University to offer the UK’s first ‘Drag Studies’ course

Edge Hill University is to become the first higher education institution in the UK to offer a course dedicated to the art of drag.

Performing arts students at the University will be able to study the ‘Drag Kings and Drag Queens of Performance’ from next year, after a ground-breaking new course was approved.

The third-year module will consider a variety of topics including “drag performance, costume, lip-syncing and the use of humour and is underpinned by wider theories and histories of sexuality, ‘performativity’ [sic], gay and lesbian theatre, transgender identities, drag, HIV/AIDS and activism”.

Final year students opting to take this module will have the chance to analyse the relationships between performance, identity, sexuality and gender, as well as the way in which performance may be used to convey specific political and cultural agendas.

The module has been devised by Senior Lecturer Mark Edward, who told PinkNews in a statement: “Despite the fact that performers have been ‘dragging up’ since Shakespearean times, this module is completely unique in exploring the crossing of boundaries in terms of gender and performance.

“The 2010 Education Act meant that providers of education, including universities, must go beyond non-discrimination based on gender, and in fact, promote equality, and Edge Hill has a fantastic reputation in promoting minority groups in terms of sexual identities.

“As part of undergraduate studies, this module not only explores drag as a highly camp performance art, it also engages with complex gender, feminist and queer theory to explore the social and political implication of ‘doing gender’ in performance. Drag as a performance art form has seen a relative decline in the past decade, yet there are new and exciting emerging forms coming through which makes this module all the more relevant to performance contexts.

“There’s a lot more to drag studies than wigs, make-up and high heels!”

Last weekend, Father Bernard Lynch delivered a rousing speech paying tribute to the drag queens of Stonewall. The vicar took to the streets of London on Saturday, to protest the closure of the Black Cap pub.

Please see here for further details.