Thursday 10 November 2016


As part of this year’s Outburst Arts Festival one play will highlight issues that transgender people face.

Running tomorrow (Friday, November 11) and Saturday (November 12) at the MAC, Belfast, O Evangelho Segundo Jesus, Rainha do Céu is Argentinian Producer Natalia Mallo’s reimagining of Jo Clifford’s Jesus Queen of Heaven, which was performed at Outburst in 2015.

With more transgender people murdered in Brazil each year than in any other country in the world,  this piece depicts Jesus as a travesti woman – a term akin to trans but particular to Brazilian culture – played by Renata Carvalho. 

Trans actress Renata, having previously performed the piece in Brazil’s favelas, asks in the performance why we still persecute the outsider.

Speaking about the play, producer Natalia Mallo said: “This performance is not only a breakthrough for Renata and Outburst, but it also brings a positive perception to press and audiences. It enables a shift in the idea of travesti women always being excluded from public life, politics, and the arts.

“With the support of British Council and Outburst the performance in Belfast is of great value for Renata, for the LGBTQ artistic community in Brazil, and for both our societies to bring stigmatised identities to the spotlight and provide a proper world-class context for their artistic expression.”

The play, which is performed in Portuguese, with English subtitles, is a result of an 18-month UK-Brazilian collaboration.  In 2015, Outburst’s Artistic Director, Ruth McCarthy, visited the Americas through the British Council; to learn, share and develop LGBTQ experiences, particularly in Brazil and the Caribbean.

Speaking about the production, Ruth said: “This performance is an incredibly beautiful and moving piece. By using a familiar story that we all know, our audiences can identify with real issues that LGBTQ people still face.

“It is particularly poignant that the performance is here as we approach Transgender Awareness Week on Nov 14-20 which aims to raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues the community faces.”

The performance ties in to the festival’s 10th anniversary theme of Home, and what it means to you if you are a person who is LGBTQ in Northern Ireland or across the world, with the festival boasting participants from over 15 countries, through Outburst’s partnership with the British Council.

The festival opens today (Thursday, November 10) with the world premiere of Small Axe: Caribbean Queer Visualities at the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast.

This exciting new group exhibition of queer work includes artists from Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and examines queer developments in the Caribbean and its diaspora over the past two decades.

Then on  Friday, (November  11) Outburst  will host an international symposium on queer arts, welcoming artists, performers, producers and activists from Brazil, Venezuela, Trinidad, UK, Ireland, Jamaica, Colombia, USA, Canada and Argentina. Another part of the collaboration with the British Council, this event will pursue issues such as how to develop global queer arts partnerships and how best to nurture queer arts creativity.

As well as the Americas connection, Outburst and the British Council will explore online ( the idea of home through a series of digital commissions. They’ve asked some of the most interesting UK artists – including Omagh poet Cat Brogan, Le Gateau Chocolat, David Hoyle, Gerry Potter, and Robert Softley, most of whom will be performing at this year’s festival – to create short films exploring the question: What does ‘home’ mean to us as queer people?

Speaking about the collaboration, Graham Sheffield, Director of Arts for British Council, said:

 “We are excited about the work that Outburst Queer Arts Festival has been developing over the past year with British Council Americas and British Council Northern Ireland, to celebrate their 10th Anniversary.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Outburst, one of this city's most exciting festivals, on the discussions and presentations on queer arts practice and the role and development of queer arts as a global catalyst for change, themes that are so important to our work across the world.”

Outburst Arts Festival runs from November 10-19. To find out more about the programme, and buy tickets – visit

For more information on their collaboration with the British Council and the online digital project, visit

Notes to Editor

About Outburst Queer Arts Festival

Outburst Queer Arts Festival started in 2007 as a grassroots LGBTQ community-led showcase for queer creativity. Since then it has grown into one of the most innovative and exciting small festivals in Ireland and the UK, with an eclectic programme unlike any other in Northern Ireland.  

The overall vision for Outburst is simple: to create a bold, brave and innovative platform in Northern Ireland for new local and international queer arts, performance and brilliant creative ideas. From celebrated cutting-edge international artists to explosive new local talent, Outburst shines a great big spotlight on the best of LGBTQ creativity in theatre, performance, spoken word, film, music, dance and much more. 

While focusing on the creative voices and engagement of LGBTQ artists and community, they actively promote Outburst as a festival where everyone is welcome, making it one of the most inclusive, welcoming and diverse queer arts events in the world. 


For further information please contact: 

- Claire McAuley, Communications Manager, British Council Northern Ireland

T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Twitter: @BCouncil_NI  Facebook:


About the British Council

British Council Northern Ireland creates international opportunities for the people of Northern Ireland and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.  A quarter of our funding comes from a UK government grant, and we earn the rest from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for, and from partnerships. For more information, please visit:

You can also keep in touch with British Council Northern Ireland through, and