Today marks the start of LGBT History Month. We are so thankful to members of LGBTQ+ community who have gone before, paving the way for our rights and increasing the visibility of, and acceptance of our community. We know there is so much still to be done, in the UK and around the world.
Here in the UK, over the last few years, a hostile environment has been created for trans, non binary and gender non conforming people. In 2020 we spent time developing a Gender Awareness Training session, aimed at staff teams in organisations, public services and businesses.
Our Gender Awareness Training is designed to pass on knowledge and best practice, enabling organisations to better serve and meet the needs of clients, customers and service users of all genders, particularly those who fall under the Transgender* umbrella.
Drawing upon our extensive experience in meeting the needs of the LGBTQIA community in creating safe and inclusive events, this 2 hour, online session can be tailored to your organisation’s needs. Interested? We currently have a special introductory offer for organisations able to book a session before 30 April 2021. Please get in touch or share this post if you think your organisation could benefit from our Gender Awareness Training. You can also find out more here.
.*Transgender is an umbrella term for people who do not identify or feel comfortable with what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Next month we launch our new zine CENTRE, with a special online event, REYT QUEER NIGHT IN, to bring our community together. And of course queer culture will be served up front and centre!
Part of our offer is a Vogue dance workshop with Mama Ghetto aka Darren Pritchard. Darren is a performer, choreographer, producer and director. He is also a celebrated Vogue performer and Mother of the House of Ghetto Manchester. We’re thrilled he can join us to teach some Vogue moves and flair via Zoom!
Darren says ‘Vogue is important to me, because it embraces my love of dance, my love of QTIPOC culture and allows me to be me and who ever else I want to be. Through the ballroom culture as a Mother I have seen people grow and develop and do things they thought they could never do’.
Manchester’s House of Ghetto have made their name in the Manchester Vogue ball scene with tight choreography performed solely by Black female dancers. House of Ghetto also feature in documentary ‘Deep in Vogue‘, which examines the North West’s Vogue ball scene, and which premiered at BFI Flare in 2019. Darren has produced Vogue Balls throughout the UK including Manchester’s first Black Pride Vogue Ball as part of 2019’s Manchester Pride. Read more about the House of Ghetto and Darren here.
Our REYT QUEER NIGHT IN is about having fun with your community, so before getting your vogue on with Mama Ghetto, we’re encouraging you to join drag star Christian Adore with his ‘Party Eye’s’ makeup workshop, for all genders. Because remember, makeup has *no* gender! Its bound to be an irreverent and joyful way to get ready for your queer party at home!
Finally, we’re super excited that DJ Xzan, will be performing a live DJ set 9 – 11pm bringing the party direct to your front room. They’ll be playing a high energy set with plenty queer pop party anthems to help you share in the queer joy. DJ Xzan aka Xandice Armah is an open format DJ from London and co founder of Gal Pals, the LGBTQ+ dance party centring womxn and excellent pop music. Xzan has supported the likes of Big Freedia, JD Samson, Anna Clavi, MNEK and Mabel, as well as playing at Glastonbury on the Sisterhood Stage.
All those who pre order a copy of CENTRE will get sent a link to the DJ set for free, but if you want to join us from 7pm, you’ll need to get your ticket via Tickets For Good. Sliding scale prices to suit all budgets are available! We hope you can join us on the 10th October, serving your best party looks, and bask in the queer joy!
CENTRE will be available on our online shop for pre sale on the 1st October and posted out around REYT QUEER NIGHT IN on 10th October. The zine is a collaboration with artist Okocha Obasi and created using Arts Council England’s COVID-19 Emergency Funding.
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.
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!
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.
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 excited to announce that we have drag king open mic slots available!!
We’re planning our next A REYT QUEER DO, and there are a few drag king open mic slots available. These are for brand new drag kings or newbie kings who want more performance experience. It is not a paid opportunity though we can help out with some travel expenses and we always provide food and drink for our performers. You’ll also get a set of photos of your performance taken by our professional photographer and free entry and probably* free cake at our big queer party. Priority for slots will go to Kings based outside of London but all applications welcome! To apply, you need to be available on Saturday 12 May and be able to perform one 3 – 5 minute drag act. Head to our website and fill in our contact form with the title ‘drag king open mic’. Please give us:
Your drag king name
Where you are based
Any links to your drag king’s social media (this is not essential, just helpful).
A rough idea of what your act involves. Singing? Clowing? Dancing? Stand up?
Deadline to apply is 6pm on Monday 2 April! We look forward to hearing from you!
For more information on how we programme artists and content for our events, please head to the ‘How we Programme’ section of our website.
Andro and Eve x
*home baked cakes are an essential part of Andro and Eve events…
We write this post because, yet again, the Drag Kings we work with have been done a disservice by the media. Sadly, this time it is Sheffield independent publisher Now Then that has pretty much failed to represent what a Drag King is while promoting our next event A Reyt Queer Do. While we’re very happy that the work we’re doing gets exposure, we cannot have the drag kings we work with be described as ‘women in men’s garb’. At best the phrase is reductive, at worst it is insulting.
If you’re sat thinking, ‘hey, thats what a drag king is right?’ then please read on.. Because that description does such a disservice to a scene that has traditionally embraced a wide range of gender identities, and often provides an outlet for creative expression for queer people who may not feel welcome in mainstream ‘gay’ venues. Yes, 19th and early 20th century music hall stars like Vesta Tilley or Hetty King were women impersonating men, but the UK Drag Scene now, is very different and so much more exciting. As London scene star Benjamin Butch puts it,
“A King show will overturn any expectations you may have, we are performing gender to introduce a position from which perspectives can be viewed differently”. 1
To break it down. You may perceive a person as ‘female’, but that doesn’t mean that is their gender identity. Ask before using a pronoun that misgenders a person. Many Drag Kings are trans, meaning their gender identity does not align with the one they were assigned with at birth. Generally a Drag King will perform as a ‘he/him’ on stage, but that does not mean they become ‘she’ offstage. This is similar to the Drag Queen scene where..
‘To many queens past and present, the distinction between gender performance and gender non-conformance is blurry, if it exists at all’. Alex Varman. 2
It is because of gender pioneers like Leslie Feinberg, Marsha P Johnson,Miss Major and others, and the work of nights like Bar Wotever’s Non Binary Cabaret, and Boi Box’s weekly drag king open mic, that we have a UK Drag scene that plays with and critiques gender and celebrates trans identities. Our aim is to make a space for this wonderful scene to flourish in Yorkshire. To widen access and be part of the network of regular drag nights like Kingdom in Brighton that help spread the appeal of Drag Kings outside the UK’s capital city.
And while we’re at it. The term bio queen is gross and misogynistic. As performer Rodent Decay said ‘If you’re policing the genders of the performers you’re completely missing the point of drag’ 3. This piece also gives a broader discussion of the importance of women to the evolution of the drag scene.
For further reading we recommend this piece published earlier this year in ID magazine. Get to know and love some of the most interesting Drag Kings on the UK Scene right now! Sure to be appearing at a Sheffield venue near you sometime soon..
As part of our efforts to make Andro & Eve events as inclusive and accessible as possible, we are fundraising to support our activity and provide discounted ticket prices for those on low incomes. Part of those efforts now include the option for those purchasing tickets for our events online at Tickets For Good, to make a contribution to our accessible ticket fund.
We want to roll out our accessible ticket fund from 2018 so those on low / no income can get a discounted ticket for Andro & Eve events. Money donated via Tickets For Good will go directly towards ticket subsidies for future events. Fundraising starts now, so if you’re buying a ticket for A Reyt Queer Do, then please consider contributing a little extra money towards this fund. Thank you.
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!
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!
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.
Our fabulous audience!
Finally, host Apple Derrieres shows us ALL how to pose.
Why Andro and Eve? Let us tell you where our name comes from!
Well we love a pun for starters.. But this famous origin story of Adam and Eve called for a reworking in our minds… Something that reclaims the ‘woman’ from ‘man’ and says women can be so much more than the ancient stories we were told. Andro and Eve is a name that recognises women don’t need to be femme. We are androgynous, butch, dykes, tomboys. Also the divine feminine and ‘Eve’ character is also just as powerful as the archetypal man, masculine woman or genderfluid person.
We like our name because it acknowledges the blurring and broad spectrum of gender identity, and we seek to ensure our events and ethos are inclusive, and for us, queer community is about building a family outside of heteronormativity. We are about uniting different identities across race, class, gender, sexuality, disability and age. Lastly, our name was also chosen because we are keen that all women have a space they feel safe and free to explore queer culture, and break down some barriers that sadly, sometimes exist between different women and other marginalised genders.
Now we just need to remember all that next time we get asked about our name!