Council House Movie Star

Mark Edward, Rosa Fong (Director), Mark Fremaux (Other), Olivia Du Monceau (Other)

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


    Research aim: to investigate how society views drag artists by exploring social issues around class and age within non-heterosexual contexts. The work also locates drag artists in a live art/performance context, removed from conventional drag venues. Research questions: 1) How does an offstage existence of a drag artist invite reflection on issues of age, sexuality and class? 2) What is the impact of using life/art displacements within a live performance context? 3) Can a tragi-comic characterisation of a drag artist create both humour and pathos in an exploration of life-stories? Drag usually offers a spatial separation giving a safe distance of viewership and that of the ‘act’. As Maddison notes: “Drag holds an ambiguous place in gay culture; [...] drag’s status as performance keeps it safely at a distance” (2002: 158). This Practice-led Research removes this ‘safe distance’ and localises the drag performer within quotidian social contexts. CHMS was a collaboration between performing artist Mark Edward and film makers Mark Fremaux and Rosa Fong, funded by Edge Hill University and Homotopia. CHMS uses a cross-fertilisation of artistic forms and is interdisciplinary in its methodologies. The work consists of a film and an immersive gallery installation where the drag artist’s council house was installed. The drag artist, Gale Force, inhabited this space for three weeks alongside other ageing drag queens and young ‘chavs’. Such immersion invited live viewership and participation. The film and installation launched Homotopia 2012, an international LGBT festival held annually in Liverpool, England and across Europe. Research findings from CHMS were presented in a research paper, ‘Council House Movie Star: Ageing Drag Queens on the Borders of Society’ (Rerouting Performance: IFTR conference, Barcelona 2013). Evidence Portfolio: Documentary of the making of the immersive installation; Council House Movie Star film; Bay TV documentary; publicity material.
    Original languageEnglish
    Media of outputMultimedia
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012
    EventHomotopia Festival 2012 - The Gallery Camp & Furnace, Liverpool, United Kingdom
    Duration: 30 Oct 201211 Nov 2012


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