On St Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish, but some are more Irish than others. If you're gay or lesbian, please don't apply to walk in the 5th Avenue parade in New York.
I am writing a one-man show about the St Pat’s For All Parade in Queens, New York. I have been a part of the parade for 14 of its 15-year existence. I believe it is a rich story with a fantastic cast of characters. This is the only all-inclusive St Patrick’s Day parade in New York that does not discriminate against LGBT groups. More than that, it is a celebration of inclusiveness and a beacon of hope of what it could mean to be Irish; "Cherishing All the Children of the Nation Equally."
In 2014, Mayor Bill De Blasio and Irish drag artist Panti Bliss were among the guests, as the parade celebrated 15 years of inclusion and welcome.
“If they’re not kind of gay, they’re not really a parade. A heterosexual parade seems to me an organized walk in the traffic lane.." Panti 2014
The parade’s journey over the past 15 years through the most ethnically diverse neighbourhood in the world has been a colourful one. From initially being viewed as a protest parade, it has come to be regarded as a cherished community event for all the family.
Along with live performance, I will use projection and the fantastic visual records that exist of the parade, from Dublin’s Panti Bliss in her Mary Robinson outfit with the New York Mayor, to Hispanic and African American kids from the Bronx in their Irish dancing costumes.
Raymond Keane (Barabbas) will direct.
While the show has an important and hopefully moving underlying message, it should also be a lot of fun. The theme of sustained resistance through celebration is a timely one, given that Ireland is on the verge of voting for marriage equality in 2015.
The name of the show ‘A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade’ comes from banners held by right wing protestors at the event each year.
This is my third one man show about everyday struggles and heroes. I will be performing at the New Theatre as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe, September 9-13, 2014 and in New York, February/March 2015.
You can be a hero by supporting the show.