GENDER-BENDER SHOW JOAN COMES TO MALTA

Drachma (Malta) and Milk Presents (UK) are about to perform a fresh new rendition of Joan of Arc. The award winning show fuses lyrical writing with cabaret prowess.

This earthy story of courage, conviction and hope will be performed by drag king champion Lucy Jane Parkinson in a show that sees history’s greatest crossdresser warrior dragging up as the men she defies. The performance enjoyed a sell-out run at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and won a Scotsman Fringe First Award, The Stage Award, and Spirit of the Fringe Award.

JOAN. Photo credit: Field&McGlynn

Packed with guts and heart, this fearless solo play (with songs) asks what happens when a disguise becomes real and you have to fight for who you really are. Written and directed by Lucy J Skilbeck, the production takes us through the life of Joan of Arc from early adolescence – guided by Saint Catherine – to her death, burned at the stake at just 19, dressed in men’s clothing.

Joan, history’s ultimate gender rebel, is brought to life by Parkinson, who is known to UK cabaret audiences as LoUis CYfer, one of the scene’s foremost drag kings. As the first king to ever win the UK national drag competition, Drag Idol UK, Parkinson performs nationally and internationally at cabaret and drag clubs. This will be her first performance in Malta.

“I watched this show at the Edinburgh Fringe a couple of years ago and was bowled over by it,” says Drachma producer Tyrone Grima, the person who has brought the event, addressed to ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between, to Malta with support from the Arts Council Malta. “It was funny, poignant, relevant and exciting, all in one go. I immediately knew that Maltese audiences would love it, and we have been working ever since to bring it to our shores.”

In addition to the show, the organisers will offer three dynamic workshops at Spazju Kreattiv. The first one, on Thursday, will explore queerness and performance and primarily targets creatives interested in LGBTQ+ communities. The second one, on Saturday, is open to anyone above the age of 14. Titled ‘Build Your Own Drag King’, it will discover how drag performance can be used to explore history, faith and identity, and will be led by Skilbeck and Parkinson. “This playful workshop leads you through the basics of creating your very own male persona- complete with make up, costume and (optional) swagger…” the director says.

Finally, the third workshop explores what a post-gender utopia might look like. It targets trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming and queer communities, and it will be held on Saturday as well.

“When I first started researching, the drag king scene was much more underground than it is now. I started thinking about Joan of Arc and the relationship she had to male clothing and masculinity, and it all kicked off from there,” Lucy J Skilbeck explained the birth of the idea. “Joan of Arc still stands as one of history’s most radical heroine’s. How did a 15th Century peasant girl defy their birth gender to lead a king’s army to reclaim a nation? Her incredible story has allowed me to open up fantastic and delicate discussions around gender with a really wide audience, from young people to grandparents, and Lucy’s cabaret charisma and unique performance makes Joan a wonderfully exciting 21st Century gender warrior.”

JOAN comes to Malta this 25-27 May at 8pm. Tickets start at €12 and are available from www.spazjukreattiv.com.

The workshops will take place as follows: ‘Queer Theory in Performance’ is on Thursday 24 May at 7pm; ‘Build Your Own Drag King’ is on Saturday 26 May at 10am; and ‘Post-Gender’ is on Saturday 26 May at 2.30pm, all at Spazju Kreattiv. Tickets are available at http://ticketenginex.kreattivita.org/