The RVT won gold for Best Cabaret Venue at the Boyz Awards last month, as well as a clutch of silvers and bronzes. Here we speak to James Lindsay, RVT Chief Executive, about his haul of gongs and future plans at the much-loved venue.
Hi James, at the Boyz Awards, The RVT was voted Best Cabaret Venue for the first time, what does that mean to you and the team?
It is great recognition for The RVT and the team. We were over the moon to win. We are a small, dedicated team and everyone works really hard to make the diverse programme we offer work for both RVT and all its customers. To put on the kind of programme that we think our customers will like and for us to win and to get the Boyz Award for Best Cabaret Venue among such stiff competition means we are getting our position within the LGBTQ community right.
As we know, The RVT has never just been a standard venue. It holds a strong affinity to all in our community and has huge symbolic significance to the people who come here. There is genuine affection of loyalty and love for the venue and it’s fantastic that the readers of Boyz embraced us in this way.
The bar staff got the bronze award and they were thrilled. You must be pleased?
They were so happy! They’ve never been recognised in this category before and when we sent them the message from the awards, the groups WhatsApp went wild. They were all still at work at the Tavern as we had a busy night on but once they finished they all headed to the Two Brewers where we were all celebrating and we had few celebratory drinks. Our bar staff are great, they’re always welcoming, they work really hard and they are a fun bunch and this reflected in the award. Personally, I think they are gold award standard, so that is what we are aiming for next year.
Charlie Hides won the Best Cabaret Act for the third year in a row, what does he mean to The RVT?
Whooooooo? Charlie is one of the best acts working on the circuit, always has been, and we are very proud to have his residency here at The RVT. His breadth of work and creativity is outstanding and we can see why he continues to win this award. If he wasn’t already at the Tavern we would be fighting to get him here. We believe we have the strongest cabaret performers at The RVT.
And other awards included silver for Duckie host Amy Lamé – what does Duckie mean to the team?
Duckie is special. They aren’t just a club night, they have been at the forefront of our nightlife and are a bit of a cultural landmark. Amy has been hosting Duckie for years, it’s a tough job and someone has to do it, and Amy does it very well.
This Sunday you have the amazing DE Experience back at Sunday Social. You now seem to have settled into a very successful rota of acts, with The DE, Charlie, Mary and Myra. How are Sundays going?
Yes, I believe they are all the best on the circuit and they are outstanding characters. We really believe we have the strongest artists performing at Sunday Social; they are such a talented crew of drag performers and they make our Sundays really special. The DE Experience is always a brilliant one and our association with Jonathan goes back a long way. The work that goes into The DE’s performance is endless. Jonathan will tell you himself of the rehearsal and artistic suffering, tears and tearing of hair, but it’s all worth it in the end to Jonathan and to The RVT.
We often write about Thursdays and Fridays but you also have the amazing Bingo and Bar Wotever. What do they bring to The RVT family?
These are our two early week nights that we are particularly pleased with. Bingo has become a cult night, it really is the most fun you can have and the level of enthusiasm and excitement that Timberlina’s cheap and tacky prizes generate with levels of near hysteria never fails to amaze us. Bar Wotever is the new frontier for queer entertainment and is a night that has gone from strength to strength. It’s ethos and mission statement very much in line with The RVT.
What are you looking forward to in 2018?
It is important to me to keep The RVT current and exciting and to enable continued growth. We have some exciting artists in the pipeline and are hoping to confirm Liberty X, Atomic Kitten, Three Degrees and many more. The RVT is proud to provide a wide range of entertainment and this is what I will continue to strive for with the best artists and promoters to support the venue.