Temple Of The Divine Queer

Stage with glitter banners and performers

For 4 nights in February 2019, we transformed Tallulah’s Cabaret at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre into a glittering queer church of the future as part of the 40th Rhubarb! Festival.

As part of the Beloved Siblings Collective, we were the designers and makers of set pieces that could bring to life a utopian fantasy – within the limitations of a festival stage shared with other productions. 

Created by Adam Barrett, The Temple Of The Divine Queer was a sort-of workshop of a larger theatrical exploration of queerness, religion, and cults, inspired by the axiom of cult + time = religion. In a future in which queerness has become the dominant way of being, a combination of music, movement and liturgical speech invited festival-goers to be part of a celebration that honours community and desire.

Our mirror-tiled pulpit resembled a disco ball, and projections on pale pink glittery banners elevated queer saints in stained-glass-style illustrations. Writers, activists, artists (including Marsha P. Johnson, Quentin Crisp, Janelle Monaé, Freddie Mercury) were featured; we were delighted that the biggest crowd response came from seeing tributes to local heroes Patricia Wilson and Will Munro. And not every church has merch, but ours did! – with sparkling glass pins of many of the saints made in our BBJ style.

A great deal of humour and heart were intrinsic to the production (in case that’s not obvious); as “community elders” we delivered news to those gathered about potlucks and bondage workshops between sermons. Take me to church, indeed.

“Imagine a world in the future where Queerness has become the dominant religion in the world; where Gay Icons have become stained glass windows and the altars are covered in glitter. Imagine a future faith that isn’t just making room for you, but where your joys are the very lisping Word of God. 
Join us on the sacred dance floor of our Sangat Prima: The Patrician Tabernacle, Tallulah’s Cabaret, to raise up a joyful noise that infuses divinity into every drop of sweat. Let’s have a religious experience together.”
Adam Barrett

Adam Barrett / producer, director, projections + preacher
Kaleb Robertson / preacher + DJ
Trixie & Beever / design + iconography
Shadowland Theatre / design consultants
Matthew Eger / choreographer + movement consultant
Mary-Dora Bloch Hansen, Rodney Diverlus, Justin Gray + Geoff Stevens / dancers
Michael Robert-Broder / music director + choir
Devin Herbert, Sarah Hicks + Renée Salewski / choir