China Blue Fish and Deborah Antoinette have created a spectacular show that encompasses feminism, breaks menstrual taboos, and brings laughter to our souls. From the Virgin Mary to Frida Kahlo, Queen C*nt will not disappoint! Get to know more about their experience touring this bloody brilliant show!
What did you set out to achieve on this tour?
We originally set out for world domination, in a non-dominating sort of way, with the view to seeing power disseminate across gender, class and race, and emancipation for all. Realising the bar was set a little high, we settled for a near sell out tour, with great audience responses, press coverage and reviews, and a shared experience of collective joy. With 3 venues left on the tour, we feel this has been achieved. We are working with a most wonderful producer, Hannah Elsy, who has garnered much press coverage including a great article in national press, The Express. Audience responses have been beyond expectation, with some audience members asking us to sign our autographs on Queen C*nt T-Shirts and Posters! We’ve never felt so rock-n-roll! (Note-must work on a more refined autograph!)
How does it feel to have so much press coverage? How do you think audiences have found out about your show? We’ve heard you've had plenty of coverage and have spoken at events!
It has been a really great to see articles on the show, both in online and newspapers and in print, including: The Express, The Canary, Cornwall Live, The Falmouth Anchor and on the BBC in Brighton. Most of the press coverage has been extremely fun, interesting and highly complimentary of our show. There was of course also the occasional antifeminist member of public, the quote one gentleman gave in the Cornwall papers ‘I'd rather walk over hot coals, than see this show’ was one such expression of fear that we can expect in a patriarchal society - if these responses were no longer–perhaps the show would not be as relevant as it is… it did in fact give us great exposure. All press is good press.
What is the best response you had to the show & why?
Well in part, it would have to be the fact that the person who made that complaint to the theatre in Cornwall came to the show! Richie Cawley, Manager of The Acorn and true feminist ally, offered anyone who may feel offended by that title a free ticket. The theatre offered the hot coals gentleman a free ticket to see the show on the premise that if he liked it, he could pay for it––which he did! We were thinking of laying out some hot coals for him outside the venue, but our budget didn’t allow- plus coals are not too great for the environment and we really do care about people’s feet!
We have had many positive responses, including things like ‘I was not sure how the portrayal of such a radical female icon such as Frida Kahlo would go but I thought you had captured the energy, the power and the joy of the woman’. Many audience members have let us know how touched they are, male audience members have said they feel they gained new insights and knowledge. Many people have said how much they enjoy the sketch with the Lunette Cup, and the celebration of menstruation that it brings.
Have you had any resistance to the show so far on this tour? How have you dealt with it?
We have encountered the odd bit of resistance, although it has been minimal. As intersectional feminists, we have posted a few articles on trans issues over the tour period, including one from Lunette on being inclusive with their marketing for people who menstruate. This gathered some traction with anti trans feminists, otherwise known as TERFS, who offered up some rather horrible aggression towards us on Queen C*nt and Cornwall social media sites. We were anticipating anger from them at the Cornwall shows which did occur at one of our post show discussions, hosted by the good people of the Honey Feminist Collective, when a woman in the audience tried to challenge us on our inclusiveness. It was dealt with well, and we didn’t allow it to dominate the discussion. There is this fear with some feminists that is reminiscent of public responses to homosexuality in the 1970s. We think in a decade or two, these feminists will look back and recognise how problematic their approach has been, and that trans rights are human rights. We’re not free until we’re all free!
You have a sketch in the show that deals with menstruation, period poverty and features our Lunette Cup. How has this piece been received?
Yes, one of the reasons we partnered with Lunette is because we have a scene with a Golden Globes award winner who makes a toast to her menstrual cup by drinking her menstrual blood. She thanks her Lunette Cup for “revolutionising my periods and really sticking it to the man” saying “you have the potential to end period poverty!” We often have a sound of recoiling when China takes a sip, with some audience members whooping in celebration! It’s still such a taboo issue, blood and menstruation, especially in certain cultures, we want it to be celebrated and normalised––menstruating is the most normal thing after all.
What has your audience response been to Lunette Cup?
We’ve had some good discussions around the merchandise table post show about Lunette Cups. Some people have never used them and are intrigued to find out more. It’s so wonderful to hear groups of friends discussing with each other how they get on with them, telling their friends who have felt apprehensive to use them how great they are, and them leaving with a cup. There’ll soon come a day when those brightly coloured cups will be popping in to vaginas everywhere! So long expensive disposable products, and hello the party in your pants revolution!
Now your tour is ending, where do you go from here? What does the future of Queen C*nt look like?
Well, As China said at the start maybe we'll get back to world domination?… Or just a simple television sketch series? Maybe we'll play Broadway...or an international tour would do nicely! Suffice to say we've been in contact with many people in the industry and have our sights set on big things. Watch this space!
How have your post show discussions been going and what have the topics been?
It's been great to have post-show discussions with our charity partners Bristol Women's Voice, and with Honey Feminist Collective Cornwall. Questions from the audience so far have been about understanding our starting point for some of the sketches. For example, audiences have asked about the political party represented in the show and our research around them, The Justice For Men and Boys Political Party.
We’ve also discussed with audiences our political views on inclusivity of all genders and those who do not identify, of course we’ve discussed our incredible partnership with Lunette and how important it is to us to be part of raising awareness about period poverty. We have been asked to share how we hoped the show would affect our audiences and we have spoken about our wish to inspire women and men to feel empowered in their bodies––especially with our body-positive sketch from Burt the drag king! For men and women to feel free of the shackles of the patriarchy! Not a big ask for ourselves on the show then...? We are also looking forward to the post show discussion coming up in London, at the Bunker Theatre on the 11th March 2019 with our charity partners Fawcett Society and Good Lad Initiative.
What is your favourite venue you’ve played in on this tour so far and why?
We had such a great time at all the venues, it’s always such a treat to have different reactions to different parts of the show in different locations and to see how spaces shift and shape the material. We loved playing at Chapter Arts Centre as part of Women Of The World (WOW) Festival, being part of an extraordinary women doing kick ass work. We also had a BSL Sign language Interpreter for that show, who was just incredible. We’d love to have enough budget to have her come with us to every venue on the tour for a more accessible show.
Another great venue was The Acorn in Penzance, they were so supportive of us and the stage was fantastic- we performed with 2 golden angels flying above us! It was the first venue we’d performed in that had a balcony at the back of the theatre and with 190 capacity, it felt very grand, although pretty difficult to make eye contact!
But nothing beats performing to our home crowd –– The Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol is such a great venue. It’s in an L shaped configuration so that there are audiences on 2 sides which makes for an intimate setting, so ideal for our show, and they really invest in supporting up-and-coming companies in the region. Check them out!
Queen C*nt Sacred or Profane? is playing at The Marlborough Theatre Brighton on the 9th March, The Bunker Theatre London on the 10th and 11th March, and Merlin Theatre Frome on the 16th March.