Pride Spotlight: Oxfordshire Drag Collective's Powerful Performers

Welcome back to our Pride Spotlight series. Throughout June we'll be interviewing local businesses, charities and organisations that contribute meaningfully to Oxford's vibrant LGBTQIA+ community and scene.
Today we're highlighting Oxfordshire Drag Collective, an eclectic crew of Oxford-based drag performers, including bingo nights and the frequently featured SPUDS (Strange People Undertake a Drag Show). We caught up with ODC to find out more about their history and plans over Pride month.

Daily Information: How did the Oxfordshire Drag Collective get started?

Oxfordshire Drag Collective:The Oxford Drag Collective (ODC) was started in 2018 by drag performer Ginger Tart, and whilst they are no longer running the collective, The Oxfordshire Drag Collective has and will always bring a safe space, for quirky and eclectic celebration of queer artistry. ODC was created to provide a space for local performers to experiment, push boundaries, and deliver brand new, off-the-wall material.

DI: Tell me more about what you have planned for Pride month?

ODC: For Pride Month we have more events than ever! We have made appearance and performances at Witney Pride, Chipping Norton Pride and Oxford Pride!
On Thursday 13th, we have our monthly Drag Bingo over at Tap Social in Botley. At the end of the month on June 28th, we are back at our resident venue Old Fire Station for Pride SPUDS.
We have really great performers - our resident host Scarlett Von Kok! The Egyptian Sudanese Glam Queen Cairo Iman Ali! Heavenly Bodies Queen Megan Mia Gemini, Fantastic Drag King Artie, and finally, class is in session with drag artist Professor Alfrida Knipple!
Tickets are on sale through the Old Fire Station website. We are also doing social media promotion with Westgate Oxford, coming very soon! So keep your eyes peeled for that.

DI: Who came up with the brilliant name 'SPUDS (Strange People Undertake a Drag Show)'

ODC: Ginger Tart came up with the name, because it was short, snappy, camp and summed up who we are and the fantastic vision they had for this group!

DI: What have previous Pride Months looked like for you?

ODC: We have always performed at Oxford pride (and long may that continue!), however this year we have also been able to perform at multiple other prides. It’s so great we can get our name out there and also see prides in smaller places in Oxfordshire like Chipping Norton.

DI: After Pride Month, what's next?

ODC: In short - lots! We will keep performing our resident shows at Old Fire Station as well as our monthly bingo at Tap Social in Botley, the second Thursday of every month!
We’re also excited to announce we're working on a brand new open mic night at Jericho Tavern on the 26th July 2024, which will see all new performers take the stage for the first time!
Plus, we are currently working on a show in November for Trans Awareness Month.

DI:What do you wish more people knew about Drag?

ODC: The art of drag faces significant challenges, particularly in terms of promotion and ticket sales. Despite the immense effort and creativity involved, many drag shows struggle to attract sufficient audiences, often due to limited marketing resources and visibility. This lack of support can make it difficult for performers to sustain their craft financially, as the costs of wigs, costumes, makeup, and rehearsal space add up quickly.

Moreover, drag performers have increasingly faced pushback from conservative groups. There has been a rise in protests and legislative efforts aimed at restricting drag performances and queer people safety general, particularly in public spaces. This backlash not only threatens the livelihood of drag artists but also fosters a climate of fear and discrimination.

The cultural and political opposition can deter venues from hosting drag shows and discourage potential audience members from attending, further complicating the financial and social viability of drag as an art form.

I just want to finish by saying whilst drag is a vibrant and dynamic art, it is often hampered by economic challenges and sociopolitical resistance, underscoring the need for broader support and understanding from the public.

DI: Finally, please describe Oxfordshire Drag Collective in three words.

ODC: Queer, Creative, Future

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