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Michael Twaits talks the Art of Drag at The RVT

This Thursday (15 Nov) is the latest Art of Drag Graduation Showcase at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern. It’s the culmination of months of work and will feature a host of exciting new drag and cabaret acts. Dave Cross had a catch up with course organiser Michael Twaits to get the shizzle.

Hi Michael, can you summarise what The Art of Drag is?

The Art Of Drag is a ten week course at The RVT for aspiring performers to come along and learn a whole host of drag skills before creating their own act and showcasing at our Graduation Showcase.

Can you give us examples of what people can learn?

We take a look at all of the performance elements of drag–character comedy, singing, lip-sync, parody, burlesque and more. Half the course is about learning new skills and then the second half is where they get to develop their own piece of work. We then spend a few weeks rehearsing and piecing it together to make the best act possible for each of them.

And who are some of the people who come along to help and what do they talk about?

This time we’ve been joined by Cookie Monstar, Myra DuBois, Lolo Brow, Adam All, Meth and Cosmic as well as myself so it really does give a diverse range of experience. Each term I open up to other performers to get the best, and most relevant performers for who’s on the course. We’ve also had Crystal Lubrikunt, Joe Black, Pi The Mime and more.

Who are some of the performers we might know who did the course in the past?

We’ve had five rounds of the course and there are loads of graduates off doing amazing things – TVTV and Frankie Sinatra were both on the first course and are off doing amazing things with residencies and solo shows. Benjamin Butch did the second and is everywhere. Connie Orff, who’s making huge waves back home in Wales. The Haus of Royalz all met on their course and created their drag family. More recently we had The United Shapes Of Drag. There’s an embarrassment of riches and I’m so proud that the course has helped these guys kickstart their careers.

What’s the idea behind the Graduation night?

The Graduation night is a celebration of the work they’ve done on the course and a chance to debut their new work. We invite lots of promoters and producers – as well as loads of family and friends – to give our grads a strong start to their career, possibly a few bookings, lots of great photos and a filmed version of their act so they can start promoting themselves. It’s always a brilliant, packed show that is well worth coming along to – whether you know any of the acts or not.

Who will be performing?

All 12 of our graduating class will be debuting their new work and this time, as I’m off on maternity leave, Cosmic will be hosting the show – she’s been a guest lecturer on the course the last four times and will make it an evening to remember!

And when is the next course starting and how do people sign up etc?

The next course is starting on 4 February back at the RVT! It’s a 10 week course with a showcase on the 18th April. The course is over half booked already so those interested need to get in touch ASAP at info@theartofdrag.co.uk.

Tickets are £8 from vauxhalltavern.com

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington lane, Vauxhall, SE11

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