International Influences and Drag: Just a Case of Tucking or Binding?

Farrier, Stephen (2017) International Influences and Drag: Just a Case of Tucking or Binding? Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 8 (2). pp. 171-187. ISSN 1944-3927


Recently there has been an  internationalisation in the training of UK drag performers. Whilst papers exist focused on drag kings and queens related to their community, few explore how kings/queens train – and fewer still explore international aspects. There are formal courses for drag, but historically this training was informal, present within specific performance communities built around LGBTQ cultures. Tracing dominant figures in such training – the drag mother/father – in order to historicise and contextualise the current explosion in drag performance,the paper argues that the potential globalisation of drag is largely down to the diversification of sources of knowledge available via the internet. Traditionally, performers trained with an established practitioner, where regional variances of drag were passed on. However, current new performers often learn ‘tricks of the trade’ through internet videos posted by people on other continents. In these videos, practitioners pass on their knowledge from the perspective of their locality, as if universal. New kings/queens are not passive in this training and locally infuse their acts, yet historical and local erasures persist. The paper argues that to engage with drag as performance one must be aware of locality and the deep connects drag has with its communities.


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