SAY GAY PLAYS: A Call for Theater Activism for LGBTQ+ Rights


SAY GAY PLAYS offers royalty-free short plays by queer playwrights to not-for-profit theater companies, arts organizations, and educational institutions for local activism and fundraising for LGBTQ+ communities across America.

The initiative was conceived in response to the 2022 passage of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Since then, more than 520 state bills attacking LGBTQ+ rights have been introduced, with more than 75 becoming law. In 2023, the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. for the first time in history.

Voyage Theater Company Founding Artistic Director Wayne Maugans wanted to combat the harmful narratives being used as justification for this discriminatory legislation with theater activism and solidarity. As Voyage gathered theater partners and assembled a board of advisors, SAY GAY PLAYS was born.

This May, the first 10 commissioned stories about the LGBTQ+ experience for the SAY GAY PLAYS initiative premiered at a special event at the NYU Skirball Center. Now these short plays are being shared with theater-makers around the country for their own events.

This Pride Month, join SAY GAY PLAYS collaborators as they discuss how you can use these LGBTQ+ stories of courage, triumph, and pride as a tool for change in your community — and how the project’s collective impact can help change hearts, minds, and legislation.

Panelists include:

Mashuq Mushtaq Deen (he/they), Playwright
Ty Defoe (he/him/they/we/us), Playwright
Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (he/him), Artistic Director, Quick Silver Theater Company; SAY GAY PLAYS Advisory Board member
Wayne Maugans (he/him), Artistic Director, Voyage Theater Company; Co-Founder of SAY GAY PLAYS
Lisa Rothe (she/her), Theater Director; Senior Lecturer, Binghamton University; Adjunct Faculty, Columbia University; SAY GAY PLAYS Advisory Board member
Kathleen Salazar (they/them), Associate Artistic Director, Voyage Theater Company; Co-Founder of SAY GAY PLAYS

Moderated by:

Amelia Parenteau (she/her), Washington, DC-based Writer, Translator, and Theater-maker

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