National fucking treasure Panti Bliss brings her High Heels In Low Places tour to the Soho Theatre where she’ll expose the stories behind the make up, from performance giant to accidental activist…
Hello Miss Bliss. For those who haven’t seen your show, what it is about?
Queerness and sex and gender.
Why did you decide to tour the show?
Because I have bills to pay! Plus I get a new Grindr grid every couple of days…
And what have responses been like from the various cities?
I’ve taken this show to ten different countries, to big cities and small towns, and it’s fascinating for me to see how different audiences react to different parts of the show. Thankfully the show has gone down well everywhere, but obviously a theatre of gays in Soho connects with different parts of the show than, say, an audience in somewhere like Sarajevo where being queer is very difficult.
In 2014 you made a speech about homophobia, which was described as ‘the most eloquent Irish speech’ in 200 years by The Irish Times – how have gay rights in Ireland progressed since then?
The most significant change since then was the introduction of marriage equality in 2015. And because that was done by referendum, with the whole country voting on it after a deep national discussion, it has had a transformative effect on the country that goes beyond simply giving marriage rights to LGBTI people. Bizarrely, we Irish queers are now in the unique position where we now know exactly, quantifiably, where we stand in Irish society, because the whole country discussed it endlessly for six months and then voted on it. And it turns out that the overwhelming majority of people are totally cool with us. And knowing that has been a liberating experience for the Irish LGBTI community, and indeed has become a kind of badge of honour for Irish society as a whole.