Offered as apart of the Dumfries Youth Theatre Program, the five day program was created for 11- to 18-year-olds. Participants will spend the days creating a drag persona, practicing applying makeup, developing a performance and learning the history and culture of drag artists.
“You can use drag to explore anything you want to,” Natalie Doidge, one of the program’s organizers, told The Guardian. “Gender is a performance, after all.”
Additionally, The Guardian noted that “the [organizers] were planning a daylong drag offering for children aged eight to 11 years, but after the online backlash they adapted it to a one-day LGBTQ youth space, with discussions of heroes and icons and the evolution of the Pride flag, fueled by rainbow snacks.”
All the spots in the Dumfries drag school have now been filled – with girls making up half of the participants. A local event website notes that the course is free to any participant and will explore all types of queer performance.
Teenage participants will be instructed by “industry professionals.” This includes Jordy Deelight, a drag queen from Edinburgh. According to Deelight’s website, “Their work looks at identity and persona in the art of drag, exploring themes of disability, gender and mental health in autobiographical theatre and auto theory based work. Jordy’s aim in their work is to bring conversations about the deep rooted psychology of humans and how they think, feel and act.”
The Scottish drag school for minors is similar to a program from Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, titled Drag-tastic Summer: The Art of Drag. The five-day course will have students develop a persona, promises field trips to thrift store to create costumes, and offers lessons on stage presence and makeup techniques. The program is led by Joshua Hancock, who is described as having 30 years of experience in theatre, burlesque, and drag as well as a Master’s Degree from Texas Woman’s University in Theatre. At the end of the program, which starts on July 26, kids will take part in a drag showcase.
Drag focused events for minors, like these summer camps and drag queen story times at libraries, are viewed by many as inappropriate and even potentially dangerous. Critics say these events push a pro-transgender point of view and encourage oversexualizing young children.
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