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Andrew Ellerby, Artistic Director of And What? Queer. Arts. Festival reveals the 2020 lineup

[Picture credit: The Bitten Peach]

From 13th-29th March 2020, And What? Queer. Arts. Festival is back, with more emerging talents and international luminaries from the world of Queer Culture than ever before.

And What? is the feisty London festival that celebrates the weird, wonderful, alternative and often subversive side of Queer Culture. A tonic for the soul and an escape from the mundane, And What? promises art, performance, theatre, alt-drag and so much more.

Here, the festivals Artistic Director, Andrew Ellerby tells us what to expect for 2020.

And What? Queer. Arts. Festival. 2020, welcomes in the new decade with a riotous programme of 25 events, featuring well over 100 artists in 11 venues across London. Between the 13th - 29th March we invite you to gorge yourself on Queerness, embrace the wonky and cuddle up to some of the best new, unseen and/or so-damn-good we had to bring-it-back (Queer) art around. And you know what? Queer ties it and us together, but whether you are Queer by name, nature or simply willing to explore, it's just that good it shouldn't (and doesn't) matter. The truth is, with handfuls of world and UK premieres, international names, local legends and feisty upstarts, why wouldn't you wanna, you know, dive in head first?

[Picture credit: Baby Lame]

This edition of And What? Brings together the (un)usual, the brave, the bold, the under-and-overground of the queer avant-garde and the strong voices and diverse perspectives of our community. It celebrates the hardcore to the normcore, difference, division and unity, and all the beauty that lies in-between. Awwwww.
 
Where else can you find a programme that brings together the iconic Lypsinka, for her first visit to the UK in 16-years in The Fabulous Lypsinka Show, next to Sadiq + Hauk’s circus love odyssey The Chosen Haram (as part pf our circus cabaret cirQueer hosted by Chiyo Gomes), or indeed nestle up to Mink Stole, legendary star of EVERY John Waters movie ever made with her bessie mate Peaches Christ in their tell-all cabaret Idol Worship. You can then mosey on down to see QUEER ART(ists) NOW, an exhibition featuring a veritable gaggle of handpicked artists, take in a dance double bill from international João Cidade and home-grown Eve Stainton presenting While the Others Go Wild #4 and Rubby Sucky Forge respectively, catch some disability led cabaret from Quiplash AND see Mika Johnson’s Edinburgh hit Pink Lemonade. Nowhere, that’s where! London eh? It's diverse, International and full of talent, full of Queer and we are harnessing that for your pleasures.
 
This year’s programme also sees the long overdue return of And What? Favourite, and internationally known sour-puss Miss Coco Peru, the queen with high morals and low heels, with her one woman best-of show Have you Heard? And, really that’s just the tip of iceberg, we haven’t even mentioned twitter sensation Harry Clayton-Wright’s Sex Education (18+ only), or a late night performance club party featuring The Cocoa Butter Club and a London excusive from Manchester stalwarts Bollox.

[Picture credit: The Cocoa Butter Club]

We have purposefully selected work that can break boundaries, reference the past and re-envision the future. From performers that are fresh to the stage to ones with 40-years’ experience under their belts, and work that spans a life less than a few weeks old to performances that are well-trodden, but little seen. 
 
Take, for example the return of Stark Dallas Naked by Jonny Woo, David Mills and Timberlina, 10-years in the making and due its timely revival, right next to drag king cabaret BOi BOX, next to a brand new theatrical outing from all-Asian collective The Bitten Peach with Crouching Tiger Mum, Hidden Drag Queen, next to Naked Boys Reading with a special drag edition curated by the aforementioned Miss Coco Peru, next to a world premier from Drag nightmare Baby Lame in their long awaiting debut show Whatever Happened to Baby Lame? And, breathe. And (guess) What? we are still only scratching the surface.

We wanted to remind ourselves that Queer is difference, that it is odd and that it intersectional. That it is ageless, gender free and political - if you want it to be. With that in mind the programme really is a jolly jumble of joys, for you to discover with no overarching narrative just a journey of chance encounters, opportunities and dalliances. Pick something you would never usually see, revel in the obscure or delight in something wonderfully high (or even low) brow. No Judgements here. It’s all good. NO! It’s all GREAT.

And What? Queer. Arts. Festival. 2020
13 - 29 March 2020
At venues across London
Info and tickets: andwhatfest.com

[Picture credit: Stark Dallas Naked with Jonny Woo, David Mills and Timberlina]