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Queer Stories of Joy

In June, we celebrate Pride Month, a time when the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies around the world stand up for equality, self-acceptance and love in all its forms. The Volksoper Wien, together with Civic Opera Creations (COCREATIONS), is excited to give a first insight into our new music theatre project Queer Stories of Joy on 22 June. This project focuses on the positive aspects of the queer way of living.

Director Carmen C. Kruse - in collaboration with the podcast INSELMILIEU and numerous partners from the queer scene in Vienna - interviewed a total of 52 people and asked them to talk about their personal moment of queer joy. This could be the first kiss, the importance of community and legal recognition, a positive experience within the chosen family, the first performance as a drag queen - and much more. The variety of answers shows that queer life is full of wonderful moments that should be put in the spotlight.

Which is exactly what happened in a second step. In collaboration with authors from the Queer Writers Circle Vienna, the interviews were used to create, collage and rewrite song lyrics: Arias, duets and trios - moulded into music by four national and international queer composers. Now the first results of this three-year process will be presented on the (rehearsal) stage of the Volksoper in a workshop performance.

Together with ensemble members Ben Connor, Lauren Urquhart and Christoph Stocker as well as Rafael Salas Chía on the piano, you will get to experience the creation of a musical theatre work first-hand, listen to the life stories of queer Viennese people, get to know people. What's more, all this will take place in a highly unusual stage setting by Alice Dal Bello, with sets and costumes from our extensive pool of costumes. Our music theatre history also helps to provide the material for a theatrical look into the future. And to expand the music theatre repertoire with new perspectives and representations.

Following the performance, we invite our audience to an exchange and discussion, moderated by Jana Mack and Julia Breitkopf from INSELMILIEU, who will provide insights into the development of the Queer Stories of Joy project together with its various participants.

Parallel to this, the photo exhibition The heART of Queer Joy, which was last on show at the Queer Museum Vienna, can be visited. Photographer Jana Mack explored the question of what queer joy feels like in her portraits, which are accompanied by audio sequences from the INSELMILIEU podcast. 

Director and concept: Carmen C. Kruse
Researchers: Jana Mack, Julia Breitkopf
Librettists: JG Danso, Jamila Soibiri, Louie Ulrich, Deloria Patton, Clara Vladár
Composers: Evan J. Lawson, Lliam Patterson, Ariadne Randall, Dr Obaro Eijimiwe
Set design: Alice Dal Bello

A project by Volksoper Wien, Civic Opera Creations and Inselmilieu Reportage

In partnership with o*books, Rainbowtime, Queer Writers Circle Vienna, hint.wien, titti titti bang bang and the Queer Museum Vienna