Anna Livia Lesbia - when it was harder to be gay in Ireland

New p[lay examines gay life in 1970s Ireland

Joni Crone.

Joni Crone.

THE EARLY gay rights and women's movements, as seen through the eyes of a young lesbian trying to making sense of the scary, bizarre, and sometimes downright funny world that was 1970s Ireland, is explored in a new play by a woman who has lived it all.

Anna Livia Lesbia, which comes to the Town Hall Theatre on Friday July 7 at 8pm is a new play by Joni Crone, a Dubliner who was the first Irish lesbian to come out publicly when she appeared on The Late Late Show in 1980.

This semi-biographical play asks questions about identity, family, community, activism, and freedom, and explores prejudices gay Irish people faced historically.

Crone did the Late Late interview in 1980 to promote a helpline she had been involved in establishing, and through which she heard, first hand, stories from people who were forced to be invisible or suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation. Instead, however, the interview explored her personal life; did her parents see her as deviant or as sinful; what did the clergy think; might it affect her potential at promotion? The immediate reverberations from the interview saw Joni suffer backlash and support.

What is the relevance though, of a play like Anna Livia Lesbia in post marriage-equality Ireland? Crone warns we cannot be complacent and it is important to “know our history”, and that change did not just happen from the 1993 decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The play is presented by Leitrim's Splódar theatre. Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie

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