Outburst Arts Festival 2017

Ten day celebration of LGBTQ+ art and performance featuring explosive new theatre, film, music, exhibitions and more

Festival Details


Thursday, 09 November 2017 to Saturday, 18 November 2017

Outburst Queer Arts Festival is back with 10 days of explosive new theatre, film, music, exhibitions and much more.

Now in its 11th year as Northern Ireland's cutting edge celebration of local and international LGBTQ+ art and performance, Outburst 2017 showcases 35 events shining a spotlight on our brilliant queer talent at home, as well as stunning artists from around the world in partnership with British Council.

All the way from Lima in Peru, Teatro La Plaza's beautiful Simón el Topo (Simon the Mole) is world-class family puppet theatre that deals with gender stereotyping and homophobia.

There's a Bishop in My Bedroom at the MAC is a raw, funny and deeply moving traditional Irish storytelling performance from Richard O’Leary, about his life as a gay Catholic man in a relationship with a Protestant minister and his struggles with the churches around issues of sexuality and mixed religion partnerships.

Local composer Conor Mitchell brings his acclaimed song cycle Ten Plagues to the Lyric Theatre with the Belfast Ensemble for a stunning one off performance in Belfast, while at the Black Box avant garde icon David Hoyle celebrates 50 years of decriminalisation of homosexuality with Diamond, a queer history of the UK in story, song and dance. 

All this, plus new queer cinema at the QFT, international art exhibitions and even a 7” record release!

Over 30 international LGBTQ+ delegates from Peru, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Uganda and Kenya will also fly in for the festival, to work with the team on building international queer arts collaborations that address homophobia and transphobia across the world.

Simon Main

Speaking about how queer art continues to offer a vital creative voice in Northern Ireland, Outburst’s Artistic Director, Ruth McCarthy, said: 'Both our local LGBTQ+ talent and the wonderful international work we attract here are testament to that greater sense of confidence and energy that’s rising not only in our LGBTQ+ community here but in the city in general. There’s a real hunger for outward thinking, risk-taking, creative and inclusive ideas and approaches in Belfast. The arts community is leading the way on this at a time when our government continues to trail behind on issues of true equality and inclusion.

'Art has the power to create change through giving voice to untold stories and imagining new possibilities. Great events and great ideas for change, that’s the heart of what Outburst is all about.'

Speaking on the partnership with Outburst, David Alderdice, Director, British Council NI added: 'Outburst is one of the city’s most exciting festivals and has a huge role to play in the developing queer arts as a global catalyst for change.'

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: 'What a great programme the Outburst Festival team have curated to entertain, delight and challenge us. The Arts Council has supported the festival through National Lottery funding since its inception and it’s terrific to welcome so many international productions to Belfast this year. Simón El Topo, is a wonderful tool for starting conversations with children about stereotypes and about acceptance of difference in today’s world. I’m also delighted to see Irish language arts in this year’s progamme with An Cabaret Queeráilte at the Culturlann in West Belfast. A truly inclusive festival for all and I recommend you go see as much as possible.'

Outburst Queer Arts Festival runs from Thursday, November 9 in venues across Belfast.

Full programme at www.outburstartscom;