National Queer Theater


June 13-July 7 2019


IN RESIDENCE: June 4- July 7, 2019

Showcasing the top LGBTQ plays from Egypt, Tanzania, Pakistan, and China, the Criminal Queerness Festival explores global homophobia and pride for WorldPride 2019. On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, National Queer Theater puts international queer stories on the world stage.


The future is ours. The theatre is ours, and yours. May it be beautiful.”
-Mojisola Adebayo

Drowning in Cairo by Adam Elsayigh
Directed by Celine Rosenthal
Performance: Jun 13 8pm, Jun 14 8pm, Jun 15 2pm&8pm, Jun 16 8pm

Adam A Elsayigh’s Drowning in Cairo follows the friendships of three gay men in Egypt who were arrested in the Queen Boat nightclub raid in 2001.

Waafrika 123 by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko
Directed by Eamon Moylan
Performance: Jun 20 8pm, Jun 21 8pm, Jun 22 2pm&8pm, Jun 23 8pm

Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko’s Waafrika explores the forbidden love between nonbinary Awino and a female Peace Corps volunteer in 90’s Kenya.

Jhaanjar Di Paanwan Chhankaar by Fatima Maan
Directed by Nicky Maggio
Performance: Jun 27 8pm, Jun 28 8pm, Jun 29 2pm&8pm, Jun 30 8pm

Fatima Maan’s Jhaanjar Di Paanwaan Chhankaar tells the story of a blind man and his intriguing new next door neighbor in Pakistan.

Joker by Yilong Liu
Directed by Gaven Trinidad
Performance: July 3rd  8pm, July 4th  8pm, July 5th 8pm, July 6th 2pm&8pm

Chinese playwright Yilong Liu’s play Joker focuses on a Filipino gay writer and activist whose straight marriage in Hawaii is rocked by a visit from an old friend.

$65- Festival Pass for guaranteed seats at all four plays. Make sure to make your reservations when you purchase your pass.
$20- General Admission
$17- Youth (under 30) and students with valid ID
At IRT:154 Christopher st. NYC #3B (third floor)

Post-show talkbacks with invited artists and activists will follow each performance.
June 13- Hussein Morsi and Kristen Thompson, Immigration Equality
June 16- Mariam Bazeed and Kareem Fahmy
June 21- Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko and Edafe Okporo, Immigration Equality
June 27- Performance by Poetic Theater Productions
June 28- Broadway to Bombay
July 3- Bex Kwan and Hubert Silva – Contemporary Asian and Asian American Artist Voices, 8pm
July 6- Ralph Pena (Ma-Yi) and Ariel Estrada (Leviathan Lab) – Representation of Queer Filipinos on Stage, 2pm

According to a 2017 study from OutRight International, 72 countries continue to criminalize same-sex relationships and eight countries still apply the death penalty for LGBTQ people. And yet, queer communities throughout the Global South are organizing and building coalitions for freedom, justice, and pride. Bringing together renown queer playwrights from around the world, National Queer Theater is providing a platform for artists facing censorship, shining a light on critical stories from around the world.

The Criminal Queerness Festival challenges audiences to engage and reflect upon the status of civil rights in the United States in order to better support LGBTQ people abroad. In order to build a truly global queer community, these writers are inspiring activism and shaping our culture towards the equitable treatment of LGBTQ people around the world.

Production Team
Producer: Adam Odsess-Rubin
Stage Manager: Jiawen Hu
Scenic/Props Design: Riw Rakkulchon
Sound Designer: Chris Darbassie
Lighting Designer: Leslie Gray
Costume Designer: Jules Peiperl
Production Manager: Brian Cummins
Assistant Stage Manager: Jess Orense
Assistant Stage Manager: Marcos Ospina
Dramaturg: Linnea Valdivia
Box Office Manager: Ben Jones
Photographer: Sean Velasco-Dodge
Press Representative: Stuart Richardson
Volunteer Coordinator: Amy Ackerman
Production Assistant: Joshua Bouchard
Administrative Intern: Evan Greene

National Queer Theater is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster and support LGBTQ communities through social justice in the performing arts.

1.    Mainstage Productions: The National Queer Theater Mainstage produces new plays by, for, and with LGBTQ communities.

2.    New Play Development: National Queer Theater invests in supporting early-career LGBTQ playwrights through developmental readings, staged readings, and public workshop productions to diversity the theater cannon.

3.    Education and Community Programs: National Queer Theater partners with community-based nonprofit organizations serving marginalized LGBTQ communities, including the HIV+ community, to empower youth, elders, activists, and educators through the transformative power of theater. These programs include workshops, classes, and long-term residencies led by expert Teaching Artists.

More information:

IRT Theater is a grassroots laboratory for independent theater and performance in New York City, providing space and support to a new generation of artists. Tucked away in the old Archive Building in Greenwich Village,  IRT’s mission is to build a community of emerging and established artists by creating a home for the development and presentation of new work. Some of the artists we have supported include Young Jean Lee, Reggie Watts and Mike Daisey.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts, and The Nancy Quinn Fund, a project of ART-NY.

PLEASE NOTE: All sales final and there is no late seating at IRT Theater.
***IRT is a fully wheelchair-accessible facility.***