The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is one of London’s most popular and diverse gay venues. Each and every week this institution offers a fine selection of nights and performers including Sunday Social, Duckie, Anthem, Meat, Push the Button, Charlie Hides, The DE Experience, Myra DuBois, Bar Wotever, their film club, David Hoyle and Bucks Fizz. At the centre of the action is general manager Jason Dickie who had a catch up with Dave Cross for an update on this most loved of venues.
Hi Jason, how have things been at the RVT recently?
Fantastic, and I think that’s because we have a great team. Catia is our brilliant in-house producer and deals with programming of acts plus the shows that we produce ourselves, such as the panto. Then there’s Jason Reid, our social media manager – he’s our voice and has transformed our internet presence. Plus, of course, there’s our hardworking bar staff, whom I am very proud of, and Tom who is invaluable. James is also a great boss and provides strong leadership.
How has Sunday Social been since The DE’s return?
Phenomenal! When we announced it the phone rang off the hook and our social media actually broke. The DE Experience is an iconic cabaret act for the RVT as much as Lily Savage, Regina Fong and many more are. Our Sundays really helped shape what the RVT is now and its success.
And what about the other Sunday Social acts?
Honestly they are all great and deserve to be in the hall of fame that is RVT Sunday Social. They all make their own unique mark, with Charlie Hides destined for some much deserved wider fame thanks to RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Myra is beginning to receive the critical acclaim her talent rightly deserves. La Voix is one of the greatest drag artists on the scene and we also have Mary Mac on board; I think we can confidently say we expect great things from her.
How are the various Friday club nights going?
Our Fridays are phenomenal. We have some of the most successful promoters in London working at the RVT and we are very proud and love working with them. Catia has also been booking some exciting shows pre-club including Alfie Ordinary, Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho, Barbara Brownskirt, poetry, burlesque and more.
We love the eclectic mix of acts that perform on Thursdays – what’s coming up?
We have David Hoyle, Bucks Fizz, S Club Party featuring Jo O’Meara, Drag Idol and Sonia returning for another show. But it’s not just Thursdays. On Wednesdays we have some fantastic regular nights including Pop Horror by Paul Joseph, a seriously fun and unusual night that we absolutely love; Virgin Xtravaganzah is now with us and her shows are amazing, we were entirely blown away by the first night a couple of weeks ago. Not to mention our always brilliant Big Bingo show, Bar Wotever’s forward-thinking Tuesday nights and the legend that is Duckie on Saturdays.
We love the RVT film club – tell us about that…
Yes, it’s one of our favourite nights too. We always ran film clubs but Catia came up with the idea of making it a social media competition. She thought it might be a good idea to choose a few films and let the great RVT public decide, which has made them super-successful. Popular nights have included Nighty Night, Victoria Wood, Priscilla, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?.
What else is coming up that you are excited about?
We are very excited about Drag Idol again this year. Last year’s heats were fantastic with lots of amazing new acts, plus we are hosting a semi final again. We are also planning our next panto – yes, we know it’s February. Catia has been busy building collaborations with other venues and we have now had a couple of panto co-productions, one in Hastings and the other at the Cockpit in London.Things seem on the up, but it’s no accident; we work very, very hard at the RVT and the team is dedicated to its continued success.