With hopes for a repeal of Clause 28 poised for imminent realization or disappointment, a successful European challenge to Britain's policy on gays and lesbians in the armed forces, and an overwhelming House of Commons vote to equalize the gay ‘age of consent’, gay issues are high in the public consciousness. But to what extent are these political events being reflected in contemporary theatre? In this article, Brian Roberts considers the fluctuations in gay visibility, and asks what happened to the gay theatre that sprang to prominence in the 'eighties. He situates the best of present gay theatre work as standing in a critically defining role to mainstream theatre culture, not only through its political conscientizing of ‘queer’ and theatricality, but also in its opposition to an assimilationist gay subculture. Brian Roberts lectures in Drama and Theatre at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and is presently revising his book Artistic Bents: Gay Sensibility and Theatre for publication.