The history of Sydney’s drag scene is being dusted off this year for Christmas.
Running through the first week of December at the Sydney Opera House, Drag!: Camp as Christmas will showcase drag legends past and present, with special guest acts appearing on different nights of the week.
The show’s producer is DIVA Award winner Amelia Airhead, who created the show on the back of a string of sell-out drag successes for the Opera House.
“It began as a bit of an experiment on behalf of the Opera House when the Spiegeltent was installed on the Opera House forecourt,” Amelia said.
“I was approached to showcase a selection of the shows I had produced over the last 10 years. That was really exciting for me, but I decided to supplement it with a selection of our current and past drag legends to make it a showcase of what we do, so the wider world could see this subterranean culture.
“It was my attempt to show the world how fabulous drag is today but also how fabulous it had been over the last 20 years.”
With the tent on the forecourt long behind them, Amelia and her troupe of drag legends are now occupying the Opera House’s Studio theatre for a huge Christmas finale.
Among the performers are Joyce Maynge, Portia Turbo, Trudy Valentine, Dallas Dellaforce, and Monique Kelly, who worked for Les Girls from 1973 to 1995 over a whopping 23 years of drag stardom.
And keep an eye out for drag stars past and present popping up as special nightly guests.
Penny Clifford, who began her career in the ’80s and became a regular performer at Patches and Capriccios, will drop by, as will the legendary Maude Boate, who is flying into Sydney especially for the production.
Other nightly guests include Pollie Petrie, Courtney Act, Trevor Ashley, and drag king Rocco D’Amore.
Designer Matthew Aberline is responsible for the show’s outrageous festive costumes.
Amelia said it wasn’t much of a challenge to get some of Sydney’s retired drag legends back on the stage.
“They’re good mates of mine so they did it as a favour — but from the moment we started we all knew this was drag magic.
“In the ’60s some of our pioneer performers were arrested by police and even bashed, so we owe a lot to our big sisters.”
info: Drag!: Camp as Christmas runs from December 1 to 6 at The Studio, Sydney Opera House.