The Mary Renault Society

The Triangle Area of North Carolina

What’s So Queer about Theater These Days?

Jeff Storer (right) with his partnerJeff Storer has been a professor in the Department of Theater Studies at Duke University since 1982. He has been out since 1984 and is co-founder and artistic director of Durham NC’s Manbites Dog Theater, which just celebrated its 25th birthday and 26 seasons of producing area and world premieres in the Triangle area. From the founding of the theater, Jeff and his partner Edward Hunt, managing director of the theater, have been open with the Triangle about their relationship; they will celebrate their 29th anniversary as a couple on April 1st, 2013. In part, the founding of the theater was focused on increasing the visibility of gay plays, playwrights, stories, and performance artists.

The first season at the theater included Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart” in 1987, and in the spring of 2013 the company will produce the area premiere of the award-winning play by Philip Dawkins, “The Homosexuals.” In between, the company has worked with numerable gay actors, directors, designers, playwrights, and performance artists. Manbites Dog was responsible for bringing Tim Miller (“My Queer Body”), Durham NC's Manbites Dog TheaterPamela Sneed (“Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery”), Beto Araiza (“Meet My Beat”), the Radical Fairies show “Taken by the Fairies,” and Holly Hughes’ “Preaching to the Preverted” to the Triangle for oftentimes controversial performances.

Prof. Storer spent five years in the late 1980s as an operator at the National AIDS Hotline. His conversation with the Mary Renault Society will be focused on the founding and survival of a non-profit theater that does exclusively new work, with a queer bent. The focus of his conversation will be looking at the evolution of gay theater from Stonewall (“Street Theater”) to today (“The Cock”). This will be his second time speaking at the Mary Renault Society.


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