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The Headless Soldier, an opera triptych

Posted on: August 10th, 2023 by

World premiere and Outburst 2023 Opening Event

an opera triptych

Music | Conor Mitchell
Libretto | Mark Ravenhill

I want us – you, me – Zachary – to build a wall against the world.

Far away, a war rages. Here, everything is perfect. Or is it?

In a world premiere, two of the UK’s most vital and influential queer voices join forces for a three-part operatic first.

Mark Ravenhill (Shopping and Fucking) and Conor Mitchell’s (Abomination, a DUP opera) piercing new work looks beneath the perfect lives of Helen, her husband, Thomas and their haunted son, Zach – finding a hidden, much closer war.

The latest collaboration between the award-winning Belfast Ensemble and Outburst Queer Arts Festival, this powerful triptych of short operas is performed in one night, blending multi-media with live performance, international soloists and chamber orchestra.

A co-production between The Belfast Ensemble & Outburst Arts for Outburst Queer Arts Festival.

Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.



Age suitability: 12+

Duration: 120 mins, with interval

Content Advice: Flashing images or strobe lighting / Strong or offensive language

Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible. All performances will be captioned


Posted on: June 5th, 2023 by

catflap : # 3

The catflap is open – come on in!

Pishe-wish-wish-wish…here writer kitties…. catflap #3 is coming!

Submissions are now OPEN for the third issue of Outburst’s magazine of new queer writing, CATFLAP.

After two brilliant issues, our beautifully formed periodical returns as a print-only space for queer thinking and sharing vital ideas. Informal but smart, critical but always curious and open, catflap welcomes submissions from both emerging and established queer writers. All contributors will be paid for their work.

We want bold, sharp, creative queer commentary and poetry. Send us your essays – think cultural critique centred in curosity, personal essays that ask vital questions, smart feral queer philosophies; we love promiscuous forms and are open to beauiful surprises.

Send essays of up to 5000 words, or 2 to 3 poems.

Deadline for submissions is July 31st, 2023.

catflap #3 will be launched with a special event at Outburst Queer Arts Festival, November 10th-18th.


Please send your submissions as a Word document or PDF, along with a short bio note of no more than 100 words.


All work must be your own original writing and not published anywhere before, online or in print.

You can submit work that you have also submitted for consideration in another publication, but please inform us as soon as possible if your work is accepted elsewhere.

Intellectual copywright will remain with the writer, with agreement that the work will not be published elsewhere within 12 months of publication in catflap.


catflap is edited by poet Mícheál McCann, designed by Other Office (Simon Buckley and Shauna Sweeney)

Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through funds from the National Lottery.



Posted on: October 5th, 2022 by

The 16th Outburst Queer Arts Festival is on the way!

Nine days of queer arts, ideas and collective queer magic in Belfast , November 11-19.

Full event listings and booking available HERE!