Transgender arts festival Trans Vegas returns to Manchester for its second year, raising trans visibility and fighting transphobia with art events across the city.

The second annual transgender arts festival takes place across the city, presented by Manchester trans arts company Trans Creative.  The festival is curated by Artistic Director Kate O’Donnell, an international performer, writer and curator.

Running for 5 days (29 June – 3 July), Trans Vegas 2019 co-incides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, in which transgender and gender non-confirming people played a crucial role in resisting police violence and discrimination.  Trans Vegas itself picks up this torch by supporting the most marginalised members of the trans community to tell their own stories.

Kate established Trans Creative two years ago to raise trans visibility and fight transphobia through arts and education. Kate was recently seen across Manchester as part of the ‘Strong Women’ campaign, and is well known in the city for her own work in theatre and her groundbreaking role in ‘Twelfth Night’ at Royal Exchange Theatre.  Speaking about this year’s festival, she commented, “We wanted to hear twice as many trans voices at this year’s festival, we want to hear them roar and raise everyone’s trans spirits. Brace yourself Manchester, Trans Vegas is coming!”

What’s on at Trans Vegas 2019?

29 June, 9pm-2am
Trans Refuge!
The festival launch at The Refuge on Oxford Street, Manchester.  The launch takes the form of a club-night/performance party with The Cocoa Butter Club, London’s LGBTQIA people of colour cabaret. To honour Marsha P. Johnson and the trans women of colour who were a crucial part of the Stonewall uprising, this will be spirited soiree of burlesque, spoken word, vogueing and DJs centring trans and non-binary performers of colour, with London’s legendary Miss Kimberley and friends.

30 June, 1.30pm
Trans Creative at the Movies
A penal of well-known transgender guests will ‘trans up’ mainstream cinema at HOME Manchester by revisiting films from unique trans perspectives.  This will be followed by a selection of new short films from BFA Flare.  Guests Juno Roche, Kimberley Clark and Victoria Gigante with discuss their cinematic pleasures

30 June, 7.30pm
100 Trans Voices
The main theatre space at the iconic Royal Exchange Theatre will host 100 trans people in a truly unique large-scale event, with the theme of ‘Telling our own stories’. Bringing together trans artists and community members – with stories taking place both on and off stage – the event will showcase a huge range of voices to show the breadth and diversity of the trans community. Artists include Kate O’Donnell, Jo Clifford (‘Jesus Queen of Heaven’), Jason Barker (‘A Deal With The Universe’), Krishna Ishta, Jamie Hale and a sound track Video Jam Special from Eliyana Evans. Includes new commissions, premieres and scratch work from high-profile artists.

1 July, 6pm
Trans Men Wear It Well
Join trans men and trans masculine people in a frank, lively and educational discussion of their diverse experiences of masculinity, feminism and identity, inspired by the unique couture fashion collection at Manchester Art Gallery, which will form a backdrop to this unique conversation. Chaired by EJ Scott, curator of the Museum of Transology, with contributions from artist Jamie Hale, Zorian Clayton of BFI, and Manchester pop artist, HUSK.

2 July, 7pm-9.30pm
Trans Spirit
Kate O’Donnell hosts an evening of creativity and well-being at the Anthony Burgess Centre.  An opportunity to relax and nurture your spirit, including yoga, singing and conversation in a relaxed friendly setting. Take time to embrace and celebrate yourself in a safe and inclusive space. This event is for transgender and non-binary people only and is free and un-ticketed.

3 July, 7.30pm
Stand By Your Trans
Taking its name from the iconic #StandByYourTrans campaign, Trans Vegan 2019 brings a cocktail of live performance and open-mic by talented trans people and their allies to The Front Room at the Royal Exchange Theatre.  Music, comedy, poetry and the unexpected combine to sign off Trans Vegas 2019 with creative love for the transgender community.