Meet the women behind drag king show, Joan

Part-play, part-drag king comedy cabaret, Joan is based on one of the most celebrated heroines in history – Joan of Arc. As a 15th-century teenager, Joan cut her hair and dressed like a man in order to not be defined by gender, to create a non-sexual image for herself.

Writer and director Lucy J Skilbeck, of Milk Presents, brings us a story of courage, conviction and hope with performer Lucy J Parkinson (aka drag king champion LoUis CYfer,). Drag king Lucy JP describes Joan as “a northerner from Sheffield. She’s a gender warrior in the modern day. We make the story of Joan of Arc a bit more centralised around the idea of being who you are”.

Here, the Lucys tell us more about the smash-hit, award-winning show that retells Joan of Arc’s story.

What is it about Joan of Arc that stood out to you as a subject for this show?

Lucy JS: Joan of Arc has long been seen as an icon for standing up for what you believe in and instigating change. She refused to meet the definitions of those around her, defying social exceptions and insisting she wore men’s clothing. It was therefore an exciting proposition to invite drag king LoUis CYfer to perform her story.

Does the inspiration for the character in Joan come from real-life experience?

Lucy JP: It comes from a mixture of my interpretation of how Joan would have seen the world, blended with my own experiences and attitudes, some of which maybe Joan and I could have had in common.

What do you expect audiences to take away from your show?

Lucy JS: Gender identity is complicated and messy in the most brilliant way. We want to explore this subject with audiences, in a fun and accessible manner. Audiences also have the opportunity to participate in the show if they wish, they’re in very safe, cabaret-calloused hands – it’s all very low-key and easy.

Lucy JP: We hope they can come and have a great night out! We want them to totally enjoy the show, the drag, the story and being a part of the live event.  

Joan is part of Back to Ours festival, but the night doesn’t end there … stick around for live music from African musician, Hull’s own Hekima. Tickets, from £2.50, are available at pop-up box offices on Saturday 4 February, from 10am to 2pm, at:

  • Bus Stop Cafe, opposite The Mount Retail Park, Holderness Road
  • North Point Shopping Centre, Bransholme
  • Texas Tony’s Cafe, near St Andrew’s Retail Park, Hessle Road