Staying Queer during COVID-19

We’re happy to announce that we have received Emergency Funding* from Arts Council England to help keep us going and provide a programme of online and remote activity over the next 6 months.

Since cancelling our last event in March owing to COVID-19, we’ve been working hard to adapt to the new climate. We’ve also been trying not to panic at the possibility that the sort of live events we create *may* not be safe to organise until 2021. Our future looked, at best, risky. For that reason we’ve reached out to queer artists in order to generate a programme of activity that will support and uplift our community through these challenging times.

This funding enables us to continue our talent development strand for emerging artists. This will compromise both online workshops for complete beginners led by drag king and musical improv expert, Christian Adore, and a more in depth ‘Cabaret College’ for acts wanting to push their skills and learn how to devise their own material. The latter will be led by actor, writer and drag star Lucy Jane Parkinson, aka Louis CyFer.

A suited drag king with long hair and moustache looks directly into the camera
Christian Adore will lead ‘Drag king workshops’ for beginners

Alongside the talent development, we realise there is a need to connect with and hear the voices of the wider LGBTQ+ community and queer artists. To do this we will be creating a special zine both as a documentation of this strange time and a way to connect that does not rely on digital technology. This project will be led on by Leeds -based artist Okocha Obasi in collaboration with emerging producer Emma Bentley – Fox.

The zine will feature the voices of queer writers and artists alongside work submitted by members of the community who want to share their thoughts / dreams / ideas. We’ll print and distribute and launch with a special online launch party featuring queer performers and DJ set for indoor dancing. Along with this programme the funding will help us redevelop our website, and support staff time to ready the organisation for next steps.

We’re very thankful that we can continue to provide unique opportunities to ‘come together’ through queer culture and look forward to connecting with you all again. We’re also aware, however, that there are many great people and organisations that did not get this funding. It is one of the reasons why we will continue to make our work as accessible as possible and centre those otherwise marginalised.

In the meantime, we have set up a donation form on our website. All donations directly support our work in supporting queer artists and our community. We don’t know when we’ll be able to physically be in the same space again, (though currently we have no plans for physical events until beyond October). Your support ensures that when we can return to physical events, we’ll be back better than ever before.

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Team Andro & Eve x

** Funding received – £10,900.

A New Phase…

We are very excited to announce that less than a year since becoming a not for profit arts organisation, we have received funding from Arts Council England to support an exciting programme of work for Autumn 2019 – Spring 2020.

Our events continue to grow in scale and ambition, with the last, a drag king cabaret at Abbeydale Picture House, attracting an audience of 330 people. Building on this success we will produce another drag king cabaret, The Kingdom Come at Abbeydale Picture House in March 2020, along with another edition of queer party and performance series, A Reyt Queer Do at Theatre Deli Sheffield on the 30th November.

The programme will also provide both training and performance opportunities for emerging artists in the Yorkshire region, as well as showcasing some of the UK’s most exciting queer performance. We are also excited to announce a new collaboration with CAST in Doncaster, enabling us to bring our feel good events to Doncaster, with the first such event, A Reyt Queer Do, planned for 13th November and hosted by award winning Drag King Louis Cyfer.

This month also marks a new phase for the organisation, which was originally founded by Rhiannon Scutt and Katherine Warman in 2016 to address the lack of safe, inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to enjoy queer culture in Sheffield. Having worked together creating queer events over the last three years, Rhiannon is now stepping down as a director of the board, and Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Katherine Warman, supported by the board of directors, will lead the company. 

Rhiannon Scutt says ‘It has been a greatly fulfilling experience to nurture Andro & Eve from the seed of an idea and the tiny film night it started out as, to what it has become today. As lesbians in Sheffield, it was important to us that we offer an alternative, gentle night out, where the focus is fun and there is a sense of community. I’m proud to say I think we’ve achieved that time and time again. I wish Katherine and the team every success, and hope to support Andro & Eve events in the future as an attendee’

Natalie Diddams, Chair of the Andro and Eve board says, ‘we’re so grateful for the hard work and vital input Rhiannon has given to the organisation over the last three years. It’s been a pleasure working with Rhiannon and we wish her all the best with her future projects. We’re excited by the programme of work and confident that the plans we have, will help grow the community benefitting from our events to celebrate queer culture’.

We are also thrilled to announce a weekend of drag king performance workshops on the 9th – 10th November at Theatre Deli Sheffield. Participants will then have the opportunity to apply to perform at either CAST or Theatre Deli in one of the open mic slots showcasing new queer performance. The introduction of a Pay It Forward Ticket scheme in 2018 has enabled an increasing amount of audience members to attend events who may not otherwise have been able to access them, using donations from the public to support the scheme. The funding received will help support this provision of discounted and free tickets for those on lower incomes, as well as enhance accessibility for deaf and disabled audiences.

Katherine Warman comments, ‘It’s been an honour to work alongside Rhiannon the last three years and I’m so proud of what the team and we have achieved. The demand for our work is clear, with so many of our events in the last 18 months selling out in advance. I’m excited that this funding will help us work towards our vision to put South Yorkshire on the map for arts that explore LGBTQ+ lives, nurturing artists and the community we serve’.

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