What drew you to each other’s practice?
We are both migrants and queer, and we dream of a better representation for Eastern-European drag kings on the British stage. We want to shift this by working together and inspire fellow Eastern-European queers to take pride in their identity and share their work.
How will you use the 1:1 FUND?
We will use the fund to share and explore together skills and techniques we have in drag performance, dramaturgy, and directing. We hope that during the time spent together we will generate some new ideas for a future project.
What is the one thing you most hope to gain from undertaking this work?
We are really happy we have the freedom of working together without any constraints or pressure to produce something immediately. We can’t wait to have some great fun during the time we will spend together!
Olga Macrinici is a Moldovan-born, UK based queer and disabled playwright, director and theatre maker. Olga’s works explore a wide range of documentary and collaborative practices and tackle issues like interculturality and ethnic minorities, intergenerational conflicts, gender and sexual orientation equity, heteronormativity and toxic masculinity, animal rights and welfare. At the moment Olga is working on Motherland, a project investigating Eastern-European identity from a queer perspective.
Valera BeLoved was born during a workshop with Rita Suszek. He is quite well-known online for his bespoke lip synching performances of famous Russian hits. Together with his king buddies Janusz Your Polish Boyfriend, Sexxy Jesus, Butch Ca$hidy, Don Pod’Lascaux and Timmy, Valera is looking to start a collective and smash the Great British stereotypes on Eastern-European identity!
Rita Suszek is a Polish multi-disciplinary artist based in London, UK; they are a performing artist, an improv teacher and a workshop facilitator. For the last eight years they have been creating new work through stand-up comedy, poetry and theatre, sharpening their skills through improv and penning the odd essay or podcast episode on the side. Since 2019 they have been offering workshops in improv, drag performance and poetry. Currently, Rita is writing Five Dresses I Never Wear – a play about femininity and trauma. Five Dresses I Never Wear is a piece about what patriarchy makes us become, or what we try to avoid becoming. It is about pain travelling through bodies and voices – about words that hurt and silences that haunt. It is a family story, no longer kept in the family.
Janusz Your Polish Boyfriend was born in a workshop led by Francesca Reid a.k.a. drag king Brent Woulddd. He started performing right away, gigging at London Improv Theatre and Migration Matters Festival in Sheffield, as well as embarking onto a brief partnership with Slav 4 U collective, with gigs at The Glory and London’s Clapham Grand Theatre. In January 2021 Janusz led a weeklong drag workshop for female and non-binary participants wanting to create, or work on a drag act: the resulting online showcase attracted over 50 audience members! The participants of the workshop – kings and things Valera BeLoved, Sexxy Jesus, Butch Ca$hidy, Don Pod’Lascaux and Timmy – are currently looking at starting a collective.