2 minute read

Meet the drag artists helping to launch networks in their area

Emma Round aka Crip Ladywood – Birmingham & West Midlands

“I’m a drag king and one of the UK's few wheelchair-using drag artists. I'm based in Birmingham and am setting up a Drag Artists’ Network for the city and the West Midlands – you can join us at the Birmingham Hippodrome on 12th June! We want to get as many people together as we can, both Equity members and non-members. There are a lot of politically switched on drag artists in Birmingham, and so many talented and creative people here travel all over the country to perform. There's an awful lot of issues that need to be improved, such as pay and conditions, and as a disabled performer, for example, most workplaces don't have a ramp onto the stage. I’m trying to highlight these problems, but one voice doesn't make a difference – we need the solidarity of all performers.”

Joseph Ballard aka Titania Trust – East Anglia

“Titania Trust may harp on with jaded nostalgia of the old days upon the stage, but her main aim is always to make people happy. I've been performing as her since 2011 and have been an Equity member for even longer – since 2005. I’m currently serving as a Councillor (members elected to the union’s governing body) for Variety, Circus and Entertainers, and am Secretary of the East Anglia Branch. I’m now setting up the East Anglia Drag Artists’ Network – there's a really active drag scene where I’m based in Norwich and drag events are happening across the region. But the rural nature of East Anglia means sometimes those artists can feel extra vulnerable, so it’s important we have a Network here. I also want to highlight that drag is not just in London, or Manchester, or the big metropolitan cities, but that it exists everywhere, and can entertain and inspire communities all over.”

Dorian T. Fisk – Scotland

“I helped set up the Drag Artists’ Network in Scotland because, on the one hand, while there is an underground DIY drag scene that's thriving, when it comes to more commercial engagements, such as promoter-led shows, the art form is notorious for not being very well paid and local performers are not always being treated professionally. My interests lie in getting drag artists organised to try to improve things like pay and setting standard terms and conditions when working on commercial drag shows, as it’s currently not common practice to have contracts for some engagements. You can invest money, time and effort into getting ready and rehearsing, but at the last minute you might be informed that the ticket sales were low, so the plug is being pulled on the whole thing. If we want to do anything, in terms of effecting change and bettering our circumstances, we need to band together – so if you’re a drag artist based in Scotland, come along to our next meeting on 5 June!”