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UPDATE: Second Annual, “Criminal Queerness Festival” goes Global as part of NYC Pride

UPDATED June 9, 2020

In support of the Black Lives Matters movement, National Queer Theater and Dixon Place, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and NYC Pride, announce the delay of the second annual Criminal Queerness Festival. The festival will now open on June 13, instead of June 9, and continue through the previously announced closing date of June 29, 2020.

Adam Odsess-Rubin, Artistic Director of National Queer Theater said, “We are making space for the Black Lives Matter movement and pausing Criminal Queerness Festival to honor the lives of Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. Pride is, and always should be, a time of protest for racial, sexual, and gender equity, and National Queer Theater and Dixon Place join other LGBTQ+ organizations in taking action to re-center Pride on the activism that sparked the Stonewall uprising and the first Pride marches. We’ll resume the start of our festival on Saturday, June 13.”

Please see revised Festival Schedule Below


The uprising for social justice and equality in America, which has been expanding exponentially over the past weeks, is not unique to this country.  It has become the catalyst for demonstrations and protests around the world, but in some countries conversations about equality especially for LGBTQ+ people are illegal and silenced.  Queer artists have no stage for their voice or work and are forced to go outside their own countries for the freedom to express who they are.

artwork by Marisa Darabi

National Queer Theater and Dixon Place, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and NYC Pride, are proud to present the second annual Criminal Queerness Festival, running online June 9–29, 2020. This one-of-a-kind event showcases queer and trans artists from countries that criminalize or censor LGBTQ+ communities.

The festival, an official event of NYC Pride, builds a global queer community rooted in activism and dedicated to the equitable treatment of LGBTQ+ people around the world. Through a dozen online performances, conversations, and master classes, the Criminal Queerness Festival brings together queer artists, activists, and audiences to address global homophobia and transphobia. All events are free.

A schedule, event details, and direct links can be found at

Originally curated as a live theater festival, the second annual Criminal Queerness Festival has been modified in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The programming centers on the work of four international queer artists whose new plays were scheduled to premiere at Dixon Place in June.

Migguel Anggelo, a Venezuelan-born, Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist

Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a 2019 Lambda Literary Award Winner

Amahl Khouri, a queer, transgender, Jordanian playwright and theater-maker based in Berlin

Omer Abbas Salem, a Chicago-based actor and playwright originally from Syria, Turkey, and Egypt.

Adam Odsess-Rubin, Artistic Director of National Queer Theater said, “While we can’t gather in person to experience the work of these brave playwrights, I’m humbled that the second edition of the Criminal Queerness Festival has transformed into a truly global event. By moving online, audiences all over the world can now experience the festival’s powerful message that all people deserve basic human rights to happiness, respect, and safety.”

Waafrika 123 by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (PC_ Sean Velasco Dodge) Feat. Karen Eilbacher (L) and T Thompson (R)

Criminal Queerness Festival Programming – Revised Schedule


June 13 at 2pm
Creative Conversations: The Syrian Civil War and LGBTQ communities with Omer Abbas Salem and Noor Hamdi, Moderated by Adam Ashraf Elsayigh

June 16 at 12pm
Creative Conversations: Queer transnational activism in the Middle East, moderated by Sivan Battat with Amahl Khouri and Hashem HashemJune

June 18 at 2pm
Master Class with Amahl Khouri on giving testimony, In partnership with New York Transgender Advocacy Group

June 19 at 8pm (previously scheduled on June 11)
Reading of Mosque4Mosque by Omer Abbas Salem with talkback, moderated by director Sharifa Yasmin and starring Noor Hamdi, Connor Bryant, Rula Gardenier, Bahar Beihaghi, and Martin Zebari.

June 20 at 1pm
A Livestream performance of excerpts from Amahl Khouri’s She He Me as part of the LGBTQ Digital Pride and Migration 2020 festival.

June 21 at 4pm
Facebook Live performance of She He Me by Amahl Khouri followed by a talkback with Khouri moderated by director Sivan Battat, starring Pooya Mohseni, Samy Nour Younes, and Louis Sallan

June 21 at 7pm (previously scheduled on June 9)
Master Class with playwright Omer Abbas Salem and Tarab NYC

June 22 at 8pm
The House of Joy: A Tent Revival for the Legendary Quarantined Children Short with Roger Q. Mason and Ianne Fields Stewart

June 23 at 7pm
Panel on LGBTQ human rights in Latin America, moderated by Marlene Ramirez-Cancio Panel, with multidisciplinary artist Migguel Anggelo.

June 24 at 4pm
Criminal Queerness Panel with playwrights and Adam Elsayigh, moderated by Adam Odsess-Rubin

June 25 at 7pm
Queering Trauma into Fabulousness: Master Class with J. Julian Christopher in partnership with The LGBT Center

June 26 at 7pm
Live screening of vichitra: an anthology of queer dreams, directed by Shayok Misha Chowdhury with video by Kameron Neal and sound design by Jeremy Bloom. Post-show discussion with Shayok Misha Chowdhury.

June 28 at 7pm
Maid in America: an original video from Migguel Anggelo with a screenplay by J. Julian Christoper, musical direction by Jaime Lozano, and directed and developed by Srđa Vasiljević.

June 29 at 3pm
Master Class with Mashuq Mushtaq Deen and Kalakars

Detailed descriptions for each event available HERE 

Drowning in Cairo by Adam Ashraf Elsayigh (PC_ Sean Valsco Dodge) Feat. Arif Silverman (L) and Fady Kerko (R)

Learn more about National Queer Theater HERE

Follow them on Instagram @nationalqueertheater 

And Dixon Place HERE

Follow them on Twitter @DixonPlace and on Instagram @DixonPlace 


Previous posts from Pride Marches On!


Poet Activist, Audre Lorde: “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism”

Four Inspiring Films about Black LGBT+ Civil Rights Activists: TRAILERS

Pride Month and Protest 2020, Pride Marches On 


 Be sure and check out our special “In their own Words” Pride series on Twitter. @TheOUTFront .

And our new  #InstaPride series on Instagram @theoutfront  

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(main photo: Waafrika 123 by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (PC_ Sean Velasco Dodge) Feat. James A Pierce III)


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