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A Deakin Res Drag show: representing a diverse community

  • Blog
  • 4 min read
  • Posted November 2022

Drag Show concept imagery and cast with makeup designer (L-R, Steven Christou, Sidney Mesley, Bobbie Shi, Charlie Tickner, Laura Burke, Dustin Waters)
Drag Show concept imagery and cast with makeup designer (L-R, Steven Christou, Sidney Mesley, Bobbie Shi, Charlie Tickner, Laura Burke, Dustin Waters)

With trimester two coming to a close, most of our residents were busy hunkering down for their final exams and making plans for their summer holidays. One special group of Burwood residents, however, decided to share a noteworthy performance with their peers.

As part of their assessment for a Creative Arts subject, director and performer Dustin Waters alongside his cast members developed an exciting Drag performance which has held on residence.

We caught up with Dustin post-performance to chat about the event and gain some insight into what the historic event meant to him and his community.

What did running this event mean for you?

'This event was designed to be an introduction to the world of Drag, that taught the audience about its culture with live performances ranging from solo, duo, and group acts alongside lip-syncing and dance battles — with a little competitive sass thrown in. To be able to connect one diverse community to another with such a unique form of expression has been wonderful.'

To be able to connect one diverse community to another with such a unique form of expression has been wonderful

What prompted you to use the Deakin Res RESPECT values within your performance?

'We found that what makes Residence a valuable and thriving community, are the RESPECT values which were highly applicable to cultivating an enjoyable, encouraging and most importantly safe drag community.

We intertwined the RESPECT values with our live performance to have seven topics to teach our audience about the intricacies of Drag.

Being in the compromising position of your first-ever Drag performance you must create a safe environment that encourages you to put yourself out there, being connected to the history of Drag and honouring the performers who faced discrimination, etc.'

What was some feedback you got from the residents?

'The best piece of feedback that we got from several people was that after seeing Drag in person they were inspired to perform as Queens, Kings, or other royalty themself.'

What was the highlight of the event for you?

'Hearing all of the laughter that comes naturally to the performance, it proved we created a responsive and enjoyable atmosphere.'

Charlie Tickner, another member of the cast, when asked to reflect on the event also provided some insight into his thoughts post-production.

He said,

‘Dressing up in drag was a big thing for me as I had never done it before. I’m glad I did as I felt I was promoting a positive message. I received feedback about how well we had planned and rehearsed the event.

The highlight for me was being able to do the event at all as I have always been passionate about self-expression. This was always on my bucket list – now I feel I have found another passion that I could follow in the future.'

This was always on my bucket list – now I feel I have found another passion that I could follow in the future

And Charlie went on to say,

'Events where people can freely perform is something that I believe Deakin Residences need to promote more. Giving people confidence to put themselves out there in a warm and welcoming environment such as in a drag performance provides them with comfort.’

Overall, the production was well-received and gained much praise from fellow residents. One resident who was in attendance, Sarah Deering, sent her hearty congratulations to the cast members.

Sarah who was already quite familiar with drag performances prior to the production said, 'I thought the show was great. The four characters were well developed, especially with their costumes. The way the cast used music and dance throughout made the show really enjoyable.'

Deakin Residential Services welcomes the inclusion of the drag community into the events schedule and hopes to provide similar opportunities for performers to showcase their unique talents in the future.

If you’d like to catch-up on the performance in full, you can view a recording of the production here.

Written by

Profile photo of author Jess Murphy
Jess Murphy Campus Life Administrator, Burwood

Jess is Campus Life Administrator at Deakin Residential Services' Burwood campus. In addition to her work with Deakin Res, Jess is a musician, working on a number of exciting projects.