This Thursday (1 Feb) the team from Cancer is a Drag are back at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern for another fantastic fundraiser called Divalicious. This glamorous night is hosted by Doctor Woof and features scene legend and RuPaul star Charlie Hides plus a stellar cast of cabaret favourites. Dave Cross speak to the charity’s founder Alan Bugg about this exciting night.
Hi Alan, this week you are back at the RVT, how was the last show you did there?
It was really fantastic. We’ve had the opportunity to put a couple of charity shows on twice a year at the venue since August 2016 which, due to the amazing artists involved, have really developed our ‘cabaret’ theme and had audiences giving standing ovations and asking for more. Our charity’s Am’bear’ssador Doctor Woof has been such a brilliant support helping me plan and co-ordinate the shows and taking the role of our Master of Ceremonies. We devised the new title Divalicious at our last event which was a night in honour of Vanilla Lush.
What does it mean to get the support of a venue like The RVT?
It’s a dream come true for me and the charity. I never believed that my little idea of setting up a small charity to support people living with cancer by fundraising at drag shows in 2012 would one day see us being allowed to put on shows at such a prestigious venue. The support of all the staff, including Jason and Catia, has been brilliant and being at The RVT means that we have become more recognised and helped us grow. We were also allowed to have collection buckets at performances during the panto of December 2016. We’ve raised over £4,500 to date at The RVT and after this one will present them with a super certificate.
In this new show you have Charlie Hides performing, is this his first Cancer is a Drag show?
Yes, it’s really exciting to have another big name drag celebrity give up their precious and valuable time to perform for us. Charlie is an amazing guy and has been really supportive of us since day one and now we have him on the stage. It makes us feel so proud!
What else and who else can we expect on the night?
Our MC Doctor Woof will be hosting and we have some fabulous new acts; the sultry Evie Lake and the glorious Lord Hicks. We will start the show with the very talented Chamonix Aspen, throw in some naughty Vanity Nightmare and top it off with the stunning Mrs Moore. All this and the magnificent Charlie Hides! What more could you ask for?
For those who don’t know, can you briefly describe what Cancer is a Drag does?
Although a small charity (Reg. No. 1160129) we have grown from strength to strength over the last five years due to the unconditional support we receive from everyone on the LGBT+ scene. People have literally been angels by giving us so much help, love and kindness! This has enabled us to give financial support, in the form of grants up to £500, to people and their families living with cancer to a total of over £14,500 in 2015 and 2016. This has been used by our beneficiaries for living costs, travel, medication, household goods, bills, mortgage payments, funeral costs or even a treat to raise their spirits (such as a short break away). Our main aim being to raise people up and make cancer ‘less of a drag’ than it already is so that they can focus their energies on fighting and recovering.
What else do you have planned for 2018?
We have applied for a place in the Pride in London parade this year on 7 July, which actually coincides with the 11th anniversary of my marriage to my partner, and aim to make it a big one. Having won awards for our ‘Drag Bus & Entourage’ in the Pride Parade of 2015, organised by our dear friend Queeny Essex, we are upscaling this year with an amazing float – but that was supposed to be a secret! On top of this we will continue to hold some super shows up and down the country in even bigger venues and have a very special event planned at the White Swan on Easter Saturday entitled The Cancer is a Drag Spring Ball with some amazing acts involved, private booths for hire, buff topless waiters and a very special star – all will be revealed next week.