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BWW Blog: Falling in Love with an Artform That's as Unique as You

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I found that love in the community around me who wanted me to be the best I could be.

BWW Blog: Falling in Love with an Artform That's as Unique as You

Theatre school is a hectic, life and time consuming thing to dedicate yourself to and I've already talked at length in these blogs about what a day in my life at theatre school looked like, but what I didn't mention is what I did when the school day was over.

I love going to theatre school and the sense of accomplishment it gives me when I overcome a personal struggle from nailing a section of choreography, to finding new repertoire to sing, or slaying a monologue but I found myself being drawn to creating my own art, my own characters, and as much as I love writing and directing, I found a place where I could be everything: the drag community.

I started doing drag when I was eighteen, but didn't start performing until I was nineteen and in my second year of theatre school. Usually after a six day week I would quickly slap on a full face of makeup, pull on some platforms, top my head in a shake-and-go wig, and run to the nearest bus to perform in a drag show.

As time went on I found that the more I excelled in school the more those lessons helped me excel in drag and in being my own hair stylist, makeup artist, costume designer, sound designer, prop creator, director and performer I found a sense of pride I still struggle to explain. My drag character who goes by the name of Bromley B became the longest artistic project and journey I have ever had (and will probably continue to have), and everything they do is a piece of myself. Needless to say I wanted nothing more than to show off this art with my peers, but to my despair they weren't interested. Many would blame it on funds or time, and I would purposely do early shows and offer to pay for a handful of tickets, but in my class of thirty only four ever came. I wouldn't be upset about it, except for the fact that when another class member was in a show everyone said how it was important that we make an effort to support one another and go see it all together.

So why not mine? It wasn't the money, it wasn't the time, eventually I narrowed it down to the most obvious reason: they didn't think my art was art. The idea of this hurt me deeply, and quite frankly, still does. I understand it though, not many people think dark, packed, sticky floor bars, where the crowd is encouraged to scream, yell, and cheer even if the performer falls, is the type of place where art takes place. But the truth is to give art rules, is to give it boundaries, and what does that do besides give the artist making it boundaries; in doing so it renders all the hard work we do to make bold choices, and take risks, pointless.

If you find yourself in a similar position to mine and you create art that is different and non-traditional, dig into it, don't be afraid to fall in love with it, even if the people around you don't understand it, because in doing so you'll allow yourself to make connections, to learn lessons, and find skills unique to you that you would never have found otherwise. This is what drag gave me, and I wasn't applauded for it by my peers, but I found that love in the community around me who wanted me to be the best I could be, and more importantly this strange, wonderful, and creative artform helped me to continue to fall in love with performing, and with myself on and off stage.

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