OutFest brings 2SLGBTQ+ stories to the stage in Halifax this week

New plays and film screenings by Halifax members of the queer community will show from April 26-May 1.

When The Coast reaches Isaac Mulè, artistic director of Page 1 Theatre (the company behind the new-to-Halifax event called OutFest), he’s just stepped out of The Bus Stop Theatre, where the hubbub of the last minute is unfolding. “The directors are hanging some things for one of the pieces and the actors are running lines lobby, so there's just a lot of the different voices going on,” he says, with an audible energy that’ll serve him well as the next few jam-packed days unfold at 2203 Gottingen Street: OutFest bills itself as the largest queer theatre festival in Atlantic Canada, and will be keeping The Bus Stop's stage alight for a week.

“OutFest was launched seven years ago in Kitchener. And it really was in response to [how] our community hadn't had a gay bar in 10 years. And those gay bars have always acted as a multipurpose space: Where we can hold comedy shows and just gatherings; drag shows and things like that,” explains Mulè, saying the decision to relocate OutFest to Halifax was a straightforward one: “When I moved here, I started to see some similarities. I was doing a lot of research before moving, and I noticed that some of the queer bars here were closing—and other businesses as well. I noticed that [the 2SLGTBQ+ theatre festival] Queer Acts had not been active for a number of years. And I thought: We'll have this festival and the wheels are kind of turning, as a way to relaunch it here. And everything just kind of fell into place.”

The event, which includes film screenings and original plays created by members of Halifax’s 2SLGBTQ+ community, runs from April 26 to May 1. The juried theatre pieces on offer includes Halifax indie theatre linchpin Colleen MacIsaac's newest play, the grief-and-astronomy-streaked A Beginner's Guide to the Night Sky. Can You Remember How We Got Here, a play about queer love and embodiment by emerging playwright Katie Clarke—who is making quick work of establishing herself as a name in the realm of feminist-lensed theatre—is among the other exciting offerings.

“I think that there's just such a variety that I hope when people are leaving, they're just sort of, 'There's someone that I don't see on stage' or 'There's a story that I was hoping someone would talk about' and then they can see that represented,” Mulè says.

Get the full OutFest schedule online via Page 1 Theatre's website.