Last Monday night the team at Boyz and people right across the scene were devastated to learn that producer, club promoter and activist Spike Rhodes had died.
More recently Spike was best known as the creator and driving force behind The Drama Queens theatre company, but he was also a fierce campaigner for LGBT+ rights and worked relentlessly to change perceptions of those living with HIV and AIDS.
His club nights, Warriors and Renegades – set up in the 90s and running at venues such as Turnmills – were designed to be a safe space for those with HIV and helped normalise the concept of living with the disease. They were also totally banging clubs that were way too much fun for a Sunday night.
Spike loved the theatre, musicals especially, and his great passion was mixing up genres and shows to create something new and original. The Drama Queens put on productions at the Black Cap, The RVT and, perhaps most successfully, at the Two Brewers, including Halloween shows and pantos such as The Bitches of Oz. Last year, after a short break, he returned with the impressive Queer-lesque at Pulse, a show exploring LGBT+ history as show in popular culture, from Oscar Wilde to Born This Way.
Spike was an innovator. He was truly creative with the biggest and boldest of ideas. Sometimes he could be stubborn but he was always ready to laugh out loud and was the most supportive person imaginable. Many of the scene’s biggest stars will tell you he was always the first to send them a ‘snap a lash’ good luck message.
Everyone at Boyz sends their love and support to his husband George, sister Lainey and all his family and friends. The scene is a smaller and duller place today and we will miss him.