With 2020 drawing to a close (phew), and with pretty much nothing this year turning out how we expected it, we, like many other organisations are looking ahead to 2021.
COVID-19 has affected the way we share queer culture with our community, with the delivery of online workshops and the publication of our first zine, Centre in 2020. We, like everyone, are unsure what 2021 will bring, and are keen to plan ahead using the views of the community which we serve. So we’re launching a Community Survey, to get a sense of what, and when you’d like us to be doing in 2021.
As a community – led organisation your opinions matter to us very much, so if you have 5 – 10 minutes to share your thoughts, and you have either been to one of our events / workshops, bought a copy of Centre zine, or just follow us online, please do complete our survey.
What you say will likely have a direct impact upon when we return to live events, or what other offers we can make in 2021.
As a thank you, if you leave your email address we’ll add you to a prize draw, where you can win a bundle of Andro and Eve goodies, including our new tote bag!
This summer we’re very aware that many LGBTQ+ people will be missing the annual Pride celebrations, places where communities can come together and feel free, standing up for what matters to them.
We’re also aware that as event organisers, we can’t physically bring people together. That is why we are collaborating with artist Okocha Obasi to create a zine. Obasi is a graphic designer and recent graduate from Leeds Arts University, and the creator of the RACEZINE COLLECTIVE whose aim is to platform creatives of colour. RACEZINE COLLECTIVE has produced projects include a non-profit zine, performance events and infamous club night TONGUE N TEETH.
Through our collaboration we’re launching the new zine ‘Centre’. The hope is that this can act as method to connect folx across the North of England and provide visibility and a voice to our queer community, particularly those often marginalised.
So with that in mind, here’s what you need to know about our latest project!
CENTRE: A new zine
What’s at your centre? What matters most? What are your hopes for the future, and how is this informed by who you are?
CENTRE is about centering untold stories. We want responses from all ages, and all walks of life, but are particularly interesting in hearing and documenting Queer and QTIBPOC stories in the North of England. We’re also keen to hear from LGBTQIA folx identifying as neurodiverse, deaf or disabled.
We’re looking for responses in the form of: Letters, personals stories, personal historical materials, recipes, interviews, art, comics, drawings, prints, paintings, spoken word, intergenerational collaborations, short stories and anything else that you want to share with the world.
To submit something all you need to do is complete our Google form and attach your submission there. If you have any issues using tech, or need extra support, drop us a line and we’ll do our best to help you.
‘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.
It is with deep sadness and heartbreak that we announce the cancellation of The Kingdom Come 6 which was due to take place on Saturday 21 March at Abbeydale Picture House. This event, which would have been our 21st event, is the first event we have cancelled in our 4-year history. We do this in response to the escalation of the coronavirus and its impact on our wider community.
As a queer-led social enterprise, which means we put people before profit, and care of the most vulnerable and marginalised at our heart, we felt we must take action on this matter. By cancelling this event we can potentially reduce the amount of people contracting coronavirus, limit the impact of the coronavirus on our already strained NHS, and reduce the impact on public health workers.
As a small organisation with a staff team of one person alongside our team of volunteers, we cannot in good conscience put the health of our team, our artists, or wider community at risk. The board of Andro & Eve have consulted with our team and with our contacts in the arts and business community. This collective decision is not one we have taken lightly, or without much heartache.
Much of that pain comes from the fact that we know what the Andro & Eve events mean to our community, as well as to our artists. We send our love and solidarity to those already affected by coronavirus.
Everyone who bought a ticket is of course entitled to a refund, but if you can afford to, we’d ask you to consider your ticket a donation to help support our vision to bring queer arts and culture to South Yorkshire. Cancelling this event puts our financial security as an organisation at risk.
We rely on our big events such as The Kingdom Come to financially support the running of the organisation the rest of the year. Also, we are well aware of the pressures on freelancers at this time, and this will help us ensure that we can reimburse our artists and crew for fees they will lose, and in recognition for all the hard work they have already put into this event.
If anyone would like to support us at this extremely challenging time, you can by heading to Tickets for Good and buying a ticket for The Kingdom Come, before the 21st March. You can also add a contribution to our Pay it Forward Ticket fund there too. Your donation will be used to ensure we come back stronger and better than ever at a later date.
All those who have bought a ticket for The Kingdom Come will receive a discount on tickets for our next event; we will send a discount code to the email you used to book with, on announcement of the next event. We very much appreciate the support and trust you have placed in us. Details on refunds will also be sent to the email used to book with on Tickets for Good. Alternatively, please email [email protected] for more information.
We wish to thank our partner venues, Abbeydale Picture House and Theatre Deli Sheffield for their support and guidance in this difficult time. Independent venues and businesses in Sheffield will be at real risk of closure as we move through this health crisis. If you can also donate money towards Theatre Deli Sheffield or Abbeydale Picture House, you can do so via these links.
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.
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.
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)!
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.
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!
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 are excited to share that we are seeking new people to join the Andro and Eve board.
New board members will be part of an exciting period of growth and development for the company, helping us achieve our vision to celebrate queer culture through memorable events that inspire.
Our directors support the governance of Andro and Eve, contributing their expertise to the organisation’s growth, sustainability and reputation of excellence in the field of queer arts and events. We recognise that each board member will bring a unique set of skills to the role of director, and therefore are offering this opportunity on an individual basis to see if there is a match between your skills and the needs of the company.
This role is offered on an expenses only basis, with the understanding that you are giving your time to grow and develop the work of Andro and Eve. We understand that you may want to get involved for a variety of reasons, and welcome applications from people from a range of sectors, backgrounds or experience levels.
Deadline for applications is 9am Wednesday 8 January. Informal interviews will be held in Sheffield from the 13th January onwards. Full details on the role and how to apply available to download here:
We’re excited to bring news of the Queer Hub. On Wednesday 18th July 5.30 – 7pm at Theatre Deli Sheffield. What’s a Queer Hub you may ask? Well, this session is aimed at people who have been to one or more Andro & Eve events. The Queer Hub is a place for the Andro & Eve audience and volunteers to feedback on their experiences and help shape an exciting programme of queer arts events that Andro & Eve are currently planning! (Subject to funding). Join us for a facilitated discussion with food and friendly vibes exploring –
– What films/ artists / performers do you want to see programmed in future?
– How can we make Andro & Eve events even more accessible?
– Are there other queer arts projects you’d like to see / make happen in Sheffield?
Places are free but limited in order to make this a productive and accessible session. Please come with ideas and energy! Find out more and reserve your ticket for FREE by clicking here.
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…
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.
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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