Celebrating the local drag scene

Photo exhibit is result of a partnership between drag queen and costume designer

Tony Fram as drag queen 'Fantasy', photographed by Tom Pilling
Tony Fran as drag queen ‘Fantasy’, photographed by Tom Pilling

An exhibition celebrating local drag artists has opened at The Southgate Club.

The month-long exhibit is the result of a collaboration that first began in 2016, when Talkies Community Cinema presented cult drag queens movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at The Fox in Palmers Green. The night was hosted by Moira Stansfield, with a guest appearance by drag artist Tony Fran, appearing as his creation, Fantasy.

Having first met at the Talkies event, Tony and Moira discovered a mutual love of costume, drama and storytelling, and a shared background in design. Moira’s 30 years costuming Hazelwood School’s annual pantomime, and over 45 years of varied work as a designer/maker in fashion, made for a large collection of costumes, accessories and cloth in all corners of her home.

Tony and Fantasy, birthed in Benidorm in 2012, made full use of that potential material and offered Moira the opportunity for new creative expression, designing and making outfits for Fantasy to wear. Tony wrote and produced a short film, Wannabee, starring the fabulous Fantasy in her signature Quality Street dress, designed by Moira.

Meanwhile, Moira had been introduced to Tony’s brother Kevin, fellow drag artist Veronica Green, and the three collaborated on costumes for Veronica for her appearances on Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

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In 2020, local journalist, Xenia Taliotis wrote a full-page feature for The Daily Telegraph about the brothers and their drag alter egos.

Tony now works as a film and TV art director and has created music videos for both Veronica and for his partner Vangelis Polydorou, a finalist on The Voice in 2016 and now touring with Boy George and Culture Club.

Drag styles cover a wide spectrum, from grotesque monster drag to glamorous femininity, but always seek to express the personality of the drag queens and the stories they are trying to tell. It’s becoming more and more mainstream now with shows like Ru Paul’s Drag Race on the BBC, giving the artists a platform on which to showcase their skills and creativity while emphasising the dedication and energy required to be a fully-fledged drag queen.

Moira and Tony’s exhibition at The Southgate Club opened last Friday and will run throughout November. The club is open Monday-Thursday 5pm-11pm, Friday 3pm-11.30pm, Saturday 12pm-11.30pm, and Sunday 12pm-8pm. Visitors should ring the bell on the front door to be let in – non-members are welcome.

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