A Queer Ceili at the Marty Forsythe

A Queer Ceili at the Marty Forsythe

World Premiere 27th – 30th March 2019 | The Trinity Lodge, Belfast | Presented as part of LGBT History Month and Imagine Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics 2019

‘A heartfelt, well-researched play… Montague offers a glimpse of gay life amid sectarianism, violence and bigotry’


Cast & Crew

Playwright: Dominic Montague

Director: Paula McFetridge


Margo: Paula Carson-Lewis

Michael: Christopher Grant

George: Brendan Quinn

Brendi: Simon Sweeney

Imagery and light designer: Conleth White

Costume designer: Liz Cullinane

Choral Director: Katie Richardson

Dialect Coach: Brendan Gunn

Production Manager: Stephen Quinn

Stage Manager: Caitlín Hunter

Producers: Zoe Fox and Dominic Montague

‘Writer Dominic Montague and director Paula McFetridge break a lot of theatrical rules and in the process create a piece of drama which illuminates a moment of history and deftly challenges strongly held beliefs and worldviews… the combination of pathos and laughter creates moments of remarkably raw and electric theatre’



30th July – 3rdAugust 2019 | The Trinity Lodge, Belfast | Presented as part of Féile an Phobail and Belfast Pride 2019

4th August 2019 | Vault Artist Studios, Belfast | Presented as part of East Side Arts Festival 2019

A Queer Céilí at the Marty Forsythe explores the turbulent events of the 1983 National Union of Students Lesbian and Gay Conference, held at Queens University Belfast.

Taking place just one year after the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Northern Ireland, and two years after the 1981 hunger strike, the events of that weekend are a remarkable chapter in the city’s LGBT history.

Met by large-scale protest from the ‘Save Ulster From Sodomy’ crusade, and mounting tensions within the NUS Executive, delegates were in danger of receiving anything but a warm Irish welcome.

That was all about to change when delegates were offered an invitation from the community in West Belfast to join them at the Martin Forsythe Social Club in Turf Lodge, an invitation that was eagerly accepted. 

On that Saturday evening, a convoy of Belfast’s famous black taxis turned up to the Student’s Union amid the protests to whisk delegates away to West Belfast for an evening that became one of the most inclusive and welcoming LGBT events many of the young students had ever encountered.

Set against the soundscape of 1983 Belfast: the escalating Troubles; vocal and violent opposition to homosexuality; and a thriving punk scene, A Queer Céilí at the Marty Forsythe looks at a unique chapter in Belfast’s history and celebrates commonality and camaraderie in the face of adversity.

The world premiere of this production took place in the Trinity Lodge, formerly The Marty Forsythe where the 1983 céilí was held, and featured as part of LGBT History Month 2019 and the Imagine Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics.

‘The opening run of “A Queer Céilí” is a barnstorming performance bringing back to life those heady days when change and revolution were in the air’