Joel Bray presents new production at Malthouse in May

Joel Bray presents new production at Malthouse in May

Aboriginal queer dancer Joel Bray’s new work Homo Pentecostus will be staged at the Malthouse Theatre this month.

This is the story of how Joel came to be a secret queer identity in the 1990s under the influence of Pentecostalism.

This latest work blends choreography and theatre in a series of confessions about how to be yourself and not lose your family and community.

Homo Pentecostus is an unusual play that will be an adventure of self-discovery and liberation.

Joel is a Melbourne actor, dancer and writer. As a gay Indigenous man who grew up largely in a white world, Joel found his purpose and identity through dance.

Joel’s grew up in a Pentecostal household with his devout white mother and stepdad – but he also spent a lot of his time with his Indigenous father, a land rights activist who was heavily involved in the land rights movement of the 1980s. He spent his life flicking between two worlds, but never felt that he fitted into either of them.

Later, Joel realised that he was gay, and the lack of support from his mother and stepfather because of his faith made him even more broken. Influenced and inspired by his living environment, he created Homo Pentecostus.


“This work has been bubbling away inside me for years. I’m so excited to be on the cusp of sharing it with audiences,” Joel said. 


“More than any other work I’ve made, Homo Pentecostus has been a truly collaborative process.”

During his teens, he spent a lot of his time trying to convert his mates. Until he discovered Sydney’s dance scene, boys, sex, and a whole new community – this production asks the question: what is your church?

Pentecostalism is Australia’s fastest-growing religion. Joel grew up secretly queer under the influence of Pentecost, and his love of theatre originated in the church. He says “the Pentecostal church is very theatrical, with rock music and people speaking gibberish. They call it speaking in the tongues of angels, but it’s just really good improvisation.”

Homo Pentecostus runs from May 10 to 25. •


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