Grant Access: the arts funding drag king

3 November 2022

hello! a note to say that this autumn, i've been doing Soho Theatre’s Drag and Cabaret Lab! it’s currently being led by the inimitable Len Blanco, who is a brilliant artist & cracking facilitator.

what am i working on? (which I can’t write without hearing the question shouted repeatedly, as in Seke Chimutengwende’s Detective Work).

well, it’s baby’s first ever drag act: MR GRANT ACCESS. a love/hate portrait of a gate-keeping arts poshboi. a funny/sad snapshot of an arts funding system under attack.

this is v different to everything i've ever made. it's direct, character-y, pizzazz-y, maybe a tiny bit sexy?

but clara! times are so bleak, what’s the point in making art about artists while this country crumbles into tiny fascist pieces? all i can say is it feels helpful to me to name and draw the shape of something i know well & that i think the narrowing of imagination in public arts funding is indicative of a wider problem. a tiny piece of the austerity puzzle that i’m trying to decode and put on show.

it might turn out to be art for artists, which could be navel-gazey and bad. or it could be useful and cathartic. it could be hurtful to workers it's trying to both explore the powers of and empathise with. so i am grateful that this is truly an experiment (& thanks to Len & Soho for taking the risk). if you never hear from him again... you know what happened.

EDIT: there was a showcase! on Monday 5th Dec 2022! and now we wait for grant to re-emerge...

this guy’s future life is v uncertain to me. i sent a voicenote, speaking as grant, to a friend who didn’t get their ACE funding last week. they said it helped? maybe he’s a useful service for artists, rather than a public performance persona. entering the unknown - we shall see.