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The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven
by Jo Clifford

Join Queen Jesus for a revolutionary queer ritual in which bread is shared, wine is drunk, and familiar stories are reimagined by a transgender Jesus.


Winner of the 2021 Green Room Award for Best Independent Theatre Production, The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven features trans writer and performer Kristen Smyth as Queen Jesus, delivering writer Jo Clifford’s provocative and inspiring text. Under the masterfully simple direction of Green Room nominee Kitan Petkovski, Smyth’s powerful performance is supported by a live choir of four angels singing Rachel Lewindon’s hauntingly beautiful original score. The result is a transcendent take on what it means to be human, imagining Christianity’s message of love extending to embrace all those traditionally excluded because of their sexuality or gender.

Lyn Gardner called it “moving and infinitely graceful” in The Guardian; the Archbishop of Glasgow called it “an affront to the Christian faith”; and the play has been attracting praise (from those who have seen it) and condemnation (generally from those who have not) ever since it first opened in 2009, performed by the writer herself. “I wrote The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven because I wanted to resist,” says Jo Clifford. “Resist the profound and damaging shame and fear and guilt that has been with me almost all my life. The shame and the fear and the guilt that comes on almost all of us trans women and men born into this hostile world.”

Premiered at Theatreworks in 2021

Return season at fortyfivedownstairs in 2023

Photo credit: Parenthesy, Cameron Grant


Media & Marketing Overview

A full suite of marketing collateral is available. If you can't find what you need, please contact producer Ben Anderson:

  • Event copy here:

  • Production stills from Theatreworks and fortyfivedownstairs

  • A full length promo video available here:

  • Vimeo promo trailer available here:

  • Local version available here

Cast and creatives are will reasonably be made available for media pre-season and during


Stage Whispers

“An amazing fusion of theatre, storytelling and ritual.”

Cameron Woodhead, The Age

“An inspiring antidote to the legacy of shame left by many a church upbringing.”

Cameron Woodhead, The Age

“An inspiring antidote to the legacy of shame left by many a church upbringing.”

Our Team


Touring info and tech specs


Touring party

6 required for bump in and full run:

  • 1 x Performer (Queen Jesus)

  • 4 x Choir

  • 1 x Production Manager / Stage Manager

5 required for transfer only (bump in, preview, opening, and 3rd performance)

  • 1 x LX Designer (required until 3rd show only)

  • 1 x Set & Costume Designer (required until 3rd show only)

  • 1 x SX Designer (required until 3rd show only)

  • 1 x Producer (required until 3rd show only)

  • 1 x Director (required until 3rd show only)

Local crew required

  • 1 x SX operator

  • 1 x LX operator

  • 1 x Mech for general set load in

  • 2 x Mechs for grass/turf load in and positioning (crew who lay turf will need to change clothes/shower after load in/out so won't necessarily be able to perform other duties)

Bump in requirements

  • 4 day bump in (can preview on 4th bump in day)


  • Company tours LX Designer who will work with local crew to bump in LX

  • Haze required throughout show

  • If no natural light available in theatre, then LED wash to be left on overnight to allow grass to grow (purple/ultraviolet)


  • 5 x radio mics (headset or lapel) to be supplied by presenting venue

  • Ample PA coverage for all seating banks

Set & Props

  • Company to supply framing and underlay for turf

  • Company will arrange delivery of 30 sqm of ready-lawn/live turf

  • Access required to water for daily watering by SM

  • Presenter or company to supply a chest freezer for making a key design element - must not be turned off, moved, or interfered with in any way

Cast requirements

  • A safe, lockable area to change and warm up with access to private bathroom facilities

  • Tea & coffee making facilities plus a fridge required


Our production has received threats in the past due to content (none of which have lead to anything). As such we require that Front of House are especially mindful of:

  • No patrons to access outside of initial house open time

  • Full lock-out once clearance given

  • Absolutely no large bags to be taken into auditorium

  • A protest/safety plan will be developed with each venue to ensure cast, crew, venue, and audience safety

Budget estimates (to be confirmed by producer):

  • Remount costs: $10k (can be shared with other presenters if touring with a break of less than 3 weeks)

  • Touring personnel weekly costs: $10k first week

  • Company fee: $3k + 5% NBO royalty

  • Flights and accom in/ex Melbourne (4 x transfer only, and 6 x full run)

  • Writers royalty: 10% NBO

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