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Picking ones battles – Norris and Tallafornia

March 14th, 2012 · 2 Comments · Irish Politics, LGBT

A little bit of gay history. In 1977 Dublin City Council withdrew the funding from Project Arts Centre when it staged work by Gay Sweatshop.

Peter Sheridan remembers

In conjunction with the Irish Gay Rights Movement, we brought the London-based Gay Sweatshop and their acclaimed production of Madame X. Some members of Dublin Corporation became very irate that we were using their grant to present work of this nature. Cllr Ned Brennan of Fianna Fáil declared that he could not support money being spent on “funny bunnies from across the water”. In a dramatic move, the council decided to suspend our grant, not because they wanted to influence our artistic policy, but in order to ensure good and proper book-keeping. Or so they said.

Six months later the decision was rescinded and the grant restored. It was a landmark, not just in terms of Project’s relationship with a primary funder, Dublin Corporation, but also as an important victory for all those pushing the boundaries of artistic expression.

David Norris was a chairperson of the Irish Gay Rights Movement and fierce critic of those councillors.

He now wants a debate on standards in Irish Life. Of the people in Tallafornia he says.

“They’re put in an atmosphere of continual drinking, they’re encouraged to behave licentiously, they compete to bring people home to bed them.”

He may not like it, he should not watch it. I have never seen it and don’t intend to watch it. It might be a stretch to refer to it as artistic expression. But Norris didn’t like other people objecting to gay theatre shows in Ireland and other forms of censorship. I think the Senator should choose his battles wisely.

Of course David you have the right of reply! More from Jill Posener on the visit of Gay Sweatshop to Dublin in 1977 here.



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