Lets meet LoUis CYfer!

With just over a month until our our Cabaret College, we caught up with award winning drag king and actor Lucy Jane Parkinson, aka LoUis CYfer who we’re collaborating with for this set of online workshops..

LoUis CYfer was the first Drag King to win the crown at Drag Idol UK and has gone on to become a well known performer in the UK cabaret scene. A regular collaborator with theatre company Milk Presents, they have performed in theatre shows across the UK, balancing their acting and writing alongside appearances as LoUis CYfer. Having led some drag king workshops for us back in November 2019 we’re thrilled they are back to work with us on the Cabaret College. 

An androgynous person dressed in plastic gold armour poses with a hobby horse while a glitter canon goes off behind them
Lucy Jane Parkinson in JOAN. Milk Presents.

Q. Can you tell us about your past work?

As well some stints working in a Chinese takeaway and Morrisons, I have worked in in some of the best cabaret bars in the UK. I’ve travelled all over the world from Texas to Australia, performing both cabaret and theatre. I’ve run workshops which raise awareness around gender, masculinity and drag, alongside some of my favourite people in the whole world (Milk Presents). Together we cleaned up at the Edinburgh fringe a few years ago winning a Fringe First, a Stage Award and Spirit of the Fringe for our hit cabaret theatre show: JOAN. I’ve done lots of work with Milk Presents with shows such as BULLISH and video poetry projects like MY ENGLAND. Before lockdown I had just finished a restoration comedy at the Young Vic Theatre and a drama for the BBC.

Q. What is the character of LoUis CYfer like?

LoUis is like nobody I’ve ever met, he’s charming yet cheeky, he’s strong and masculine but delicate like a soggy dandelion. He’s a dickhead that you can’t help but have fun with.

Q. What got you into drag / cabaret and what do you like best about it?

I was an artist studying my masters and at the same time was having a complete identity crisis; LoUis was my way of processing my confusion. The best thing about cabaret is that the show isn’t someone else’s script, it’s all your own, and having a stage for your voice, (albeit to pissheads), feels like a great opportunity to create discourse in an entertaining manner.

Q. Is there anything about drag and cabaret you’d like to see change? 

Drag and cabaret is always changing and is constantly in flux, if you want me to say I’d like to see more kings I’m not going to do that … What I would like is to be able to see more arts funding for this genre as lots of cabaret artists are living hand to mouth. It would be good if we could apply for funds to make our travelling performances more like conventional touring theatre in terms of having a team and budgets for lighting and sound. Being on your own and doing everything can be a real stress and sometimes you forget to enjoy it.

Q. What do you hope to achieve through the Cabaret College? 

I want to improve the quality of the work on the scene. I’m sick of seeing people have to enter all these competitions to get recognition. It’s not a good start and doesn’t facilitate self – sufficiency and critical reflection for the artist. It is crucial to equip creative people with the tools to make good quality work.

Q. As someone working in the performing arts how have you adapted under COVID? What are you excited about working on in future? 

I’ve gone digital baby!!! This includes working with my own avatar as a way to explore character and technology. I’ve started my own podcast called FANNY KLUB and have been working with my partner in crime Rebecca Banatvala on our queer theatre company Korupt Kabuki. We have been writing monologues for actors to perform to camera, writing our own comedy show BOXTICKERS and thanks to Daisy May Cooper we have been writing our first treatment for a TV show about how we met. It’s been all go here at HQ.. Before lockdown I was due to start 6 months at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in Twelfth Night so once things open up again I’m hopeful they will begin rehearsals and I’ll get my big break back!

Lucy leans over a table to help share drag king makeup skills to two participants who have painted on some thick eyebrows
LoUis facilitating a drag king workshop for Andro and Eve. Nov 2019

Can you tell us about someone that inspires you? 

Without trying to sound like a dickhead, no particular person inspires me. I find moments and memories inspiring but to be inspired I feel like you have to see something in someone else that you aspire to be or have.. I don’t feel like I’ve had the opportunity to see myself in anyone yet. Having said that I wouldn’t mind waking up one morning to find I am Jodie Comer, Victoria Wood, Robin Williams, Cathy Burke or Daisy May Cooper.

To find out more and apply for a place on the Cabaret College course head here and complete the short application form. Deadline 30 July. You can find out more about LoUis CYfer by following him on Instagram. 

Launching our Cabaret College!

Ready to take your act to the next level? Want some space to get inspired and learn new skills? This 8 – week online course is designed to give you the tools to develop material for your own drag or cabaret act, and build your confidence. Award winning actor, writer and drag king LoUis CYfer of Korupt Kabuki, will lead 4 interactive sessions and provide mentoring for participants.

Aimed at emerging drag and cabaret acts looking for a creative challenge, our Cabaret College is about developing talent in the North of England. The course will give some context for the history of cabaret and drag, share a host of creative techniques for generating original material, and prepare participants for live performance in a safe and supportive environment.

It is an ideal follow on for people who have already participated in our previous drag king king workshops.  It is also well suited to drag queens or other cabaret acts in need of space to create new material.

Cabaret College poster. For kings, queens and all in between. 19 August - 30 September. Tickets available via Tickets for good. Apply via a Google Form

Sessions will happen on a fortnightly basis with set tasks to work on in between, to then share with the group. Each participant will receive a small amount of one to one mentoring with LoUis CYfer to assist with and support any challenges participants may need to work through.

By the end of the course each participant will have

  • A clearer sense of their drag character or cabaret act.
  • Created their own original material.
  • Understand how to work an audience.

Places on this course are limited in order to provide the best possible learning experience for participants. It is expected that participants will already have a drag or cabaret character devised. Places will be prioritised for those living in Yorkshire or the North of England. Free bursaries are available to QTIBPOC in order to provide better representation in the UK drag and cabaret scene.

To secure a place on the course, please apply via our simple Google form by 5pm on Thursday 30 July. Successful applicants will be notified the following week.

Please note, this course is about generating original material and performing live. It is expected that participants will use their own voice through speech or song. Fees for the full course are £25 for General. £10 for Low Income. £50 for Solidarity. This pricing is made possible through funding from Arts Council England.

Course Details
WEEK 1 – 19 August
Covering the history of cabaret and drag and its relevance to a modern audience. Looking at your character and how they relate to the audience, covering all the basics to getting started!

WEEK 2 – 2 September
Introducing you to a whole range of techniques to help you generate original material and find the form that suits your own strengths and skills.

WEEK 3 – 16 September
Exploring how to respond to current events / contemporary society and generating material that has something to say. Unlocking your voice and using it to create innovative and entertaining material.

WEEK 4 – 30 September
This final session is all about audience engagement. Learning how to play with the audience and make them part of your set; and even how to manage hecklers!

We look forward to receiving your application! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via our contact form.

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! 

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!

Open Mic Slots: A Reyt Queer Do

Heard about our next event? A Reyt Queer Do: Electric Dreams Edition is on Saturday 16th February at Theatre Deli Sheffield, and is the 80’s themed queer party you’ve been waiting for! And now its your chance to perform in front of our friendly and supportive audience…

Drag King Louis Cyfer will be hosting a stage for queer performance within this event, and we have several open mic slots available for new acts, or new work you want to test out in front of a live audience. Drag, comedy, clowning, queerlesque, song, anything goes, as long as it will entertain. In return for you performing one 3 – 5 minute act we’ll provide refreshments and up to £20 reimburse travel expenses.

To apply for one of our open mic slots, please send us

  • The name of your act
  • A short bio about you (where are you based, experience, a tagline for your act)
  • A 2 minute video showing us an extract of your act or performance. If there is already a video online of you performing this act somewhere, you can send us the link.

Deadline to apply: 10am Wednesday 30th January. Priority for slots will go to those based in Yorkshire. We look forward to hearing from you! If you have any questions please drop us a line.

Volunteer Call Out!

We’ve organised a get together and training session for current and newbie volunteers with Andro & Eve on December 13th. With Vegan Cake! We’re expanding our volunteer event team to help us run our programme of feel good events. We basically don’t want any more photos to emerge of Drag Queens carrying chairs at our events.. Hi Apple Derrieres! 😉

So if you’re interested in events, love queer performance and don’t mind giving up an evening now and then to make ace stuff happen locally, join our friendly volunteer team! Ideally you’ll have attended one of our events before, but this is not a necessity. We’re looking for people who can commit to helping run two or three events a year and have a ‘can do’ attitude.

If you want to help us put on events, meet cool people, and guarantee at spot at our sell – out events by volunteering, then join us at The Old Workshop on December 13th for our volunteer training session. Come along and find out about Andro & Eve’s plans for future events focused on queer culture, from the duo behind Andro & Eve. We’ll be covering areas such as event management, health and safety (yes, we will make that interesting!), and the vision for Andro & Eve, as well as finding out a bit more about your reasons for volunteering. And we’ll eat vegan cake.

If you’d like to attend, please drop us a line using the contact form on our website. If you can’t make this event, but would still like to lend a hand, get in touch. Thanks!

The Kingdom Come #2: Holiday Camp!

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!

rsz__v3a8378.jpg
Adam All and Apple Derrieres, flamingo style.

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!

rsz__v3a8527
Luke Warm remembered to pack his toothbrush...

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.

rsz__v3a7670
Nicely Nautical audience members.
rsz_1_v3a8684
Oedipussi makes an entrance
rsz__v3a8600.jpg
Romeo De La Cruz is.. The Mask
rsz__v3a7879.jpg
Apple Derrieres is oh so tropical!
rsz__v3a8079
Oliver Assets living his Disney dream
rsz__v3a8229.jpg
Adam All. Pecs.
rsz__v3a7634.jpg
Yass Queen! Yass King! 
rsz__v3a7946_1
Oedipussi lets his light shine..
rsz__v3a8932.jpg
Andro and Eve in drag take to the stage..

Our fabulous audience!

rsz__v3a7516
What an outfit. Tropic like its hot queen. 

rsz__v3a7704rsz__v3a7546rsz__v3a7761.jpgrsz__v3a7527.jpgrsz__v3a7755.jpg

Finally, host Apple Derrieres shows us ALL how to pose.

_V3A9029

Keep in touch

Sign up to our newsletter to keep up-to-date with our latest news, events and offers.

Donate

Your donation will be used to help us continue to support queer artists and culture.

  • £ 0.00