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A spectacular celebration of queerness and theatre at Omnibus Theatre
20 Feb – 31 Mar 2019

*96 FESTIVAL, a no holds barred extravaganza of queerness and theatre, returns to Omnibus Theatre this year from 20 February to 31 March 2019. Events and performances setting up camp in the Clapham venue span the worlds of theatre, cabaret, drag, burlesque, comedy, music, art and activism. Headlining this month-long festival is writer and director Sarah Chew’s LIPSTICK: A FAIRY TALE OF IRAN, part theatre, part drag, a timely story of rage and redemption.

The launch night on the 19th February kicks off with a discussion exploring how queer communities experience divides around class, ability, race and gender and how art can bring us together in shared moments of connection. How can we reinvent queer activism?

Facilitating the conversation will be Linda Riley, board director of GLAAD and Diva Magazine publisher; Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, co-founder of UK Black Pride, Rebecca Root actor in The Danish Girl and Colette; Jan Gooding, chair of Stonewall UK; Cassie Leon, producer of The Cocoa Butter Club – the queer collective celebrating Performers of Colour; and Nemo Martin, writer, producer, podcaster and theatre-maker.

After the conversation, a selection of artists from 96 Festival’s glittering programme will take to the stage, sharing snippets of dance, theatre and cabaret.

*96 FESTIVAL was conceived in remembrance and celebration of the iconic Pride party on Clapham Common in 1996. This year the festival is being held in association with DIVA magazine.

Omnibus Theatre’s Artistic Director Marie McCarthy said: “I’m delighted that 96 Festival is back by popular demand, this time with glittering events that bring neo-burlesque, poetry, comedy, drag, dance, and voguing together for one spectacular celebration of queerness and theatre. The festival is poignantly headlined by Sarah Chew’s vital play Lipstick: A Fairy Tale of Iran, a fearless story that straddles Tehran, Derry and London.”

REPUBLICA and THE MORNING AFTER THE LIFE BEFORE are highlight productions that open the festival. REPUBLICA, is a fusion of anarchic theatre and dance, presented by a trio of creatives including flamenco dancer and performance artist Juan Carlos Otero. Irish theatre company, Guna Nua’s play THE MORNING AFTER THE LIFE BEFORE presents a personal tale and experience of Ireland before and after the referendum on Marriage Equality. And don’t miss extraordinary fun-filled one-nighter’s in the shape of THE COCOA BUTTER CLUB and 24/7 LIVE.

LIPSTICK: A FAIRY TALE OF IRAN, the headline show, runs through the 96 Festival from 26 Feb to 24 Mar. In 2010, just after the contested 2009 Iranian election, during riots urging the removal of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office, writer/director Sarah Chew went to Iran on a theatre residency. The experience changed her life. Chew’s play is inspired by that time, driven by the passionate desire to address the rise in hard borders and cultural and ethnic exclusion – from a political and from a personal perspective. Cabaret, workshops and post-show talks have also been programmed as complementary events exploring the issues in the play. See the website for more details.

During the final week of the festival, award-winning comedian and theatre-maker Elf Lyons brings her sell out Edinburgh Fringe 2018 hit CHIFFCHAFF to London. Her one-woman show is about the economy, but not as you know it. The queen of clown and daughter of an economist is making the dismal science fun. BBC New Talent Hotlist 2017. Fringe World Best Comedy Show 2018 nominee and also British Vogue’s ’20 Names of Now’.

Wed 20 – Fri 22 Feb, 7.30pm Republica
Wed 20 – Fri 22 Feb 7.30pm The Morning After The Night Before
Fri 22 Feb 9pm The Cocoa Butter Club
Sat 23 – Sun 24 Feb LGBTQ+ Tiny Shows
Sun 24 Feb – 11am & 2pm The Diaries of a Miserable Unicorn
(For Families)
Tues 26 Feb – Sun 24 Mar, 7.30pm Lipstick: A Fairy Tale of Iran
Sat 23 Mar – 9pm 24/7 Live
Mon 25 – 30, 7.30pm (excl Wed) ChiffChaff
Sun 31 Mar – 7.30pm Queertet

Listings information:
Please use this link online –
Box Office: Tel: 020 7498 4699, Email:
Omnibus Theatre, 1 Northside, Clapham Common, London, SW4 0QW
Twitter: @Omnibus_Theatre
Facebook: @OmnibusTheatre
Instagram: omnibus_theatre

Programme in detail

Wed 20 – Fri 22 Feb, 7.30pm Republica
Republica is an energetic and sexy lament for the untold story of the Spanish Revolution, as seen through the eyes of a stripper, a flamenco dancer and a punk guitarist. Inspired by the historical events that immediately precede the Spanish Civil War, Republica celebrates the achievements and ideals of The Second Republic (1931-1936). This period represents the most extreme of social and political transitions, from feudal monarchist dictatorship to arguably the most progressive government ever. With the rise of divisive politics across the world, this show promises to forever break ‘The Pact of Forgetting’ and is a timely examination of the last time the idealist actually won. Republica is a multi-disciplined and frenetic deconstruction of history brought by Juan Carlos Otero, Keir Cooper and Lola Rueda in collaboration with Emma Frankland.
£16 | £13 conc.

Wed 20 – Fri 22 Feb, 7.30pm The Morning After The Life Before
A groggy Sunday morning, May 24th 2015 as 62% of Ireland is #hungoverforequality, Ann gets a text from her brother: “How’s the morning after the life before?”
Gúna Nua presents the internationally acclaimed and multi award winning, The Morning After The Life Before. A personal, entertaining tale of weddings, ‘coming out’ and arguments over who takes out the bins.
Written by Ann Blake, directed by Paul Meade, performed by Ann Blake and Lucia Smyth, The Morning After The Life Before is a light-hearted, playful telling of a true story. Be prepared for music, cake and equality.
Winner of Best Production, London Ontario Fringe 2017
Winner of The Centaur Award: Best English Language Production, Montreal Fringe 2017
Nomination LGBTQ+ Award, Brighton Fringe 2018
£13 | £11 conc.

Fri 22 Feb, 9pm The Cocoa Butter Club
The Cocoa Butter Club presents a one-off Queer Cabaret showcasing and celebrating performers of colour, from neo-burlesque and poetry, to drag, hoops and voguing. February can be hard so come and let your hair down and celebrate QTIPOC at our best!!!
Lotion up, baby, because Sadie Sinner The Songbird will bring you a night bold enough to have you screaming ‘yaaaaas queen, smell like cocoa butter up in hurr!’
£13 | £11 conc.

Sat 23 – Sun 24 Feb, 10am – 6pm/Final sharing Sun 24, 2pm LGBTQ+ Tiny Shows
Writer and theatre maker, Jen Toksvig leads Tiny LGBTQ+ Shows. A building full of LGBTQ+ theatre makers are invited to be spontaneous and create tons of tiny little pieces of theatre, with people they have probably only just met.
Participants walk in with nothing prepared, except a willingness to be surprised by what might happen; by the end of the second day, the creative collective offer a selection of tiny handmade confections to a roaming audience.
In essence, Tiny LGBTQ+ Shows is a celebration of collaboration, connection and creativity.
See website for booking details. Final Sharing on Sun 24, £5

Sun 24 Feb – 11am & 2pm The Diaries of a Miserable Unicorn
(For Families)
Sometimes it can be hard work being a unicorn, as Dusty only knows too well. Join us in the interactive storytelling session, to see if you can help cheer up the most miserable unicorn in town. Stay after to make your very own unicorn to take home.
£5 for Ages 3 – 7

Tue 26 Feb – 24 Mar 7.30pm Lipstick: A Fairy Tale of Iran
PRESS NIGHT – 28 Feb, 7.30pm
So, I live with this geeky, kind of brilliant boy.
Every night, the clock chimes midnight, and this boy turns into the most beautiful woman in  all the world.
It’s gorgeous.
Just, it’s a fairytale.
And that makes me scared that it’s bollocks.
London, Summer 2010. Orla and Mark cordially invite you to the grand opening of their fabulous new drag bar. There’s one problem. Orla has just returned from witnessing a failed revolution. By accident.
£16 | £13 conc.

Sat 23 Mar, 9pm 24/7 Live
Join British-Chinese pop artist Le Fil as he, she or it explores a 24/7 world of gay-straight men, desire and objectification through a fusion of gender-bending performance art, hip-thrusting dance, twisted autobiography and kaleidoscopic pop music from his Nightlife EP.
This pop-gig-with-extras opens its doors to cruising toilets, bad romances and the modern constructions of gender that package us up for consumption. Armed with killer hooks and queer looks, LE FIL is ready to smash gender stereotypes one song at a time.
Try before you buy folks, it’s open 24/7… how will you have yours?
£13 | £11 conc.

Mon 25 – 30 Mar, 7.30pm ELF LYONS: CHIFF CHAFF
The Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee (Best Show 2017) presents her
London debut of her one-woman musical about the economy. You read that right. Let’s get fiscal. The queen of clown is back and she’s making the dismal science fun with a whole orchestra and an Invisible Hand.

BBC New Talent Hotlist 2017.
Fringe World Best Comedy Show 2018 nominee.
British Vogue’s ’20 Names of Now’.
**** (The Times) ‘A fast talking, smart-thinking stand-up for whom the adjective ‘kooky’ could have been invented for’ (Guardian)
‘Hysterical tour de force’ ***** (ThreeWeeks)
‘A fantastic comedic success’ **** (Fest)
**** (Scotsman)
£16 | £11 conc.

Sun 31 Mar, 7.30pm Queertet (SUNDAY MUSIC)
A band of LGBTQI+ jazz musicians bring a special perspective to their wonderful music. Featuring original material and the music of celebrated LGBTQI+ musicians and composers throughout history, they starred at Pride 2018, touring London and selling out two shows at Ronnie Scott’s.
£13 | £11 | £6 under 25s


Press enquiries: Tel: 07939 149887

About Omnibus Theatre
Omnibus Theatre is a multi award-winning independent theatre in Clapham, South London. Shortlisted Fringe Theatre of the Year 2019 The Stage, A recipient of the Peter Brook/Royal Court Theatre Support Award 2016 and Offie winner 2018. The heart of our ambitious programme, inspired by our building’s literary heritage, lies in both classics re-imagined and contemporary storytelling. We provide a platform for new writing and interdisciplinary work, aiming to give voice to the underrepresented and challenge perceptions. We believe in affordable tickets and theatre for all. Since opening in 2013 notable in-house productions include Woyzeck (2013), Macbeth (2014), Colour (2015), Mule (2016), Spring Offensive(2017) and Zeraffa Giraffa (2017). Omnibus Theatre is led by Artistic Director Marie McCarthy. Patrons include Dame Judi Dench, Sir Michael Gambon, Matthew Warchus, Sir Richard Eyre and Maggi Hambling. We are a registered charity and receive no core funding. Omnibus_theatre | @Omnibus_Theatre


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