The History Bois: A Drag King Take-Over

May 3-7 at The Spire, St Marks Chapel, Eastern Road, Brighton, BN2 5JN

Created with drag king and artist E.M. Parry, this week-long take-over of the Spire is an exploration of masculinity through the ages, combining exhibition, live art, workshops and a two-night drag king cabaret.

The History Bois: Adventures in Drag King time-travel

May 6 & 7, 7:30-11pm

The Bois are back in time! Come and play with the space-time-gender continuum at this epic Drag King cabaret. As part of the History Bois Drag King take-over of The Spire, we bring you Adventures in Drag King Time-Travel: two nights of delicious historically-themed cabaret performed by a succession of legendary kings time-travelling direct to Brighton Fringe 2020, bringing you a queer crash-course in masculinity as performed through the ages. Whether you like your manhood ruff-and-ready, Boi-Georgian, sweet-as-funk 70s style or post-apocalyptic robo-camp, the Bois have one hell of a history lesson lined up for you…

The History Bois: Meeting the Unruly Dead

May 4 & 5, afternoon / evening workshops

Part of the History Bois Drag King take-over of The Spire, these workshops run by Drag King and artist SL Grange are for folks wanting to connect with their queer tr/ancestors. Using writing, drawing and performative processes, we’ll create our own rituals and art to uncover and honour lost queer hero/ines. If you already have a historical figure in mind that you want to work with, please bring any research along. Otherwise, there’ll be a range of folks to explore at the workshop. Basic art materials provided, or bring your own if you already have a creative practice you’d like to incorporate.

The History Bois: We Elizabethans

May 3-7, 10-5

An exhibition of visual and live artwork by E.M. Parry, as part of The History Bois drag king takeover, using costume, scenography and performance to stage dialogues with past and future, tracking queer and trans embodiments in the negative spaces of the historical archive.

Major Retrospective

This is my first piece working with E. Mallin Parry as performance duo The ELMS. Mallin and I have worked together – and been friends – for two decades. We figured it was time to find out what happened when we made some theatre together.


SL and Mal met at art school in 2001 and have been talking about the things they want to make together ever since. One or two actually got made. Most of them didn’t.

Mal and David met at a party in 2000 when someone tried to set them up. They danced for hours and talked about the things they wanted to make together. They have been dancing and talking ever since.

SL met David at a party at Mal’s house in 2002 when he levitated in the kitchen. They later worked at the same theatre and spent a lot of time talking about the things they wanted to make together. They have been going to parties and talking ever since.

SL and David and Mal all met at boarding school in the mid-90s which is a lie. They have been lying about how they met ever since.

Major Retrospective is a conversation about being friends, about the things that happened, the things that didn’t, the things that happened instead. It’s about lies and truth and the lies that are more true than truth. It’s about seeing, and being seen. It’s about the archive that is friendship, how we hold each other’s histories, what’s left in the space between us. It’s about the people in the room with us right now, and the people who aren’t in the room with us right now. It’s playing some games together. It’s finding out what happens when you put the invisible labour of theatre centre-stage. It’s a conversation with the unheard voices, including yours.

SL and Mal have been talking with David for years, but David isn’t in this show. We’re going to make the most of the space where he isn’t though – we have questions. We have things to say. We have things to show you. We have a lot of lies to tell.

Spontaneous, messy, improvisatory, happening right now in front of you for the very first time for one night only, and we’ve been getting it ready for twenty years.

Some pictures from early development work:

Moll and the Future Kings

On March 30, a group of women and non-binary folk from Through the Door took over the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at London’s Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Bringing a mix of drag, impro and good-humoured chaos, we performed to a packed house in honour of the spirit of Moll Frith, aka Mary Frith, Mal Cutpurse or Mary Markham.

This was the first stage of development, so I’m really hoping Moll will be back on stage again soon.

The Kings: Angela Clerkin,  Mal Content, Wesley Dykes, Sigi Moonlight, Bae Sharam… and Moll Frith

The Improvisers: Deni Francis, Cassandra Hercules, Serin Ibrahim, Susan Kempster, Leah Kirby, Madeleine Moore, Sophie Trott.

Photos by Anna Crisp, and thanks to Shakespeare’s Globe for supporting Moll and the Future Kings, and letting us loose on the world.

 

Fleet Footing

Fleet Footing is now live! Go download the album and map, get your headphones and walking boots on, and go find that river..

I’m so excited about this new project with composer Catherine Kontz. It’s been brewing for a few years, and we are extra-pleased to be funded by the PRSF Women Make Music award, Hinrichsen Foundation, and supported by Tête à Tête – launching as part of their Opera Festival 2018.

The project is an audio dream guiding you along the lost River Fleet, from its source on Hampstead Heath to where it meets the Thames at Blackfriars. There’s text (both spoken and sung), binaural recording, found sound and music, as well as small performative actions that the listener can choose to take part in whilst they walk the route.

Print artist Rowanne Anderson (Rowan Tree Print) has made us a beautiful map to help people find their way and show them where the listening points are.

The Observatory

A multi-sensory opera for people who can hear and people who can’t.

Annie is an astronomer. She knows all about time and space, but she isn’t so sure about life and death. And she’s just gone deaf.
Inspired by the life of astronomer Annie Jump-Cannon, I worked with composer Stephen Bentley-Klein to create a new kind of opera that finds new ways of communicating and engaging with sound and music. The opera had it’s first outing at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2012, and a further iteration was performed at the Greenbelt Festival 2014.

We worked with D/deaf and hearing practitioners to ingrate BSL, captioning, sensory installations, missing live sound through water and other techniques to speak to hearing audiences about the experience of deafness, and to interpret sound into other sensory experiences for D/deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.

More information about the piece can be found HERE.

Snowblind

Bringing together musicians and songwriters Jo Silverstone and Jeannie Skelly, writer, performance-maker and sound artist Sarah Grange, scenographer and visual artist Ellan Parry, and dancer-choreographer / live art practitioner Janine Fletcher, Sundogs is a cross-disciplinary adventure into artistic terra incognita.

Our first project is SnowblindPart music gig, part installation, part dance, part theatre, Snowblind is a voyage into multi-disciplinary story-telling and cross-practise collaboration. Wrapping together tales of Arctic exploration and heroic folly, Snowblind uses song, sound art, ice sculpture, scenography, script and movement to investigate a place to which we are all far more connected – and responsible – than we might realise.

Expect glacial meltwater, haunting song-scapes, flying ships, up-close interaction, extreme feats of physical endurance and conversations with the ghosts of walruses…

Inspired by the centuries of doomed attempts to find the North-West passage through the Arctic, we will embark on our own voyage, from the Journey of St Brendan to the Franklin Expedition, through the sub-zero, subconscious and subliminal.
Looking at a fragile landscape that preserves whilst itself disappearing, we’ll map out absence, loss, perseverance and myth. We are Lady Jane Franklin’s last rescue mission.