Our 2023 Community Survey!

The words, community survey, are placed on the centre of a pink square tile. They are surrounded by triangle shapes in purple and yellow. The Andro and Eve logo sits at the top, whch features the words Andro and Eve in white, over a purple inverted triangle.

Andro and Eve’s programme is developed by listening to voices from our LGBTQ+ community. We always collect feedback from those who attend our events and workshops. Additionally, each year we undertake a survey to hear from those who might not have had the chance to have their say, and ask a wider range of questions to help us understand what matters to our community.

We are always keen to plan ahead reflecting on the views of the community which we serve. So if you have time, please do complete our 2023 Community Survey. Your opinions matter to us. It should take 5 – 10 minutes to complete.

If you leave your email address, we will enter you into a prize draw to win a bundle of Andro and Eve merch, including our black logo tee, postcards, pin badges and stickers plus new queer zine, Fresh Air!

Follow the link to have your say in our Community Survey! The form will close at midnight on 16 February.

a group of people in various elegant costumes pose and dance onstage with one person strutting their way onto the catwalk. The scene is lit by warm orange lighting
A Reyt Queer Extravaganza. 2022. Credit – Misha Warren

10 Highlights of 2022

a group of performers onstage strike poses and one holds a cardboard sign that says Queer Joy is Powerful

2022 was a big year for Andro and Eve, with the return to live events supported by a significant grant from Arts Council England the The Civic, Barnsley. In fact, so much has happened this year, we’re quite glad of our winter slow down, with time to reflect and plan.

We want to say a huge thank you to all the artists and freelancers we’ve worked with this year along with our volunteers and board for helping bring people together through queer culture. And a massive thank you to those who’ve supported our work by attending our events or workshops, buying a zine or some merch or sending us a donation. Links above if you want to do the same!

So in no particular order here are 10 highlights of 2022 for Andro and Eve!

1.Our first live cabaret event in 2.5 years – A Reyt Queer Do!

A drag performer with a blonde wig stands in the middle of a crowd of people in a bar with everyone in the crowd having their phone camera lights shining
A Reyt Queer Do. Credit – Sophie Okonkwo

Hosted by Sadie Sinner, with Rhys Pieces, Ditzy O Darlin and a cracking line up of emerging talent, everyone who came down to Sidney and Matilda had a great evening. Read more about the event here.

2. Drag Kings!

drag king Mark Anthony onstage smiling with sparkly eyebrows and brocade suit
Mark Anthony performing at The Kingdom Come 6. Credit – Dawn Kilner

From both our online drag king workshops with Christian Adore, to ALL our live events this year, and especially The Kingdom Come, an event designed solely to share the UK’s most exciting drag king talent, we were thrilled to be making space to platform these amazing artists, that too often get overlooked in the drag scene. Long live the kings!

3. Fresh Air Zine

An A5 zine with a cream cover sits on a lilac surface. The cover is covered in a flowing line drawing with blue, lime and yellow fill that seems to depict two abstract figures,

We worked with Site Gallery’s Society of Explorers to create a brand new zine, inspired by our Gender Awareness Training. Packed full of illustrations by artist Luci Pina its a gorgeous resource for young and older people alike. You can still get a copy for free here.

4. A Reyt Queer Extravaganza

a group of three black performers strike poses on a catwalk. The person in the centre wears a gold dress and has gold paper flowing from their body.
A Reyt Queer Extravaganza. Credit – Misha Warren

Our biggest ever event was a collaboration with Ghetto Fabulous, with our artistic director, Finn Warman, working closely with artistic director and choreographer Darren Pritchard to programme and produce this event featuring over 20 performers to an audience of 300 people at The Leadmill. Hosted by the legendary Rikki Beadle – Blair, to say it was an epic endeavour, but utterly worth it, is an understatement! Read more about the event here.

5. Forgeous

Through queer dance and movement workshops that we produced in collaboration with Ghetto Fabulous in June and July, new queer dance collective, Forgeous were forged in all their gloriousness. They then made their debut performance at A Reyt Queer Extravaganza. Hear more about their experience in this short film made by filmmaker Toni Lee.

6. Teamwork!

Finn and Martha stand onstage smiling and speaking.
Martha Adebambo and Finn Warman at A Reyt Queer Extravaganza. Credit – Misha Warren

2022 marked a year of Finn and Martha working together as a producing duo, and for a brief time our team grew with other freelancers joining to help produce and promote our work. Not to forget our amazing volunteers who helped everything run smoothly at our events and Doncaster Pride. Martha has now stepped back from their role as Assistant Producer, but will work with us on a more ad hoc basis in future. A huge thank you for all their contributions to Andro and Eve.

7. Gender Awareness Training

an androgynous white person with cropped brown hair sits at a table in front of a screen that has a projection it it. They have their arms outstretched in conversation and wear a grey Andro and Eve logo T shirt.

Our second year of delivering this bespoke session saw us training over 250 people throughout the UK and giving them the tools and confidence to better serve trans and gender expansive clients and audiences. We also recruited a brilliant team of freelance trainers who will be very busy in 2023 with more training sessions. Please get in touch if your team could benefit from this professional development opportunity. You can book for our open session the 1 February here.

8. Festival of Debate – The Transgender Issue with Shon Faye

In May our artistic director Finn hosted a Q&A as part of the Festival of Debate in Sheffield with renowned writer and author Shon Faye about her first book, The Transgender Issue. To see a crowd of gender diverse people and allies centre and listen to the very real issues affecting trans people today, and make space for trans joy, was a really wonderful highlight.

9. Queer Delight

Following an open call in the summer, we commissioned filmmaker Alexis Maxwell to make a short digital film. The resulting animated poem, Queer Delight is a pure joy to watch, and the audio described version was beautifully enriched by Adedamola Bajomo.

10. Our Community

A group of 4 people smile huddled together wearing some fantastic coats and lit by warm lighting.

We were so happy to welcome so many new faces to Andro and Eve events, with folk working with our Safer Spaces policy, and generally being so warm and friendly to everyone. It was also super heartwarming to have plenty familiar faces return to our audiences and to witness the joy of being together once more.

So thats our year in a snapshot – there’s plenty more we could mention, truly, its been a wild year, but we hope you’ve enjoyed taking a moment to reflect on whats been achieved and the fact that 6 years after our first event, we’re still here, still queer and making space to celebrate queer culture.

If you want to make sure you’re first to hear whats in store for 2023, then make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter. The whims of social media platforms have been very much highlighted this year, so it’s more important than ever that we have other ways to stay connected!

Wishing you a peaceful and warm end to 2022 x

a group of people with their backs turned pose in a dance studio
Feeling Fabulous Workshop with Ghetto Fabulous. 2022. Credit – Emma Bentley – Fox

Drag Kings are part of our Queer Future

Two slim, white drag kings dressed like cowboys with cowboy hats and shirts, stand back to back on a stage. They are lip syncing and lit by blue, red and purple lighting.

Last month our drag king cabaret, The Kingdom Come made its long overdue return to Sheffield. Suffice to say, we were very excited. The queer future is here, and drag kings are definitely part of it!

Taking over another new venue for us, Crookes Social Club, we transformed this community venue into a silvery, spacey fantasy ready for our stellar line up to take to the stage.

Drag king Romeo De La Cruz is dancing onstage at Crookes Social Club. The stage is adorned with gold glitter bunting that says ‘The Kingdom Come’ behind which is the traditional Crookes Working Mens Club engraved lettering in gold. Romeo is a Black non binary person with short shaved hair. They wear a black shirt, sliver chains and patterned black trousers and have a serious look on their face.
Romeo De La Cruz. Credit: Dawn Kilner

Our hosts for the evening was the ‘godfather of the modern UK drag king scene’ Adam All, and his partner, Apple Derrieres. With Sigi Moonlight, Mark Anthony, Romeo De La Cruz and Brokeback Yorkshire, our sold out audience was treated to thrills and spills all over.

Adam All and Apple Derrieres hosting The Kingdom Come #6. Credit Dawn Kilner

With Adam and Apple blasting out the power pop anthems, Mark Anthony treating us to his seductive boylesque moves, Brokeback Yorkshire being the campest and sexiest gay cowboys we’ve seen, Romeo De La Cruz powerfully commanding the stage with their choreography and Sigi Moonlight taking us on a sublime yet silly seaside journey!

This was also our first live show where we were able to offer audio description, beautifully delivered by Dot, and our BSL interpreter, Max smashed out the BSL with panache galore.

Sigi Moonlight as Captain Birdseye. Credit: Dawn Kilner

A huge thanks to Crookes Social Club for the warm welcome, to all our artists and crew and brilliant volunteers for helping things run smoothly. We also want to say massive thanks to our community, who on the night, through fervent raffle action, managed to raise £246 for our Pay it Forward Ticket fund. This fund helps us provide free and discounted tickets to those who need them at future events.

Our friendly crew and volunteers were serving up cake and smiles!

The Kingdom Come: Queer Future Edition was our last event of 2022, but we’ll be back in 2023 with more queer joy and delight. Just make sure you’ve signed up to our newsletter to be first to hear about upcoming events and opportunities.

Enjoy the pictures, shot by Dawn Kilner!

Mark Anthony stirring things up
Death to heteronormativity in the queer future!

New Film – Queer Delight by Alexis Maxwell

a still from an animated film shows a green and pink galaxy overlaid with a white cut out image of a face with wiggly lines on it. The person has huge wavy hair illustrated by white lines which spread across the screen. Lilac text at the bottom of the screen says ‘its that presence you feel all the time’

We are thrilled launch our new film, Queer Delight by artist Alexis Maxwell. We commissioned this film after an open call this summer. 

Queer Delight is an animated poem inspired by conversations with LGBTQ+ people. It explores and celebrates how delight is experienced in the queer community through mesmerising visuals, music and text. 

We’re also happy to be able to offer an audio described version of the film too. Audio description has been provided by Adedamola Bajomo. Just scroll down to play the audio described version.

Alexis Maxwell is a contemporary storyteller based across the North. Using a blend of text, tech and animation they explore ways of interpreting everyday experiences into creative oral history. Self-taught animator and long-time fan of all things spoken word; they draw from interdisciplinary practices to breathe life into poetry.

They love art that embraces a sense of self and community; exploring how diverse voices and experiences can come together to overlap and intersect. But most importantly they love the pursuit of joy and all the challenges that come with it. You can follow Alexis on Instagram here.

We hope you enjoy the film as much as we do, and it brings you plenty delight! 

Film and music by Alexis Maxwell
Audio Description by Adedamola Bajomo
Commissioned by Andro and Eve 2022
Supported using Funding from Arts Council England.

The Making of A Reyt Queer Extravaganza

Angel Blaque duck walks onstage under pink lighting. Angel is a Black, femme with pink braids wearing a pale crop top and cute flared mini skirt with chunky white trainers.

Back in July, we produced our biggest ever event, A Reyt Queer Extravaganza, a collaboration with visual arts and dance company Ghetto Fabulous.

So we’re thrilled to share a specially commissioned film by filmmaker Toni Lee that shows the making of A Reyt Queer Extravaganza and what it meant to the participants and artists involved. 

Toni Lee filming participants of Forgeous, Sheffield. Credit – Misha Warren

This collaboration with Ghetto Fabulous was a year in the making, with queer dance and movement workshops in June and July, which brought together a group of LGBTQ+ people from South Yorkshire who were supported to create their own collective and who made their performance debut at A Reyt Queer Extravaganza.

a group of people in various elegant costumes pose and dance onstage with one person strutting their way onto the catwalk. The scene is lit by warm orange lighting
Forgeous onstage at The Leadmill. July 2022. Credit – Misha Warren

A Reyt Queer Extravaganza in July was Sheffield’s first queer led ball, and a huge event, with 25 performers taking to the stage at The Leadmill, and 300 audience members. This film celebrates the people and processes involved in making it all happen. As one audience member said..

The whole event had a brilliantly inclusive feel to it. It felt like everyone on the stage and in the audience was being encouraged and uplifted

Relive the memories, or see what you missed and have a watch now!

Credits

Cinematography and Editing – Toni Lee

Stills photography – Emily Obeng

Artistic Directors – Darren Pritchard for Ghetto Fabulous and Finn Warman for Andro & Eve

Workshop Facilitator – Sym Mendez 

Host of Reyt Queer Extravaganza – Rikki Beadle Blair

With thanks to The Leadmill, Montgomery Theatre, Andro & Eve staff and volunteers and all the fierce performers who took to the runway. 

This project was made made possible through funding from Arts Council England and The Civic, Barnsley.

Meet Sigi Moonlight

a youthful East Asian drag king stands with his hands together in front of his chest. He is captured sideways onto the camera. He wears a white shirt with balck waistcoat and black jeans with black sequin detailing. He has a thin moustache and black hair with bleach blonde streak worn in a long side quiff.

We’re very excited that drag king Sigi Moonlight, will be performing at The Kingdom Come: Queer Future Edition in Sheffield next month.

You might remember him from our online discussion with Festival of Debate last year, Drag Beyond the Binary, or if you’re a long term Andro and Eve fan, you might have seen him on our stages in 2018!

Ahead of The Kingdom Come, we caught up with him. As somewhat of a chameleon in the drag scene, we thought we’d dig a bit deeper and find out more about this amazing artist!

1. We first had you perform in Sheffield in 2018. How did you get into drag?

I always used to play the male roles at the all girls’ schools I went to, and that was my first approach to performing masculinity and being on stage. I didn’t perform for a while after that. Even though I loved being on the stage, I never felt any of the castings mirrored my gender or racial identity.

Then in 2017, I saw my first ever drag king, johnsmith, who just happened to be performing in Leeds where I used to live. That was when it clicked. I took part in your king workshop led by Adam All and Apple Derrieres a month later and that’s where Sigi Moonlight was born. Shortly following that I came third in Man Up! drag king competition at The Glory, East London and it swiftly took off from there; it felt like I was meant to have been doing this all along.

an East Asian drag king, Sigi Moonlight strums a small banjo onstage. He wears a red shirt and black trousers and has short black hair with a bleach blonde streak at the front
Sigi Moonlight Performing at The Kingdom Come, 2018

2. Can you tell us about the character of Sigi and how you approach your drag performances?

My drag name is a play on Ziggy Stardust and it’s an expression of everything that’s gone a bit wrong with masculinity. Sigi was born in 2017, the same year that Donald Trump became the POTUS, and to me that spelled the beginning of the end for humanity. Just like Ziggy Stardust, Sigi is a bit of an alien sent to earth, an empty vessel who embodies different types of masculinity in order to shine a light on the weird and terrifying extremes it has reached. My “Siginature” (excuse the pun) style is taking an overtly darkly masculine character and flipping it on its head to reveal a softer, more feminine interior in the form of striptease and comedy.

3. We last caught up with you in a Festival of Debate Q&A in May 2021, what have you been up to since then?

I’ve since joined PECS Drag King Collective, graduated from drama school, got an agent, starred in an HBO series, played on a West End stage, performed in a lead role in Mulan Rouge at The Vaults in Waterloo, and been on a Netflix tour with drag race queens performing at venues across the UK promoting new forms of drag to audiences who’ve never seen a drag king before!

4. You’re part of the Bitten Peach collective. Can you tell us a bit about that, and what you enjoy about performing with them?

The Bitten Peach is the UK’s only Queer Pan-Asian Performer Collective aiming to address the balance of Asian performers on lineups in cabaret and live performance spaces as well as showcase the excellence of Asian talent on the drag and cabaret scene. I have performed in as well as hosted shows with them since they were formed in 2019.

The best thing about performing with The Bitten Peach is the strong sense of community and identity that is served up to make each and every show really special and heartfelt. It doesn’t just feel like any old “gig”; everyone is committed to performing and preparing well, and the spirit in our rehearsals and final shows is very apparent. I also love our outside social occasions like hot pot dinners and sports day events. It feels like being part of one big loving family! I’ll next be appearing in The Bitten Peach Halloween Whodunnit Show on Wednesday 19th October at The Pleasance Theatre in Islington… keep an eye on their socials for tickets!

Drag King Sigi Moonlight, a slim East Asian masc guy is pictured bearing his teeth in a fierce grimmace. He wears a white shirt with royal blue satin waist corset and dark blue brocade jacket with gold embellishments including spiked studs on the right shoulder. He also wears grey brocade trousers and dark round sunglasses. His hair is black with a white streak and styled into a side quiff.
Sigi Moonlight, who loves a 1950’s or 1960’s rebel! Credit – Captured by Corrine

5. What or who inspires you either in the world of drag or queer performance or any arts and culture?

I look to the aesthetic styles of the 50s and 60s for many of my own fashion sense, poses and direction in my photoshoots and acts. The film rebels, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and James Dean, are and will forever be my idols when it comes to style and eschewing the boundaries between masculine and feminine performance onstage and onscreen. In terms of drag artists, I am in awe of the make up talents of Landon Cider, the prop and costume making skills of Oedipussi Rex and Marnie Scarlet, the charisma and voice of LoUis CYfer and Beau Jangles, and the clowning wonders of Fancy Chance. However, I’m also very amazed by the upcoming drag king talent who have emerged the last couple of years.

6. What would you like to see or make happen as part of a hopeful queer future?A mainstream show on a worldwide platform that rivals RuPaul but welcomes and celebrates drag kings. There are more and more talented kings on the scene each year, so I hope it’s only a matter of time before we enter the mainstream.

You can catch Sigi Moonlight along with our amazing line up of drag kings at The Kingdom Come #6 on Thursday 6 October. Grab your tickets now!

Follow Sigi Moonlight on Instagram @sigimoonlight or on Facebook.

A REYT QUEER EXTRAVAGANZA: OUR BIGGEST PARTY EVER!

a group of three black performers strike poses on a catwalk. The person in the centre wears a gold dress and has gold paper flowing from their body.

We showed Leadmill how to really throw a party this July with our biggest event ever – A Reyt Queer Extravaganza!

An evening packed with lewks, lipsyncing and crazy choreography, our artists and fantastic audience made it a night to remember.

Legendary MC Rikki Beadle-Blair kicked off proceedings in full bridal couture, and served powerful looks and even more powerful laughs throughout the night.

Rikki Beadle-Blair, a black man, stands at the front of the stage with his hands outstretched. He's wearing a classic long white wedding dress and veil
Host Rikki Beadle-Blair stunned in bridal couture – Credit Emily Obeng

After weeks of exploring queer dance and movement, Sheffield’s very own Forgeous made their debut bringing style, vogue, attitude and queer joy to the catwalk.

Forgeous made their debut. Credit – Misha Warren

Jaws were seen dropping as South Yorkshire legends Bi Polar, King Confuza, Ivy Alexander, Ditzy O Darlin, Northern powerhouses Val Qaeda, Kaan Ghetto, incredible singer/rapper Meduulla and the unstoppable House of Noir and House of Blaque – stunned with impressive looks, walks and tracks in categories from Turn a Lewk to Queer Kink to Lipsync.

Vyn Noir stands holding a big beach bag. They wear a pink latex swimsuit, long black PVC platforms, a sailors hat and they hold a multi coloured giant beach ball
Yvn Noir kept it cool – Credit Emily Obeng

Overseeing the evening was our judges – Stuart, Claud Cunningham and Heather Paterson who gave 10s across the board to our performers.

Stuart – one of the judges – Credit Misha Warren

Tasty vegan cake, merch and a slightly more chilled vibe was found in room 2. There, our audience could take a breather, have a chinwag, meet our fantastic volunteers and try to stop themselves buying all of our badges!

And the whole crowd looked incredible of course – were we ever in any doubt?

Party goers enjoyed a dance – Credit Misha Warren

We’re so grateful to all of you who came down and made A Reyt Queer Extravaganza our biggest event ever. Getting together in a huge party, seeing the support for the artists and being in a room full of love and joy with 300 people made the night truly magical!

Drag queen Ivy Alexander kneels on a catwalk under bright golden lights. Ivy is a plus sized queen with big blonde wig and wears a blue sequin bodysuit
Ivy Alexander performs onstage at A Reyt Queer Extravaganza. Credit – Misha Warren

And a huge shoutout to our fantastic volunteers (who really are the glue that holds everything together), our incredible audience and to our partners The Civic, Barnsley and funder Arts Council England – their support made this event possible!

Keen for more? Get tickets to The Kingdom Come #6 NOW!

a crowd of people in a dark room look upon a stage out of shot
The crowd enjoyed the show. Credit – Emily Obeng
Angel Blaque leaps onstage under pink lighting. Angel is a Black, femme with pink braids wearing a pale crop top and cute flared mini skirt with chunky white trainers.
Angel Blaque jumping for joy – Credit Misha Warren

Fresh Air Zine is Here!

An A5 zine with a cream cover sits on a lilac surface. The cover is covered in a flowing line drawing with blue, lime and yellow fill that seems to depict two abstract figures,

Take a breath of… FRESH AIR! We are delighted to launch our new zine, in collaboration with the Society of Explorers!

The Society of Explorers are an art collective of 14-18 year olds based at Site Gallery in Sheffield. We delivered our Gender Awareness Training to the Explorers, to share knowledge on how to celebrate and support people of all genders.

A detail of a double page spread in an A5 zine shows a colourful cartoon titled ‘Kiwi’s gender journey’ in a cute and detailed style
Young People from Site Gallery’s Society of Explorer’s created beautiful content for Fresh Air Zine

The full colour zine is full of the young people’s creative responses and includes poems, cartoons, drawings and recipes that aim to raise awareness of issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate queer identity and culture.

Inside you’ll also find gorgeous artwork by artist Luci Pina, who has designed this unique zine. This collection of creative work by the young people will leave you full of queer joy and feeling inspired to make a change.

Artwork by Luci Pina, who was chosen by us and the young people to design Fresh Air zine

Fresh Air zine is offered for FREE because we believe that we should all have access to culture and community.

However, if you are able, we would encourage you to add a donation at checkout. 50% of those donations will be donated to SAYiT Sheffield, who provide support and opportunities for LGBTQ+ young people. The remainder helps support our mission to support LGBTQ+ artists and celebrate queer culture.

Order your copy of Fresh Air zine via our online shop now! 

Our thanks in producing this zine go to Peter and Alfie from Site Gallery. A huge thank you to Luci Pina for her creative vision and hard work, and to all the young people from Society of Explorers who contributed their work.

If you have a group of young people you’d like us to work creatively with, or would like some Gender Awareness Training for your organisation, please feel free to get in touch!

Whats The Cost of An Andro and Eve Event?

A drag performer with a blonde wig stands in the middle of a crowd of people in a bar with everyone in the crowd having their phone camera lights shining

And why are our General Entry tickets sometimes £20?

We’re here today to tackle the tricky question of money. Not in a ‘here’s a spreadsheet, please enjoy’ kind of way (we know that’s a niche joy), more as a way to be transparent on what it really costs to produce the scale of live events we do, and where that money goes.

It won’t have escaped you that there’s a state inflicted poverty war being waged, and so it could be argued we should be offering all our events for free. Problem with that is, we’d not survive long in a capitalist society, and competition for funding gets more fierce every year, so we need to earn income.

We are a not for profit social enterprise, which means any profits we make, go back into supporting the aims of our organisation, namely to create spaces where queer culture is celebrated, and our community has space to connect with one another. We believe in being transparent about our need to be sustainable aka, we’re in this for the long run.

So lets break this down.

You might be here as a community member trying to work out why our ticket prices seem high compared to other queer cultural offerings in South Yorkshire, or you might be working in the culture sector and here to magpie. Its all good. Read on for the inside goss. . .

A tall, Black dancer with their hair tied back stands posing on a stage with their arms framing their face. They wear black and white hot pants and a mesh black top and black furry boots. Behind them is gold letter bunting spelling out Reyt Queer Do
Jason Andrew voguing at A Reyt Queer Do at Cast, Doncaster 2019.

Our smaller events, like A Reyt Queer Do, cost around £3000 – 4000. That’s just the bare bones. Half of this is on artist and crew fees and their expenses like travel. When we say ‘crew’ we also mean the freelancers who support with production and marketing. A huge amount of time and effort goes into producing our events in a way that is caring and accessible for the team we work with and our community. That prep work needs investment. As does good access. We are committed to ensuring our events are accessible, and we pay people fairly for their skills. Think BSL interpretation, captioning and all the time we put into communicating so that our community knows what access provisions are in place.

What that £3k does not cover are our overheads. Things like insurance, IT, staff wages (we’ve currently got one part time employee) and the associated costs of running a business, like taxes, professional fees and website maintenance. Fun eh?

It’s also important to note we don’t have a venue. So while that helps keeps overheads down, it does mean we spend more on hiring quality venues that are accessible. Some venues have been incredibly supportive in offering us free hire or discounted rates, but at the scale we work, venue and tech is still a significant cost, and Sheffield is not blessed with as many live performance venues as other large cities, so we have to be flexible on the spaces we use.

Shesus and the Sisters perform at Abbeydale Picture House. Three figures dressed as nuns and faux Jesus stand on a stage in front of 350 people
The Kingdom Come with Shesus and the Sisters at Abbeydale Picture House. 2019

So now we come to our larger events like The Kingdom Come, our drag king cabaret. Here, we spend more. Whereas A Reyt Queer Do is for an average audience size of 140 – 170, The Kingdom Come is designed for 300+ people to enjoy. Bigger event, bigger budget. So we’re looking at around £5 – £6k. Again half of this is on artist and crew fees. But even with a sell out, we are not breaking even, because the costs of access, overheads and staff time are not covered by our ticket sales.

an East Asian drag king, Sigi Moonlight strums a small banjo onstage. He wears a red shirt and black trousers and has short black hair with a bleach blonde streak at the front
Sigi Moonlight at The Kingdom Come. 2018

So WHY DO YOU BOTHER we hear you scream at your screen? That’s where funding comes in. When we embarked on this queer culture journey, we quickly worked out that to make this sustainable, our core team would need paying. Can’t pay rent on the feel good factor eh? We know enough of our DIY queer scene herstory to realise burn out is a real and present danger.

It should also be pointed out that in the drag and cabaret scene it is not uncommon for performers to be paid way under the industry rate, or not paid at all. We believe fiercely in the value of drag and cabaret as an art form that pushes boundaries and gives voice to those otherwise marginalised, and its also *the most * entertaining too. The artists making it deserve to be paid fairly! (Don’t get us wrong, DIY scenes run by a committed team and serious amounts of volunteered time are wonderful and have produced some amazing culture, but that has become increasingly challenging in this neoliberal climate we live in).

So in order to support staff wages, and freelancers, we apply for grant funding and generate income through other means, like our merch, commissions and bookable training and workshops which includes our Gender Awareness Training and Gender Exploration Workshop. This supports the rest of our programme delivery. But without the grant funding, we could not produce the programmes of creative activity like the live performance events and workshops that we do.

A screenshot of a zoom window screen showing about 16 people smiling while holding up their finished felt faces, 2D felt portraits designed by Seleena Laverne Daye, a Black artist who holds up her sample portrait on the screen too
Through the pandemic we continued to offer creative activities online.

So why is it still sometimes £20 for a General Entry ticket if you’ve got grant funding?

With Arts Council, we have to have at least 30% match funding for a programme of activity. So if a programme costs £30,000, we need to demonstrate we have got £9k of other income. That could be in the form of other grant funding, commission fees or ticket sales. So ticket sales still make up a vital part of our income stream.

We also believe in the quality and uniqueness of our work. Compared to larger subsidised theatre, or the commercial drag sector, our tickets are still competitively priced. We are also unique in offering a clear and consistent Sliding Scale Ticket pricing system in place to support those on lower incomes to attend our events. We got this idea from Leeds Queer Film Fest and SQIFF, and this system has been in place for our events since 2017. It also enables us to give free tickets for refugees and people seeking asylum. Currently we do this though our friends at Lesbian Asylum Support Sheffield.

Solidarity Tickets were our own invention, and they are a way for those who can afford to, to ‘pay it forward’ and contribute directly to our ticket fund. This is ring-fenced money that directly supports the provision of cheaper and free tickets at our events. If you can afford to, we very much encourage you to buy one of these tickets.

It’s also worth noting, that we have been successful in getting funding to support free programmes of activity, like Joyful Noise zine in 2021, and there’ll always be parts of our creative programmes of workshops and events that are free for people to access, like the current Feeling Fabulous follow on workshops this July.

Our Feeling Fabulous Workshops in June 2022 with Ghetto Fabulous – Image Emma Bentley Fox

Our current programme is our most ambitious to date, and A Reyt Queer Extravaganza at The Leadmill, is our biggest ever event, with 20+ artists performing, (compared to 5 – 7 at our usual cabaret events). We have also been working in partnership with Ghetto Fabulous to produce and programme this event, which has needed proper time and investment. So our budget is reflective of the scale and ambition.

We’re here to demonstrate the value of queer culture to our LGBTQ+ community and beyond, and implement best practice when it comes to accessibility and equity in our working models. We know this is the harder way, but the payoff in terms of wellbeing for our community and those we work with, is worth the investment.

So next time someone says ‘why are Andro and Eve’s tickets £X’, feel free to signpost them to this blog. We here, we’re queer, and making space for long term investment in our community. See you at the Extravganza on 30 July!

House of Blaque will be performing at A Reyt Queer Extravaganza on 30 July

A Reyt Queer Do: Back with a bang!

A black femme presenting person with blue Afro hair wears a black PVC mini dress and smiles on a mix in front of a crowd of people. She is lit by purple lighting.

On the 12th June we produced our first live cabaret event in 2.5 years at Sidney and Matilda with our 6th Reyt Queer Do. The night was full of great music, cake and stunning looks from both the acts and audience.

A Reyt Queer Do #6 at Sidney and Matilda. Supported using funding from Arts Council England.

Hosted by Sadie Sinner, with performances by cabaret star RhyssPieces and a host of Yorkshire talent including drag queen Ditzy O Darlin, poet Audrey Violet, singer Jordan Meriel, singer songwriter, Laura Hegarty and drag king Raymond Petty, the venue was filled with queer cheer. The audience did not disappoint, as they also brought the energy with singing, dancing and general enthusiasm.

Our raffle was back too, with 1st place winning a hamper of queer goodies and treats, and 2nd place winning a gift box from Beer Central. The proceedings went towards the Pay It Forward ticket fund, enabling us to provide those on low incomes and refugees with free or discounted tickets at future events.

RhyssPieces works the crowd at Sidney and Matilda

We would like to say a huge thank you to the crew and volunteers who helped us to run this event. Thank you to those who bought tickets to support the acts, and to those who bought raffle tickets. A huge thanks to all the performers for showcasing their talent, and to Sidney and Matilda for hosting us.

We’re even more geared up for A Reyt Queer Extravaganza, our collaboration with Ghetto Fabulous, supported by Barnsley Civic in July now!

Here are some more photos all taken by Sophie Okonkwo of our acts and audience….

A caramel skinned drag performer wearing a long auburn wig, heavy makeup and red beaded dress on one side. They are wearing short black hair and a black suit on the other side.
RhyssPieces
A white drag performer kneels in front of the crowd. They are wearing a blue leotard with long sleeves, thigh high black PVC boots and a brown mullet wig.
Drag Queen from Donny, Ditzy O Darlin
Jordan Meriel and Leo our BSL interpreter
A group of 7 performers, joined by the co-founder of Andro and Eve (bottom left, wearing pink).

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