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.

Drag king romeo de la cruz onstage dancing
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! 

So What Have We Been up To?

Happy LGBT+ History Month! Its been very busy the last 6 months at Andro & Eve, so we thought it was high time we gave you all an update on what’s been going on!

In November we hosted our first Drag King Workshop Weekend in collaboration with award winning drag king Louis Cyfer, and founder of the Women’s Comedy Network, Natalie Diddams at our partner venue, Theatre Deli Sheffield. (Sidenote: Go support their fundraiser to support this brilliant indie arts space!)

13 participants from across the North of England and the Midlands joined us to learn skills in makeup, character development, gender as performance and creating comedic material, with an informal sharing at the end of the weekend. Feedback from participants was very positive, and we gained a lot of insight into what worked, and where we could push this talent development further. Comments from participants included;

‘I liked the thought, love and organisation that went into the weekend, it was wonderful. I felt very safe and cared for’.

‘I learnt it’s okay to take time and to take up space’.

Jason Andrew treated us to some vogue dance at Cast.

A few days after our Drag King Weekender we headed over to Cast in Doncaster for our first Donny event, A Reyt Northern edition of queer cabaret, A Reyt Queer Do. Louis Cyfer was back for hosting duties with performances by House of Ghetto’s Jason Andrew, and up and coming talents, Ding Frisby, Spent Reznor and Donny Lad. An audience of 60 people turned out and we were thrilled with the support, and to meet so many new faces. There was a lot of laughter in the room that night, and the 6 weeks of outreach work in the run up to the event clearly paid off. Thanks to Cast for their support in developing our audience! Doncaster folk commented

‘Thanks for an amazing night, it made hump day bright and beautiful’.

Rapper Bad Lay – Dee

We rounded off November with a big queer party and cabaret back at Theatre Deli with A Reyt Queer Do 5. This ‘Shine Like a Diamond’ edition was hosted by non – binary rapper Bad Lay Dee with performances by poet Maz Hedgehog, theatre maker Victoria Firth and drag kings Sveto Slava and Dickhead Dave Debonair. DJ Chardine Taylor – Stone from punk band Big Joanie ensured everyone got a chance to raise the roof once the performances were done.

In January we collaborated with DocFest to produce a cosy film screening at Yellow Arch. We chose to screen the brilliant documentary SILVANA, about Swedish rapper Silvana Imam, after seeing this film at Doc/Fest in 2018. The film follows Imam’s rise to fame, her experience as an immigrant in Sweden and new romance with Swedish lesbian pop star, Beatrice Eli. Cake and cosy vibes were enjoyed by all, and we think it’s is fair to say most of the audience fell hard for this lesbian power duo!

Silvana Imam and Beatrice Eli giving face

In between running all these events we successfully recruited a new Assistant Producer, Emma, who brings with her a wealth of marketing and event experience. We’ve also had some fab new volunteers join the team and been recruiting a new board of directors (more news on that coming soon) and planning our events for 2020.

Currently, Andro & Eve is featured in a new exhibition to celebrate LGBT+ History Month at Sheffield’s Central Library. It’s great to see this sort of visibility and recognition, especially at a time when mainstream media seems intent on sowing division between different communities.

We’re also gearing up for our biggest drag king cabaret to date, The Kingdom Come on 21st March at Abbeydale Picture House. It’s going to be a special Under the Sea Edition! Hosted by star on the rise Christian Adore and featuring a line up of ridiculously hot and talented drag kings, its going to be a night to remember.

Christian Adore is headed to Sheffield. Hold onto your hats!

We’re forever grateful for those in our community who have gone before, making space for the LGBT+ community to come together, and are proud to be continuing this work. But we know only too well how precarious the creation of queer friendly spaces are. Want to support your LGBT+ community now and help us continue this work? Then nab a ticket and come feel the mer love at The Kingdom Come! See you then!

A special thanks to all those who continue to support our work, giving their time, money or expertise to help us grow, and Arts Council England for funding much of the work of the last 6 months.

KW x

Volunteer With Us!

Andro and Eve is all about bringing our community together, and one of the ways we do that is by working with a wonderful team of volunteers who give their time to help make our events happen. We’re looking to expand our volunteer team and would love to hear from you if you’ve got some time and energy to help out.

We’re looking for folks who can be at events, interact with members of the public, are happy handling money and love a spot of decorating. (If you’ve been to one of our events, you’ll know our approach to decor is more is more!) Some of our volunteers also help out with stage management and sound. We’re also keen to hear from people who would be up for distributing our posters and flyers, this is an important part of helping us reach new people.

A volunteer operates the sound desk alongside our technician who is wearing a pink suit.

Typically, we ask volunteers wanting to help with events to work with us on evenings and weekends, and for shifts of 6 – 8 hours. We always provide food, breaks and plenty of support for our team, and as a volunteer, of course you’ll get to see behind the Andro and Eve scenes. We also organise socials for our team and offer event training throughout the year.

Here’s what some of our volunteers have said about working with us…

‘After feeling like a lost queer in Sheffield during my time as a student, volunteering for Andro & Eve was one of the best things I could have done for myself, whilst also contributing to the local community. Meeting younger and older LGBTQ+ people who were all so vibrant and positive opened me up to a whole new world and I feel so much more connected to my queer identity. If you feel like you are in a similar state of mind to how I was, or simply want to have fun and contribute your time to some of the best queer events this planet has seen – volunteer for Andro and Eve! Without them and the caring people who dedicate their time there, I’d still be looking for my queer identity’.

‘Being part of Andro and Eve is like having a fabulous queer family. I’ve volunteered now for a number of their events and have loved every minute, we always have such a laugh and I love that its supporting and developing a strong queer presence in the Steel City’….. Laura.

‘Getting involved with Andro and Eve has been a great decision. There’s something really powerful about coming together and putting on these fabulous events to celebrate aspects of our queer culture. The team are so friendly, and its been a pleasure to meet so many new friends from those involved’.

We’d love to hear from folks who are available on the 13th and 30th November for our events in Sheffield and Doncaster, and for dates after this too. If the above sounds good to you, and you have some availability then drop us a line using the contact form here. Thanks!

The Kingdom Come #4

On December 1st 2018, we brought our drag king cabaret, The Kingdom Come back to Walkley Community Centre, Sheffield. The night was a sell out, with audience members rocking some amazing costumes and outfits. Its never too early for tinsel right?

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Host Don One was charm personified, his Brummie accent and smooth songs winning everyone round. Stellar performances came from Dick Slick, Loui Von Dini, Mo Torboat and Chiyo, who were warmly enveloped in the love from our audience.

Don 1
Host Don One from Birmingham!

As usual the cake sold faster than you can say hotcakes, and the Andro & Eve volunteers did a brilliant job of helping the night run smoothly. We want to say a huge thanks to them for giving their time to help at this night and the others we’ve produced in 2018.

Loui.jpg
Loui Von Dini had treats for us all…

A massive thank you to Walkley Community Centre for lending us their venue again, to all the local businesses who donated towards our raffle, and our audience for contributing to our Pay it Forward Ticket fund. This fund allows us to provide cheaper and free tickets to those who need them. We raised £245 from this event through raffle and online contributions alone! Thank you! Here’s to more super events in 2019. Have you got your ticket to A Reyt Queer Do: Electric Dreams edition on February 16th yet?!

All photos credited to Ndrika Anyika. See more of the night via our Facebook album! 

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Pirates came ashore for the evening…!
Mo 1
Mo Torboat. Spoken Word Artist. Musician. All round good egg..
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Dick Slick serenaded the audience…
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CHIYO

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

 

 

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