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Inspiring Dialogue

Rising up against the status quo.


Kathy Wittman

Forget the noodles. Queer Soup is a Boston-based theater company comprised of queer artists who collaborate to create stage productions that bring diverse peoples together, while challenging social norms.


"Theater is a vehicle for change," says co-founder and theater artist Mal Malme. "There is nothing more immediate than theater. It can change lives, it can change minds, it can inspire dramatic change. "


The troupe's last full production, We All Will Be Received, was a multimedia piece about gender identity and expression. It premiered at the Boston Center for The Arts in late 2010 with a month long run. Then the company toured conferences, colleges, and LGBT youth groups the following two years.  Malme says the show was an opportunity to broaden the discussion of gender, and to allow a voice for those who don't fit neatly into the societal definition of what it is to be female and male.


"It was a very personal show about drag, gender identity and expression, born from an idea to go on a road trip to visit the home of the patron saint of drag kings, Elvis Presley, in Graceland, as well as another gender icon of equal stature, Dolly Parton, in Dollywood," says Malme.


In an even more personal moment, Malme shares the inspiration for the group's latest production, The Pineapple Project, a 30 minute play for kids ages three to eight, that explores and questions gender norms. Malme was playing princess dolls with her young niece when the actor suggested a one of the princesses could be a boy.


"She got really upset with me," Malme said.  "She was four years old at the time, and it saddened me that she was already getting messages, and strong ones, about gender norms."


Opening the production this fall, Malme and the troupe members are excited to see how youngsters will react to a show that celebrates gender expression and creativity.


"We want everyone to feel welcome, to know that when they come in the door, they feel taken care of, that they are with us on this wild and wacky journey and with them with us," she says.


Dish up a great theater experience with Queer Soup at http://queersouptheater.org/


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