Whats The Cost of An Andro and Eve Event?

A drag performer with a blonde wig stands in the middle of a crowd of people in a bar. They wear a blue sequin micro dress. Everyone in the crowd have their phone camera lights shining and look to the performer smiling.

And why are our General Entry tickets sometimes £20?

We’re here today to tackle the tricky question of money. Not in a ‘here’s a spreadsheet, please enjoy’ kind of way (we know that’s a niche joy), more as a way to be transparent on what it really costs to produce the scale of live events we do, and where that money goes.

It won’t have escaped you that there’s a state inflicted poverty war being waged, and so it could be argued we should be offering all our events for free. Problem with that is, we’d not survive long in a capitalist society, and competition for funding gets more fierce every year, so we need to earn income.

We are a not for profit social enterprise, which means any profits we make, go back into supporting the aims of our organisation, namely to create spaces where queer culture is celebrated, and our community has space to connect with one another. We believe in being transparent about our need to be sustainable aka, we’re in this for the long run.

So lets break this down.

You might be here as a community member trying to work out why our ticket prices seem high compared to other queer cultural offerings in South Yorkshire, or you might be working in the culture sector and here to magpie. Its all good. Read on for the inside goss. . .

A tall, Black dancer with their hair tied back stands posing on a stage with their arms framing their face. They wear black and white hot pants and a mesh black top and black furry boots. Behind them is gold letter bunting spelling out Reyt Queer Do
Jason Andrew voguing at A Reyt Queer Do at Cast, Doncaster 2019.

Our smaller events, like A Reyt Queer Do, cost around £3000 – 4000. That’s just the bare bones. Half of this is on artist and crew fees and their expenses like travel. When we say ‘crew’ we also mean the freelancers who support with production and marketing. A huge amount of time and effort goes into producing our events in a way that is caring and accessible for the team we work with and our community. That prep work needs investment. As does good access. We are committed to ensuring our events are accessible, and we pay people fairly for their skills. Think BSL interpretation, captioning and all the time we put into communicating so that our community knows what access provisions are in place.

What that £3k does not cover are our overheads. Things like insurance, IT, staff wages (we’ve currently got one part time employee) and the associated costs of running a business, like taxes, professional fees and website maintenance. Fun eh?

It’s also important to note we don’t have a venue. So while that helps keeps overheads down, it does mean we spend more on hiring quality venues that are accessible. Some venues have been incredibly supportive in offering us free hire or discounted rates, but at the scale we work, venue and tech is still a significant cost, and Sheffield is not blessed with as many live performance venues as other large cities, so we have to be flexible on the spaces we use.

Shesus and the Sisters perform at Abbeydale Picture House. Three figures dressed as nuns and faux Jesus stand on a stage in front of 350 people
The Kingdom Come with Shesus and the Sisters at Abbeydale Picture House. 2019

So now we come to our larger events like The Kingdom Come, our drag king cabaret. Here, we spend more. Whereas A Reyt Queer Do is for an average audience size of 140 – 170, The Kingdom Come is designed for 300+ people to enjoy. Bigger event, bigger budget. So we’re looking at around £5 – £6k. Again half of this is on artist and crew fees. But even with a sell out, we are not breaking even, because the costs of access, overheads and staff time are not covered by our ticket sales.

an East Asian drag king, Sigi Moonlight strums a small banjo onstage. He wears a red shirt and black trousers and has short black hair with a bleach blonde streak at the front
Sigi Moonlight at The Kingdom Come. 2018

So WHY DO YOU BOTHER we hear you scream at your screen? That’s where funding comes in. When we embarked on this queer culture journey, we quickly worked out that to make this sustainable, our core team would need paying. Can’t pay rent on the feel good factor eh? We know enough of our DIY queer scene herstory to realise burn out is a real and present danger.

It should also be pointed out that in the drag and cabaret scene it is not uncommon for performers to be paid way under the industry rate, or not paid at all. We believe fiercely in the value of drag and cabaret as an art form that pushes boundaries and gives voice to those otherwise marginalised, and its also *the most * entertaining too. The artists making it deserve to be paid fairly! (Don’t get us wrong, DIY scenes run by a committed team and serious amounts of volunteered time are wonderful and have produced some amazing culture, but that has become increasingly challenging in this neoliberal climate we live in).

So in order to support staff wages, and freelancers, we apply for grant funding and generate income through other means, like our merch, commissions and bookable training and workshops which includes our Gender Awareness Training and Gender Exploration Workshop. This supports the rest of our programme delivery. But without the grant funding, we could not produce the programmes of creative activity like the live performance events and workshops that we do.

A screenshot of a zoom window screen showing about 16 people smiling while holding up their finished felt faces, 2D felt portraits designed by Seleena Laverne Daye, a Black artist who holds up her sample portrait on the screen too
Through the pandemic we continued to offer creative activities online.

So why is it still sometimes £20 for a General Entry ticket if you’ve got grant funding?

With Arts Council, we have to have at least 30% match funding for a programme of activity. So if a programme costs £30,000, we need to demonstrate we have got £9k of other income. That could be in the form of other grant funding, commission fees or ticket sales. So ticket sales still make up a vital part of our income stream.

We also believe in the quality and uniqueness of our work. Compared to larger subsidised theatre, or the commercial drag sector, our tickets are still competitively priced. We are also unique in offering a clear and consistent Sliding Scale Ticket pricing system in place to support those on lower incomes to attend our events. We got this idea from Leeds Queer Film Fest and SQIFF, and this system has been in place for our events since 2017. It also enables us to give free tickets for refugees and people seeking asylum. Currently we do this though our friends at Lesbian Asylum Support Sheffield.

Solidarity Tickets were our own invention, and they are a way for those who can afford to, to ‘pay it forward’ and contribute directly to our ticket fund. This is ring-fenced money that directly supports the provision of cheaper and free tickets at our events. If you can afford to, we very much encourage you to buy one of these tickets.

It’s also worth noting, that we have been successful in getting funding to support free programmes of activity, like Joyful Noise zine in 2021, and there’ll always be parts of our creative programmes of workshops and events that are free for people to access, like the current Feeling Fabulous follow on workshops this July.

Our Feeling Fabulous Workshops in June 2022 with Ghetto Fabulous – Image Emma Bentley Fox

Our current programme is our most ambitious to date, and A Reyt Queer Extravaganza at The Leadmill, is our biggest ever event, with 20+ artists performing, (compared to 5 – 7 at our usual cabaret events). We have also been working in partnership with Ghetto Fabulous to produce and programme this event, which has needed proper time and investment. So our budget is reflective of the scale and ambition.

We’re here to demonstrate the value of queer culture to our LGBTQ+ community and beyond, and implement best practice when it comes to accessibility and equity in our working models. We know this is the harder way, but the payoff in terms of wellbeing for our community and those we work with, is worth the investment.

So next time someone says ‘why are Andro and Eve’s tickets £X’, feel free to signpost them to this blog. We here, we’re queer, and making space for long term investment in our community. See you at the Extravganza on 30 July!

House of Blaque will be performing at A Reyt Queer Extravaganza on 30 July

Feeling Fabulous Workshops

A purple two - tone poster with a diagonal colour block effect has the words Feeling Fabulous Workshops in white text in the centre. Some of the purple has a glitter texture. Below are the words Werk a runway, strut, dance and pose!

Werk a runway, strut, dance and pose!

We’re collaborating with Ghetto Fabulous to bring some fabulous queer dance and movement workshops for all levels, to the people of Sheffield.

Feel Fabulous with Ghetto Fabulous. Skimpy clothing not a requirement though!

On three Tuesdays in June, you can join dancers from Ghetto Fabulous to explore queer movement. You will learn to werk a runway, whether you sissy that walk or turn out the trade! Alongside walking you’ll have space to explore finding your own picture perfect poses and style. Use the killa soundtrack to tap into the fierce fabulousness that’s inside of you just screaming to get out.

Wear what ever will make you feel fabulous, just remember you’ll need to be able to dance and move!

If you’re in Sheffield, you’ll need to head to the Montgomery Theatre, where we’ll be taking over the dance studio on the 7th, 14th, and 21st June. If you’re in Barnsley, three sessions will be held on Wednesdays 8th, 15th, 22nd June at The Civic.

These sessions are designed to build the confidence and skills of those new to dance and are open to everyone. You just need to book in advance so we can keep an eye on numbers.

A second block of three workshops will take place on Tuesdays 12, 19, 26 July in Sheffield at the Montgomery Theatre. These extra free sessions are designed to enable participants from the June workshops in both Barnsley and Sheffield to come together and develop their performance skills and form collectives. The collectives will perform together at Andro and Eve’s Reyt Queer Extravaganza, alongside Ghetto Fabulous, and performers from across the North of England, on Saturday 30th July at The Leadmill, Sheffield.

Strike a pose!

Whether you feel super confident about moving your body, or need space to bring you out of your shell, we encourage you to come along to these sessions to meet new members of your queer family, and get inspired and creative. If you attend the June sessions theres no obligation to attend the July workshops, but the July dates are aimed primarily at those who’ve come along to at least one or two of the June sessions.

Need further info? Just drop us a line. We’ll be happy to answer any questions.

You can book for the June Sheffield dates here.

Back with a Bang!

a group of Black, female and femme dancer strike poses onstage lit by blue lighting. They wear bright orange jackets and tight black dance wear.

We are super excited to share that we have received Arts Council funding enabling us to produce a programme of live events and talent development opportunities in South Yorkshire this summer.

In a new partnership with The Civic, Barnsley, we will be collaborating closely with Manchester’s Ghetto Fabulous, to bring Sheffield a ‘Reyt Queer Extravaganza’ this July. What’s that? – we hear you cry! Well…

A Reyt Queer Extravaganza, hosted by writer, director and actor, Rikki Beadle Blair, will showcase some of South Yorkshire’s most exciting queer performance talent, as well as dancers and drag artists from across the North of England, alongside community participants who want to show off their fabulous selves.

Ghetto Fabulous. Credit Fotocad.

In the run up to A Reyt Queer Extravaganza, due to take place iconic Sheffield venue, The Leadmill* on the 30 July, Andro and Eve and Ghetto Fabulous will host a series of ‘Feeling Fabulous’ workshops for members of the LGBTQ+ community to participate in. These will happen in both Barnsley and Sheffield. The aim of these workshops is to help participants feel more confident, gain some dance and performance skills, and develop a short performance to be showcased at the Reyt Queer Extravaganza.

We’ll also be bringing our drag king cabaret, The Kingdom Come back to Sheffield in October. Plus another edition of queer cabaret, A Reyt Queer Do in June, which platforms emerging queer performance talent, as well as hosting online drag king workshops in May with drag king Christian Adore, and a Gender Exploration workshop at The Civic in June.

three white people look upwards with smiles and eyes closed as they enjoy glitter being thrown over theirselves in a dark party setting
A Reyt Queer Do will be back later this year – Credit Ndrika Anyika

Finn Warman, Artistic Director for Andro and Eve says; ‘We’re absolutely delighted to be back producing accessible events to celebrate queer culture where everyone is welcome. Through the pandemic, we’ve continued to bring our community together with online workshops and smaller in person events. However, we’ve not been able to produce the scale of events we were known for before 2020’.

Finn continues, ‘We’ve been in talks for a long time with Ghetto Fabulous to bring to Sheffield the sort of events you’d see in Manchester, and are just so chuffed to have secured the funding that will allow us to do this and make this work accessible. We’re also really excited to be able to provide larger platforms for South Yorkshire queer artists and space for the LGBTQ+ community to come together and celebrate their resilience and joy. Our offer also includes digital engagement, enabling those more comfortable with online activity, to engage with our programme’.

The Kingdom Come will be back in Sheffield this September. Image credit Ndrika Anyika.

David Sinclair, Head of Visual Arts and Engagement at The Civic says ‘The Civic is really excited to be partnering with Andro & Eve and Ghetto Fabulous on this landmark queer event for South Yorkshire. Part of our organisation’s core values is to amplify the voices of those typically marginalised in the arts. Therefore, we are delighted to be able to provide these events and workshops to offer an amazing platform for our home grown queer talent, as well as providing opportunities for our LGBTQ+ community to develop new skills but more importantly celebrate queer joy and have fun!’

The Andro and Eve community together in 2018. Credit Ndrika Anyika.

Alongside this programme of work, we’re super excited to announce our first project for teenagers in South Yorkshire, in a partnership with Site Gallery. In collaboration with Site Gallery’s young people’s group, Society of Explorers, we’ll be producing a new zine themed around our Gender Awareness Training, which aims to help organisations and groups build more inclusive practices for transgender and gender expansive people. An open call for participants aged 14 – 18 will be announced soon.

We want to hear from queer performance artists living in South Yorkshire that may want to be part of our events in 2022. Keep an eye on our social media channels for further artist opportunities and freelance roles to be announced soon. Tickets for A Reyt Queer Extravaganza will go on sale at the start of May. Make sure you’ve signed up to our newsletter to bag early bird discounted tickets for what promises to be a night to remember!

Thank you all those who have supported us throughout the last two years. It has taken a lot of effort to survive through the pandemic, and bring this programme to fruition. But we’re so excited to be back to live events and we can’t wait to see you soon!

*make sure you’ve also signed the petition to save the Leadmill and change Section 25 of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

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