'This is the Word of God': Acceptance Theatre and the Validation of a Gay Religious Sensibility

James Marland


The term 'Acceptance Theatre' represents the fulfilment of a gay religious sensibility on stage and has emerged from the discourses of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) activism and queer theology. A combination of political theatre, queer theology and the movement for LGBT Christian rights, Acceptance Theatre challenges the more conservative and heterosexist elements of religious dogma and in doing so expands the notion of orthodoxy: theological heterosexism is diminished and LGBT individuals are accepted - hence the term . This can be exemplified in a Judeo-Christian context through an examination of McNally's play 'Corpus Christi' (1998). This play is a representation of a Christian God being ventriloquised to disrupt Christian heterosexism and free God’s voice from orthodox rigidity. The purpose of this paper then, is to examine McNally's play for its demonstration of the praxis of Acceptance Theatre, which is the theatrical promotion of a gay Christian religious sensibility.

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