The theatre industry has always been home to the gays. I think you could even go as far as to say, as with most creative industries, it is run by the gays.
In the 20th century, people would often describe their local homosexual as being “rather theatrical”.
We write plays and musicals and operas, we choreograph ballets, we design costumes, lighting and sets, we do the most amazing things with hair and makeup. We sing, we act and we dance around on stage, and occasionally we throw tantrums at the people who don’t understand our creative vision.
A lot of us get our first start in theatre when we are very young — through drama classes, being in school productions or joining the local amateur dram theatre group, all three of which I was a part of growing up.
At high school, I started to feel creatively held back — both by having to memorise and deliver the lines someone else had written, and by the school productions being directed by a teacher who had about as much creative juice as a pebble.
One day, our school was invited to take part in the Rock Eisteddfod. We leapt at the chance. The event has been running for more than 20 years. Schools enter teams of no more than 100 participants, who perform a devised piece of dance theatre to a pre-recorded soundtrack no longer than eight minutes in duration, exploring a theme of their choice, and their budget is not to exceed $10,000.
Our school entered, and much to our delight we came second out of eight entries. This experience, coupled with viewing The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert pretty much set my trajectory for a career in theatre — both on stage as a drag performer and working behind the scenes in my day job as a costume designer.
I was recently invited and honoured to be the Design judge at the state final of the Rock Eisteddfod at HiSense Arena.
All 10 schools entries were amazing — it was such a delight to see almost 1000 students performing, and the effort and commitment they had given to their entries made it very hard to judge the winners.
We had performances about the duality of the soul, oil rigs leaking, the history of plastic, Joan of Arc, Peter and the wolf, Atlantis, Halloween and individuality, to name a few. I had to giggle when 30 performers emerged dressed as the Village People, complete with a slightly awkward gangly teenage drag princess in tow.
In almost every performance, there was at least one male performer who performed a bit
more enthusiastically than his fellow cast members.
I guess he was just “rather theatrical” — but it made me smile with the thought that on stage is where he can be himself and really shine.
By POLLY FILLA