

A promotional graphic for the Kunafa and Shay podcast.
Queer Dramaturgies in Turkish Theatre
Podcast

Queer Dramaturgies in Turkish Theatre

24 January 2024

How can we think of queerness as a form of political intervention? In this episode, we talk with Erdem Avşar about Turkish theatre, queer utopias, and ghosts. We examine queer dramaturgies in Turkish and international theatre, discuss translation into and from Turkish, re-think temporality in playwriting, and question what queer utopias look like onstage.

An actors holds a fork over an actor lying on a table, as if preparing to stab him.
Care, Collectivism, Midsummer, and Macbeth
Essay

Care, Collectivism, Midsummer, and Macbeth

22 January 2024

Sophie McIntosh recounts her experience seeing Double Feature’s productions of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in one Brooklyn brownstone. The directors of the two shows prioritized care and collectivity and aimed to throw away power structures, despite their limited resources. As a person who has historically felt alienated by Shakespeare, Double Feature helped Sophie discover that Shakespeare was allowed to be for her too. 

Promotional Graphic for Kunafa and Shay.
Producing Queer MENA Theatre on the American Stage
Podcast

Producing Queer MENA Theatre on the American Stage

17 January 2024

This season, we have talked about what it means to create characters who break out of boxes and create new queer representations. Once these characters are created, then comes the challenge of having your work produced. In this episode, we talk with Kareem Fahmy who has dealt with the considerations of producibility and what it means to have his work produced on stages in the United States.

Promotional Graphic for Kunafa and Shay.
Femme MENA Representation in Lebanon and the United States
Podcast

Femme MENA Representation in Lebanon and the United States

10 January 2024

This season, we further complicate notions of MENA womanhood by exploring the additional intersection of queerness in femme MENA theatremaking. Two queer Lebanese femme theatremakers based in the United States, Lama El Homaïssi and Sarah Bitar, join us to discuss how intersectional identities show up in their work and life, and the social atmosphere for femme MENA theatre artists in Lebanon and the United States.

A promotional graphic for the Kunafa and Shay podcast.
Affinity Spaces for MENA/SWANA and LGBTQIA+ Artists
Podcast

Affinity Spaces for MENA/SWANA and LGBTQIA+ Artists

13 December 2023

Affinity spaces have been an undercurrent of discussion across the three seasons of Kunafa and Shay. In this live session at the 2023 MENATMA Convening at Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, in partnership with Mizna+RAWIfest, Marina and Nabra sit down with artists to discuss the nuances of MENA and SWANA affinity spaces and MENATMA, Mizna, and RAWI’s roles in facilitating national cultural affinity among artists of intersectional identities.

Kunafa & Shay teaser image with guest headshots.
Home and Exile in Queer MENA Theatremaking
Podcast

Home and Exile in Queer MENA Theatremaking

6 December 2023

MENA cultures are deeply familial with a strong connection to home, defined geographically and through close family bonds. With fraught political and religious opinions about queerness throughout the region, making queer art can threaten those deep connections. How do queer MENA artists consider those complications when making theatre? How do individuals change culture in the face of possible exile? Multi-hyphenate artists Zeyn Joukhadar and Raphaël Aimé Khouri interrogate these questions.

A promotional graphic for the Kunafa and Shay podcast
Queering Film
Podcast

Queering Film

22 November 2023

Film reaches a larger public than theatre due to the way it is produced and disseminated. In this way, it has a large and lasting cultural impact. In this episode with Mike Mossalem and Amin El Gamal, we discuss the ways the film and theatre fields influence each other as they both contribute to culture change and performance methodologies.

A promotional graphic for the Kunafa and Shay Podcast
Art, Activism, and Connecting to the Past
Podcast

Art, Activism, and Connecting to the Past

8 November 2023

Activism and storytelling often go hand in hand. What does it mean for queer art and activism to take center stage? How can we look to the future while honoring the places and people from where we all came? In this episode, Sivan Battat talks about their ancestral storytelling workshops within queer and Middle Eastern communities and how they see the relationship between art and activism.

Kunafa and Shay Teaser Image with guest headshot.
Art as Politics
Podcast

Art as Politics

25 October 2023

Is art inherently political? Must artists consider sociopolitics in the development of their work? Hamed Sinno’s art has been constantly and publicly politicized. In this episode, we hear about Sinno’s own artistic process and how they approach their art in light of this politicization and their perspective on the role of art in politics in the MENA region and beyond.

Ten actors link arms with each other during a performance.
Balancing Trauma and Joy While Teaching Queer Theatre History
Essay

Balancing Trauma and Joy While Teaching Queer Theatre History

24 October 2023

Theatre professor John Michael DiResta reflects on teaching queer theatre history to students who have had very different lived queer experiences than he had growing up. By investigating queer theatrical history from a contemporary lens and with an invitation to engage and make something new, his students were able to find the joy in history where they previously only saw trauma.

Kunafa and Shay Teaser Image with guest headshot.
Breaking Out of Queer Boxes
Podcast

Breaking Out of Queer Boxes

11 October 2023

Queer SWANA theatremakers are constantly breaking out of boxes. Even within queer and/or SWANA spheres, some artists are pushing boundaries and redefining broad identity categories. Join two such artists, Bazeed and Pooya Mohseni, in a discussion on the present and future of SWANA theatremaking.

Kunafa and Shay Teaser Image with guest headshot.
Queer Representation in the United States
Podcast

Queer Representation in the United States

27 September 2023

In this episode, playwright and dramaturg Adam Ashraf Elsayigh joins co-hosts Nabra Nelson and Marina Johnson to unpack what it means to put queer SWANA characters on stage and discuss the future of representation in the United States.

Gender Euphoria teaser image featuring guest profile image.
The Queer-Trans Performance Family Tree is more of a Galaxy
Podcast

The Queer-Trans Performance Family Tree is more of a Galaxy

With Guest H. May

13 September 2023

Dr. H. May joins host Nicolas Shannon Savard, who introduces the Queer-Trans Performance Family Tree Project, an interactive, open-access digital exhibit visually connecting trans artists across the United States to the collectives and communities who have sustained our work. This episode explores the role of mentorship in both the research for the project and in their own work as gender nonconforming theatremakers.

Gender Euphoria teaser image featuring guest profile images.
Queer Archival Praxis Roundtable
Podcast

Queer Archival Praxis Roundtable

With Guests David Silvernail, Janet Werther, Victoria Lafave, Jordan Ealey, and Kelli Crump

6 September 2023

What role does white supremacy play in the creation of the queer theatre canon? What power and what responsibility do we—as queer theatremakers, historians, and educators—have to challenge canons and archives that define “queer” almost exclusively as white and cisgender? Artist-scholars Janet Werther, Victoria LaFave, Jordan Ealey, David Silvernail, and Kelli Crump join host Nicolas Shannon Savard to tackle these questions and to queer the archive.

A man stands on stage in the middle of a spotlight, with a projection behind him of him as a child.
Composting Queer Trauma through a Collaborative Process in SEAL
Essay

Composting Queer Trauma through a Collaborative Process in SEAL

24 August 2023

As writer-performer Dante Fuoco and director Clara Wiest came together to rework Dante’s autobiographical solo show SEAL, they developed a process that centered intentional care and trauma-informed practices. In this interview with Rachel Pottern Nunn, Clara and Dante reflect upon the production, discuss the relationship between writer/performer and director, and share insights from their generative process.

Gender Euphoria teaser image featuring guest profile images.
Making Space for Queer Futurity in Texas
Podcast

Making Space for Queer Futurity in Texas

16 August 2023

Austin’s pop princess, p1nkstar, shares the story of her evolution from performance artist creating a pop star persona for Instagram to real life pop star to community leader creating spaces for fellow trans artists to showcase their work in Texas. This episode also features guest co-host Melissa Lin Sturges, coordinator of the annual Doric Wilson Panel for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) LGBTQ+ Focus Group.

Gender Euphoria teaser image with guest headshot.
Making Space for Self-Authorship through Audio Description
Podcast

Making Space for Self-Authorship through Audio Description

With Guests H. May and Liz Thomson

26 July 2023

Host Nicolas Shannon Savard, Dr. H. May, and Dr. Liz Thomson discuss the creative and collaborative possibilities that emerge when audio description (AD) is made an integral part of the artistic process, as opposed to solely an accommodation for individual audience members. They critique traditional models of AD that demand objectivity and propose alternative approaches that embrace self-determination, specificity of lived experience, and universal design.

Gender Euphoria teaser image featuring guest profile image.
Making Space: Consent, Collaboration, and Queer Access Intimacy
Podcast

Making Space: Consent, Collaboration, and Queer Access Intimacy

With Guests J.C. Pankratz and Emmett Podgorski

12 July 2023

J.C. Pankratz returns to the podcast to reflect on the first full production of their play Seahorse, directed by Nicolas Shannon Savard, starring Emmett Podgorski. Nicolas, J.C., and Emmett discuss how the collaborative process, from auditions through closing night, was informed by queer community building, access intimacy, and consent-based practice. They offer behind-the-scenes perspectives and concrete examples of how tools and ideas discussed in previous episodes played out in practice.

A performer proudly wields a prop weight overhead during a show.
Cornerstone Theater Company Brings Larissa FastHorse’s Wicoun Home
Essay

Cornerstone Theater Company Brings Larissa FastHorse’s Wicoun Home

11 July 2023

Robert Hubbard reviews Larissa FastHorse’s Wicoun, a transformative story of a teen finding power through gender and cultural identity—with the support of some Lakota superheroes.

Gender Euphoria teaser image featuring guest profile images.
Queer-Trans Intimacy: One Foot in the Academy and the Other in the Nightclub
Podcast

Queer-Trans Intimacy: One Foot in the Academy and the Other in the Nightclub

With Guests Raja Benz and Joy Brooke Fairfield

5 July 2023

Nicolas Shannon asks Joy Brooke Fairfield and Raja Benz how their intimacy work is informed by queer theory and critical theory. Their conversation bounces between queer of color theory, decolonial theory, disability theory, and the dim glow of the night club; between past, present, and future; between the ideas they’re sure of and the ones they’re working out in real time. Bonus! It comes with dozens of recommended readings.

One performer lifts another toward another performer dressed in a green fringe costume.
Grief (and Humor) in Climate Change Theatre
Essay

Grief (and Humor) in Climate Change Theatre

30 June 2023

Genevieve Simon reflects on the process of writing Bloom Bloom Pow, a play that makes space for collective grief by staging small-town chaos against a backdrop of the harmful algal bloom crisis in the Great Lakes region.

Gender Euphoria teaser image featuring guest profile image.
Queer Intimacies in Too-Near Dystopian Futures
Podcast

Queer Intimacies in Too-Near Dystopian Futures

With Guest Leanna Keyes

28 June 2023

Host Nicolas Shannon Savard and playwright Leanna Keyes discuss her play Doctor Voynich and Her Children. What does it mean to stage trans stories about queer motherhood, abortion, intimacy, choice, and power in the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and the ongoing legislative attacks on reproductive rights and the trans community?

Gender Euphoria teaser image.
Queer-Trans Intimacy Work: Cracking Gender Open
Podcast

Queer-Trans Intimacy Work: Cracking Gender Open

With Guests Dr. Joy Brooke Fairfield and Raja Benz

21 June 2023

In the first part of a two-part conversation on queer-trans intimacy direction and choreography, Nicolas talks with Theatrical Intimacy Education faculty members Dr. Joy Brooke Fairfield and Raja Benz about their courses Working with Trans & Non-Binary Artists and Staging Intimacy Beyond the Binary. They discuss crafting courses that are less Trans-101 and more cracking gender open, resisting patriarchal and colonialist scripts, and bringing queer culture into the rehearsal room.

Gender Euphoria teaser image.
Queer Intimacies, Trans Futures, Grief, and Radical Hope in Seahorse
Podcast

Queer Intimacies, Trans Futures, Grief, and Radical Hope in Seahorse

With Guest J.C. Pankratz

14 June 2023

Host Nicolas Shannon Savard interviews playwright J.C. Pankratz about their play Seahorse, a poetic, stream-of-consciousness one-person show about a trans man’s attempts at artificial insemination following his husband’s unexpected death. The conversation will dive into the play’s approach to the “messiness” of imagining futures you can’t yet see and its use of magical realism to invite audiences to sit inside that mess as witnesses and confidants.