Today marks two years since the first Andro & Eve event at Cafe #9 with a screening of But I’m a Cheerleader. Last night we celebrated that anniversary in the best possible way, surrounded by the community we care so much about, at a special edition of A Reyt Queer Do.
When starting out, we had no idea we’d be producing events on the scale we are now, and we’re so pleased to be making space in Sheffield to celebrate queer culture. In the time since we founded Andro & Eve, the world can sometimes seems more hostile. Spaces where those often marginalised from the ‘mainstream’ can come together to celebrate and feel free, somehow seem more vital, and in a weird way, more radical. Our events are about creating a physical space where many different people can come together and enjoy culture that speaks to them. Welcoming new and familiar faces to the events gives us LIFE!
We want to say a huge thank YOU to everyone who has supported our work over the last two years. Whether that be through buying a ticket, pin badge, telling a mate about us, sharing one of our tweets, or contributing to our accessible ticket fund, you’ve helped this endeavour grow.
Special thanks go to our volunteers, without them we would not be where we are today. And one in particular who was our only helper for the first year of the venture! It has been brilliant welcoming new volunteers and building a team who help us create quality events that audiences love.
We also want to say thank you to the artists who have travelled to Sheffield to perform and brought such joy to our audiences. A special mention to Adam All and Apple Derrieres, creators of Boi Box in London, who supported us in creating our drag king cabaret – The Kingdom Come. And we want to mention the venues and organisations we’ve worked with who have given us space for free, or seed funding to cover event costs. These are Walkley Community Centre, Theatre Deli Sheffield, Broomhall Community Centre and She Fest. Thank you for believing in what we do and supporting our work.
We’ll be taking a break from running events over the summer, but we have plenty plans and much behind the scenes work going on, so watch this space for announcements about our future coming soon! You can also sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear news from Andro and Eve first.. Just sayin…!
We write this post because, yet again, the Drag Kings we work with have been done a disservice by the media. Sadly, this time it is Sheffield independent publisher Now Then that has pretty much failed to represent what a Drag King is while promoting our next event A Reyt Queer Do. While we’re very happy that the work we’re doing gets exposure, we cannot have the drag kings we work with be described as ‘women in men’s garb’. At best the phrase is reductive, at worst it is insulting.
If you’re sat thinking, ‘hey, thats what a drag king is right?’ then please read on.. Because that description does such a disservice to a scene that has traditionally embraced a wide range of gender identities, and often provides an outlet for creative expression for queer people who may not feel welcome in mainstream ‘gay’ venues. Yes, 19th and early 20th century music hall stars like Vesta Tilley or Hetty King were women impersonating men, but the UK Drag Scene now, is very different and so much more exciting. As London scene star Benjamin Butch puts it,
“A King show will overturn any expectations you may have, we are performing gender to introduce a position from which perspectives can be viewed differently”. 1
To break it down. You may perceive a person as ‘female’, but that doesn’t mean that is their gender identity. Ask before using a pronoun that misgenders a person. Many Drag Kings are trans, meaning their gender identity does not align with the one they were assigned with at birth. Generally a Drag King will perform as a ‘he/him’ on stage, but that does not mean they become ‘she’ offstage. This is similar to the Drag Queen scene where..
‘To many queens past and present, the distinction between gender performance and gender non-conformance is blurry, if it exists at all’. Alex Varman. 2
It is because of gender pioneers like Leslie Feinberg, Marsha P Johnson,Miss Major and others, and the work of nights like Bar Wotever’s Non Binary Cabaret, and Boi Box’s weekly drag king open mic, that we have a UK Drag scene that plays with and critiques gender and celebrates trans identities. Our aim is to make a space for this wonderful scene to flourish in Yorkshire. To widen access and be part of the network of regular drag nights like Kingdom in Brighton that help spread the appeal of Drag Kings outside the UK’s capital city.
And while we’re at it. The term bio queen is gross and misogynistic. As performer Rodent Decay said ‘If you’re policing the genders of the performers you’re completely missing the point of drag’ 3. This piece also gives a broader discussion of the importance of women to the evolution of the drag scene.
For further reading we recommend this piece published earlier this year in ID magazine. Get to know and love some of the most interesting Drag Kings on the UK Scene right now! Sure to be appearing at a Sheffield venue near you sometime soon..
We’re VERY excited to announce we’ll be bringing Drag Kings to Sheffield before 2017 is out! But this time we want to program some fresh talent! Have you got a Drag King act you can’t wait to share with the world? Are you fairly new to drag and want to test out an act in front of a very friendly and supportive audience? Calling all Yorkshire / Northern / East Midlands based drag kings. This is your chance to perform at a new night organised by Andro and Eve. Just drop us a line using the contact form on this website before 25th October 2017 and we’ll be in touch to share more information. Thanks!
If you’re one of the folks who has attended our already very popular drag king night The Kingdom Come you’ll definitely be interested in this new night. Announcements about what we’re planning coming very soon! You can sign up to our mailing list (using our contact form) to be the first to hear this and plenty other updates!
This post comes about after reading this article by Vibe Sheffield which hilariously describes Sheffield’s ‘thriving’ LGBT scene. Please. Hold my cuppa. Can we just giggle gleefully that Sheffield’s LGBT scene just got described as ‘thriving’?! If you didn’t laugh you’d cry. So instead of sobbing into our almond milk chai, we’re doing this. While we totally understand the need to highlight the good that happens in a city, rather than be negative, we also think the scene in Sheffield is in more of a germination stage, rather than the thriving and bearing fruit phase we just read about. Its also reflective of the wider situation at present where many lesbian bars have closed. The links will take you to a discussion of those issues. We’re of the opinion though, that there are more things a queer woman wants to do than socialise in a bar serving mainly alcoholic drinks! Think big people.
With that in mind, we decided to compile and publish our own alternative guide that highlights where, as a queer person you might feel super welcome and even, – whisper it – find fellow queer people!!! While Sheffield is generally a very open and friendly city, we have been on the receiving end of homophobic abuse / attention more times than we’d like, and we feel its important to highlight the very best this city has to offer for queer people.
Here’s the disclaimer: This is a highly biased and personal guide. (We’re both cis, white, queer, lesbians). It also focuses on alternative stuff a quick google search won’t unearth, and that we’d actually recommend. But neither of us can say we know all there is to know. So we write this with the hope that you’ll get in touch and say ‘hey, I know about this cool thing’ and then we’ll update this post. But we also know Sheffield is very good at keeping things close to its chest, so we realise all the queer secrets may stay just as that. And thats fine. But with no central hub that tells you all the LGBTQ+ things going on in Sheffield, it feels like this is a good moment to get something out there. To share the reality of trying to find queer spaces in this city. And hopefully help those new to town, or just new to identifying on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, where you might find your new queer family. And now to our guide!
Well first off, theres Andro and Eve! Jokes. No really. We’re one of the only organisations in Sheffield creating regular pop up events celebrating queer culture. From film nights, to spoken word events, to our highly successful drag king night The Kingdom Come, and queer party series A Reyt Queer Do, you’re sure to be met with a warm welcome and DEFINITELY be in the company of fellow queer people. Our events are for everyone*, and can be found on this website, by signing up to our mailing list, or on Facebook / IG / Twitter. *Occasionally we host Autostraddle Brunches for lesbian, queer and bisexual women / non binary people only.
Pity Like is an occasional queer club night focused on talent, inclusion and rejecting gender binaries. Its at DIY space the Audacious Art Experiment and if you like a sweaty, alternative club experience with BYOB you’ll love it. Audacious also hosts Cub Rush, ‘Blissful dance hooliganism – for queers and freaks’. We hear its good, but we haven’t yet checked it out. Climax is the biggest LGBT+ club night in Sheffield hosted once a month by Sheffield University Student’s Union.
Verse Matters is a feminist spoken word and poetry night held once a month at Moor Theatre Delicatessen. You’ll find a warm welcome here and plenty interesting haircuts. Trust us. Its inclusive and diverse and you can often get warm fuzzy feelings from the friendly vibes. Speaking of Moor Theatre Deli, they’re known for their weird and wonderful theatre and performance programme and support of LGBTQ events. Based in new venue on Eyre Street, we think it’s the friendliest theatre venue in town.
For many of us queers, going out at night is, well, just a bit much. The sofa and a Netflix session / queer web-series holds too much appeal. So heres the DL on what Sheffield has to offer the active queer during daylight hours. Its actually a bit shocking we’ve waited this long to mention ROLLER DERBY. Whoops. Sheffield has not one, but THREE roller derby teams including, Sheffield Steel Roller Girls, (A and B team) plus , The Hallam Hellcats and mens team The Inhuman League. All are trans friendly and inclusive in their ethos. If you don’t fancy whizzing round on skates at top speed, you can just go watch a match! Spending a weekend day at one of SSRG’s bouts is like entering a magical queer land. There’s plenty of stalls including those selling vegan food, a raffle and of course top quality sports entertainment.
Sheffield Hiking Dykes has the best name of all the names ever and is just great. One solely for lez-beans, so head on over to their Facebook Group and request to join so you can attend one of their once monthly walks. AFC Unity are an awesome independent women’s football team. While not specifically for those identifying as LGBTQ+, their inclusive attitude and focus on championing good causes means they have a healthy proportion of queer folk on the team. The Climbing Works is for those of you who don’t mind falling hard from fake rocks! But also. There can often be several queer women hanging around (quite literally), at the same time, thus making you feel the queer family is quite active. Also, theres a real friendly, chilled vibe and helpful staff to boot.
Lazy Queer Days
But I’m not active! We hear you say. If the last time you wore trainers for actual sports was in a PE lesson way back, when touching your toes was an achievable goal, don’t worry, here’s what you need to know for where to go on a super queer lazy day.
Pom Kitchen is a newish vegan and veggie cafe on Sharrow Vale Road that does the best gluten free and vegan cakes we’ve come across. Courtesy of Fro by Joy, who also supplies their delicious Froconut (coconut ice cream). Seriously, you need to try it. As well as great tea and coffee and amazing banana bread, they serve things that are not sweet too. The welcoming staff and clientele are mostly women and our spidey senses have definitely picked up a queer vibe from many of those enjoying their Rainbow Bowls.
Down the road from Pom is Sharrow Vale Hardware. We include this shop solely because of George the cat, manager of said shop. Stroke his fur and wonder at its softness. He often sits on the counter and oversees his human staff. Kitchenware and cats. Lesbian shopping experience sorted. (Resisting puns so hard here). Insert your own. Other cafes you might spot fellow queers / hipsters* are The Holt, one of the City centre’s most calm spaces, serving a good mix of vegan and GF treats and great coffee, Tamper Sellers Wheel, Forge Bakehouse,Homemade by Thelmas and Cafe #9, the latter two both in Nether Edge and offering good veggie and vegan food options.
* gaydar interference from hipster style is a problem these days)
If you like a good bit of queer literature, seek out Jepps Books, Sheffield’s radical book emporium. They stock plenty good queer magazines, zines, and books, plus the LSGSM ‘Pits and Perverts’ Tees and badges. Originally situated at Moor Theatre Deli, they’re now in a period of transition, so you’ll find them at various locations. However, plans are afoot for opening a proper store. Fingers crossed. Also good for picking up queer magazines like Girls Like Us is La Biblioteka situated on Pinstone Street, Sheffield City Centre.
If you want to get creative, Edge of the Universe Printing Press often host screen printing and zine making workshops. Fond memories of an afternoon cutting out fine shapes, and watching the print designs transfer, surrounded by many a queer lady, come back to us. With a real welcoming approach and affordable; it’s a fun way to spend a few hours.
Like unicorns, the LGBTQ+ community can sometimes be so elusive as to be invisible. But sometimes, magically, they’ll appear at an event and the next day you’ll think, was it all just a queer dream? The following, are all events in Sheffield that happen once or more than once a year, and fit our ‘its a bit queer here’ theme.
Sheffield Zine Fest usually takes place in February and is probably the gayest space we’ve been in in a long time. Queer zines for everyone! So much feminist literature you end up rushing back to the cashpoint to refill your wallet just so you don’t miss out on this rich bounty! Its marvellous. We love Girl Gang Sheffield for their immersive film screenings, sharing positivity and empowerment for all genders. Events are usually announced via their Facebook Page. Catch Out Aloud, Sheffield’s very own LGBT choir at one of their concerts throughout the year. Their repertoire involves a good mix of material and concerts provide an uplifting atmosphere.
Transforming Cinema is Sheffield’s first film festival focused on transgender and non binary films and storytelling. The first, held in November 2016 was produced by E.D.E.N film, who also often run film courses for those LGBTQ identified. Hopefully it will return. Peace in the Park is a free community arts festival offering live music, a climate zone, healing area and all sorts of other interesting stuff. Its inclusive and diverse and the vibe feels a bit like an early 90’s rave but with added yoga, trees and families. Peddlar Market happens on the first weekend of every month on Burton Rd, Kelham Island. With food, beer crafts and music, you can often spot a few queers in the crowds, and the choice of food just keeps getting better.
On May 17th Sheffield celebrates International IDAHOBIT Day with a one minutes noise, usually at The Peace Gardens. That’s reyt Yorkshire. Pride Sheffield at Endcliffe Park happens in the summer, and has both performances, stalls and a community tent. Its all free too. Bring a picnic and enjoy soaking up the rainbow fest. Sheffield Docfest brings together some of the world’s best documentary film makers. While the festival is still learning how to engage with the local community, it does offer the chance to meet some brilliant queer people and see the newest queer documentaries.
A special mention now for all the live music that happens in Sheffield. Pick your fave artist, and hopefully your queer family will have also chosen the same gig to attend.
Support Services and Groups
The aforementioned Vibe guide gives a good run down on the support services available for LGBT+ people, so we’ll not replicate that here. Though we would also add that SAYit offer support to young people 13 – 25 identifying as LGBTQ+ and their families. T – Boys is a peer run community social and support group for those assigned female at birth who consider themselves on the trans spectrum or who are questioning their identity including trans men at all stage of transition, non binary, genderqueer and intersex people. Sheffield Bi Social is a social meet up group for bi/ pan people and their allies. Tiger Strut is an organisation active in Sheffield with the aim of increasing the visibility of South Asian LGBT people.
The personal is political for us LGBTQ folk, so if getting angry about this heteronormative world is often an issue for you, why not check out Sheffield’s anti capitalist queer group QASH (Queer Agenda Sheffield). They can often be found attending protests and organising DIY parties. Action for Trans Health also do great work in raising awareness and fundraising for trans healthcare.
Now. A common misconception seems to be that all LGBTQ+ identified people are somehow really into terrible dance music and alcopops. We’re not. Luckily Sheffield is apparently the real ale capital of the world, and so we’ve handpicked some pubs where you can enjoy some fine ales in friendly and stare free atmospheres. The Rutland Arms in Sheffield City Centre does the greatest Halloumi Burger. Ever. Plus lots of other very tasty pub grub options and impressively leafy beer garden. The Broadfield on Abbeydale Road has a good cocktail menu as well as a chilled beer garden and The Beer House on Eccleshall Road, has a friendly atmosphere and great ales too. There are plenty other great pubs and cafes in Sheffield, but we’ve focused on the ones where time and again, we get a warm welcome and find ourselves in the company of fellow queers.
So that about rounds up our queer guide to Sheffield. Phew. Who knew there would be so much? Well, there’s not. And thats the point. Partially due to rising acceptance of LGBTQ people, but probably more to do with economics, LGBTQ spaces are getting harder to find. Its great that LGBTQ people like us don’t have to spend all our time in one basement bar for fear of hate crimes, but at the same time, queer family is a real and important thing. Finding them makes life richer and more enjoyable. We hope this guide might make that a bit easier in South Yorkshire’s biggest city. And we hope to see you at an Andro and Eve event in future; a big warm welcome awaits!
If you want to suggest a cool place / thing we’ve missed off, and you can guarantee it fits our criteria of being queer friendly and being top quality, use the contact form on this website to get in touch and tell us about it.
On June 3rd we returned to Walkley Community Centre to produce the second edition of our Drag King night, The Kingdom Come. This time the theme was ‘Holiday Camp’ and our audience and drag performers sure brought the tropical, gender bending vibes!
The cabaret – style evening was hosted by Adam All and Apple Derrieres, scene superstars and founders of Boi Box London, and featured drag kings Romeo De La Cruz, Luke Warm, Oliver Assets and Oedipussi. They all brought their A Game and had us howling with laughter and delight in one heck of a fun filled evening!
We want to say a huge thank you to our audiences for supporting our event, and making SUCH stellar efforts with their own fancy dress.. And thanks to those who donated towards our collection for the End Period Poverty project. Once again, we’d like to thank our volunteers who are vital to making our events a success, and the Walkley Community Centre volunteers, and of course the performers for making it such an entertaining night. Check out the photos by Ndrika Anyika below. More photos can also be viewed by heading to our Facebook Page.
Our fabulous audience!
Finally, host Apple Derrieres shows us ALL how to pose.
On Saturday 22nd April we hosted our first drag king workshop at One Space Sheffield. Adam All and Apple Derrieres travelled from London to deliver this special event, and help those attending bring forth their male alter ego’s through discussion, movement and makeup tutorials.
To be honest we really didn’t know what to expect, this being our first workshop event, and the fact that most of the participants had not been to any of our past events! But it was so wonderful to be in a room with women and non binary people really keen to learn about the art of drag, and up for performing in front of others!
The day started with introductions and why people had attended. We weren’t surprised that many had been introduced to drag through RuPaul, but were surprised to learn how many had never seen a drag king perform, either live or online. This made us realise how important putting on an event like THE KINGDOM COME, outside of London is. Adam and Apple started with a short history of drag kings, moved onto character anchors for a drag king, and then how to embody those characters through movement and acting exercises.
After a VERY delicious lunch by Fanfare, a plant – based pop up at Union Street, it was onto make – up and packing and strapping! Adam very generosuly shared the tips that helped transform their face and body into a masculine physique and then it was time to dance to some chosen tunes before the ‘draguation’ ceremony!
Feedback we received from our participants has been overwhelmingly positive, and some of it made us cry (in a good way). Here’s a sample –
‘A great first-time introduction to genderplay in general, and specific character, makeup, and costume tricks. Very knowledgeable hosts’.
‘Dressing up and exploring gender is fun and today made me feel a little less worried’.
‘It was so fun and I loved how friendly and welcoming the space was, it felt totally okay to go over the top’.
This event really reaffirmed why we make Andro and Eve events happen and cemented our resolve to make our events more accessible to everyone. On that note, we want to run a similar event, but we will be seeking funding in order to make pricing more accessible. We believe strongly that artists (especially women / queer people) should be paid for their time, and we want to build on the success of this day to create a sustainable model and an even better event. Lots of our participants said they wanted more opportunities to try out their newly developed characters…. So watch this space!
Thank you to Adam and Apple for sharing their knowledge and skills, and to our participants for being so supportive of one another and willing to get stuck in! Thanks also to One Space and Fanfare so their collaboration. It really helped us make it a special day. If we’ve wet your appetite for some drag king action, our next drag king night, The Kingdom Come #2 is on June 3rd. Tickets still available online or at Beeches of Walkley!
We were asked by the wonderful Moor Theatre Delicatessen last year to think of a film we’d like to programme as part of a festival to explore sex, sexuality and gender. The resulting festival Lets Talk About Sex Festival opened this week in Sheffield, and we’re very happy that as Andro and Eve we can represent for lesbian / queer women by presenting Carol.
But why Carol? Well. Although we’re not blessed with hundreds of films exploring lesbian sex and relationships, there were a few other options but none of them so clearly put across a woman’s experience of falling for another woman in such a stylish and emotionally resonant way. We saw Carol on its release in 2015 and were already fans of the book, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, and frankly, we were blown away.
The two central performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are flawless, and the cinematography, costume and score, perfectly conjure the world in which these two exist. For those worrying that Todd Haynes film will ‘spoil’ the book, I remember being worried about this too. But somehow this film manages to capture the essence of the book, changing a few minor plot points, but making a piece of art that stands in its own right. Phyllis Nagy’s screenplay also allows us to see more clearly the world of Carol Aird, rather that in Highsmith’s novel, where we see the world through Therese’s eyes only. The film is richer, and more moving for this adaption.
Yes, there is sorrow in this film, but ultimately, Highsmith’s novel was groundbreaking in its treatment of a homosexual story where the characters (women too!) were allowed to have their hopeful ending. This bats against the still pervasive classic ‘lesbian must die’ trope in TV and film in a way that makes your heart sing.
We’re so excited to screen this film, transforming the Old Woolworths on The Moor (a fitting tribute to the way Therese and Carol meet!) into a homage to all things 1950’s. With cocktails, costumes galore and 1950’s music it will be an absolute dream to see this film back on a big screen again. We can’t wait!
We’re really pleased to announce our next event: a one off screening of Gender Troubles: The Butches, a new documentary by Lisa Plourde.
We saw this film at SQIFF in October and wrote about it here for Now Then. Mostly we loved this film for its warmth, humour and honesty. There are plenty stereotypes of butch women out there, and the interviews with butch identified women in this film show us that there’s a lot more to this identity than we’re led to believe. It made us smile plenty too!
Alongside the main feature there’ll be a showing of The Test Shot, a photo documentary project about transmasculine style. We found out about The Test Shot through Transforming Cinema, and loved the style inspiration so much we wanted to share it with our audience.
We’re also very excited to announce that we’ll be screening the short film Switching Teams by local filmmaker and Roller Derby player, Taylor Le Fin. Their film, produced by EDEN film, is a documentation of their journey in finding the gender identity that felt right to them, and the way their community supported this journey.
We design these smaller events with women identified, non – binary and transmasculine people in mind. We do this in order to make space for a group often not specifically catered for in the wider cultural scene. Our larger events are for everyone but with smaller capacities we feel we feel it is important to only invite women, non – binary and trans people to events, to ensure women and marginalised queer identities feel celebrated. This may change in future, but for now, its what we do, and we appreciate the support of the wider community in respecting this ethos.
This event is about celebrating and finding common ground between queer identities, while sharing cake, hot beverages and a cosy space. And of course there’ll be a few typically Andro and Eve activities to keep everyone amused. So we hope to see you there, at Café 9, on January 27th. Tickets are available here!
Since starting Andro and Eve in May 2016 we’ve been keen to promote the wonderful and surreal queer art of drag kings. Most people know what a drag queen is, and many will have watched RuPaul’s Drag Race, even if they have not been to a drag night. But when we’ve talked about drag kings to various people, they don’t seem sure what a drag king is, and definitely aren’t sure what a drag king night will involve.
So let us clear this up! A Drag King is a performer who impersonates male gender, usually in an exaggerated form. Often the person wearing the costume is a woman, but sometimes they might identify as non binary or male. The point is to poke fun at gender and entertain a crowd. The performers create acts based around singing, dancing, lip-syncing, comedy or a mixture of all or none of the above. It’s exciting because you never quite know what you’ll get with performers creating new acts all the time.
Adam All and Apple Derrieres founders of Boi Box.
We’ve programmed some of the best UK Drag Kings to perform in Sheffield on the 26th November in order to bring this art form to a new and wider audience. The London drag scene is thriving and drag kings grow more popular thanks to the efforts of Adam All and Apple Derrieres who set up Boi Box in London 3 years ago. Nights like ‘Kingdom’ in Brighton extend this network and are a great example of the queer community supporting one another. Its time Sheffield and South Yorkshire got its own slice of this queer and subversive art form with a night solely for drag kings, so we bring you THE KINGDOM COME. Grab a ticket and come down and enjoy the sparkliest, silliest and most surreal night you’ll have for a while!