What is a drag king cabaret?!

It has come to our attention that, SHOCK HORROR, some folk don’t KNOW what a drag king cabaret is? Hold our redbush tea while we gently explain the lowdown on the glorious and rare beast that is a cabaret night dedicated solely to DRAG KINGS.

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Romeo De La Cruz performs at The Kingdom Come 5, May 2019

Firstly, some of you, (gasp) may not know what a drag king is, but we think you *may* have heard of drag queens. So, a drag king, instead of performing femininity like most queens, will perform a version of masculinity. This can include use of makeup, facial hair, body transformation, and just like a queen, a wholly formed persona to amuse an audience. But ‘blokes are not as exciting to look at as the trappings of a woman’ we hear some dissenters mouth.. HOLD UP! Have you seen Spikey Van Dykey?  Adam All? Christian Adore? Oedipussi? The latter three kings have all performed at our very own drag king cabaret, The Kingdom Come. No one with working eyesight could accuse these kings of not dazzling the heck out of audiences with their OTT looks.

Adam All and partner Aple Derrieres perform at The Kingdom Come, June 2017.

Starting to get an understanding? Okay. Now. Just don’t say ‘so its a woman dressed as a man right?’ This is because many kings identify as non binary, trans-masculine or as men. That said, some kings do go about daily life as women, just please ask before assuming this. Misgendering folk is never a good look and we really don’t want our community feeling less than damn brilliant. Got it? Champion.

So what does a drag king do? Glad you asked. They usually perform a 5 – 10 minute act in which they may dance, strut, pose, sing, lipsync or clown but always with the intention of entertaining an audience. Many kings use their performances to deconstruct and play with the idea of masculinity, using props, humour and audience interaction to give audiences a rollicking thrill ride of fun, while potentially also blowing your mind with a different perspective. Even if that perspective is that you didn’t know the macarena could be performed *that* fast, (cheers Oedipussi), or you now have a taste for a dick in a box (thanks Louis Von Dini)!

Chiyo onstage at The Kingdom Come, with tattoos and piercings on display
Scene star Chiyo performs at The Kingdom Come, May 2019. Abbeydale Picture House.

And a drag king cabaret such as The Kingdom Come? Well we put 5 of these kings on a massive stage, in the historic surroundings of old 1920’s cinema, Abbeydale Picture House in Sheffield, and get them to perform for 200 – 350 people. They usually perform 2 different acts each with an interval in between. Its a room full of queer joy, community and the feeling that for 3 hours, we can come together and just celebrate. We also transform the space with decorations, a dedicated lighting designer, stage crew, and a team of amazing volunteers are on hand to support our community throughout (and sell some of the best vegan cake in Sheffield).

We do this because often, female bodied and trans performers are marginalised, because its the turn of the kings to get the recognition they deserve, with scene stalwarts like Boi Box having helped develop the careers of so many wonderful kings, and because Northern cities like Sheffield deserve some of the finest entertainment the UK has to offer! (And like so many cities, are lacking in dedicated LGBTQ+ venues). We want to put Sheffield on the map for queer arts and culture.

350 audience members watch Shesus and the Sisters onstage in Sheffield.
Shesus and the Sisters hosting The Kingdom Come at Abbeydale Picture House, May 2019.

Now you may have a better understanding of what The Kingdom Come is, we hope you can join us for a future edition. Because of the scale of these shows (the largest drag king show outside of London), we only do them once or twice a year. Our next is on the 21st March and you can get a ticket here, with sliding scale prices so all can enjoy a night of queer joy!

We hope to greet you there! 

Celebrating Two Years

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.

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Some of the Andro & Eve volunteer team with co-founders Rhiannon and Katherine

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…!

Katherine and Rhiannon

 

 

2016: Andro & Eve’s First Year

2016 was a tough one for lots of reasons, and we are grateful for independent media such as Autostraddle, Media Diversified, DIVA, Bitch Media, Black Ballad UK and Girls Like Us Magazine amongst others, for providing alternate viewpoints and a sense of community in these difficult times. However, we can’t help feeling excited and a little bit proud of what we’ve achieved here in Sheffield at a time when it seems that women-focused and queer spaces are needed more than ever.

Since going social media live with Andro & Eve in April this year, we’ve now got a brilliant series of sold out events under our tool belts (#sorrynotsorry). Watching the growth of what started as the seed of an idea at a lesbian night in Berlin back in 2015, has been a very satisfying beginning to what we hope is a long and successful journey.

Our first event in May was a womxn only screening of Jamie Babbitt’s But I’m a Cheerleader at Café 9. Armed with hand-made pom-pom decorations, free ice cream courtesy of Emily’s Ices and a giant vegan cheerleader-skirt cake (yep), we had a brilliant night. It was nerve racking, but we loved it. Successfully bringing strangers together to enjoy this cult classic in a safe environment was a real win for us.

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The VEGAN Cheerleader Skirt cake with genderqueer Lego pirate friends!

We then took part in Autostraddle’s International Brunch weekend where ten of us met at Depot Bakery and enjoyed the best type of food; Breakfast. We literally put Sheffield on the queer lady map that is Autostraddle.

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Breakast food. As eaten at our Autostraddle Brunch. No way we were not going to post this pic

Our second pop-up cinema screening in October, was Tomboy by Celine Sciamma, which featured a colouring competition, with the winners being totally thrilled with their free tickets to THE KINGDOM COME in November.

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Adam All and Apple Derrieres performing at THE KINGDOM COME #1. Photo by Tash Bright

Our drag king night had been a long time in the making, and was our first larger event, but with a fab lineup, talented hosts (Adam All and Apple Derrieres), plenty cake and so much sparkle, we knew we had something special, and the crowd loved it.

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Lots of the crowd dressed in drag for THE KINGDOM COME #1. Yass! 

We’re so proud of what we, a queer couple, have managed to achieve, with zero funding, but a whole load of hard work and enthusiasm. We’re proud of the fact that we’ve paid all our artists, catered specifically to audiences often not the focus of LGBTQ+ events (women identified and non binary folk) and highlighted queer culture through high quality events. As well as these events, we’ve enjoyed and supported as many other shows, screenings and festivals as we could, and have been totally inspired.

Notable highlights include Kate Bornstein at Queer Contact, SQIFF in Glasgow, The Punk Singer screening by Girl Gang Sheffield, (Which incidentally, Rhiannon recorded a cover for, of Le Tigre’s Les & Ray for Girl Gang’s accompanying CD), Strike a Pose at Sheffield Docfest, Transforming Cinema in Sheffield and Key Change by Open Clasp Theatre, and of course the Formation World Tour. I mean. Seeing BEYONCE was a lifelong dream, and it was everything. Grimes, Christine and the Queens, Lisa Hannigan and Agnes Obel were okay too….jk, they were all sublime. We’re a little bit in love with all of them.

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Girl Gang Sheffield had RAD illustrations to colour in at their PUNK SINGER screening in April

We have sooo many of plans for 2017, (our first event is a screening of Gender Troubles: The Butches by Lisa Plourde) but making sure to grow in a sustainable way, while continuing to make a space that is diverse in its representation and audience is a key focus. We’re looking forward to more collaboration and always keen to hear from people who might want to work with Andro and Eve.

Special thanks this year to our volunteers who’ve helped make the events happen and the local organisations and individuals who’ve helped promote Andro and Eve. We’d also like to thank publishers, Our Fave Places, Now Then, Exposed, and Vibe Sheffield for helping get the word to a wider audience about what we’re doing. Roll on 2017!

Katherine’s personal goal for 2017 is to bake more vegan cakes, so if anyone has recipes, please share! Rhiannon’s personal goal for 2017 is to eat more cakes in general.

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