Panti Bliss: If These Wigs Could Talk

Panti Bliss promo image

Presented by Solas Nua and Studio Theatre

Panti Bliss: If These Wigs Could Talk

And Abbey Theatre Production

June 26, 2024 - July 7, 2024

Written and performed by Panti Bliss

Directed by Phillip McMahon

Produced by Jennifer Jennings and Laura Rigney

After a lifetime of accidental activism, far-fetched shenanigans and making a full time show of herself, notorious drag queen Panti Bliss—the “Queen of Ireland”—is now taking a moment to question her purpose and place in this changing world. 

Expect salacious stories, impassioned polemics, and some seriously funny soul searching as Panti takes us from rural Mayo to London’s West End, where - along the way - the answer to her question presents itself where she least expects it.

Show runs 75 minutes with no intermission.


Presented with generous support from Culture Ireland.

Produced in collaboration with Studio Theatre.

solas branded panti bliss promo image
Panti Bliss (image 2 final)


Panti is Ireland's foremost gender discombobulist and accidental activist. She began performing while an art student in the late 80’s before moving to Tokyo and becoming a fixture on the Tokyo club scene. Returning to Dublin in 1995 she ran some of Dublin's seminal club nights, hosted the legendary Alternative Miss Ireland for 18 years, and performed all over the world. 

Panti has written and performed four critically acclaimed, hit theatre shows: In These Shoes, All Dolled Up, A Woman in Progress, and High Heels In Low Places which have played to stellar reviews and packed houses across Ireland, the UK, Europe, Australia, and the US. In October 2014, she published her memoir Woman In The Making which was a bestseller in Ireland. In January 2014, Panti's creator Rory O'Neill sparked a national furore when he appeared on RTE television and discussed homophobia in Ireland. The ensuing scandal became known as Pantigate. In Feb 2014 Panti took to the stage of the National Theatre to defend herself. Her ten minute oration, which became known as The Noble Call, has been compared to some of the great speeches in the English language and a video of the speech went viral online, was broadcast on TV and radio around the world, and became an international sensation.

Panti became an iconic figure for equality in Ireland, and in 2015 she played a major role in the successful referendum campaign for Marriage Equality in Ireland. In October 2015, a critically acclaimed documentary The Queen Of Ireland about Rory and Panti broke box office records in Ireland and picked up awards at festivals around the world. She has been the recipient of many awards for both her work as an entertainer and as an activist, including a Person Of The Year Award and an Honorary Doctorate from the prestigious Trinity College Dublin.

Continuing to push boundaries for the LGBTQ community and making television history being part of the first same-sex couple to perform on Ireland’s Dancing with the Stars in 2023, Panti is continuing her on-going quest to help quench homophobia and marginalisation in Ireland, while marking a clear space for drag entertainment on Irish national television. She is also much in demand at home and abroad as a speaker and activist. Panti is also the landlady of her popular Dublin bar, Pantibar, which opened in 2007.


Phillip McMahon is a playwright and director based in Dublin. Writing credits include Once Before I Go, Come On Home, Town Is Dead, Alice In Funderland, Pineapple, Elevator, Investment Potential, All Over Town and Danny & Chantelle (still here). Directing credits include WAKE & RIOT (co-directed with Jennifer Jennings for THISISPOPBABY), Straight to Video and Dublin Oldschool by Emmet Kirwan, Insane Animals (HOME Manchester), Not A Funny Word by Tara Flynn and Money by Peter Daly. He has made and toured a number of smash hit shows with long time collaborator, drag superstar Panti, and was co-producer and co-writer on Conor Horgan’s esteemed documentary The Queen of Ireland for Blinder Films. Philip co-created a new dance work, Party Scene, with choreographer Philip Connaughton in June 2022.

Phillip is co-founder and co-director of theatre production company THISISPOPBABY, wherein he was co-creator and co-curator of the THISISPOPBABY performance venue at Electric Picnic Music and Arts Festival, Queer Notions cross arts festival, WERK Performance/Art/Club and Where We Live festival of performance and ideas. He was a former Writer In Association at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. He is currently Artistic Associate at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London, and is Research Fellow at the Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre, London.


With Dublin as their base, muse and backdrop, THISISPOPBABY has been igniting stages around the world for seventeen years with an exhilarating mix of theatre, night club, festival and activism.

The company has thrived at the cutting edge of contemporary live performance in Ireland, pioneering large-scale shows such as WAKE, RIOT and Alice In Funderland, incendiary multidisciplinary festivals Where We Live and Queer Notions, iconic underground performance like WERK and Salty, and via award-winning contemporary new writing.

To date, the work has played to audiences of over 400,000, collaborating with an innumerable number of incredible artists to light up our cities and speak to the world through the lens of what it means to be Irish. Innovation is in the company’s veins, the work provokes change, and every THISISPOPBABY show inspires, entertains - and shocks! - in the most glittering way.

THISISPOPBABY is proud of its support from The Arts Council, Dublin City Council and Culture Ireland.

ABOUT THE ABBEY THEATRE / Amharclann na Mainistreach

As Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey Theatre’s ambition is to enrich the cultural lives of everyone with a curiosity for and interest in Irish theatre, stories, artists and culture. Courage and imagination are at the heart of our storytelling, while inclusivity, diversity and equality are at the core of our thinking. Led by Co-Directors Caitríona McLaughlin (Artistic Director) and Mark O’Brien (Executive Director), the Abbey Theatre celebrates both the rich canon of Irish dramatic writing and the potential of future generations of Irish theatre artists.

Ireland has a rich history of theatre and playwriting and extraordinary actors, designers and directors. Artists are at the heart of this organisation, with Marina Carr and Conor McPherson as Senior Associate Playwrights and Caroline Byrne as Associate Director. We also work with four Resident Directors – Gea Gojak, Claire O’Reilly, Laura Sheeran and Colm Summers. Our stories teach us what it is to belong, what it is to be excluded and to exclude. Artistically our programme is built around two questions: “who we were, and who are we now?” We interrogate our classical canon with an urgency about what makes it speak to this moment. On our stages we find and champion new voices and new ways of seeing, ou purpose - to identify combinations of characters we are yet to meet, having conversations we are yet to hear.

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