‘I struggled to find a community that would really support me in my drag journey’
For years, I’ve been interested in becoming a drag king – partly because of my theatre degree and fascination with gender as performance – but I’ve struggled to find a community that would really support me in my drag journey. So, when I saw a poster advertising Andro and Eve’s Drag King Workshop in November 2019, I simply knew I had to sign up for it.
Before the big weekend, I was buzzing with anticipation, but there was also a fraction of performance anxiety, as the practical workshops, especially comedy and character development, sounded challenging. On the second day of skills workshops, brilliantly facilitated by Katherine and Natalie, I found myself literally crawling on the floor whilst performing my first ever comedy improvisation that made my audience laugh. This wasn’t just confidence-boosting, it really made me realise I could “do” things, if only I was brave enough to take the plunge.
The talent within our group is incredible. Some are charismatic performers, there are actors, singers, musicians and dancers, but everyone is warm and supportive. Our little community thrives on WhatsApp and some of us have met up at local events, such as Andro and Eve’s own Reyt Queer Do. The friendships forged at the workshop are proving an invaluable source of positive energy and inspiration during these strange times. I admit I can’t wait until I see the other Kings again on the other side of lockdown.
Developing Tristan – my drag king alter-ego – brings me a lot of joy. He still hasn’t quite found himself but he started his own life on social media and I’m looking at developing more comedy material, especially bad poetry. I’m truly grateful to Andro and Eve for giving me the tools to this wonderful, creative outlet and helping me find my place within the queer arts community.
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’.
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’.
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!
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.
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.
We’re delighted to announce that we’re on the lookout for an enthusiastic Assistant Producer to join the Andro and Eve team. This freelance, fixed term role is offered both as a way for us to grow our capacity, and for someone relatively new to the arts or events industry to gain valuable experience in event production and audience development.
We encourage applications from those with less visibility in the arts and are committed to a policy of equal opportunities which requires that all staff, freelance contractors, volunteers and artists are treated fairly irrespective of their age, race, ethnicity or national origin, gender, sexual orientation or any disability.
Deadline for applications is 10am Friday 25 October. Interviews will be held in Sheffield on Friday 1st November. Full details on the role and how to apply available to download here:
Short description of the act / style of performance
Where you are based
Whether you can perform at either night, or only Sheffield OR Doncaster.
A short bio of your performance experience (don’t worry if you have none, but do tell us why you want to take advantage of this opportunity)
A 3 – minute video of you performing. This could be a link to a video online, or send us a file to download.
We want to support Northern talent and highlight marginalised voices, so if this applies to you, please apply! Deadline for applications midday on 23/10/19. If you have any questions please also drop us a line. All applicants whether successful or not will be informed by 01/11/19.
If you’re planning on attending our DRAG KING WORKSHOP WEEKEND on 9 – 10 November and want to use either of these events as a way to debut the act you plan to create, we also encourage you to apply for a slot!
On the 16th February 2019 we came to parrrrty at Theatre Deli Sheffield with A Reyt Queer Do: Electric Dreams Edition. This queer party was hosted by Louis Cyfer with queer performance from new acts including drag kings Jamie Pizazz and King Kitt and also featured drag star on the rise, Christian Adore. Hearing the whole audience join in with Louis Cyfer’s rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody was blummin brilliant.
The crowd did not disappoint with outfits to keep your eyes popping for days, some full 80’s glam / punk / new romantic / pop realness, others dragged it up to the nines. After the queer performance (and plenty cake, courtesy of Kelham Island Kitchen), Chardine Taylor Stone ramped up the sound and the sparkly dance floor was full.
Huge thanks to all the performers for bringing such talent and energy, to Theatre Deli for their support of our work and being lovely hosts and to Chardine Taylor Stone for the tunes. We’re eternally appreciative of our fantastic volunteers, without who, our night’s would not be the same, and of course those who came and shared in the queer joy, creating such a fab night for everyone. Until next time!
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?
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.
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.
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?!
We’re mega excited to announce some BIG news for Andro & Eve!
This summer Andro and Eve, founded by Katherine Warman and Rhiannon Scutt, is being developed into a not for profit social enterprise. Turning what started as a hobby, into a sustainable organisation that can meet the demands of the growing audience for queer culture in Sheffield, and throughout the North of England. Joining Katherine and Rhiannon as directors of the Andro and Eve board; are Natalie Diddams, Ndrika Anyika and Sarah Higham, who bring a broad range of expertise and experience from across the creative industries. You can find out more about them via our ‘About’ section of the website. If you’ve been to an Andro and Eve event, you’ll no doubt recognise Ndrika Anyika, as the person responsible for capturing our events so brilliantly. We’re thrilled to have her and our two other brilliant board members behind us to support the work of Andro & Eve.
The central aim of Andro and Eve will be to create unique, feel – good events to celebrate queer culture, where everyone is welcome, with specialised workshops and training opportunities to develop creative talent within the Yorkshire region.
We will continue to programme excellent film, performance, and music that explores queer stories, focusing on voices that are otherwise marginalised, to reflect and celebrate the diversity that exists within the LGBTQIA community. Alongside our drag king cabaret, The Kingdom Come, there will be one – off film events, workshops and party series A Reyt Queer Do, which will feature a broader range of performers and art-forms. The next phase for Andro and Eve will enable the organisation to seek funding to bring more established artists to the region, improve accessibility, and support the provision of discounted and free tickets for those on lower incomes.
With our last four events selling out well in advance we want to be able to meet the demand for fun and inclusive queer arts events. Becoming a social enterprise, will enable us to make our offer even more accessible and affordable, while ensuring the quality of artists and events we produce stays high. We’re proud to be based in Yorkshire and want to put Sheffield on the map for arts that explore LGBTQ+ lives.
ALSO – We’re also bringing out a new range of merchandise to support our work, including T-Shirts, check them out below!!
A new partnership with Theatre Deli Sheffield is also part of the development of Andro and Eve, helping support the organisation through the provision of space for events and meetings throughout the year.
Jessica Brewster, Theatre Deli’s Artistic Director says “We feel Andro and Eve have rapidly become leaders of the queer arts scene in Sheffield, producing high quality, highly accessible creative events. Theatre Deli puts diversity and inclusivity at the heart of our programme so we are thrilled to be partnering with them on a long-term basis.”
So what’s next?? We’ll be at Sheffield Pride this Saturday 28th July 1 – 7pm at Endcliffe Park where our new T Shirts will be on sale. We’re also leading a Drag King Workshop for Beginners at Cast in Doncaster on 11th August 1.30 – 3.30pm. More information and tickets available via CAST.
If you want to have your say about the programme of events we’re planning, head to our online survey here. Here’s to the next phase of Andro and Eve!
Earlier this month we celebrated two years of Andro & Eve with a special edition of A Reyt Queer Do. It was nearly two years to the day that we first screened But I’m a Cheerleader in Cafe 9, Sheffield, and we marked the occasion with a night of drag king cabaret, cake and queer joy.
We transformed Broomhall Community Centre with our trademark handmade decorations and we were happy to welcome new and familiar faces to the venue. One of our audience stating ‘the decorations were like something out of a dreamy retro prom dance’. Yasss!
The vegan cake sold out super quick, and no less than eight drag kings performed, some for the first time. Host Zayn Phallic gave everyone life with his 90’s pop themed act. A humble leaf blower brought all the drama, conjuring up Michael Jackson’s Earth Song in the best possible way.
As always we want say a big thank you to our volunteers, who work so hard to make our events run smoothly. Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket and supported the night, and to the kings for sharing their drag acts. We’re also grateful to Broomhall Community Centre for the use of their hall.
This was our last event before the summer break but we’ll be popping up at various events over the summer, including DocFest next week! We’re working hard behind the scenes on the next steps for Andro and Eve. Make sure you’ve signed up to our mailing list to be the first to hear all the news from us!
Here’s some more snaps of our audience and drag kings…
We’re reyt chuffed to have been featured on the revamped Our Favourite Places, in their ‘Meet The Locals’ section. In case you’ve not comes across it, Our Fave Places, is an online Sheffield Culture guide that features all you need to know when planning a visit to the Steel City. With the lowdown on everything from exhibitions to pubs, theatre, music, coffee shops, film screenings to unique events, all written by in – the – know Sheffielders. The new Meet The Local’s section is a great way to find out about the people creating things and making good stuff happen in Sheffield.
They say, ‘An immediate success, Andro and Eve’s events were clearly just the kind of thing the city’s LGBTQ+ community and their friends were hungry for – friendly, positive, and above all lots of fun’.
Read the full interview with Andro and Eve founders, Katherine and Rhiannon here.
On Saturday 10th March we brought The Kingdom Come back to Walkley Community Centre for it’s third outing and what a night it was. The event sold out well in advance and our enthusiastic audience certainly made the effort, turning up with more beards than we’ve ever seen before. Ginger? Crochet? Rainbow? Yep, they were seen at The Kingdom Come 3, along with some incredible outfits too.
That’s just the audience. The line up of drag kings left us all gasping for breath with their hilarious and thought provoking drag acts. Luke Warm was the perfect host, charming the socks off the audience, getting them *really* involved and utilising a random glockenspiel to great effect.
Richard Von Wild treated us to some super lip syncing and his Tony Stark was hella realistic.
Sigi Moonlight took us to the movies with his dramatic drag, while highlighting the issue of diverse representation in mainstream film with an act where he transformed into the Oscars statue.
Joey Bambino floored us with his Silence of the Lambs themed act which was fantastically funny and creepy in equal measure.
Lastly, but by no means least, Oedipussi returned to The Kingdom Come to save the day, stepping into the large gap left by a poorly Zayn Phallic. Oedipussi’s costumes get bigger and more fantastical every time, delighting the audience and even managing to give one of them their own striped beard. #sharethelove.
The vegan cake went faster than you could say ‘I follow a plant based diet’ and the raffle was a hit, with our generous audience raising £184 towards our accessible ticket fund. This is brilliant, as we will be able to provide more tickets for those on low incomes at our next event.
We want to say a huge thank you to our wonderful volunteers who helped the night run like clockwork, we’re so grateful for those that give their time to help Andro & Eve develop. And of course thank you to Luke Warm, Oedipussi, Richard Von Wild, Joey Bambino and Sigi Moonlight for travelling to Sheffield and performing for us.
Thanks also to Walkley Community Centre for letting us use their lovely venue, and SheFest for providing funding to support accessibly priced tickets. Lastly thank you, awesome audience, for turning out, dressed up and ready to cheer on our drag kings. You made it a night to remember.