New York is finally getting our own trans theater festival

Trans theatre. No braids attached.
Trans theater. No braids attached.

If you’re tired of seeing cis performances, reading cis thinkpieces and doing things that generally rely on binary gender constructs, then drag yourself over to New York’s first ever trans theatre festival, courtesy of The Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tucked unassumingly behind a red door at 579 Metropolitan Avenue, the Brick is a burgeoning theatre venue known for its support of underground artistry (especially attractive, single ones). They regularly host ‘niche’ theater festivals about sex, clowns and comic books, but the trans theater festival marks a step toward a more sobering issue facing New York’s theater community today— namely, the lack of trans artists and trans stories onstage. Despite the critical success of shows like Transparent and Orange is the New Black, the American theater still suffers a dearth of opportunity in the industry for trans artists. Just a few months ago, The Public Theater cast cisgender actors in transgender roles for its new play.

Needless to say, it’s high time for creative response. The Brick’s festival kicks off next month beginning Tuesday, June 7 with an opening party and a cabaret-style preview of the shows. The festival lineup, which runs through June 26, includes works of theater, dance and film, as well as panel discussions on trans issues in the indie theater scene, such as the use of performer pronouns (presented by Taylor Edelhart, the artist who penned a widely shared open letter to the Public Theater after they cast cisgender actors in transgender roles). You can look forward to plays about masked crimefighting, Shakespeare, apocalyptic robots, magical Halloween mysteries… and, of course, identity crises. It’s all trans and no boundaries.

There aren’t conservatives railing against intersex genderqueer casting calls quite yet, but that’s because they’re just waiting for a 16-Tony trans Broadway hit to sink their teeth into. Go out and support the Brick’s Trans Theater Festival next month, and you might just give them something to cry about.

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