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Drag Baby is a play about having a family and the many different forms that family can take. It’s about Dan, a drag queen in his thirties, trying to get onto a certain drag reality show. His ex-girlfriend (his only girlfriend), Sally, shows up and asks him to donate sperm so she can have a baby with her partner, Sandra. This causes tension with his drag mentee Nathan, who is annoyed about the disturbance Sally caused to their and Dan’s dynamic. 

Drag Baby started as a short play. I was interested in drag as an art form at the time and the idea of alternative families within queer communities. I think this was because I was coming to terms with my identity as a queer woman and reconciling that with my want to have a child one day. I started watching a lot of content about drag, Ru Paul’s Drag Race was, of course, an entry point, but then I started to watch documentaries like Paris is Burning, Deep in Vogue and The Queen. I was interested in how those within the drag community formed family structures called houses, and there would be the house mother and the drag daughter. I also have a friend who was working in a fertility clinic at the time and was dealing with a lot of queer people wanting to have children. It made me aware of how tricky and hard the whole process was and the emotional complications that can come with it.

I thought of the idea of a drag queen being asked to be a father and how they might make that decision. I wrote the short play with the characters and was lucky enough to have that staged as part of Full Disclosure Theatre company’s night of short LGBTQIA plays at Southwark Playhouse in 2019. I wrote the full-length draft and then met Joseph Winer, the director of Drag Baby, who was an emerging queer theatre maker like me and helped me develop the play over lockdown. 

On the surface, it’s a play about a drag queen deciding whether or not to give his sperm to his ex-girlfriend and ex-best friend, filled with fun drag sequences, laughs and twists and turns, but on a deeper level, it’s about the want we all have inside for family and connection. It’s about love, growing up, and allowing yourself to be loved by the people who want to love you.  

I was keen at the beginning of the process that Drag Baby should blur the lines between drag performance and play. I was seeing a lot of amazing drag performances in bars that were so inventive and evocative, and I wanted to incorporate this. The songs and the clips used in the drag pieces are a lot of what inspired me when writing the play itself. There is a bit of James Baldwin, a bit of Paris is Burning, and a lot of Dolly Parton! Joseph, the actors, and our movement director really got what I was trying to do and created something quite beautiful based on my initial ideas. 

I’m so proud of everyone who has worked on Drag Baby. The cast, the crew, the director, and the producer have all put their hearts into this queer show. As a writer, it’s always nerve-wracking seeing your words come to life, but I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out.  

Drag Baby runs from 4 – 22 June at Pleasance London, Downstairs, Carpenters Mews, North Road, London N7 9EF, United Kingdom.

Drag Baby

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