This week I got to work with one of my queer idols, the fabulous Kate O'Donnell. I met Kate whilst creating Under the Covers last year and fell in love with her wonderfully camp, funny and upbeat approach to autobiographical theatre. Her solo show, Big Girls Blouse, which toured the UK this year and last to high acclaim, was a nostalgic look back at childhood in the 70's... except, for Kate, growing up a very feminine boy in the Midlands wasn't always easy.
I'm a particular fan of Kate's softly political approach to gender-queering and politics and her ability to explore deep and often painful personal issues relating to her experience as a trans woman through humour, song, story-telling, really rather hilarious lectures with flip chart and lots of sequins and costume changes. As a fellow queer artist it's refreshing to see clever, camp and heartfelt work amongst a sea of queer performance art which can often leave even the most liberal amongst us lost for words.
Her new show, You've Changed, is set to have a stronger focus on the actual journey Kate made from male to female - the blurb says that she is going to 'get her genitals out on the table' - I for one am excited to see how that pans out!
I've been fortunate enough to help Kate as dramaturg on the script (which is just as witty and clever as her previous shows) and also as composer for an exciting new song that may be in the end show. Kate and myself spent two days listening to Chas and Dave and Bernard Cribbing in order to create a musical pastiche in a style we've affectionately called: cockney-trans-tea-drinking-wanker-song. It's niche.
I can't wait to get back in the research and development room with Kate, hopefully in a week or so's time to polish off the oom pah pah's, the diddley-dee's and the bom bom bom's.
And I call this work.
And another thing...
Massive congratulations go to Kate and her team for successfully securing Arts Council England funding to develop Trans Creative, the UK's first trans-specific arts organisation. Incredible news!