News on your favorite shows, specials & more!

Drag King Cabaret-Inspired Play MODEST Comes to Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre

Modest can be seen at the SJT at 7.30pm on Monday 19, Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 June.

By: May. 25, 2023
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

Drag King Cabaret-Inspired Play MODEST Comes to Scarborough's Stephen Joseph Theatre  Image

A drag king-cabaret-inspired play about Victorian superstar artist Elizabeth Thompson visits Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre next month.

Modest is the latest show by award-winning Hull company Middle Child in collaboration with Milk Presents, which celebrates queer bodies, uplifts queer stories and centres creativity, resilience, action and joy.

Elizabeth Thompson fell two votes short of becoming the first woman elected to the Royal Academy in 1879, after stunning the public with her painting The Roll Call five years earlier. Modest uses music, comedy and drag to tell Elizabeth’s story: a pioneering artist who shouldered the hopes and dreams of women across the country.

Performed by Isabel Adomakoh Young, Jacqui Bardelang, Emer Dineen, LJ Parkinson, Fizz Sinclair and Libra Teejay, Modest is written by Ellen Brammar with music by Rachel Barnes, and directed by Luke Skilbeck and Paul Smith. Set design is by QianEr Jin, costume design is by Terry Herfield and lighting design is by Jessie Addinall. Sound design and music production by Eliyana Evans, movement is by Tamar and Jo Dance Company, and dramaturgy by Matthew May.

Writer Ellen Brammar says: “Elizabeth’s unwavering confidence and unapologetic arrogance was really fun to write; she’s perfectly imperfect and I love her and feel exasperated by her in equal measure.

“The idea for Modest was born from a podcast about tokenism, illustrated through Elizabeth’s frustrating story, which lodged itself firmly in my head.”

Paul Smith, Middle Child Artistic Director, says: “This show is exactly what Middle Child exists to make: a great night out with big ideas in it, combining drag, cabaret and live music to tear down the Victorian art world one patriarchal paintbrush at a time.

“If you like your art political, playful and completely outrageous then this is the show for you. We can’t wait to show you what it means to be Modest.”

Milk Presents’ Artistic Director and Modest co-director, Luke Skilbeck, says: “Milk Presents are excited to collaborate with Middle Child. We've long been a fan of their work, their entertaining anarchy, the way having a great night out is high on the priority list. Bringing a queer show to the stage with them feels like a brilliant partnership and collaboration.

“Modest will fuse theatre, drag king cabaret and song – it's going to be a fun night out, whilst also spotlighting someone who, whilst a star at the time, has largely been relegated to the footnotes of any art literature.

Elizabeth Thompson is fierce and a brilliant artist, of her time and ours. We're exploring the mechanisms at work which meant she couldn't flourish: what does that say about institutional access, power and gender today? We'll do this with a lot of humour, cabaret, hilarity, drag and Ellen Brammer's fantastic script.”

Modest can be seen at the SJT at 7.30pm on Monday 19, Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 June. Tickets, priced from £10, are available from the box office on 01723 370541 and online at


To post a comment, you must register and login.