Welcome to OUTstages #9: Curator’s Note

Welcome to the 9th annual OUTstages Festival! I am thrilled to welcome audiences to both of our theatres for shows, events, happenings, and our new Idea Series as part of the festival. OUTstages 2023 sees a workshop of a new drag-storytelling Cherstravaganza and a pop rock concert all about love, both from Vancouver; as well as the return of Fringe hit LESBIHONEST from Toronto, and the Canadian premiere of Portland’s Carla Rossi and Pepper Pepper are GLOOP!

I was inspired by the late night programming at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer, so we are bringing our own version of late-night shows to audiences this year with our Pop-up Cabaret Series, happening each Friday and Saturday night during the festival. We have transformed the Intrepid Studio and lobby into a cabaret venue, and each evening features a solo set from a different local queer artists – there’s diva hits, drag, spoken word, and a few surprises. Plus, two online workshops to teach you new skills (drag makeup and navigating your income tax) and a free happy hour drag show at our friends, The Vicious Poodle. 

This year’s programming is a celebration and a collision. A collision of ideas and a celebration of
identities. Behind this celebration there is also a throughline of struggles: struggles to be seen, to be heard, to be respected, to find love, to find acceptance. As queer artists, we often walk a balancing act between celebration and struggle. As drag story time events in BC are met with protests, as the fight for protecting gay marriage south of the border takes centre stage, and as threats of gun violence against all-ages queer events in our own city shut down cafes, it is up to us as queer artists to carry the torch and continue to share our stories loud and proud. Theatre has the ability to provoke conversations, storytelling has the ability to affect change, and artists can, I believe, change minds. I hope that the OUTstages curation offers you a chance to open up your mind to new perspectives, introduces you to brand new artists who are making bold new works, and offers up a generous helping of queer joy and celebration.

Now, let’s GET OUT! See you at the festival.

Sean Guist

Artistic Director

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Intrepid Theatre is located on the lands of the Lekwungen People, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations. We give our thanks and respect to the stewards of these lands, and to elders, past, present and future.