Acclaimed local theatre-maker, Kate Gaul, has teamed up with esteemed UK Theatre Company Milk Presents to bring the award-winning play JOAN to Australia for the very first time. After numerous UK tours visiting over 60 venues and following a sell-out run at the 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe where JOAN won a Scotsman Fringe First Award, The Stage Award and Spirit of the Fringe Award, JOAN is coming to Sydney for a very special season for the opening weekend of the 40th anniversary Mardi Gras Festival.
An earthy story of courage, conviction and hope, this is Joan of Arc. Performed by an internationally renowned drag king, history’s greatest gender-warrior takes to the stage in this smash-hit show. Packed with guts, heart and hilarity, Joan is the latest daring fusion of lyrical new writing and cabaret prowess from award winning UK theatre company Milk Presents. A fearless solo play, with some uproarious songs and audience participation, about what it means to stand out, stand up and stand alone.
Lucy Parkinson is an international drag king champion, Lucy’s drag king persona, LoUis CYfer, was the first drag king to ever win the UK national competition Drag Idol in 2014. Lucy has wowed audiences in the UK, Europe and the United States, and has gone on to win awards at the Austin International Drag Festival, Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. Lucy utilizes this all of this in her performance in Joan. Lyn Gardiner from The Guardian observed;
“Lucy Parkinson morphs before your eyes so cleverly that sorcery might be involved. But almost 600 years after Joan was burned, there is still a great deal at stake for those who don't fit the gender binary and who must fight daily to be accepted for who they are without the fear of witch-hunts."
Written and directed by Lucy J Skilbeck, Joan is a beautifully crafted, engaging and inspiring cabaret-style play exploration of the Joan of Arc story. The production takes audiences through a contemporary telling of the life of Joan, a 15th Century French girl, from her early adolescence and through her time, guided by Saint Catherine, dressing as a man and turning the tide of war – to her death, when she was famously burned at the stake for heresy at just 19. Skilbeck and Parkinson use the Joan story as a framework to explore themes of history, gender and identity. The ingenious use of Parkinson’s masterfully transformative drag king skills to portray multiple characters in the show, including the men Joan defies, and Skilbeck’s intricate and lyrical script, creates a show that is an entertaining and uplifting adventure of choosing life even if it means death, of hiding your identity even if it means becoming your truest self.
Joan is Skilbeck's debut as a writer, supporting a strong directing career which includes The Young Vic's Genesis Future Director award and the BBC Performing Arts Legacy award. Lucy is the Artistic Director of Milk Presents theatre company, an award-winning associate company of the Bush Theatre and Derby Theatre. Milk Presents are a leading UK theatre company who make work that enables audiences to queer their world. The Stage says that Milk Presents creates "Theatre that flies in the face of convention". Milk Presents, often in partnership with Lucy Parkinson, also run workshops for those who want to explore their gender identity, club nights, community projects and artistic disruptions that that cheekily challenge the status quo.