A Reyt Queer Do: Back with a bang!

A black femme presenting person with blue Afro hair wears a black PVC mini dress and smiles on a mix in front of a crowd of people. She is lit by purple lighting.

On the 12th June we produced our first live cabaret event in 2.5 years at Sidney and Matilda with our 6th Reyt Queer Do. The night was full of great music, cake and stunning looks from both the acts and audience.

A Reyt Queer Do #6 at Sidney and Matilda. Supported using funding from Arts Council England.

Hosted by Sadie Sinner, with performances by cabaret star RhyssPieces and a host of Yorkshire talent including drag queen Ditzy O Darlin, poet Audrey Violet, singer Jordan Meriel, singer songwriter, Laura Hegarty and drag king Raymond Petty, the venue was filled with queer cheer. The audience did not disappoint, as they also brought the energy with singing, dancing and general enthusiasm.

Our raffle was back too, with 1st place winning a hamper of queer goodies and treats, and 2nd place winning a gift box from Beer Central. The proceedings went towards the Pay It Forward ticket fund, enabling us to provide those on low incomes and refugees with free or discounted tickets at future events.

RhyssPieces works the crowd at Sidney and Matilda

We would like to say a huge thank you to the crew and volunteers who helped us to run this event. Thank you to those who bought tickets to support the acts, and to those who bought raffle tickets. A huge thanks to all the performers for showcasing their talent, and to Sidney and Matilda for hosting us.

We’re even more geared up for A Reyt Queer Extravaganza, our collaboration with Ghetto Fabulous, supported by Barnsley Civic in July now!

Here are some more photos all taken by Sophie Okonkwo of our acts and audience….

A caramel skinned drag performer wearing a long auburn wig, heavy makeup and red beaded dress on one side. They are wearing short black hair and a black suit on the other side.
RhyssPieces
A white drag performer kneels in front of the crowd. They are wearing a blue leotard with long sleeves, thigh high black PVC boots and a brown mullet wig.
Drag Queen from Donny, Ditzy O Darlin
Jordan Meriel and Leo our BSL interpreter
A group of 7 performers, joined by the co-founder of Andro and Eve (bottom left, wearing pink).

Party Pals – New for 2022!

Four white people, three with long hair and one with a buzz cut stand together posing. The two people in the middle hold up sticks with red paper lips on them to their mouths

Party Pals is a scheme designed to help solo partygoers meet new pals

We’ve listened to our community feedback (thank you to everyone who completed our most recent community survey) and have a new scheme designed to help make our in person events more accessible!

We realise that sometimes, you want to attend an event, but for whatever reason, you’re flying solo but you’d rather have some pals to meet! Thats where our new scheme Party Pals comes in!

Three Black women stand in a huddle in conversation with one holding her hand out
Make some new pals via our Party Pals scheme!

You can get involved by simply completing our Access Form and asking to be part of the Party Pals scheme. Then you’ll need to arrive fairly soon after doors open on the night of the event, and we’ll invite you to join our dedicated Party Pals space so you have the chance to meet other folks. Our friendly volunteers will be on hand to make introductions.

Our newest event A Reyt Queer Do 6 will be our first roll out of this idea, so if you grab tickets for the event, you can complete the access form and get involved! We hope its the start of more connection for our community through our events.

A Reyt Queer Do 6 is on Sunday 12 June!

Speaking of which, A Reyt Queer Do 6 at Sidney and Matilda this June, is going to be a real treat. We’re VERY excited that founder of the Cocoa Butter Club, Sadie Sinner is the host. Find out more and book here!

where will we pop up next?

A Black, androgynous person stands on the right hand side of small stage speaking on a microphone. They are wearing a black tee with the words 'Bad Lay Dee' in white letters and black jeans. Their hair is short and bleached. On the right hand side of the stage is a BSL interpreter who is gesturing. She has cropped bleach blonde hair and is white. She wears a black hoodie and blue jeans. Behind the stage is a patterned pink curtain with warm white lightbulb surrounding, and Theatre Deli painted in white letters.

Last week you may have seen the news that Theatre Deli Sheffield have been served notice to leave by their landlord. As Andro and Eve’s key partner organisation, this news also has a big impact on us. We wanted to provide some clarity on where we’re at. 

Theatre Deli’s business model is based on ‘meanwhile use’ of buildings, meaning they get to occupy buildings for cheaper rates than commercial lets, but usually with a 30 day notice period to vacate. That’s why they will be gone from their current building on Eyre street by the start of January. 

Although Theatre Deli plan to find new premises, this could take some time.

Use of Theatre Deli Sheffield formed part of our plans to come back to larger scale live events in 2022 (hello Reyt Queer Do!) so without use of their wonderful, accessible space, we are currently shifting those plans and seeing what alternatives there are. In the last 18 months we’ve loved delivering a whole range of online activity including workshops, panel events and craft socials, along with our zines, Joyful Noise and Centre, but we are also determined to be able to have a larger scale in person offer in the next year. 

Online drag king workshops. July 2020

Sheffield has a long standing problem with provision of accessible, centrally located venues for culture and community activity. If many of the organisations, artists and festivals lose access to Theatre Deli Sheffield owing to those issues, even for a period of 6 months, this has a huge impact on the cultural landscape of the city. 

Theatre Deli Sheffield has made its name by supporting emerging artists, platforming marginalised voices, and making space for communities not otherwise served in the city. We very much hope that new space is found for this treasured venue. 

A Reyt Queer Do, Theatre Deli Sheffield. 2019

For us, they’ve been champions of the work of Andro and Eve since 2017, becoming our partner venue in 2018. We are indebted to the support of the whole team at Deli for making Andro and Eve feel so welcome, and supported. Support that included free venue hire, space for meetings, reviewing funding applications and morale boosting when times got tough. 

We very much hope we can continue this partnership, and that Deli find a suitable venue to carve out space for many communities and artists in Sheffield. However, if there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it is that we need to be flexible and adapt. So we’re currently reviewing other options for larger events in 2022 in order that we can return with a bang! This means extra work, so timescales will move. It means Andro & Eve needs more time to rejig funding applications. 

Sveto Slava, Reyt Queer Do. Nov 20219

So why are we sharing this? Because we need your support. We are not out of this pandemic. Our business model of producing events and creative opportunities is still precarious, and while we have managed to curate and produce a whole range of activity throughout the last 18 months, we don’t have the resources of a more established organisation. 

So if you can spare funds, we’re asking you to donate. You can do so via the button above. Or buy some of our queer merch! Those donations and sales will help cover our overheads (IT, insurance, licenses, wages, etc) while we apply for more funding to make 2022 a year packed full of joyful queer events. It takes a huge amount of energy to plan, prepare and submit those funding bids, but they are the most effective way to ensure we can return to live events and provide meaningful opportunities for artists and our wonderful community to celebrate queer culture. 

As always, any support given is gratefully received and makes a real and vital difference. Because of you, we’re still here, still queer, still making space. And we’re determined to continue. We hope you enjoy the photos of past events at Theatre Deli Sheffield below!

Big love

Finn 

A crowd of people cheer on a performer out of shot. They are in a warmly lit venue with umbrellas above their heads.
The crowd at Reyt Queer Do 5, at Theatre Deli Sheffield. November 2019
a Black androgynous rapper stands on a small stage holding a pint of beer while speaking into a mic. They have short bleached hair and wear black tee and jeans.A crowd of people seated and standing surrounds the small stage lit with warm lamps
Bad Lay Dee, Reyt Queer Do 5. Nov 2019

On Live Events

Sister Mary Berry, of drag act, Shesus and the Sisters, wears a hard hat and high vis vest and is squirting an audience member with mist from a bottle looking cheeky.

We are sorry to say we will not be returning to host live, in – person events until Spring 2021 at the earliest. We have taken this decision in light of the ongoing situation with COVID-19 and the need to plan ahead as best we can.

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 cannot see a scenario in which we can bring properly safe and inclusive events to our community until next year. We know many of you, like us, are struggling with anxiety about returning to any sort of normal, and we recognise that we need to adapt.

We have spoken at length with our partner venues about the measures in place to maintain social distancing, and keep audiences and workers safe. Sadly, the capacities allowed in venues would in no way enable us to cover the costs of producing the events we have become known for. We also have the health and wellbeing of our artists, staff team and volunteers to consider. A Reyt Queer Do and The Kingdom Come are meant to be joyous and cosy events. We would rather wait and bring these events back when it feels much safer to do so. Right now, we couldn’t in good faith, host live events indoors when so many people are still shielding, or taking extra precautions to protect those around them.

A crowd, underneath lots of umbrellas hanging from the ceiling at Theatre Deli Sheffield, some seated and a lot standing click their fingers at the live drag artist on stage.
The crowd at A Reyt Queer Do 3, no social distancing needed back in 2019.

Under lockdown we are proud to have continued to support queer artists, delivering a range of creative activity and developing talent in the North of England. It’s been been wonderful to see new and familiar faces at our online workshops. We will be applying for more funding to continue to adapt our offer during these challenging times.

We know this has been a tough time for so many. We plan both to continue to offer online and remote activity, and take time to develop the organisation. We may start hosting in person workshops in Spring 2021, but we also realise there are many unknowns.

We’ve got plenty plans in the pipeline and will share those with you as soon as we can. If you’d like to support our work you can do so by donating via our website. Your support ensures we can continue to support LGBTQ+ artists in these difficult times.

Our new zine, CENTRE, will be launching in October, so make sure you’ve signed up to our newsletter  to be the first to get your hands on a copy and hear about a special online event to mark the occasion.

We can’t wait to return with a bang when it is safe to do so. Till then, we hope you can join us online soon.

With love and solidarity

Andro and Eve x

Finding My Community

‘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.

Drag king louis Cyfer tutors workshop participants in drag makeup skills
Drag king Louis Cyfer teaches some drag makeup skills

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.

Workshop participants enjoy exploring gender as performance
Exploring gender as performance

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.

Andro & Eve director Katherine leads a session in gender as performance. They are sat in chairs having fun 'manspreading'.
Katherine Warman, Andro & Eve creative producer leads a session in gender as performance.

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.

Maria.

A group discusses creative ideas about creating scenes

So What Have We Been up To?

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’.

Jason Andrew treated us to some vogue dance at Cast.

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’.

Rapper Bad Lay – Dee

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!

Silvana Imam and Beatrice Eli giving face

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.

Christian Adore is headed to Sheffield. Hold onto your hats!

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.

KW x

A Reyt Queer do were Reyt Good!

This week saw us produce our first in a new party series, called A Reyt Queer Do. With music, food, dancing and drag kings, we brought together a diverse group of people for a very fun night full of queer festive cheer.

Hosted by king Sammy Silver, (see photo above) the night was all about giving new drag kings a chance to try out their acts in front of an audience. And what an audience it was! So much cheering, clapping and general enthusiasm, us Northerners really gave a fine welcome to the talent.

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Tofu Weiner is so chill his hair goes horizontal..

Making their debut were Sheffield – based Tofu Weiner and Crispin Creame, supported by fellow Yorkshire king, Jack Strap. Zayn Phallic, fresh from the London scene, whipped the crowd into a frenzy, while Sammy Silver charmed the socks off everyone with his warm hosting style.

_MG_8930
Zayn Phallic: living his best life

The vegan and veggie tapas went down a treat, and The Old Workshop looked lush, with added handmade festive decor, from yours truly. Our audience had really made an effort, with many people in drag, some so well put together, they could have been mistaken for one of the performers! After the cabaret we danced the night away, with many not wanting to leave. It was brilliant.

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The Old Workshop was jam packed with fabulous folk!

We just want to say a huge thank you to all the drag kings for their energy, and in particular, well done to the new kings, who were so brave to perform to a packed venue. HUGE thanks to our new volunteers; it was great to have more support in running the event. And finally, a massive thank you to our audience, for your enthusiasm and generosity. Through our Christmas raffle and donations through Tickets for Good, you helped us raise £109 towards our accessible fund. This is wonderful and will help us fulfil our aim of bringing in discounted ticket prices for those on low incomes for our events in 2018.

We’re thrilled to be ending 2017 on SUCH a high. YAAAASSSS! We can’t wait for our next event – The Revival: Women and The Word on 27 January. See you there!

PS: We’ll be posting more pics of A Reyt Queer Do #1 on Facebook, probably before the year is out. ‘Like’ our page to get notified as soon as they go up. But here’s few highlights below! Here’s wishing you a restful and happy festive break.

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Andro & Eve co founders, Rhiannon and Katherine, love a pair of braces..

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TEAR IT OFF CRISPIN! TEAR IT OFF! Crispin Creame gets mansformed.

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Jack Strap, with fresh tat, on the mic.

And here’s our beautiful audience, having a reyt good time!

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_MG_8747_MG_8814.jpg_MG_8765.jpgAll photos by Charlotte Victoria Lake.

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