The Manchester-based arts festival is back with five days of spectacular performances all aiming to counteract transphobia


From the 29 June to the 3 July 2019, the lovely city of Manchester will be hosting… ta-dah! Trans Vegas Festival, an arts festival dedicated to providing a space for trans and non-conforming voices.

Trans Creative, the organisation behind the arts festival, was only established in 2017 but has been making a huge impact ever since with sell out shows and nationwide tours.

Now Trans Vegas is back for a second year, with five days of spectacular performances committed to counteracting transphobia. Plus! This year, the festival also coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, in which the trans community played a vital role.

Artistic Director, Kate O’Donnell, who’s well known in Manchester for her work in the theatre (and for featuring in the city’s recent Strong Women campaign) commented:

“We wanted to hear twice as many trans voices at this year’s festival.”

The experiences and stories of trans individuals are often framed through the lenses of cis people, however Kate believes it’s time that the trans community, quite literally, take centre stage and – through theatre and performance – those voices that have been oppressed for so long are finally being projected. 

The company’s main mission is to allow the trans and non-conforming community to, “tell their own stories, on their own terms.”

Made up of a variety of trans led events, from parties to performances. The opening night of Trans Vegas will include amazing club-night, Trans Refuge!

With performances from The Cocoa Butter Club, a London based cabaret act consisting of queer people of colour, Trans Refuge! hopes to pay tribute to Marsha P. Johnson, an African-American trans woman and proud LGBTQI activist, who was a key figure in the Stonewall Rebellion.

Then, on the 30 June, the main stage of the Royal Exchange Theatre will be hosting what is said to be the “most ambitious event” the festival has seen – 100 Trans Voices.

Trans and non-binary performers will share their experiences in an evening that promises laughs, music, and stories from those who have been otherwise denied a place to share their powerful and inspiring narratives.

However, if anyone needs to step back from the festivities, Kate will also be hosting a wellbeing event on 2 July called Trans Spirit. This free event provides a relaxed, safe space for trans and non-conforming folk to meet each other, share experiences and engage in calming activities including yoga and singing. (Lovely!)

Sure to be one of the most memorable LGBTQI events of the year, the message that Trans Vegas is spreading is an essential one in the ongoing fight for equal rights.

As Trans Creative says, “If you can’t see yourself, you can’t be yourself!”

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